Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Adaptive Caterpillar-tych

Jessi's 'Pillar Pic... "Peekaboo!"

My best friend since elementary school recently posted a couple of pics on Facebook of some monarch caterpillars. As you may have guessed.... I kind of have a thing for caterpillars- especially after spending so much time with them last summer at the Hershey Gardens butterfly house. Soooooo I've been wanting to paint some more 'pillars for a while now. After I saw this picture last week, I couldn't get it out of my head and the deal was sealed. It's been so long since I did anything art-y...


After about 6 renditions, here's what I came up with:

I thought it would be best to keep the painting small as I don't have a TON of time to do anything too big and involved. PLUS I have a new technique that I want to try and really don't want to go experimenting with a big ol' expensive canvas!

I've had these two really nice 6"x8" canvases for a while that have just been sitting in a closet on a shelf where I see them ALL the time, but never had any ideas for them. They were given to me as gifts and 6"x8" isn't an "off the shelf" easy-to-find-frame-size, so I knew I'd have to paint something on them that wouldn't need a frame. Since I have two of them, I figured I would keep the two odd-sized canvases together and always assumed I'd use them for some kind of diptych. That seemed perfect for this project AND I love the idea of eventually doing a bunch of caterpillar paintings so why not do..... A CATERPILLAR DIPTYCH!

Cause we all know TWO are better than one! :)

I began working on ideas for the 2nd composition and made sure to arrange it so that the plants between on the two canvases didn't connect perfectly, but it would be enough to show they are meant to go together. Thus it can be hung vertically or side-by-side, and it won't matter which is on the right or left.

So... the new technique I mentioned.
Here you can see something I started last summer in my "30 Bugs in 30 Days" series, when I decided the background didn't have to be 100% photo-realistic ALL THE TIME, and for the first time I played around with bright colors and more imaginative effects.

There's a 2nd part of the new technique that I'm going to play around with on this one, too...

The leaves that are painted green here are probably pretty much done. Usually I'd blend them more into the background in a fuzzy way, the way a camera lens might if this was a photo. This time I'm going for something more illustrative- not necessarily catroony, but definitely not realistic either. I want to see what happens if I do some layers throughout the painting and these leaves are the furthest away, so they'll be close in color to the background and have no detail on them (but keep the sharp edges). I'll do some light coats of the background-yellow over them to blend them in a little more. As I work toward the foreground, I'll add more and more detail. I'm hoping to paint the caterpillar and leaves with as much detail as possible to really put the focus onto them. We'll see how it goes.

~ * ~ * ~

I've recently discovered that I'm not a hoarder after all. Like most artists, I have a decent stash of blank canvases put away just waiting for a creative moment. A lot were given to me as gifts; some I got when a local store went out of business and had canvases on sale, so I picked up unusual shapes that are harder to find at the big box art/craft stores.

When I pulled the little 6"x8" canvases down off the shelf, at first I thought I had 3 of them as there were 3 canvases all stashed together and from the side they were all the same size. I immediately considered doing a triptych, but found the 3rd canvas was actually 6"x12" (which is a pretty fun size to work with) so I put it away to save for another day.

I kept thinking about that canvas being 6" wide, the same as these, just sitting there up on that shelf. Today became "another day" when I decided it would make a perfect and really interesting long, skinny triptych with these caterpillars. When I showed my husband my idea, he arranged the canvases in yet ANOTHER cool and interesting way (cause he's an engineer and that's what they do) which made me even more excited about the project, since my slight hesitation was that if someone fell in love with all 3 canvases, would they be just happen to have the right long skinny wall to hang all 3 of them on???

Check it out:

I love this idea because I can paint them subtly enough to "go together," but no matter how they end up being hung they'll still have a nice flow between them. Of course, each of these can work as a stand-alone painting and I'll especially keep that in mind for the long one in the center. Then they can be placed in different spots throughout a room- or if all 3 don't end up being purchased together (sad!!), it won't look lonely :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day, a day late

I surprised myself by not posting yesterday... Maybe because as much as I love the idea of Earth Day, for me every day is (and should be) Earth Day. I confess that yesterday I didn't do anything different than I would have any other day.

People's negative attitudes toward being green really get me down a lot of the time. I especially hate it when a BIG company like Staples announces a green initiative they're taking (and let me tell you, they do sooo much!! They're really inspirational), on their Facebook page for example, and instead of congratulating them or respecting that a BIG company like that is seeing how important it is... people just say negative things about "being green is a waste of time and money" or the like.

Why is it a waste?
Does it HURT anyone to be more green?

I read a great article in Reader's Digest a year or two ago and that was the author's main question.

Maybe right now there is still a lot of debate about whether or not climate change has been caused by man. Let's say by miracle of miracles that humans have had no influence on the Earth's changing climate whatsoever. (And let me tell you how relieved I would be to hear that!) Even so... does being green and being less wasteful HURT anything?

I only wish that someone could convince me that humans have nothing to do with it.

I hope that in a few years I'm proven wrong and the honeybee population bounces back and we can continue to enjoy affordable fruit and vegetables, not to mention everything else for which the bees are responsible.

I would love for all of the environmental worst-case-scenarios you hear about to be proven wrong and ridiculous.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Ohmigosh, it's almost Earth Day!

With all my recent training and fundraising and being out of town and getting ready (sort of) to move again.... I haven't planned anything for Earth Day! Earth Day is a very special day to me not only for obvious reasons... but it's also my anniversary :)

As of right now I know we're going to a nice local restaurant to eat. And if I remember correctly from last time, they get almost all of their food locally so I can feel good that it's one of the most eco-friendly dining establishments in town. Oh, and it's only 2 blocks away... so we'll DEFINITELY be walking there!

In the spirit of being GREEN, I'll try and come up with a few posts this week!

For now, here is a neat article on 7 things you can do for Earth Day that actually matter :)

Another eco-friendly suggestion... Mother's Day is next month. Why not buy your mom something lovely and handmade from Etsy? I saw this adorable hat today, and it's one of those kinds of things that I always see girls my age (and younger) wearing, but was never quite sure if I could pull it off... or where to even find one. Well now I know, they're in SturmDM's shop on Etsy!

It's a great gift for ladies of all ages since this style is timeless (and the flower is even removable):

Buy this hat Here!!

That's all for now... I'll be back with some more eco-friendly ideas for Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Commission Piece Finished!

Pollinators Diptych

A friend of my husband's contacted me last month about creating a couple of paintings for her baby twin girls' bedroom. I love doing art for kids, so I jumped at the opportunity!

She was able to give me a lot of great information from which I could work. Things like: the colors she was looking for (pinks, greens, and purples, with touches of yellow and white), and a couple of photos of the existing decor in the girls' room. She also expressed a lot of interest in the style of art from my fire hydrant- so more illustrative and cartoony rather than realistic. I had a great time painting the hydrant (taking a break from my usual style), and knew I'd have fun doing something similar again!

Starting with the background blends. You can see my digital rendering on the computer screen behind me...

Surprisingly the paintings didn't go as quickly as I had hoped- it turns out I had to do a lot of double or even triple coats with the paint I was using. I also noticed that when I'm painting something in my usual way, like a big flower, I can be more messy and no one is going to know :) I blend the colors and then go over and over them with watery coats of paint to perfect the blend. It's a very, VERY forgiving process! When you've got precise outlines and shapes you're working with, you don't have as much wiggle room. It wasn't a bad thing, just different, and now I have a better understanding of how long things will take if I embark on one of these kinds of projects again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kleenex Extending Middle Finger toward Earth


Just in time for Earth Day! :)

As if we needed another way to generate useless garbage, Kleenex has now introduced *new* disposable hand-towels!! Yeah, like you see in public restrooms. But for your home! Because I know the closer I can make my home bathroom to a public restroom, the more fulfilled my life will be.

I'm guessing these ads are targeting the germaphobe-paranoid-about-swine-flu-audience. A little late on that one, but whatever. The ad on TV says something along the lines of, "Your hands are only as clean as the towel you use to dry them. Why use the same one over and over?"


Because using a brand new one each and every time is a waste of paper? (And every other resource that went into making it.)
Because using a brand new one each and every time is obviously more expensive?
Because using a brand new one each and every time just feeds into this disgusting mentality of "everything is disposable! let's constantly have all new stuff!!" that most of society is so obsessed with?

From their "Sustainablility Efforts" page... hehehe.
Did You Know?
"Our cartons are fully recyclable with the poly insert attached. They are accepted at recycling facilities across the country."
Gosh, we can recycle their boxes- how very green of them!
....Why not make the boxes FROM recycled materials to begin with?

More on their efforts...

But of course, it's almost always a more ecofriendly choice to reduce, reuse, and recycle- which means to NOT have to use new stuff at all. Encouraging this throw-away culture with a brand new product just seems so wrong.

My apologies that this isn't art related, but it's been a while since I did a Green Post (or today LACK thereof). This got to me today.