Saturday, April 29, 2017

Painting of Nesting Egrets on Gold Leaf



Lately I've found myself itching to try my hand at something new. Namely Gold Leaf. Now, if you've ever tried to use the stuff you'll understand me when I say - AAAGH! That stuff is really hard to work with! You literally have to hold your breath every time you try to place a little bit of it.  It's so thin and so light that the slightest puff of air will send it flying or rip it to pieces.  Sooo... having tried my hand sometime back with imitation gold leaf or metal leaf, as it's called, I decided I'd better stick to the faux stuff until I get a bit more practice.  I had quite a bit on hand since my last experiment with repairing a frame so I figured I could do a respectably good size piece.

I wanted something relatively monochromatic for the main subject.  I felt color could come later so I chose a couple of Snowy Egrets for this first experiment.  After building and preparing a substrate (panel), I transferred the cartoon to the panel and did a sketchy under painting.  I then prepared the area around the birds with adhesive, waited the requisite amount of time (about 30 minutes) and then commenced with the torturous job of laying the leaf.  Yes, it looks very silvery in the photo.  The light on my easel casts a bit cool.

The next step was to seal the leaf with an oil based shellac.  That was easy and it dried fairly quickly so I was able to proceed with the next step. I laid a coat of Transparent Brown Oxide in small sections (that's a lot like burnt umber) and then started to wipe out leaves and the shape of a tree running diagonally on the right top corner.



Once I completed that step, I moved on to the birds. That was a bit more up my alley and so I was able to move fairly quickly through the rest of the piece. I finished up with some details and some darkening of shadows to allow for a little more integration - but not too much. They are, after all, a bit more realistic than the background.  I wanted them to stand out a bit.

The final result is, I think, respectable.  I can see I'll need some more practice with this medium but I'm enjoying the journey.  I have a show coming up in June at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center. I hope to feature this piece along with two or three miniature portraits on gold leaf.  Now those will really be fun!

"Nesting Egrets"
22" x 24"
Oil on Faux Gold Leaf

Monday, February 20, 2017

Graphite Portrait of African American Man


"Brice"

20" x 16"
Graphite and White Chalk


Just finished this portrait of Brice, one of my models.  It's done on Tan Stonehenge paper which is one of my favorite papers to work on. Unfortunately graphite is a bear to photograph.  I tried using my scanner, my good Nikon camera and my iPhone.  It either comes out too grainy or too contrasty.  Here the lamp on my easel is casting too much light on the image.  But when I remove the light and try for even ambient light, that makes things look weird too. You'll just have to take my word for it that this looks much, much better in person.  Transitions are very subtle in this piece but the photo just doesn't show that.  I'm frustrated enough that this may be the last graphite drawing I post.  Really.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Maine Coon Kitten

Maine Coon Kitten - Misty
6" x 8"
Oil on Panel
$85





I Love cats! Really love them, I mean. Just check out my FB page and you'll see dozens of cat videos. I particularly enjoy "Simon's Cat" videos. So naturally, my friends and relatives have asked me numerous times, "why don't you paint cats?" Well I've asked myself that too. Mainly it's because I don't paint subjects that are too "sweet". And let's face it. Kittens are sweet. But I couldn't stand the pressure anymore and so I caved. Yup. This is my first kitten. "Misty" was my first Maine Coon and while I did paint her picture in profile years ago when she died, I kept that one to put near her urn. Yes, I had her cremated. But here she is as a kitten. While this didn't provide me with a huge amount of challenge, I did enjoy painting her so I may be doing more of these in the future. And yes, I do paint pet portraits from time to time on commission as well.

You can puchase this painting by going to http://www.susanspar.com/small-works/.  Thanks for taking the time to read this. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Miniature Landscape Oil Painting

Hazy Day
6" x 8"
Oil on Canvas Panel
$75

When I lived in California, one of my favorite hiking and painting locations was the Santa Rosa Ecological Preserve.  It was located south of where I lived on the way to Temecula near Murietta.  It comprises 900 acres of rolling grassland filled with Engelmann oak woodlands. There are riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, bunchgrass prairie, and vernal pools as well as more than 200 species of native birds and 49 endangered, threatened or rare animal and plant species. The paths are easy to navigate.  No matter how many people you may find there, it is easy to lose yourself in its peace and quiet. I took rolls and rolls of film there (before digital) and still have many of those reference photos.  Still, even if I didn't, the place is indelibly marked in my memory.  The Oak trees were, and still are, my favorites.  Over 400 years old, they stretch wider than their height - which is no mean amount.  Many of them are over 60 feet tall.  They provide luxurious shade on hot days and shelter from rain in the winter.  If you have a chance, visit the Preserve, and send my regards.  This small study for a larger piece is a view from one of the trails.

To purchase and/or view on my website, to go www.susanspar.com.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Impressionist Landscape of Woods and Path

"Into the Woods"
6" x 8"
Oil on Canvas Panel
$85


I was in the mood for a landscape today and had plans for doing a large one but decided I needed to do a few small studies first to determine color.  I really enjoy painting small landscapes. They're sort of intimate and invite you in for a closer look while still allowing you to see the larger picture.

You can purchase this painting at: http://www.susanspar.com/small-works/

Monday, January 09, 2017

Special Offer!


"Satin and Two Eggs"9" x 12"
Oil on Linen Panel

I've just finished my first newsletter - The Bi-Monthly Museletter - which will be sent out on the 14th of this month.  I'm very excited about it as I've been working hard to make sure it not only looks attractive but offers something valuable to my subscribers.  Every two months I will be offering a small painting at a specially reduced price only to my subscribers.  The painting will not be auctioned, but will be available on a first come, first served basis. It will only be available for one week after which, if it does not sell, it will be placed on my website with my usual pricing.  You will be able to purchase through my website by following a special link in the Newsletter and entering a code to enter the page for viewing or purchasing.

You can subscribe right here on this blog.  The subscription box is in the upper right hand corner of this site.  Or go to www.susanspar.com and subscribe there.  A confirmation email will come to your inbox.  Note - you MUST click on the confirmation to be entered on the email list.  If you don't see the email, check your spam folder.  Be sure to put "susanspar@susanspar.com" in your address book or white list to ensure you receive the newsletter.  Thanks! Hope to see you on my list.  :-)


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New Year, New Painting

Back to Work



Happy New Year! It feels really good to be back to work.  While I always enjoy the break between Christmas and New Year as an opportunity to connect with friends and tidy up loose ends, it still feels wonderful to get back into the studio with a paintbrush instead of a mop.

I'm a bit old for New Year's resolutions.  I never found them to be more than a reminder of how deeply set are some of my habits and patterns.  Often those reminders are not kind.  Like the one where I promised to exercise every day.  It's just not always feasible and then when I don't get to it, I feel guilty.  Not worth the guilt.  I do make changes in my life but I no longer feel I need to do them on New Year's Day.  Every day marks the beginning of a new year when you think about it.  Five months ago, I made a pledge to change my eating habits and take on the challenge of a healthier diet. I'm proud to say I have been successful.  I've dropped 22 lbs and I'm enjoying my new way of eating with no temptation to change it.  So, change is possible even for old dogs like me.

I'd like to make promises about myblog, but I've learned that to do so can greatly disappoint my followers.  So let's just say that I'm working on streamlining my methods of keeping up with social media and other aspects of my work.  Hopefully that will translate into more frequent posts and more interesting things to say.

Here's my most recent endeavor.  It's a small still life - 9" x 12", Oil on Linen Panel.  It's still on the easel obviously and I have much to do on it.  I'm still on the first pass and there will be a few more to follow.  I'll post again my results in a couple of days so you can follow the progress.

I'll be offering this piece at a special price to my newsletter subscribers.  I haven't posted the sign-up for that yet on my website (www.susanspar.com), but hope to do so later either today or tomorrow. You will only be able to access the page where the painting is for sale if you subscribe because you will need a special code to unlock the page. Subscribing to this blog will not grant you access to the sale page. The Newsletter is a separate deal. The painting won't be up for bid.  It will be listed at one price, first come, first served, and only for a few days.  If it doesn't sell within one week, it will go on my website at a higher price.

Have a great day and a Happy New Year!