Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bronze d'or, hologram and lovers.

Most of the day I pushed the darks and lights of the bronze d'or candelabra, making the shapes more distinct. It's not done, but this is a big step closer.

Did fiddly outlining on the Lovers Tarot card and began the hologram on the ticket. The painted card is identical to the actual card except for two small changes I've made. Nope, not telling what.

Counting down to the debut of my two latest series: ELEMENTS and LOCATIONS, Friday, November 9th, 2012 from 7pm to 10pm, at the incomparable Mason Murer Fine Art gallery. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Due Diligence, Artist Style

Please join me for the debut of my two latest series: 
Elements and Locations 
Friday, November 9th, 2012, from 7pm to 10 pm
 at the incomparable Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery 
 Mason Murer Fine Art | 199 Armour Drive | Atlanta, GA 30324 | 404.879.1500
Gallery hours: 11 am – 5 pm, Tuesday – Friday, 12 pm – 5 pm Saturday

If you can't attend but would like to support the artist, go to my website, virginiaparker.net and click the Facebook LIKE icon on the upper left of the home page. 
Easy, free, fast and helpful.

Yesterday I sent out an email to everyone who has ever expressed an interest in coming to one of my shows.  It's not my favorite part of my artist's life - self promotion doesn't come naturally to me - but I consider it due diligence, so I pull up my big girl panties and get on with it.

My fabulous spouse came up with the subject line of the email; Virginia's Excellent Night Out. The idea is to take my work seriously. Myself, not so much. I created an event on Facebook too and gave it the same title. There is some overlap between the email list and my Facebook friends, but they are mostly two separate groups.

I've been handing out show cards left and right. This, I shamelessly enjoy. I'm proud of my work, and people know at a glance whether it appeals to them. There's nothing manipulative or intrusive about it. No pressure, just a seductive bit of visual pleasure.

I scribble the opening date on the margin and explain that the show runs through the end of the year. I don't print it on the cards, because so many people seem to think that if they don't go to the opening, it's over. My website, blog, and email are all on the card, so folks that are interested can find out the Where and When easily. I promise everyone they can find this information on my blog, and for the next couple of weeks I'll post the show time/place at the top of the page.

I'll upload an image of one of the paintings every other day or so on the Facebook event page. Ten works are in the show, which is about two weeks away, so that works out nicely.  I'll add little bits of information about them, just because I enjoy that. There is always a story with my work.

Now back to stroking canvases with paint-laden brushes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Butterscotch. Lemons. Krugerrands.


The golden drapery. All morning. Happy.

A couple of days of drying now commence. 

Meanwhile handing out showcards left and right, working on a pair of oil sketches promised for this Christmas, and choosing the next water in a tub reflecting the trees and clouds. 

Plotting and Sketching

Worked on the Tarot card Knight of Swords earlier this week.

Today I'll either do a second round of color on the drapery, or work on the candelabra.

Spent yesterday going over my list of symbols, book titles, dates, and a phrase from a song I'm planning to include. I made a rough pencil sketch of the composition and tried different combinations.
Book titles are pretty straightforward - I know which ones I want to use, and which books I intend to pair them with. Playing around with the yellow drapery is both more challenging and more fun. It's actually patterned in red, and I plan to substitute Led Zeppelin references. For example, I want to use the winged Apollo figure of the Swan Song logo in place of a tiger.

I found a few photo references on Google for the capital S on the Swan Song stationary. I want to try placing it in repeating pattern where there is actually sort of paisley design.
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Patience & Precision


Re-worked the chalice, took out the oyster shaped reflection on the front, then re-worked the tangerine, moving the navel higher and scumbling more tangerine color.

Scumbled sienna and umber on the blade of the sword. Scumbled yellows and ivories over all the candles and added wicks.

Messed with the highlights on the maiden's hair and face, and added more ivory to the candles around her.

Spent several hours doing most of the tiny black outlines on the Lovers tarot card, plus warming the yellow.

All out of patience and precision.

Nap time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Early morning, Walking Dead

Finished today. Varnishing Sunday. Everything is done for the November 9th show opening. Big whew.
LightGrid 18x36" oil on canvas


Worked from a photo taken last year on the Senoia, Ga location for the The Walking Dead show. My favorite part - besides the contrast between the violent, apocalyptic story and the calm, pastoral landscape - is the shadow of the ropes behind the grid cloth.  I can feel the heat and hear the cicadas.

Going to paint one more of this series - BarnSet. This looks like a straight up Wyeth, a bucolic interior of a barn with hay bales and light coming through the cracks between the boards, yet it is totally fabricated - a set built to be torched. It'll just have to wait for the next show to take a bow.

Dragged two tubs - one round tin and one oblong and brass - around the front yard this morning and took hipsta photos. I want to do another one of those square Elements paintings of water reflecting sky. It might be my new tomato, i.e my go-to image for multiple variations. (Think Degas - dancers or Monet - haystacks).

Tried another set-up for Earth. I started with the dead bird, now 90% skeleton, on a mossy bit of lawn. Scavenged the yard for appropriate props. Threw in a toadstool, a pine cone, a few acorns, a dogwood branch and some maple leaves. We'll see.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Worked on the wood and the iron hardware.

Changed the sword refllections again, and this time I think I'm sticking.

Decided to change the chalice - I don't know what that odd, oyster-esque reflection is, and it's smack dab in the center of the painting. It's too important to not know, you know?
Went through original photos and picked out these to work from:

Just sitting down to lunch. Hard to stop, but my eyes are blurry, a sure sign that it's quitting time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Intentional Blues

Spent most of the day mixing and painting blues. There are eight intentional variations, plus lots of merged edges that make another shade altogether.

While I was working on the  background cloth, I did a first round of paint on the embroidered stars, though they will have to cleaned up and shaded once the blue is dry. They are pretty wonky now. I shifted the stars around too, adding some and deleting others, and did the highlights on the iron lock. Next round will be the wood of the chest, and the iron handles. Maybe a bit of veining on the marble.

Now it's time to put my feet up and have a cup of Earl Grey tea, toast and jam.

Knight of Swords

Placed the Knight Tarot card colors, fiddled with the Guinevere face, did a second round on the Lovers Tarot card. Too wet to add the black outlines on the Tarot cards that will make the images pop. This is where self-discipline comes in handy.
I do like the juxtaposition of the crisp graphic cards and the softer natural face. I'm even okay with this version of the portrait.

Itching to do another round on the blue background cloth. Mixing blues today.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Showing Off

Burned the bacon while making a show card for the November 9th exhibit at Mason Murer. Win/win! Lose weight while you make art.

I love ordering the cards and handing them out. It's the only form of self promotion I actually enjoy. Went ahead and designed this one myself using the thrifty Vistaprint online people. I wish both sides were glossy, but doing it this way is very cost effective.

Please excuse the fuzzy images. They're screen grabs from the online site. I was too excited to wait the two weeks for the card to arrive.  Close counts in horseshoes, right?

I ordered a hundred on the heaviest cardstock they offered. I'm so pleased with this series I might do another version, working with a capable graphic designer friend.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Candles, Books, Maps, & Feathers

Moving right along. Blocked in the upright books, and the creased and folded map.

Placed the book beneath the candelabra. It's actually a leather bound volume of poetry by Sir Walter Scott. The cover is patterned, and stamped with red and gold. It have a different title before I'm done with it.
I shaded the candles a bit and futzed around ineffectively with the maiden portrait. Then I plugged in the basic shapes of the three hawk feathers, which fall from the top right corner, under an arm of the candelabra. and just beneath and in front of the sword blade.

Down to the knight Tarot card, and the iron handles on the front of the chest. Once those are done, I begin again, first with the blue background, then the yellow drape and the wooden chest. The next layer of blue will make a striking difference, ditto the yellow drape. After that the detail work - veining on marble, the down on the shaft of the each feather, the pitted skin of the tangerine - will only be visible in a close up photo, though it will make me very happy.
Stars, pattern on the yellow drape, book titles, print on the tickets and all other writing goes on last.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

textures in shadows

Today I painted texture into the road of LightGrid, mottled the shadows, and punched more darks into the tree.  And away went five hours.
I have two more weeks to get this done and dry enough to varnish properly. The sky needs one more round, the trees in the distance could use some subtle textures, and I need to crisp up the metal edges of the light grid frame.

Yesterday was spent painting the spines of the books on the commissioned still life, but the photo, snapped on the fly right before I placed it in my drying room, is blurry. I'll wait until my next round of work tomorrow, take another photo and post that. Probably I'll work on the book beneath the candles, and the three falling feathers. Once I do those and the Knight tarot card, I'll have paint on every part of the canvas.
Then the real work begins.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Impromptu photography studio, part deux

Did photography of the newly varnished paintings so I could send them along to the gallery and get them up on my website. Asked Robert to help me set up a c-stand with a flag so I could redirect/block light that bounced off the varnish - always an issue for me. He took over, and I let him. It's good to be married to the Key Rigging Grip.

I was heading out to the carport, bright but indirect light, and he decided the kitchen was a better idea.
Here he is in action:

Once again:
The toughest one was BlueScreen, which had a diffused glare right in the center. He lowered the flag, tilted the canvas and I held up a black bounce card, which absorbs rather than ricochets light.

My otherwise respectable refrigerator is a fluttering hodge podge of postcards, family photos, poems, receipts and a half-eaten dollar bill (bad dog). Also an inexcusable number of magnets purchased in art museum gift shops.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Varnishing Day

Spent the morning varnishing five finished paintings for the November 9th show at Mason Murer. One more to go.
Lined them up on a sawhorse and wood boards, and went down the line with a big brush, drizzling Soluvar out of the tin and spreading it evenly.
I'm still finding sticky patches in random places on my skin. Cleaned the brush with mineral spirits, then, an hour or two later, wiped the edges of the paintings down. The soluvar and mineral spirits fumes made me dizzy. Mosquitoes and gnats were lurching through the air, but it was perfect drying conditions - low humidity and warm with a cool breeze.

Four hours later, brought in the paintings and placed them in my studio long enough to take a photo for my Facebook page.
I love how the three square elements paintings in the center - Air, Fire, Water -  pop. Wish I had time to paint a new Earth before the show, but it will be all I can do to get the third location painting done.
A very satisfying day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Korean chest, candles & curly hair

Put in the princess portrait. First round, and could be worse. From a distance it's not bad. It's mostly curly princess hair and candles all around, which handily echo the candelabra to the right. Putting it  in a frame really helped.

Spent the lion's share of the morning on that. Stopping nearly required an intervention, but until this layer is dry, all I'd be doing is stirring reasonably nice tones into mud.

To distract myself, I blocked in the big iron lock (in the center just under the sword). It's a wonderful old wooden chest, sold to me forty years ago as a Korean money chest.
I love the clasps and handles. There's metal bracketing each corner, plus a pair of large, hand-forged hinges. The top half of the front swings down, and there are a few small drawers along the top inside. There are metal handles on the ends for carrying it, like a camp trunk. No idea how old it really is. Bought it back in the early seventies from some antique place in the Carolinas. Probably Charleston or Mount Pleasant, but possibly along the road to Black Mountain. It's packed with old board games and puzzles from when the kids were younger.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leaves of LightGrid

Working on LightGrid, the last of the location paintings.
Added leaves to the left side of the tree, and more leaf shapes and color on the right. side. Worked in multiple layers over the pasture in the background and along the roadside. The trick is to keep the background tree line and the pasture unfocused, then indicate the linear wisps of weeds and grass along the roadside without making them actually distinct.

The dirt road got another layer of base colors. It's ready for the detail of ruts and gravel. The only untouched part is the dark shadow cast by the tree. It will take a couple of layers to achieve the right depth of shade, yet build in subtle variation to show the ground beneath. Next round, probably

Here's a detail of the tree to show those leaves I was adding for the last two hours. There are more to come, especially darkest leaves.
I think when I work on the road, I'm going to turn the canvas upside down, so I can focus on making the marks of shape and the volume and not be thinking 'oh golly, all that gravel.'