I think we’re officially into the dog days of summer here in Portland with temps expected to rival our all-time high of 107 this week. Even though it’s summer, this is one of my least-favorite times of the year. Heck, I’m hot if the temperature is above 65!
The good news is that my studio is air-conditioned and cool, so I’ve been working on larger and larger oil-and-metallic-watercolor abstracts. But, I think the psychological effect of the heat outside is impacting my success since I’ve recently failed at two attempts of a 52 x 52 inch original… each has clear process mistakes in them and the overall finished paintings just failed to come together. And, due to my unique process of layering oil paints and metallic watercolors, these aren’t “fixable”.
I must keep trying though, as I must finish a spectacular 52 x 52 inch painting for a special exhibit that starts in September… the dog days are ticking!
I love my art-making process – it’s my favorite part of being an artist. And, I’ve worked for more than 12 years now to hone the processes I use to make art.
We had record October rain here in Portland. I thought alot about my process as the rain came down and I painted several new originals for my Pacific Rains Series. You might have noticed that I now mount my original paintings onto “cradled” wood panels. I love both the process and the finished result and have shared snapshots of both below.
All original paintings on my website are mounted on panel like this with crisp, finished
edges. Check out what’s available to add to your collection
by clicking here ==> www.davidcastleart.com.
I’m continuing my quest to master mixing oil and watercolors successfully and just might have a new series emerging: winter aspens. Or winter birch. I’m a bit torn since I love the aspen trees of my native Colorado in winter, but also love the birch found in the Pacific Northwest where I’ve spent many months painting in the winter over the last decade (and now live).
Here are two of my most recent winter trees – layers of oil paint (I use oil sticks such as Winsor & Newton Oilbars), followed by layers of watercolor paint (some traditional paints along with my own mix of metallic pigment powders). At just the right time, I scrape the tree shapes out with an old favorite tool: pieces of cut up credit cards.
I’m loving these early results… what do you think?
As a followup to my last post about my crumbling love affair with Daniel Smith paints, I’m sad to say that Daniel Smith has definitely discontinued their entire acrylic paint line. I’ve primarily used Daniel Smith acrylic paints (along with their watercolor paints) since the “beginning” for me over 10 years ago. The last time I visited their website to order acrylic, I noticed all of them appearing on web pages that contained “discontinued” in the title.
Well, after a few emails to them, I was told they were discontinued, but they failed to respond with any additional info. I couldn’t even find an official note from them to their customers and fans (lovers) to explain the what, why, when, etc.
I guess I could go on and on about my breaking heart, but seems I should just move on and start filling up my acrylic drawer with paints that are going to stay around!
I’ve long been a huge fan of Daniel Smith paints – so many reasons to love: made in the USA, ultra-fine quality, superb colors… I’ve really been in love since the beginning of my professional art career with my first big order in 2002 of watercolors and acrylics. I’ve even written several blog posts describing my love, including this post titled “I Heart Daniel Smith” here.
Well, I guess with any such love affair lasting over a decade, there’s bound to be some heartache. And lately, Daniel Smith is just plain breaking my heart!
I recently discovered that Daniel Smith discontinued one of my favorite products — metallic watercolor dry pigments. And I’m completely devastated. Dramatic? Sure, but I use a variety of metallic paints in most of my paintings – almost all exclusively Daniel Smith products.
I’ve stocked all of the metallic watercolor pigment colors (silver, pale gold, Egyptian gold, copper…) in my studio and have actually been using them rather sparingly over the past several years. So, now that I’ve started a new Metallic Squares series which requires heavy use of the Daniel Smith metallic watercolor pigments, I went to http://www.danielsmith.com to order up a bunch, only to discover they aren’t anywhere to be found. But, oh joy, in an email exchange with one of their Sales people, I was told I could special order the metallic watercolor pigments by the pound, and would I like a price quote? After putting my heart back in my chest, I replied “absolutely”!
The next email from Daniel Smith was the first “Dear John” from them. Apparently after checking with their production team, the Sales person informed me that they had been discontinued “a long time ago” and were no longer available.
Now heartbroken, I’m not sure if I should pursue my love any further with Daniel Smith? Or should I put my heart back out there with a Canadian lead I have for a new love?
Well, it took more than a “snip”, but “Claudia’s Jewels” is now cut into 3 pieces and ready to be mounted on my stretched canvas panels. This painting is on 300lb. watercolor paper, so it’s a bit tough to cut through. I clamp my straightedge down and use a utility knife (with a fresh blade!) and carefully go for it.
I plan to mount the 3 pieces onto canvas tomorrow, unless the snowstorm we’re promised hits and I don’t make it in!
I’ve been busy in my studio lately working on “re-discovering” my feel and technique for mini cityscapes that I once painted many years ago. The technique for creating these mini paintings is a combo of wash, timing, perspective and a quick hand with scraping shapes.
I first lay down a wash that will give me some good contrasts in the shapes I’ll scrape out while also providing an overall mood to the painting (night/day, winter, foggy, Chicago or New York…). These go quickly since I have a short time before the wash becomes too dry to successfully scrape shapes.
I’m having a more difficult time re-discovering how to paint these with results I’m happy with than I expected. Most frustrating seems to be that the pieces of rigid plastic (like cut-up credit cards… take THAT Chase Bank!) aren’t scraping satisfactorily. And, it has taken many tries to remember what paper is best (I like 140lb. Fabriano hotpress). At least in this example, the John Hancock tower is recognizable and I love the rather monotone feel I captured for Chicago (uh, I LOVE Chicago – “monotone” isn’t a bad thing).