Sunday, August 24, 2008

Whew. and more...Srum?? ACEO??

I'm still trying on new pictures for my title background, stay tuned!  I'll keep this  strip photo in mind the next time I go diving, and see if I can find a wide, narrow view, good new thinking. 

I read that I should have a logo.  That'd be easy, as soon as I go back through my hunderds of paper photos and find that one of that fish...  Back when I had a film camera, I was on a dive seeking one sort of sponge to photograph.  I noticed a fish that seemed to be following me, a Grey Snapper.  I'd poke along for a few minutes, look back, and there was the fish, a few feet behind me.  After a half hour or so, the fish was still there.  "Oh, OK," I thought-said to him, "I'll take your picture."  I focussed and clicked, and the fish, I swear, seemed to smile, then turned and slowly swam away.  I just wish my old film photos were sharper focus and brighter and nearly as good as my digitals.

I got started this blog because I discovered the 'daily painting' movement.  I actually thought I could paint a small image of a fish every day, or one coral or one scene.  I still have over two hundred little canvasses sitting there, "We're waiting!" Ha.

  And now, reading another blog, (  written by a fabric artist, I discover this word SCRUM which has to do with finishing small projects that are components of larger projects, a way of working started by software people who have to really be productive on the leading edge of their profession.  I cannot imagine the energy in a small software developing company!  One important part is to test and finish each bit then move on.  I'll have to begin using that thinking.  The only half finished projects that are OK are my garden plants that take their time growing!

And ACEO, Artist's Cards, Editions and Originals.  Strictly 2.5x3.5 inches, oh, what's that in cm?  I'm teaching myself Metric.  So that's, haha!, 6.35x8.89cm.  ACEO's are supposed to be for trading, like Baseball Cards.

Funny numbers.

And no bloglist on the side of this blog.  So much to do and learn!

I am determined to finish another painting today, one of the unfinished ones, and also to see about getting some blank cards, 6.35x8.89cm.  Ha!  funny numbers.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not coral at all! The Palletteers

Palletteers, Estate Mount Washington
12x9 acrylic on Ampersand board
So much fun! On Fridays, we painters get together different places on the Island. I've gone with these ladies places that I never knew existed! This is such a sweet place. There's a little sign that says, "Public Welcome" Wow.

This is my second ever Acrylic painting, using the little red bag in another post below. Acrylic paint dries SO fast, but not --- something. Tonight it's still sticky and ? vulnerable. Should be cured tomorrow, we'll see.

Such fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Longspine Squirrelfish

Longspine Squirrel Fish and and Reef

8x10" oil on stretched canvas

This is a classic pose for this little fish. All spiked up and fully at attention, ready to run away. That thing he's under is supposed to be a Maze Coral. I'm just going to have to slow down and let my pickiness take over so that my corals look something like they're supposed to. Oof, hundreds of tiny, 'perfect' brushstrokes.


Yellow Sponge #1
10x8 oil on stretched canvas
Finished. Take a break time. Most of this painting has three layers of paint! Too light, too dark, not right, not right AT ALL!!
Gadzooks this is difficult! I don't know why non-painters think this is so easy. I rank painting right in there with going to the Dentist. But I love my teeth, may I keep them all to the day I die.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Acrilics 'Go Bag'

I recently bought Da Vinci acrylics, the liquid kind in squirty bottles. I keep them in this bag, so I can either paint in my studio, or take them someplace to paint plein air. The Ampersand board and brushes need a better compartment, I'll figure that out soon. There's a coffee can with the snap lid for water, but I'm not happy with that. I'm looking for a replacement. There are zipper parts of this little bag that I don't use---yet. I can take this in the car, and paint in my lap, easy!

Funny, the big art supply companies have "portable" gear, but it's all awkward and a pest to use. With this, as with my oils-in-a-box, (in an earlier post, scroll down) I have made my gear much more simple and easier to use and control.

I'm wondering if, once I become accustomed to the fast drying acrylics, if I'll give up the slow drying, complicated, poisonous oils? Maybe, although I'm such a romantic.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Starts

I've just read, again, about a discipline called "Notan" that is beginning a picture by drawing or painting in stark black and white, extreme contrast.  I guess someone dislikes bland, shadowless art.  So, I think I might play with this some.  I'll begin another blog soon using these black and white ones for an online, downloadable, free coloring book.  Hmm, the little lines are supposed to be two fish, they'll eventually look like fish---I hope.

This kind of coral, Grooved Brain Coral, is so beautiful.  I am having trouble capturing it's filigree prettiness.  Keep trying!  I was going to put some color on this one, but the paint isn't dry, and I was smudging it all over, booooo.  I wish I could paint for six, eight , ten hours a day, but my eyes can't take it.  It's like I cannot see after a while.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One Started, One Stopped

Started, as usual lately, 10 X 8 inches, what was that in metric? 25 x 21. OK.

This sketch is a "Do Not Touch'' sponge. They're velvety brown, can get as large as a horse, and if you touch, you'll get stung, perhaps severely. Hence the name, which is a direct translation from the Latin, or scientific name, N. nolitangere. I would never call them harmful because the human has to blunder into the sponge. The sponge just sits there, never moving.

Is this one done or not? The Blue Headed Wrass, the fish, was an afterthought, and looks like it. Pffft. I want to be finished with this one, but will probably add some more fishes. And do some other stuff.

I'm wrestling with the idea of selling vs. not selling my little paintings. I'm quite fond of them. In the past, someone bought a nice painting I'd done, and later threw it out in the trash. That hurts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It helps me, motivates me, to see works in progress on this blog. My reaction is, "Eeek! Paint paint paint! Forget the lawn and dishes!" Oh, the round thing one is destined to be a very round coral. I am starting to take photos of ball-shaped corals.

Grooved Brain Coral
Great Star Coral
(Yes, it is this green!)
Massive Starlet Coral
and friends
I included my latest abstract, bottom right corner. I paint as many of them as the realistic pictures. They tell me my moods, and maybe my direction in life. This one seems to say I'm in a nice but vaguely defined place now, but coming is a big change where there will be a completely new and different life. When I look at this abstract, I feel like I'm sliding sideways, to move up and out to a place where the ground is very energetic and definite.
The sky is blazing with pure Sun energy. And the path widens to a huge, soaring field.

Or, if I look at it as the yellow and orange being in the foreground, hmmm...

And then, this morning, just as the sun was coming up, I had one of my dreams.

I dreamed I was in my garden, and was about to harvest a huge crop from a big and wonderful plant that I'd carefully grown. I was going to enter the county fair. I knew I'd win. But the fruit had changed, to my surprise, to spiney seed pods of a poisonous Nightshade!

In the dream, I went on down the path, and a small tree that I'd neglected had beautiful big juicy plums on it. The little tree was in bad shape. I looked closely, and saw that it wasn't dying, that it would flourish with care and attention. I picked three nice plums and was carrying them to the fair, once again knowing that I had a winner, because plums don't grow here. A little girl stopped me and asked, "What are plums?"

Haha, I love my dreams!

And I should put a link in this blog to my abstracts blog. When I take a break from painting and ignoring the lawn that is creaking and groaning it's growing so fast...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Musings

Oh poor me, I must run errands today, instead of sit home!  haha.  My wall clock quit, it's easy to lose hours on the www when you don't have a big time-beast staring at you from above the computer.  And I forgetfully left my cell phone in the big plastic box that I put my dive gear in after a dive.  The phone drowned in just a wee little bit of seawater. 

I started two paintings last night of sponges, one purple, one dark yellow.  I guess a non-diver would think me nuts to say I'm digging around under the kitchen sink for sponges to paint!

I'm starting to feel like something.  For so long, thinking that I am an artist, only drawing and painting in my head, I've felt empty and useless.  Maybe eventulally I'll be able to say I'm an artist when someone asks, "What do you DO?"  I learned early that many people sneer and cut if I dare say, "I'm an artist.".  I'll have to go by The Formula, and be able to prove myself by having business cards, a brochure, and find a gallery or two to represent me.  New York, London and, ??  Tokyo?  Singapore?  Hmm, where are the 'now' hotspots?  Yes, I think big.  Although I'm reading that Globalization is slowing and even reversing some.  That's good, I don't want to be in the USA every place I go.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My paintbox

I wanted to take my oils to do a plein air painting, an on-location painting, so I stuffed everything in a cardboard box, and off I went in my car. Now I use the box permanently! Hey! Big brushes in a coffee can that has a heavy rock in the bottom so it won't tip over. Little brushes in a little cup. Big tubes of paint in another can, as the little tubes of paint. I like to keep tubes of oils standing on the caps so that the oil that separates doesn't come all squishing out when I try to squeeze out a bit of paint, it rises to the back end of the tube.
The thing with the holes in it is a brilliant invention, not of my own, for cleaning brushes. A jelly jar with a can that fits inside, upside down with nail holes, nearly full of odorless paint thinner from the hardware store. It was fun in the grocery store, finding a wide mouthed jar with a metal lid, and then carrying it around comparing it to cans of something that the can would be the right size to fit inside. Oops, it's an Apple Butter jar. Hang the price, I think it was nearly six dollars, but the jar/cleaner is great!
Oh, paint rags around the edges, and for a pallette, an old white saucer, or a tuna fish can bottom! I find I'm happier with little things for little bits of paint for the little paintings I'm doing. Sometimes I hold a pallet knife in my left hand with a blob of paint on it for painting in small details where I have to reload my brush a lot.
Working on a big painting will need using a bigger pallette, a glass shelf from a discarded refridgerator, on something white. Any paint that dries is easily scraped off after a bit of a soak in soapy water.
So, since I work from the photos I take, which hide in my computer, I sit in front of my computer and "Lap paint", my trusty paintbox beside me on a little table.
Ha, two more photos. This works so well for me.

One point I'd like to make: many of the pigments and solvents used in oil painting are very poisonous. I have a fan blowing from behind me, across my canvas and pallette, and on outside. And I never let stray bits of paint stay on my skin when I see I've been messy, as I always am. Linseed oil is safe, but turpentine and thinner are not. Linseed oil and flaxseed oil are the same thing with different names. I use paint straight out of the tube, sometimes thinning it a little.

If you want to see these photos larger, just click on them.


OK! All for now, thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Finished or not?

8 x 10"
Oil on stretched canvas
This is a Queen Angel fish, and a cactus coral. I think the fish looks like he's hiding behind a frisbee, but who am I to say? I may lighten the background some, I don't want to do any dark, creepy scenes, and try to make the coral look like it's not spinning through space. Nothing fits in this composition yet.
I've made another blog with the cumbersome name of "Coral Reef Paintings by Melissa Evangeline Keyes" I will, in the next few weeks, be going commercial. Meaning I'll start selling these little paintings. I've bought myself a house, an old one, and it's going to be a real money gobbler for a while! I think I'll keep this blog for my whining and groaning and half finished paintings. For a while, anyway.
I'll put a link here to the other blog, and I'll advertise. OK, cheerio, until I'm here again! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Two finished paintings

Porquepine Fish over a Barrel #1
8 X 10"
Oil on stretched canvas

This fellow was hanging out above the coral and the barrel sponge. Usually they hide under a ledge and peek fearfully out at you. They look like cuddly teddy bears with those big round eyes.

Porquepine fish over a barrel, #2
oil on stretched canvas
8 X 10"
Another view, from one of the eight photos I took. I try to get as many images as I can when I get an opportunity like this. But I always stop and turn and swim away when the fish becomes nervous about my presence and attention.

Puffers are all shy. They must get tired of cowering in dark places, and so come out to enjoy just being up in the water. This fish and his relatives are the fish that the Japanese serve as "Fugu", a slightly hallucinogenic dish. Puffers have also been found to be the source that Voodoo doctors in Haiti use to make people into zombies. One bite too much, and you'll go into a coma, or die! Please pass me the peas!