Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More wrestling...

Morning Celebration, in progress
© 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I love beginning a painting. I know for some people the white canvas can be intimidating, but for me it's invigorating. There are so many possibilities!

Morning Celebration, in progress. An important part of that process is painting upside down.
© 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

The middle of the painting, for me, is much harder. I tell my students about how I was once told that, if you were to open up a cocoon before the caterpillar is ready (don't do it!), you would find green goo. The caterpillar has to, essentially, dissolve and reconstruct itself as a butterfly. Painting is like that for me. The middle section is a long period of green goo....

Morning Celebration, in progress © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I call it "the green goo phase of the painting." Knowing that every painting has to go through this is helpful. It helps me refrain from being judgmental as the painting goes through its awkward stages. Judgment is a creativity killer — it can stop the creative process cold, if you let it. So I don't.

Morning Celebration, in progress
© 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Sticking with this middle green goo part of the process is tough. It's just not going to be pretty. Another appropriate analogy is the growing-up process we all have to go through. The middle phase of the painting is like an awkward adolescence. Some paintings go through more extended periods of adolescence than others, and some paintings are less communicative and more sullen than others. My job is to stay with the process, and coax it into becoming what it needs to be. I don't know at the beginning of this what that will look like. Painting is a process of discovery.

More later....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My mixed media painting workshop this weekend

I Can Do It! and Me for President! © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I've been spending time lately mixing up my media, leading up to the mixed media workshop I'll be teaching this Saturday. Here are some of the latest....
Sleeping Beauty © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

The images came from my friend Denise's old parenting magazines. I'm looking forward to the workshop! We'll be combining photographic images, fabric, other collage elements, creating several pieces during the course of the day.

The workshop runs from 10:00 a.m. t0 5:00 p.m. at the Calistoga Art Center, 1336 Lincoln Avenue (on the second floor of the only three-story building in town – it's easy to find), this Saturday, June 26th.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wrestling with the angel....

Morning Celebration, in progress

Sometimes painting is like wrestling with the painting. You know the old story — Jacob wrestling with the angel all night long, saying, "Bless me! Bless me!"? Working on this painting has been a bit like that. We've been wrestling.

Morning Celebration, in progress

Here it is, on the easel, in its early stages. The canvas is 36"x48." I'm working from a photograph I took nearly a year and a half ago, of a tree and meadows just around the corner from my house.

Morning Celebration, in progress

I rose before dawn that morning specifically to photograph morning light and shadow on the fields and trees. It's a particularly beautiful spot — I created my first painting of this area years before I lived right here.

Morning Celebration, in progress

It was 22° that morning — not much for my cousins in Sweden or Alaska, but cold for California. The ground was white with ice, creating the most gorgeous blue shadows.... I'm playing with the color here, because I want a warmer feeling in the painting, but I want to retain those beautiful shadows.

More later....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pear painting in progress

This weekend I painted two simple paintings of pears, as the light changed. I decided to photograph the painting process of the second one. Here it is....

In the first stage, I've established my composition and blocked in the underpainting. Things will change a bit before everything is finally completed.

Here I've painted in the next level of the composition, breaking things into smaller shapes and layering my colors. I'm using a limited primaries palette — titanium white, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red medium, and cobalt blue.

I've layered the colors further here. These paints were a bit on the transparent side (ordinarily unusual for these pigments), so the layers finally begin to have some opacity.

Here, the painting is nearing completion — I ran out of time, though the light was still lovely. I'll definitely do a little more around the stem — I'm not sure if I'll add anything else.