Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mermaid Painting

For some time, I've been wanting to paint a mermaid, and a fantasy ocean scene.
I need to practice painting faces, so that's one of the (many) challenges in this piece.

In February (2010), I finally started, by using a blue wash, once it was dry I blocked in the mermaid's basic shape and colour.
She was too fat, but at least it was a start.
(I was also working on this heron painting, while waiting for the paint to dry.)

By Feb 22, I had finished the basic details of the the mermaid's face, hair, and upper body. I used frisket to protect those parts, so I could continue painting without worrying about ruining her. (That's why she looks kind of blue & lumpy- frisket is amazing stuff... you can paint over it, and then peel it off to expose the painting underneath.)
I was thinking of her floating on a bed of waves, or bubbles, but wasn't happy with it.

So I worked on the fish end of her, with scales and her tail. (Sorry about the ceramic fish- I often use my paintings for backgrounds on items I'm listing in my Etsy shop.) Anyhow, I used frisket to protect the rest of my mermaid, so she'll be safe while I work out the rest of the painting.

Then life happened, we went on strike for over 2 months! My energy was diverted into picketing, painting picket signs, and writing a blog for us & to keep everyone up to date, on the events.

It's taken me a long time to get back into the right frame of mind, to continue this painting.
I've made a couple of little (mini) paintings, and LOTS of jewelry. Working with beads, and gemstones makes me happy, and the results are so much quicker than painting, which is even quicker than clay, (which I have yet to return to.)

Anyhow, mid-October I started a mountain scene LARGE painting, and yesterday I finally pulled out my mermaid, to tackle the problem I created with the "pillow of waves".
Since the mermaid was covered in frisket, I was free to do whatever I wanted to the background, without damaging her. So, I totally changed the background and foreground.

I used stronger colours and some gesso to create texture for the foreground (like I did with my 1st ACEO).
I love the way the background turned out, there's some pleasant surprises in it, and it's got way more energy now.

I started working on the mid & fore ground. Using gesso, I blocked in the coral, and added even more texture to the forground, then used cadmium red and yellow, mostly.

I painted and then removed a lot of the paint, so that the texture of the gesso would show through and look like plants.

I made a couple of rubber stamps so that I can quickly add lots of fish- that are identical.

I'm not quite done yet, I think I just need to add some highlights and details, but I am pleased with the results so far.

This is where I stopped (at midnight. )
I've spent a good part of the last 2 days working on this painting.
I'll try & get her done tomorrow and post a completed photo,
with decent lighting & the tripod.

November 1st - update...

Well... I couldn't consider this painting complete after all. For one thing... I wasn't happy with her face.
Being the focal point of the whole painting, I think it's important that she look the way I want her to. (BTW, that was one of the main reasons for doing this painting!) Sooo.....
Yesterday, I redid her face, but left her eyes alone, since that was the only part of her face that I was pleased with.

I'm so much happier with her face now, the seaweed with seahorses gives the foreground some interest, as do the crabs. I added some more fish tucked in between the coral to add a little more depth, and a pink jellyfish. There's so many more creatures I could add, but it'll have to wait 'til the weekend now.
(My weekends= Sun/Mon, usually.
To paint, I need to be in the right frame of mind, have lots of time & patience, so I don't paint after work.)


Tues. Aug 16/11
I've started and completed several small paintings, one large painting, and some jewelry, since I set my mermaid aside. It's too bad, as this has happened to her before, fortunately she's very patient, but I've kept her waiting long enough.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Art Cards, Editions and Originals (ACEO) dimensions- 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

I know they've been around for quite a while, but they're fairly new to me.
With my love of miniatures, and little things, I'm surprised I hadn't heard of them sooner.
I've been making original little/mini paintings, but not to the specific measurements of these art trading cards... until now. I just bought these chipboard cards from krazykatedesigns and was excited to paint them!
Affordable little works of art. How fun is that?

Here's a photo of my 1st group of ACEOs (9), in progress...

So far, I've finished 4 of them- they are initialled on the front, signed & dated on the back, and a clear protective gloss protects the painting.

I used a base coat of gesso to create different textures. It took a long time to dry, before I could actually paint on them.

Here's a photo of the four I've completed.

This mountain scene set of 3 is already sold, but I'm going to list the green mountain scene in my Etsy shop.

I'm looking forward to finishing the other 5, the texture of them reminds me of batik! They'll be completely different from this 1st group. It's going to be fun.

BTW, I love doing custom orders.
I enjoy the challenge of creating a piece- based on someone else's description, and making it work.
This week I had the opportunity to make a custom pair of turquoise earrings... with lime-green, jade beads. It meant a visit to Abacus Beads, (our local bead shop), on my lunch break, looking for lime green beads.
Among my little treasures, I found these amazing swirl lampwork beads, and couldn't wait to finish work so I could go home and make some earrings. Here they are:
Follow me on my FB fanpage

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Google yourself.

Ha, ha, you probably thought I meant something bad didn't you?

Sorry to disappoint you, I mean it in the literal sense, have you googled your nickname lately?

If you Google "smilingbluedog", you'll find my stuff... all over the place. Flickr, Etsy, and
now, I'm happy to see, my home website shows up!
And some photos I added of Kokanee Creek Park, are on Google maps too!
Some stuff' is so old, but it's still alive on the Internet. (Reminder to self- don't say dumb things, they stay forever and you never know who is watching.)
I just Googled myself, and found 6 pages of smilingbluedog links! So I tried some of the ones I don't recognize, and wandered off on a goose chase, to see where my name shows up...
My little skull beads are on the Art Bead Scene blog and I'm even on a link called "Cow Ranching" because of my miniature cow skull pin on my homesite!
So try it, Google your name, and see what you get, you may be surprised!

I've been asked where did I get the name smilingbluedog?
To save time, I often say it's after our dog - he's so black he's almost blue, and he smiles when he greets you. The true-er story isn't very exciting, but it is what it is.
Years ago, I was trying to set up my 1st Yahoo e-mail account, but the name (I had thought long and hard to come-up with) was taken, so I tried another, then more and all the names I wanted were unavailable!
I was upset to find that I'd been on the computer over an hour and still hadn't completed my "mission".
Yahoo had suggestions, but I wanted to make my own name (like everything else, I try to do/make it myself- yes, it takes longer, but is more rewarding.)

So I put together 3 words that relate to me:
Smiling- because I smile... a LOT! I'm generally a happy person.
Blue- it's my favourite- a creative and energizing colour for me.
Dog- if I were an animal, I'd be a dog. Happy, companionable, faithful, curious, loving.

So now you know :)
Last night I was in my studio painting... until 1am. I just received these little chipboard cards ordered from Krazykatedesigns and have been excited to paint them. They are my 1st set of ACEO (Art cards, editions and originals.) I'm starting with a group of 9 little pictures, of mountain/landscapes, representative of where I live- in the Kootenays, BC. Each one starts off the same, but as I paint I'm using different colours and texture.
These little pieces are all about technique rather than design. I'm not sure where they'll take me, but that's the whole idea.
I love working in the wee hours, however this time of year it's kind of scary to go from the studio to the house. It's bear season, and our walnut tree is just starting to drop nuts and leaves. They hit the shed and it's startling to hear the loud "bang" of a walnut bouncing off the tin roof. It's driving us and the squirels a little nuts :)
Anyhow, I hope you'll have a great day, and I'd love to hear about
how you came up with your nickname(s).