Friday, May 18, 2012

A New J.B.Chicoine Header Underway

I had every intention of posting my progress incrementally, but—well…I simply wasn’t feeling real enthused about this project. Aside from my ultimate goal—designing a new homepage for—the need for which is pretty darn exciting (adding Novelist to Artist), the process causes me great anxiety. I guess that’s what sucked some of the enthusiasm out of painting. Aside from that, when I set my Reading & Writing watercolor beside it for reference, the favored painting taunted me. How could I produce anything that would not wither beside it? And this new painting is supposed to represent my art side of the Website! Okay, yeah, I allowed my negativity (and funner* graphics projects—more on that another time) to get in the way and stall my progress.

Yesterday, I finally sat down and forced myself to finish it. Overall, I’m please with the result—it’s not as dramatic as its sibling, but how can ‘blank’ compete with all that dramatic black? (see previous post). Just the same, it has a nice light and airy feel to it.

Here is an idea I had for making the transition between the two images (it was my husband’s idea to chop off my bottom). I really like the concept of having an image of the painter/writer in the heading, except the face belongs to me. Ha! Having ‘me’ so prominent makes me squirm a bit, but objectively, I really like the composition—I like all the juxtaposed angles.
Now, I have to pick a day when I’m feeling really fresh and in control and patient, and dive back into the software program I used to design my Website in the first place, and relearn it. I am not looking forward to that. I need a new chant…  I will not have a meltdown…” (that sounds too negative) …I can do it!...I can do it!...”

* although MS Word says “funner” is not a word, Merriam-Webster’s Multi-Reference Dictionary says it is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A New Painting for My Website Header

Well, I decided it's time to update my watercolor Website,, to accommodate my upcoming novel. Uncharted won't be released until October, but it will probably take me that long to relearn my Web design software. In addition to that novel, I have others I plan to publish, so I may as well take advantage of having a Website with my name and combine my "artistic" endeavors.  Anyway, I'm going to incorporate the header I made for my writing blog (which I painted here a while back). 
I'll use the above painting for the Author half the page header... and start a new one for the Watercolorist half--something along the lines of the watercoloring arrangement to the right. But I like the oak and post setting of the Reading and Writing scene. So, below is the drawing I've come up with. I took a photo of a new arrangement, flipped it horizontally with my graphics program and messed with the perspective a little. I'll keep the background light and abut the two paintings, end-to-end; the dark contrasting with the light.
That's the plan, anyway. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Peeling Paint & Collecting Water: Done!

It's done! My eyes are glad.

I didn't go all out on the grass the way I wanted, but I still like it. I think I just got pooped out in the end. My favorite part is the peeling paint...or is it the collected water... to find another nautical scene...

...and thanks again to Liza Carens Salerno for the photo to play with!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Paint Is Peeling!

I had to take a break because I was going cross-eyed. I've got a good start on the peeling paint--just have to work toward the stern when my eyes recover.

I have to admit, I'v been avoiding that grass. I don't want to imply, rather than explicitly define the it, especially since it's right in the foreground, but I must remind myself that the grass is not the focal point.

Yes, I messed with the sky some more and I need to get busy on the roof shingles (and fix the angle of the foreground gable). Oh, and there's a twiggy brushy thing in the left foreground that I'm going to add once the grass is done. Overall, there are lots of little details that should finish it up nicely.

The next post will be the final, completed work. Hopefully, by the end of the week or sooner.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Collecting Water

 Today I thought I'd post the image I'm working from (taken by Liza Carens Salerno) and a close-up of the boat, since that's the only area I've given attention since I last posted. It's so much fun working on all the boat innards! The outside still needs a whole lot of the work to get the paint peeling, and I'm by no means done with the inside (haven't gotten to the point of overworking, don't you know).

You'll notice I compressed the space between the two subjects (maybe you won't notice, but I did, just a little). I also cut some of the foreground, made some adjustment to compensate for lens distortion, and simplified the composition (that is, I removed the lobster boat and land on the horizon).

What drew me to this picture is, well, the peeling paint, but even more so, the water inside the boat. It's kind of an ironic version of water reflection. I could have simply painted the boat, which is cool in itself, but I love the setting--it gives the overall painting more of the 'feel' I was looking for.

To give you a sense of size, my painting is 8" x 11", and the section above is approximately 6" x 6".Now, back to the drawing table...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Grass & Water

Painting the grass has been challenging. I usually work from the foreground and make my way toward the back, but the grass is sparser in places which means all the water needs to be in place before I can get too detailed with the grass. Aside from that, I've had a bunch of other things going on, so the painting has been slow-going. At any rate, I thought I'd post what I have  so far--yes, it's mostly just grass and water! I hope the difference is obvious...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peeling Paint and Poor Brushes

I focused mostly on the building and sky this time...still sizing up the grasses while defining them a bit more...and of course, I'm overworking the sky, but I'll fix that ugly ridge above the roof later. I think I want to add some white cloud there, anyway (if I'm going to overwork it, I may as well go all the way!)

And here's a picture of why it took me a few days to get back on track! Poor brushes! I gave them quite a workout. For reference sake, these are size 0 and 5/0 brushes--the old beside the new. What you're looking at is about the top 3/4" of the brushes. Kind of hard to paint good grass without a sharp point...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Peeling Paint Progress

Making some progress, though I have a little bad news--well, not so bad when I consider what it means...
...I've worn my fine point brushes to a frizz. The way I paint--lots of blending (which looks more like scrubbing)--has turned those wispy sable hairs that once held and released paint in a controlled thin line now drags the paint around like a china bristle brush on a clapboard. 
...what that means is I've actually persisted at painting long enough to wear out new brushes! In case you didn't know it, that's a very big deal for me. Those brushes might even be frame-worthy!

Of course, this might hold up progress a little until I can get to an art supply store. Too many fine details are at stake! Then again, Todd says I won't be able to sit on my hands that long...we'll see...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Peeling Paint--Well, Not So Much Peeling Yet

I messed around with the building while I sized up the grasses in the foreground. You know how I love to paint me some grasses, but this grass shall be a challenge, coming out of the water as it does!

I am also reminded how permanent the pigments in cerulean and thalo green are! I got a bit carried away with cerulean--just love that word--on the stern of the boat. I washed some of it out and hope it will mute a bit more as I add the surrounding shades.

Thalo green is a color I don't often use. It's an odd color--sort of an unreal green--but I rather like a tint of it for the boat. The trick will be not laying down too much too fast. There will be no scrubbing it out! and I don't want this to end up in the abandoned heap for Liza's sake!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peeling Paint: Wash

...and here's the wash. I shall tie in the two main objects using the shaded water reflection. And I'm not sure, but I may make the sky a little stormy--but then, that will change the water reflection...maybe not a good idea...must think on that...

Anyway, I can't wait to define all those boat innards. Makes me think of the research I did on boat building... 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Peeling Paint & Collecting Water

I've been itching to paint lately--just looking for the right subject. I've had a nautical theme in mind. Something coastal--something one might see if they were to visit Wesleyville, Maine (if in fact that provincial little town existed outside of my imagination!). In my novel UNCHARTED, there's a dilapidated old pram, disintegrating into a heap of old lobster traps and buoys. This isn't the exact scene, but it puts me in that same place. It's such a sad sight, in a way. This little skiff used to have a mast and likely provided hours of leisurely it's just peeling paint and collecting water

Thanks to Liza Carens Salerno for providing me an inspiring image (to be posted later). Many of you know her from her Middle Passages, her writing blog, where she has links to some of her other beautiful photography. She also has a professional copywriter Website, LCS Writes.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Painting I Interpreted

by Pascal Gentil

Interpreted sounds so much better than copied!

So, here's the image I worked from--see how sneaky I am, not placing them side-by-side in the same post!

This Marlena has a little more chin than I wanted, and although her hair looks a bit matted, that actually fits into the story. Todd voted for prettier hair, so I conceded on that!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Marlena: Complete

...and here's Marlena finished, in all her innocence and exotic beauty. To accompany her is a  a small excerpt from UNCHARTED, when Samuel the shipwright gets his first glimpse of Marlena:

I doubt I would have noticed her at all, except she planted herself right in that place where the sun shot through that hole in the roof, which wouldn’t get fixed for a month. No one had seen the sun for two weeks, but in that moment, it split the clouds, thrust a shard through that narrow fissure, and reflected off every hovering dust particle surrounding her. Filaments of wild curls circled her head like a halo. Even her skirt radiated. I hate to sound like a spiritualist, or worse yet, a romantic, but at first glance, she seemed like an apparition. If not for her quirky suitcase, the size of a tackle box, I might have dropped to my knees.
Tomorrow, I'll post Pascal Gentil's  image that I worked from...