Saturday, April 6, 2013

BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Preparing New Paintings for the Gallery

I just finished and delivered three new paintings to Sorrel Sky Gallery, in Durango, Colorado (plus one more, which I had painted a few years ago.)

Here are some behind-the-scenes pictures, to give you an idea of the process I go through with my paintings -- from drawing and painting them, to matting and framing them for the gallery.

For this series of flower paintings, I started out with a pencil drawing on unstretched watercolor paper.  Then, I inked the lines with a Micron pen (waterproof and permanent.)

I then thoroughly rinsed the paper in the kitchen sink, scrubbing when I needed to, in order to remove all the graphite from the paper -- leaving a clean ink line.

I then stapled the paper onto gatorboard, and let it dry.

I started with a wet-in-wet underpainting of yellow/rose/cobalt blue -- keeping it pretty light.  When this was dry, I painted a brighter yellow underpainting on all the leaves, and then started painting the individual red shapes.  I varied the colors in the shapes -- using both warm and cool reds.

I started painting the green leaves, leaving the veins unpainted.  I also painted blue in the background, and added some darks in the roses and in the mosaic mirror.

I didn't like the background at all, so I decided to go dark.  

Here's the finished painting, "Red Roses, Red Roses" . . . 

I started the next painting in the same way, but this time, I painted the background first, and then never touched it again.

I then painted the petals different shades of chartreuse, using various mixtures of Aureolin Yellow, Sap Green, Cobalt Blue, and Cerulean Blue.  I love the color of these orchids, especially against the blue sky.

I then started working on the inside of the flowers . . . 

 . . . and adding the green stems, with magenta dropped into the green, at the base of the flower.

I finished by deepening some of the colors and adding shadows and some darks.  Here's the finished painting, "Green Orchids".  (I'm known for my interesting titles -- Ha!)

For the third painting, in a square format, I started with a wet-in-wet underpainting on the leaves (which is also the background).

Then, I painted a wet-in-wet, cool underpainting for the two primroses.

Then I started painting the flowers, petal by petal, with Magenta, Cobalt Blue, and French Ultramarine.
I work wet-in-wet WITHIN each petal, to keep the color transitions soft.

The leaves were painted with different mixtures of yellow and green, leaving the veins unpainted.  I painted one shape at a time, and when each shape was almost dry, I "dotted" it with a damp paintbrush, to get that texture.

Here's the finished painting, "English Primrose", after the darks and shadows were added.

To get the painting ready to be matted, I have to remove it from the gatorboard.  I easily pull out the staples with a palette knife.

I learned a long time ago that I was terrible at cutting mats, so I don't do that anymore.  I even tried making frames, and that was a fiasco.  So, now I have experts cut my mats and make my frames.  But, I do assemble it all myself, in order to save a little money.  Using acid-free, linen framer's tape, I make a hinge, connecting the mat to the backing board, at the top.

Then, I position the artwork in the window.

 . . . and affix the painting to the backing board with clear mylar photo corners.

Here are the matted paintings, awaiting their frames.

Putting the tacks in the back, with a framer's gun

Adding the wire to the back, for hanging . . . 

I framed this series in simple black wood frames.  They're now ready to be loaded into my car and taken to the gallery.

Just one more thing to do -- clean up "New York City Lights" for the gallery.  I had painted it a few years ago, but it had not yet been shown in the Durango gallery.  So, time for a new home . . . (I was a little torn about it, since it looked so nice hanging in my own living room.)

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