Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sophie and Woodruff

Sophie & Woodruff 11 x 14 oil on linen board copyright 2013 Katy Widger

This is a commission for a surprise  gift for a brother's 50th birthday from his sisters and mother.
I really enjoyed painting these two best friends.  They grew up together and lived their whole lives as each other's best friend.  They're both gone now, having journeyed over that Rainbow Bridge at separate times, but with every certainty, they are best friends still.  Deeply loved, mourned in passing and sorely missed, but they live on in spirit and in this special gift.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tibetan Hues: Earth, Wind and Thunder

Tibetan Hues: Earth, Wind & Thunder, 18" x 24" Mixed Media Oil on Canvas
Before I was an oil painter, I was a fiber artist who created her own specialty fabrics by hand-dyeing, painting, printing and otherwise designing the surface on all the fabric I used in my chosen format of "art quilts".  Since I've been painting in oils, in the back of my mind I've wanted to find a way to incorporate some of my gorgeous fabric stash into my paintings.  I also designed rubber stamps for use on fabric for many years, and the idea of using some of those images was also intriguing.
This painting does all that.  I  permanently glued a piece of my fabric onto an 18" x 24" gallery-wrapped canvas, mitering the edges around the corners.  The fabric was a gold-to-purple mottled coloration that ranged from deep purples to dark browns, orange and golds and values from mid- to dark.  I used three of my ogee-shape rubber stamps from the Elements collection:  Wind, Earth and Thunderstorm.  In an abstract sort of way, they represent the three Lhasa Apsos in the painting, and I chose them to correspond with each particular dog's personality. I stamped them onto the fabric using white acrylic paint.
Next step was to gesso over the fabric and rubber stamp design with multiple coats of matte acrylic gesso, with fine sanding in between coats.  The gesso darkened the fabric a little, and it stayed that way when it was dry. 
I painted over the prepared canvas with oils, using a palette of deep purple (ultramarine blue plus Q. red) and gold (Indian yellow, mostly, along with some transparent white and some ochre and sienna)  with all the variations in color and value between those two hues that I could find.  Many of the painted layers were done using transparent washes, created with Res-N-Gel.  I used more Gel towards the end, creating thicker layers and more opacity in certain areas.    But the final layer was almost all very thin, transparent washes, however, to darken and unify areas of the painting.   The colors float around and through the color sphere from golden yellow to darkest violet, but have no true blue or green anywhere to be found.