To begin a new painting I always start by selecting the colors. Then, I think about tools and methods and get started. It’s always fun. Once in a while I like that first layer so much, I consider stopping right there.
Encountering the Finish at the Beginning
With my last series of paintings, Forest Dance, I had a difficult time adding anything else to the first layer. There was blending of colors, texture from my palette knife and a pleasing design created from the strokes. What else did it need? I waited and waited for ideas to come to me about improving what I had.
Finally, after a few days, I decided to add some details with a bold white accent. I went on from there to add different accents and details to each of those four paintings. (See them here.) Let’s see how this new painting is going after that initial beginning.
Red, Orange and Yellow Need Shine?
Since the colors were bright and blended nicely with some texture showing, too, I decided that some shiny pearlescent paints might be just the thing to add some details. I tried bronze, golds, and some coppers. When I finished, all I had was shine, but not much improvement in the painting. Oops. (I didn’t take a shot of this edition. Guess I already knew it wasn’t going to stay that way long.)
What about some more orange? I would use it to tone down the shiny. And I did. Here you can see how that came out.
Back to the Red Painting
What a fun week, almost starting over with lots of red, then trying different things almost daily. I didn’t document them all, but I did catch a few different steps. Here you’ll see the purple I added to the pearlescent rose. After that was some coral around that purple-pink area to tie it to the red-orange areas. And finally I mixed up some medium pearlescent orange and applied it with a palette knife over the red curvy strokes on the right.
Adding purple to pearlescent rose.
Adding coral to connect the purple-rose to the red and orange.
And, it’s a wrap!!
And, it finally told me it was complete. The red painting embellished with purple, pink, coral, and pearlescent orange makes a bigger splash now than that first layer I loved at the beginning.
I had lots of fun after I recovered from the second layer. My collection of pearlescent paints looked like a good idea, but I discovered it was just too much. And, I saw that as soon as I completed the last color – on top of all the other layers, that those underneath metallics made this painting fantastic.
Here it is. It’s now on my Art Gallery store. I named it “Red on Holiday.” Click on the painting photo to see more final images in the store.
Please feel free to give me your opinion of what I did and how it came out in the comments at the bottom of this page. Thanks for reading.
A few months ago I began four small paintings intending to try a technique and a set of colors on the set. And I did just that. I have evidence.
Forest Dance 12″ x 12″ abstracts phase 1 in first studio.
Then Reality entered the picture. Rent increases changed my attitude about renting, so along with my son, we bought a house. All this reality took about a month. The month was Not filled with periods of painting, but tiny stolen snippets.
My next step with these “Forest Dance” paintings was complicated by my thinking about houses, prices, locations, studios out of bedrooms or great rooms. However, I finally decided my richly colored and textured canvases and one art board needed some sparkle. But I had to wait to do that until I could find them in the moving chaos.
New Home, New Studio, Same old SallyE
There is little left of the richly colored palette knife work, but there is definitely sparkle, all caused by my big move. Or was it?
It is several months later. I am now located in the new home, new studio, same art table and materials where I finished the four paintings with my usual attitude of having fun and putting that into each painting using some contrasting and brighter colors.
Might these paintings have been different if I had remained at my original home? I know I liked them just as they were, and I considered calling them complete. Would I have added that movement and sparkle in those paintings without this move?
Oh yea, I realize. I always want my paintings to have vitality, fun, cheer, bright colors, texture, movement. And, when I paint, I am a happy person giving those emotions and ideas to my paintings – translated: Vitality comes out of me into the paintings.
Hope you like! Please let me know in the comments, below.
Forest Dance Series 18×18″
Forest Dance Series 12×12″ C
Forest Dance Series 12×12″ A
Forest Dance Series 12×12″ B
New home for Forest Dance set, along with Sea Surges 24″ x 18″ canvas panel.
I recently began a new series of paintings with nothing but an idea about the backgrounds. I would try chocolate brown and medium gray on three different canvases with no other plan than that. Was it blah or was it interesting? Let’s take a look.
Blank Canvas – Begin Midnight Fire series of abstract paintings by Artist SallyE
Midnight Fire series, canvas 1 brown and gray background, abstract painting by Artist SallyE
Midnight Fires Series-Canvas 3 abstract painting begins with grey and brown background.
Three Canvases Finishing the Background
Since I really like colorful paintings (see others here) the brown and gray background was just the backdrop I needed to add some color. But I decided I needed a little more form before I decided what colors and where to paint them. Here’s how it turned out…
Midnight Fire Series: Brown & Gray Background with Silver Added
Ready for Serious Color
Reds Color Chart
The color palette needs to expand with some flashy colors. My first thought was red, one of my favorites. I have orangey reds and bluish reds and even brownish reds.
The selected red was orangey red as I thought it would complement the brown. But I was not going to add some little line or square or dot. No. This needed a serious amount of red. How’s this?
Canvas 1: Red Added
Midnight Fire Series, Canvas 2: Red Added.
Midnight Fire, Canvas 3: Red (and pink) Added
Similar or Contrast Colors Next?
I’m not sure if I was trying to soften the red or add to it, but I mixed a rosy paint with iridescent base and applied it for further reddish accents. It was lots of fun to experiment, trying different methods and tools and brushes on each canvas.
Midnight Fire Series, Canvas 2: Add Pink.
(No Canvas 1 here. Missed taking that photo. Oops. You’ll notice that the number three canvas below is included in both the red step and here in the pink step because my urge to paint made me forget to take that photo, too.) Here’s the pink addition for Canvas 3.
Canvas 3: Red (and pink) Added
It’s Colorful! What’s next?
I’m happy with the pink and red, but I want still more color. What will I add to the red? (See other red abstracts here with various combinations of these colors.) I considered yellow, turquoise, royal blue, black, and orange. I would have liked them all, but I chose a medium bright orange. Maybe I was in a summery mood, or was it Halloween? Im pretty happy with how the canvases came out.
What else is needed? I’m not certain, but I think this is it. I like all three, although number 3 gave me a bad time.
I set them up where I could observe them for a few days before I decided. Yes. They are finished. I shot their official photos on my regularly scheduled day, and they are ready to post for sale.
The series is called Midnight Fire. I’m considering another three canvases to add to this series using one or two of the other colors I had thought about. Yes?
Let me know what you like, or don’t like about the paintings. I’d love to hear if you would like me to try some other colors added to the brown-gray-silver base on the next go-round.
Thanks for reading about my painting process. It’s always fun, sometimes frustrating, and very rewarding, especially with your comments.
Hoping you would enjoy seeing me paint a new abstract, I got started with camera and lights. Then I deviated from the usual record-it-all method.
O-Snap in Action
I found an app called O-Snap that takes time-lapse photos. I introduced the whole set up in the previous post, “Recording SallyE Painting , Made Easy?” I promised I’d show you the finial result. It’s here. Let me tell you how it went.
As I mentioned before, I set up photo lights and put my iPhone on a tripod to get the view I wanted. I started the O-Snap app and chose my settings, hit Record (with a delay for me to move to the canvas), and began painting.
I stopped the recording a few times while I mixed the paints, or cleaned brushes, or decided what materials to use, or dried the paint. Finally, I stopped for the day and then started again the next day. All the equipment and the painting remained in place.
Recording was the Easy Part
I had some inconsistencies in the lighting because my studio workspace has a big window on one wall. (It was significant and needed adjustment later.)
Ok, snaps complete, painting complete. I physically shot a couple of close-ups and a full front photo of the final edition right there on the table to include at the end of the video.
O-Snap allows you to scrub through all the photos before you render the video, but with about 360 snaps, that seemed pretty impossible to me.
Old Skills Save the Day
My solution was to send the snaps to the Photos app. This was a good place to eliminate the snaps I didn’t need. Also, at this point I’m on my iPad instead of the iPhone.
With the culling done I now had less than 300 photos for the video rendering. O-Snap did it slick and easy. I might be remembering this wrong, but I think the video ended up in Photos, too.
What did the video look like? My setting for the video was 10 frames per second, but it looked a lot like a robot was painting – way too fast. I laughed my head off!! I reset it and tried again at 5 frames per second, and that was better and how it remained
The whole video ran for just under a minute. I didn’t time how long it actually took to paint the canvas, but I would guess around 3 hours, including mixing paints and cleaning brushes.
Not quite satisfied with my time-lapse video, I wanted a music background along with a title at the beginning, and a Thank you and link at the end. For that I needed a video editing program. I’m sure iMovie would work for this, but I used another program I had and was very familiar with, Camtasia for Mac.
With Camtasia I was able to adjust the brightness for the second day’s snaps where the light was low, add the music, the title frames, and the ending Thank you and the link frames. It finished up at 1:17 minutes. Everything I wanted it to be and just 37 mb. Yay!
Finally, Ready for Public Viewing
The resulting video fascinated me because I could actually watch myself working, even if at a very fast speed. It also seemed like magic to watch the painting develop. Wow! I did that. I don’t think the position of the camera was exactly what I wanted, but we could see it all happen. Next time more lights and a higher overhead position for the camera.
I uploaded the final video to my YouTube channel, ArtistSallyE and it’s ready for prime time. Take a look and please let me know what you think, both of the results of this little app and of the painting.
If you have any tips on set up, other than a separate overhead camera, I would love to hear them.
“Painting, stopping to snap, then painting again is not the easiest thing to do,” says Artist SallyE as she learns the “paint-stop-paint” timing in order to record steps to her final abstract paintings.
Sally is interrupting her creative process every time she stops to record an in-progress painting. Video might be easier, but “I always feel like someone is watching over my shoulder,” she adds.
Let’s go on a trip through the process with the set of paintings shown above, now entitled “Royal Wine,” a quartet of 4″ x 4″ gesso board abstract paintings. In this set the design carries over between the boards making a cohesive design 16″ wide. Still a small abstract set of paintings, ready for a narrow wall, leaning on the wall above a chest, desk or table. Available now at Etsy.
To begin, I clear my table of extra things that have made there way here, grab my Samsung Notepad (camera), and after giving my new project a color palette, I get started with the painting. I’ve decided to do a neutral background, but with a little movement. First brown, then some interesting splashes of light gray.
I’ve discovered it’s easier to take the photos after I wash up the brush from one color to another. I’m still thinking about what comes next, but I can still take a few photos without loosing those thoughts entirely.
Royal Wine Quartet Abstract Paintings - STEP 2
Next step: Deep foliage green. Slashes of deep color setting up for future grape colored formations later. Lots of fun doing those slashes, but quick to do. Wash up the brush and set up for another photo. Here you go…
Royal Wine Quartet, Abstract Paintings – STEP 3
Step 3 is a highlight and background for the large round wine colored shapes coming next. I sponged it on with textured sponge. It still doesn’t look like much, but I have a vision. Stop. Take photo!
Royal Wine Quartet Abstract Paintings - STEP 4
Finally, the wine colored shapes, both large and small. Now an exciting painting is developing. I’m liking this. Needs more detail and excitement. Stop. Take photo. (This one was hard to remember to do because I saw the wine shapes and was inspired to go on to the next step. Only washing the brush and stamp made me remember to shoot the photo.)
Royal Wine Quartet Abstract Paintings - STEP 5
Step 5 had me going back for some more foliage green. The plan was to give the wine colored shapes some depth with green front and back. I like the effect, do you?
Royal Wine Quartet Abstract Paintings - STEP 6
Step 6 is my suggestion of a grape vine trellis as well as some more layer adding depth plus connection between each board. Fun. Exciting. Now I can do all the photos I want. Here’s the final step.
This time I saved each step in a photo (or two or three). My paintings go so fast when I’m feeling the next steps that stopping to take photos is very jarring. Sometimes I need to start again another time it interrupts my ideas so much. But I like to catch each step. They never really show completely in the final painting. This is the only way to show you – and me – how it was done.
The final edition of this quartet of paintings is a nice combination of colors on a finished composition of both excitement and pleasure. Hope you like it.
Any comments would be appreciated.
Ideas for comments:
How you remember to photograph your steps when in a creative mood.
What colors you might have used rather than what I chose.
Whether you like the tiny sets of paintings I do so much.
Thanks for reading!
Adding to my “Spirits” series of diptych small abstract paintings, this set is an exciting splash of color that didn’t end up as I had envisioned. Let me show you how the paintings progressed.
=> See first step-by-step story of the series, “Spring Spirits” small abstract painting diptych, here.
I had decided on an autumn color palette of oranges and reds and a format placing the long end of one canvas to the short end of the other canvas. Unusual, but fun.
STEP 1: Diptych Canvas’ Background, Texture
From my collected acrylics color palette I selected a peachy color for the two canvas’ background painted over the acrylic gel texturing I had applied across the center of both canvas panels. Here’s how that looked.
=> Other small abstracts background beginnings.
The diptych paintings now have lots of nice texture and not much color. What’s next?
STEP 2: Autumn Oranges Color Scheme
Next step was to add some color to the canvases. I started with a redish and a yellowish orange, following the textured areas. The shape of the abstract design has taken on a criss-cross look. Here’s the result.
STEP 3: Abstract Painting Pizazz
To add some pizazz to this diptych painting I thought I’d highlight edges of the texture with some bronzy metallic paint. Since this effect is difficult to photograph, I thought a closer view might show the reflection of the metallic acrylic. Here’s a close up.
This small diptych is taking on some color and shine, but I want some red paint on those little canvases.
STEP 4: More Autumn Color – Reds
I have three different red acrylic paints – hot pinkish, burgundy, and two real reds – one dark and one lighter. Once I got going, the whole thing was red without much of the orange remaining. You can see a little of the orange paint around the edges. (This diptych progress picture is the only remaining evidence.)
STEP 5: Bring Back the Orange!
So I thought about it and decided this diptych painting needs the orange. And, while I was at it, I decided the burgundy was a little uneven between the two panels.
Take a look at the change! What a difference. The burgundy is more purple now, spans both canvas panels, and there is a bit of metallic rose in there, too.
What do you think of the final diptych? I think I succeeded in giving this set of paintings an autumn look. Maybe those shapes are piles of leaves blowing around?
It was fun putting on the red acrylic paint, especially. The texture made applying one color over the other more complete than I had intended. The red paints were not opaque, but the acrylic texturing gel ate it up. Since red is my favorite color, I was not disappointed in the final look.
I would love to hear what you think of my “Autumn Spirits” diptych. Any suggestions for more “Spirits” series abstract paintings? I have two different color schemes so far. I need a winter and a summer set next. I have panels ready to paint. Need palettes. More coming soon.
=> To see the final edition of “Autumn Spirits” diptych in more detail, check out the Art Gallery: “Autumn Spirits” Diptych