Diary, musings on life, people, interests. Posting my poetry

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Location: Lacey, WA, United States

I have a Certified Artist/Teacher degree with the National Society of Decorative Painters. Taught decorative painting, color theory, calligraphy and other art related classes for 12 years. I enjoy using my artistic talents, especially to update furniture and repurpose found items. I am married to the world's most wonderful husband. We celebrated our 48th anniversary this year (2016). We have raised six children, three boys, three girls. Have 10 grandchildren. Through the NSDP I have paintings in the White House, Blaire House and Smithsonian Institute. I was given the honor of being the Chair of the Pacific NW, "Breeze and Brush" Decorative Painting Convention. What fun we had! I like keeping healthy and enjoy life. I love humor and people. God has been good to me!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Waterfowl and Bird Paintings

I have always loved painting waterfowl and birds of every kind, they are one of my favorite subjects. These are paintings I have done, in various mediums, over the years.

The Hooded Merganser was painted on mat board using gouache, an opaque paint made of ground pigments mixed with water and gum. Gum is a sticky substance given off by a certain bush or tree that dries into an uncrystallized hard mass that is water soluble, such as resin. Gum helps to bind the pigments and water together, making the paint easier to blend and giving it permanency. The finshed painting is sprayed with Matte Finish for protection.

Mat board is a great background, it comes in a variety of textures and endless colors. Preparation is minimal, usually just a thin coat of Matte Finish sprayed on and you're ready to go. It can be purchased at craft stores or anywhere they frame and mat pictures. It comes, uncut, in a wide range of sizes and sometimes they have unused pieces in random sizes that are on sale.

The Sandpiper was painted on mat board also. It was painted using pre-mixed acrylics, my favorite brand being Ceramcoat. Layered acrylics are very opaque and can be thinned with water and medium for a transparent wash if needed.

I taught the Sandpiper at a painter's retreat held at the Daughter's of Norway Lodge, a short distance on the eastern side of Snoqualmie Pass. It was in the summer and the weather was beautiful. Everyone brought food to cook and share and a huge variety of desserts.

In the evenings we painted whatever we brought, or crocheted, read, etc. We shared our wine and had a great time. I heard a great many jokes during those sessions.

Painters are a fun and diverse group of people, with such a wide variety of interests and talents. Some write stories and poetry, crochet, knit, sew, weave wheat, create ceramics or pottery and many are involved in photography. I also believe they are the best cooks in the world. I've battled the pounds to prove it.

The Parrot is a rendition done after seeing a picture of the parrot owned by an acquaintance. It was painted in oils on a wooden, oval, box lid. The box was padded and lined with material and is used as a receptacle for bracelets.

My paintings begin with researching the subject, then sketching until I arrive at the right size and proper proportions. A decision is made regarding where I want the painting to be, on the wall or a box or other piece.

Background, texture and color are part of the decision. Once all has been decided, the painting begins. Depending on size, detail and background preparation it can take 4 to 12 hours or more to complete a piece. Once the painting is complete the finishing process starts. This can be time consuming as well if you want your painting to be attractive and protected.

For wall hanging items I usually give them two or three coats of either spray satin varnish or matte spray. This protects them and they can be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth. Just mat, frame and hang.

Items that are handled frequently need more protection, such as a box used for jewelry or other items. These pieces receive several coats of varnish, each coat is left to dry, then cure for at least three days. The varnished piece is sanded with fine grade sandpaper and wiped with a soft cloth to remove sanding dust. It is then wiped with a tack cloth. This procedure is repeated for each coat of varnish applied, except for the last coat.

Tack Cloth is a piece of cheesecloth that has been treated with Shellac, a type of finsh like varnish, containing resin. It makes the cheesecloth 'tacky', or sticky and must be kept in a plastic bag, tightly closed, when not in use so it won't dry out and become hard and useless.

A tack cloth can be used over and over again, I have had one for up to five years. Only use it to wipe down the piece after the inital sanding dust has been removed with cloths. They can be purchased at any craft store or in the paint department of hardware or home repair businesses and are very inexpensive and worth every penny.

Hand Rubbing Very special items can also be hand rubbed after the final coat of varnish has dried and left to cure for at least a week. This is done by mixing Rottenstone, a fine powder ground from stone, and oil, vegetable or Olive will do, to form a thin paste. A piece of felt is used (soft, soft, soft) to apply the paste to the varnished surface of the painting. It is rubbed in a circular motion using mild pressure. Now is the time to sit, and hand rub, with an old towel protecting your lap while you watch t.v. or a video. I have hand rubbed pieces for an hour and a half.

Remove the rottenstone paste using a soft cloth and wipe it with a soft, warm, damp cloth to remove the oil. Wipe your hands well, it's okay if you leave the oil residue on them, now remove any rings you are wearing on the hand you are using to do the rubbing. Using the palm of your hand, apply pressure in a downward motion and hand rub the surface of the painting in a circular motion. This helps remove any imperfections and bumps caused by lint in the varnish and leaves an even finer surface finish.

A well hand rubbed piece will be smooth like glass. When all rubbing and clean up has been done, apply a couple of coats of Carnauba wax and buff with a soft cloth.

I only do this on pieces that are special, such as my certification painting and, as an example, a silverware storage box that belonged to my parents. it had very sentimental memories attached. It was scratched and beat up so I sanded, sealed and base painted it a Black/Green. I then painted a beautiful stem of Dogwood blossoms and leaves on the top. I hand rubbed it and it is absolutely gorgeous. I'll take a picture and post it some day.