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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!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Vino" Italian Vintners Painting 4/2013

Decided to do a painting to go on the wall behind the wine booth at our Church/School auction "An Evening in Tuscany".  Decided on a 4'X4' canvas and used a soft yellow background.

It looks so much darker in the beginning picture, in contrast to the white canvas.  Here it is ready to be textured.  There are so many different ways to texture; you can use paper towels, sponges, waxed paper, plastic wrap...and I've used all of those.....so, I decided to try something different.

I had a lot of old terry cloth washcloths that I use for cleaning.  They have to be clean first and mine were.  I added white to the background yellow to make it a shade lighter.  I folded the edges of the terrycloth washcloth back and held them together in my hand.  I dipped the rounded remaining fabric lightly into the paint and 'pounced' it on some waxed paper, I had taped to the table top, to remove the excess paint.

Starting in one of the upper corners I gently 'pounced' the washcloth onto the canvas, lifted it completely off the canvas and rotated it a little and pounced again, slightly overlapping the first application.  (You use sponges the same way)

Don't ever rotate the cloth when it is on the canvas, that would make a round circular mess.  always lift it away and off before turning left or right and pouncing again.  By 'poucing'  I mean that you gently hit the canvas with the paint covered cloth, but don't push clear to the canvas.

If you ever do this, practice on a piece of painted cardboard first.  I had to change out the rag at least six times for this size canvas.  I found that if I tried to do too much the cloth becomes saturated with paint and you lose the 'terrycloth texture' that looks so nice on the canvas.  Try this, it's really fun! (example below)

Here's the finished canvas after texturing it with terrycloth washcloths.  I really liked it!

Here is a close up of the terrycloth texturing .  It looks similar to marble. And adds a lot of interest to a painting.

I began by doing a transparent side load of color for the 'ground' under the figures.  I then began to base coat the clothing and the cork for the wine bottle.  Italian flag colors, of course!

I painted the wine in the bottle and shaded at the bottom and gave it some highlights on the top.  Based the cork and added the shading, highlight and details.  Remember the cork is smaller than the bottle because the glass will go around it.  the glass is done with a green transparent side load, letting each section dry before doing the glass lip at the top.  Love painting glass!

Here's a close up of the cork and wine bottle.  I painted the bottle holder while the wine and glass were drying, when everything was dry I painted the rim of the bottle holder that covered up the bottom of the wine area.

Italian Vintner on the left.  Dressed in his Italian garb.

Italian Vintner on the right, all decked out and helping to transport the 'Vino' to the celebration.

Close up of the shorts, cumberbund, shirt and vest.  I work from back to front.  Base in the main color, then when dry, do a transparent side load of darker shading color and highlight where needed.

The Vintner's socks and shoes, they could be any color.  Detail makes it interesting, adding line work, wrinkles in the socks, shine marks on the shoes, small splashes of ground color with an old blown out flat brush, stipple it on.

Close up of the face, hat and hair.  Add lots of detail.  Dots are one of my favorites!  On the hat, for the buttons and to form the petals on the flower.

Time for breakfast before going to the studio to paint...oh...the dining room IS the studio. lol  When I have large projects we get a few feet of space for eating at the table.

Don't think this is all I ever do; I also have laundry, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, tubs, sinks, cooking, shopping, paying bills, watching our grandchildren, washing floors, working in the yard, singing in the choir at church, setting up and refreshing communion at church and keeping in touch with our six children and 10 grandchildren.  But if I didn't fit some art work in here and there I would never be as good at everything else.  God is good!

Put a few little house up on the hill on the outskirts of the picture.

Some more went on the other side of the canvas too.  Can you see them in the picture below.  they were probably about a half inch tall.  So much fun to do, just a couple of strokes with a flat brush for both the house and the roof....and....there are those Cypress trees again, my favorites!!

We're 'gettin er' done!' as Larry the Cable Guy would say.  Now we're painting 'one stroke' grapes.  So much fun and they're done so quickly.  The only thing you have to keep in mind is to always do the ones that are 'behind' first.  I always number them on the pattern I draw so I won't forget.

Aren't they pretty?  And they give the painting some real 'pop'.  I mix a dark blue and also a dark purple (I like the purple more blue than red.  I load a flat brush (the size depends on how big you want the grapes to be)  I used a size 8 for these.

I load the brush with the dark blue or purple, depending on which color you want to paint next.  I pick up some white on one of the tips and then, laying the brush flat, I drag in short strokes, staying in one place, to blend the white into the blue or purple.  That's what makes them lighter on the outside edges.

I place the white side at the top of the grape, flatten and rotate the brush in a circle, holding the brush in one place (the brush should rotate in a circle to form the grape.  Work from underneath to the top grape.  For the shine I used a smaller flat brush and white, wiped off the excess paint (don't want a blog) and lightly hit each grape in the highlight areas.

The leaves are strokes using a flat brush (Folk Art style)  then I added some small twirly vines using a fully loaded liner brush with paint the consistency of India ink.  Use only the tip of the brush for these, rest your hand across the wrist of the other one if necessary to keep from pushing down and making the lines too thick.

Close up of the purple and blue grapes, you can also make light green ones the same way.  They look especially nice on the textured background.

The finished 'Vino" painting.  When I finished I thought it looked too blank towards the bottom so I taped (using painters tape) off a small section and painted it the dark blue and purple mixed together at the bottom and part way up the sides.  It looked more finished.

A couple who makes their own wine bought the painting at auction and hung it above their wine bar.

Tuscany Landscape #4, my absolute favorite!

 What a good feeling it was to begin the final landscape painting. In all, it took me around 60 hours of painting per canvas, which didn't include the preparation time. When you first begin it looks very blah and kind of scary, you're just painting in ground cover and shading behind things to come.  And then, you'll probably change your mind and decide to do something different anyway.
I paint with pre-mixed acrylics and they are very flat and dull until you apply the finish coat of varnish or Matte spray.  I have based in the house and added trees behind it.  Started on the small vineyard at the right.  I found that I really enjoy painting vineyards...maybe it's because I like wine?

When I finished with most of the house I decided that I really liked it and would have loved living here.  Added some Cypress trees and dallied with the foreground color a bit.

Began the start of the path at the left and the foreground vineyard.  Added some more Cypress trees.

Painting isn't the only thing that takes time.  I like to take notes as I go for future reference.  When I find particular color combinations or uses that I like I note that also.  I experiment with different brushes to see what kind of foliage they make, so interesting.  Don't throw out old, blown out brushes....they make great foliage patterns for bushes and trees.

Starting to look a got more promising.  I painted over the pathways several times until I got something I liked.  Added more bushes and started on the trees in the orchard at the lower right....added more Cyress trees!

Okay, I'm just 5' tall and it got to be a real pain, literally, bending over to add tints and highlights to the trees in the orchard.  The saying "necessity is the mother of invention" is completely true.  I used the plastic base of a 'paint saver' (It has a lid and you can put a wet, thin sponge inside, with your acrylic paint on it, cover it and it keeps the paint from drying out too soon)

In this case it was just the right width to raise my canvas up a foot.  I used Frog tape (painters tape) to hold everything in place so it didn't come crashing down on my head.  It was the perfect height for me to be able to stand straight and paint.

Beautiful, don't you think?

Ahhhh...now we're getting somewhere.  Adding this foot bridge was perfect and I loved painting it.

Close up of the little shed by the edge of the vineyard to the right of the house.
Cypress of course!

The main house, close up.  It looks so peaceful to me...l love it!

The finished Tuscan landscape #4....turned out to be my absolute favorite!  Would you like to join me in the orchard with your favorite wine, Italian herb bread and some cheese?  Then we can harvest grapes for the next batch of Riesling.

Got my pictures mixed up here at the end, no problem.....#4 is finished and I did paint the stucco and brick window.  All four paintings sold at auction.  By the way, did I tell you I love Cypress trees?

Finished Tuscany Landscape #2 and Painting Tuscany Landscape #3

Here is the finished Tuscany landscape painting #2.  There is a post of the steps taken to paint it that can be viewed on this Blog.

This is the beginning of Tuscan landscape painting #3.  I painted the sky and background hills on all four canvases before I began on the body of the paintings, so they would all appear to be on the same day.

The four paintings were used as decorations on the walls and then each was auctioned to raise money for our Church and Church School.  Faith Lutheran, Lacey, WA.

I have always referred to this painting as the city in the sky, since the beginning started with painting the houses on the ridge in the background and until I put more paint on the canvas, they looked like they were floating in the sky.

Added a few flower patches to the grassy area and placed the road, house and grass areas in the foreground.

My 'dining room' studio.  Our hutch turned out to be the perfect Easel for the canvases, they were 4'X5' and my wimpy little easel wouldn't do at all.  I covered the front of the hutch with the vellum I had drawn the windows on, for protection.  I then used two heavy duty, rubber covered clamps with shims, spaced a couple of feet apart, covered with an old bath towel, to hold the canvas in place.

You can see here how much room the canvases took.  My husband and I had dinner and other meals on a three foot area at the end of the table every day.  Funny what you can get used to when you're having fun!

Took a while, but finally got the house, roads and landscaping painted.  Here I decided the back of the house looked too plain so I added some Wisteria.

After adding the Wisteria, in the picture above, I thought the Wisteria looked too squarish so I added more to soften it up a little.  When painting, I'm always adding or subtracting things as I change my mind.

The finished Tuscan #3.  It took from April 1st to the 6th, painting a few hours every day, to finish it.  Took one more day to do the stucco and brick window.

#4 coming up, the last of the Tuscan paintings.  Then I'll post a painting I did to go over the wine bar at the auction.  Italian Vintners!