Monday, February 28, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 10 - DP No. 33

"Singapore Shophouse No. 10"
6x6 Oil on Panel
Click Here to Purchase
I thought I would start Monday off with an unlikely color combination and some good news.  Well, first is the color combination.  In reality this house really is a light mint green with Chinese red shutters.  With the late afternoon light, the mint color got more yellow, but it's local color was definitely light green.  Never in a million years would I have ever thought that those two colors would look good together, but surprisingly, they kind of work.  Not that I am running and painting my bedroom in those shades, but I definitely kind of like it.

And now... for the good news!  I just found out today that I'm going to have my first ever show in Singapore!  The studio/gallery that I am doing my residency with asked me to take part in a two person show (just me and one other artist) at the end of April.  I'm totally stoked.  When I was doing abstract work in Houston I got into a couple of entry-level galleries, but every month and every show was a group show.  For this one, I'll actually have my name on the promotional materials... eep!  So exciting.  Totally nerve-wracking though, because I have to now produce a TON of work before we leave on our trip on March 20th.  Okay, time to get off the computer and get cracking!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 9 - SOLD

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 9"
6x6 Oil on Panel
Click Here to Purchase
What a week.  I really feel like my paintings have started stepping up their game.  I am finally starting to get a handle on my brushes.  I know that sounds kind of silly, but the difference between painting cityscapes and still life paintings is huge.  This is especially so when you are working on a 6x6 in canvas.  A Still Life painting tends to be more organic shapes - bottles, fruit, fabric - you get the idea.  The more manmade objects you have in a still life, the better idea you get of what it is like to paint a buildings.  I'm starting to get how much detail is necessary, how much I can suggest.

I'm also starting to get a handle on which brushes to use for what detail.  I could use my filberts for detail on organic shapes, but when you need a detail with a manmade object, more often than not you need a predictable, easily manipulated line.  My filberts were not doing the job.  Surprisingly enough, the art store here doesn't carry riggers (a detail brush).  So I've been teaching myself to use a Japanese bamboo calligraphy brush for the details that I need.  I've found it is actually a really wonderful brush.  You can really get it to do exactly what you want, with few surprises.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #8 - Daily Painting #31

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 8"
6x6 Oil on Panel
Click Here to Purchase
I am just continually amazed at the colors these houses have.  Usually the bottom section that you walk under is pretty non-descript.  It is a kind of awning, and a lot of times it will be covered in signs and street-side merchandise.  But if you take a moment and look up across the street at the second (and sometimes third) stories of the houses across the street - such wonderful colors!  This house in Little India also had a clothesline (I think that is what they were had it for?) hanging across the front.  Okay, headed out to paint on location again.  Hopefully this time I won't forget my brushes (happened on Monday).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #7 - SOLD

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 7"
 6x6 Oil on Panel
Click Here to Purchase
Another shophouse from Little India in the morning.  I just love the way the light was streaming across this house.  It is so easy to take our surroundings for granted.  I've lived in Singapore for over a year now, and it is so easy to slip into that trap.  Being an artist and forcing myself to really LOOK at my surroundings has helped me gain a new appreciation for things.  I am now exploring different parts of the city that I haven't seen in the year that I've been here.  I'm now looking up, trying to see my surroundings, rather than just being busy and focused on my task at hand.  This is such an amazing luxury.

This week has been brutal, unfortunately.  Out of the house by 7am, not home until after 9 each day.  At least it stays nice and clean when we aren't home!  And lastly, I sold two of my small daily still life paintings to a collector from Wisconsin (via Singapore).  Nothing makes me happier than knowing my art has found a new forever home.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #6 - Daily Painting #29

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 6" 6x6 Oil on Canvas
Click Here to Purchase
For being up at 5:30 in the morning the past two mornings, I'm sure having an awful time trying to sleep.  Maybe it is because just as I am drifting off, my husband's phone restarts and beeps.  In any case, this is a little scene from Little India.  I just loved how the light was moving through the shutters, as well as the shirt hanging in the window.  Really cool little scene.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Zip It Up - Challenge Painting

This was for the Daily Paintworks challenge this week.  The challenge part was that you could only use three colors, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, and titanium white.  I had kind of had a frustrating day today, and surprisingly, knocking this one out really helped improve the end of the day.  The paint moved predictably, I know how those three colors interact with one another, and I've dealt a fair amount with reflective surfaces.  So although it seemed a bit complex, it actually wound up being pretty straightforward, which was a much needed break after all of the shophouses.  They get very tedious after a while.  Tomorrow I'll be back on location!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #5 - Daily Painting #28

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 5" 6x6 Oil on Canvas, Click Here to Purchase
Here is another one from Chinatown.  These windows were just a ton of fun to do, but they were also pretty challenging.  This architecture can just kill you.  Sheesh!  I met with a framer today, and I am super excited to say that I'll have frames now for some of the pieces.  It'll be a couple of weeks, but as soon as I get them, I'll make sure to post a picture of what they look like in frames.  I think it'll be pretty amazing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #4 - Daily Painting #27

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse No. 4" 6x6 Oil on Panel, Click here to Purchase
For this painting I really wanted to focus on a warm/cool tradeoff in light and shadow colors.  Lately I've felt like I haven't been using enough color, and so a lot of what I am doing comes out gray.  Not so much with these little guys, but with what I have been doing in my plein air work.  So this helped just push me over the edge and forced me to use the color.  Needless to say, I think it worked.  These shadows are much more colorful!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #3 - Daily Painting #26

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse #3" 6x6 Oil on Panel, Click here to Purchase
I really enjoyed doing this one.  Another Little India scene, love the bright colors they have painted all of these houses.  It gets a little jarring when you see a bright turquoise one right next to this shocking red one. Talk about colors almost vibrating together!  In any case, this was a peach colored house next to a shockingly red house.

Plein air went pretty well today.  I might even post the picture after I have cleaned it up a bit in the studio.  I found a nice step to sit on, and had ample time to get my drawing correct before the colors all changed.  I think that makes a huge difference.  The morning light changes so quickly.  I know they talk about "memorizing the moment" you want to capture, but when the shadows literally move from one second to the next - ACK!  Tonight is the hubby's birthday, so we are headed out to dinner!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #2 - Daily Painting #25

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse #2" 6x6 Oil on Canvas, Click Here to Purchase
Someone asked me today if I do all the houses blue.  Blues and greens are totally my favorite color.  I have to admit.  But, the shophouses here aren't all blue.  So, I decided to find one of the yellow houses and show another beautiful shophouse!  This one is actually in Chinatown, not far from the pagoda.  I really loved the shadow the sign and the lamppost were casting on the awning and building.  Such great color changes!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Singapore Heritage Shophouse #1 - SOLD

"Singapore Heritage Shophouse #1" 6"x6" Oil on Canvas, Click Here to Purchase
Okay, it is Monday (Happy Valentine's Day!), and I've decided I'm going to do it.  One Hundred Shophouses in 100 (working) days.  For the next 4.5 months (that's 20 weeks, eep!) I'm going to paint 100 different shophouses.  To be fair, a few I will have to paint ahead of schedule and post on a regular basis, as we are traveling a bit.  This one I was kind of trying some different methods from what I have been doing, and I think it really paid off.  I loosened up a bit, quit worrying about how exact a stroke turned out. Instead I kept cutting back into the paint or focused on overlapping the paint.  I think it really worked well. I'm happy with this one.  Off to a good start!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Temple Street Lamp - Daily Painting #23

"Temple Street Lamp" 6x6 Oil on Canvas, click here to Purchase
I lurve this one.  The colors are completely and totally Shelby colors.  This was a lamp sitting on the side of one of the shophouses in Chinatown.  And with the morning light, it cast such a cool shadow.  I just couldn't pass it up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dunlop Street, Little India - Daily Painting #22

"Dunlop Street, Little India" 6x6 Oil on Canvas, click here to Purchase
Wow.  This week has been crazy.  Not just kind of crazy, but totally crazy.  This was my first week of actually intensive plein air.  So far I've been out painting for 3 mornings.  The painting above is actually inspired by my plein air misadventures this morning.  I've decided I absolutely LOVE Little India in the early morning.  First of all, the buildings are all these delicious colors, and with the morning light, you can find the most interesting shadows.  Secondly, (this is a bit of a double edged sword) the people are just so friendly.  By the time I was finished painting my painting this morning (not the one above), at some points, I had between 5-10 people gathered around watching me paint.  It was totally nerve-wracking.  But they were all just such lovely people.  Totally respectful and very complimentary - which was awesome, because I definitely did not feel like a master painter.

I have my painting from this morning on another camera card, so I'll post it tomorrow, but this week has been quite the misadventure.  A couple things I have learned:
  1. No matter how well hydrated you want to be, don't drink too much water.  Not many places are open before 10am.
  2. You have to be finished by 10am, but the sun isn't up enough until 7:30 or 8, so work fast.  It is just too hot.  I'd guess it is easily 90+ degrees in full sun by 10am.
  3. Create a checklist of necessary items.  Follow it.  Live by it.  Don't forget anything on it. (I went out one day, lugged everything to the place, realized my carrier wasn't quite big enough.  Which was awful because I had to carry everything on my shoulders.  Then I realized I forgot my painting medium, dirty rag bag, and a snack.  Grumpy Shelby.  Paint was getting gloppy.  Painting was a mess.  Not a good day.)
  4. Don't take yourself too seriously.  This is for learning, not for a gallery.
Okay, that is all.  I'm planning on heading out again tomorrow morning, so I should have a couple of Plein Air pieces to show.  Think I'll hit Little India again.  I'm also thinking about doing 100 shophouses over 100 days.  I'm kind of really enjoying this.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Keeping it Cool - Daily Painting #21

"Keeping it Cool" 6x6 Oil on Panel click here to Purchase
This is completely and totally Singapore.  Every house has at least one air con (not called A/C or Air Conditioner, take note) unit.  Our apartment has 3 I think?  So when you walk down the back side of some of these little alleys in the heritage district, the walls are just lined with air con units.  When the light hits them in the morning or late afternoon they create some really cool shadow patterns.  This was on a late afternoon near Arab St.   If you are ever looking for silk, that is the place to go!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Club Street at Dusk - Daily Painting #20

"Club Street at Dusk" 6x6 Oil on Canvas, click here to Purchase
This little guy is a partly about me returning to the tropics, so to speak.  I've been trying and trying to paint this subject for a long time now.  I just keep coming back to this one house on club street.  I think it is partly because I just love the color of the house.  It has nothing to do with how the light and shadow falls on it (which is what I should be observing!).  I think this one is getting much closer to the "perfect" painting I have envisioned in my head.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back to the Tropics - Daily Painting #19

"Back to the Tropics" 6x6 Oil on Panel click here to Purchase
In going through still life class and getting back into daily painting, I kind of forgot why I was originally doing this blog.  Or not why, but some of the things I wanted to talk about - besides painting, of course!  I realized I've been doing a lot of apples and oranges and cups and plates.  Which, don't get me wrong, can make beautiful still life setups.  And then I remembered - I live in Asia!  This is Art Adventures in Asia!  I should be doing still life setups with things unique to the region, at the very least, right?  

So above you have something I had only ever heard of as a Bath and Body Works lotion - Papaya.  It is the most gorgeous orange/pink/salmon color, and it can just glow when light hits it.  So this is me, getting back to the "tropics."  It was an incredibly therapeutic piece for me to paint after my first day out in the sun painting on location (more about that below).

Last night when I was preparing my supplies for my plein air adventure, I decided to make a viewfinder, similar to the one our professor is using.  Since it is Chinese New Year today (Gong Xi Fa Cai!), everything was closed.  With limited resources I managed to pull it off and make a handy dandy viewfinder out of some mattboard and tape.  That's it!  I was pretty proud of myself.  I've included the instructions below if you want to make one of your own:

  1. Cut viewfinder out of mattboard.  I used a nice gray so that I would be able to compare values.  For a 9x12 equivalent scale, cut 2in x 1.5in rectangle out of the middle.
  2. Take some packing tape and pull off a piece.  Then fold it over on itself so that it creates a plastic sheet.  (Or if you have a Michael's nearby, you can just buy a sheet. This is totally a poor man's viewfinder)
  3. Tape down tape on back side of viewfinder.  Then take a ruler and draw lines going both diagonals, as well as one going down the middle vertically and horizontally.  
  4. Done!  I have one of the moveable viewfinders, but it didn't have the lines which help you setup your composition on a canvas later.  Like I said, everything was closed, so I had to improvise!
And finally, if you have made it this far through the post.  Here is my first attempt at plein air.  It totally kicked my proverbial.  I was standing in the shade (as directed) but I had a horrible time trying to see value and color.  Then, because I hadn't done it before, all my confidence and brushwork kind of went out the window.  But since I initially said I would share the good, the bad, and the ugly, here is how far I got before the rain chased me off (I will tighten some parts up and add some details in the studio before turning this in):

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Green With Envy - Daily Painting #18

"Green with Envy" 6x6 Oil on Panel click here to Purchase
The gray skies have definitely been getting to me.  One thing I sometimes do to overcompensate for the gray, is to paint some thing that I think have really amazing colors in them.  Take this groundcloth, for example.  It was such a pretty blue, I couldn't resist.  Painting the reflected light in the spoon and the cup was just the icing on the cake, really.

My fingers are crossed for more sunshine.  I'm suppose to head out tomorrow for my first day of plein air paintings.  I'm a little intimidated, to say the least.  The first assignment is basically - go forth and paint!  Great.  So I asked if he could give some insight into how he chooses a location.  Does he look for lighting, color?  How does he explore a city that is new to him?  He told me - get out there, and when you see something that grabs you - paint it!  Sigh.  I LIKE structure and direction.  But this will be good for me, I know it.  As much as it is looking like I will start kicking and screaming about the process, I have a feeling I'm going to come out on the far end of this class absolutely loving it and cityscape.

Pepper Pile - Daily Painting #17

"Pepper Pile" 6x6 Oil on Panel click here to Purchase
More fun with peppers!  I was using some diffused natural light on these, which produced some interesting results.  The peppers didn't have much highlight/shadow, except for the one highlight line running down all of them, depending on how shiny their surface was.  This was also a case where I was very much exploring color.  The purple is actually a alizarin and viridian combination, which was totally unexpected.  I figured out they both lean so blue that you have to actually use a cadmium red with viridian if you want to get a true neutral gray.  But if you don't alizarin and viridian make a very pretty purple.  Another interesting point - both the purple and the yellow are actually very desaturated, but because they are next to each other and of similar values and saturations, they both look more saturated.  All in all, a very useful color exploration.
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