Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Painting with a Magpie Mind

"Minty Magpie" 8x10 oil on Raymar cotton panel
I have a magpie mind. I like anything that glitters. Lord Thomson of Fleet

I think many artists I know, including myself, are attracted to shiny things too! It's been week of artistic indulgences.as I've thoroughly enjoyed painting some of my favorite summer subjects. First sunflowers. Then birds. And the minty background color is an homage to my favorite summer treat--mint chocolate chip gelato.

Artist Tres Taylor uses "house paint" for his colorful creations.
This Year's Cherry Creek Art Festival Poster--that dark background is tar paper!
Over the holiday weekend, I also enjoyed the amazing variety of art at our biggest local art event of the year at the Cherry Creek Art Festival.  This year I really enjoyed an entertaining and unique demo by this year's poster artist Tres Taylor who paints on tar paper--yes like for a roof--with beautiful layers of latex paint. I really loved the effect he gets and his "sgraffito" technique inspired me to scratch into the background of today's painting.

I’ve wanted to paint a magpie for some time but I just didn’t have any decent reference photos of them. Finally, a few weeks ago I spotted this magpie (which are related to crows and ravens) in the tall grasses near some fencing at the Cherry Creek State Park.  I've read that magpies are one of the most intelligent birds and like how their feathers are a mix of dark jewel tones-- emerald, amethyst,  and sapphire.

A few material and painting tips notes: 
Typically, I prefer using paint right out of the tube. As I’ve mentioned before I tend to avoid solvents, petroleum based products, etc. as much as possible. (Healthy studio= healthy artist!)
But, I’ve recently discovered (thanks to a student) that Gamblin offers safflower oil based solvent free oil gel painting medium.  So I tried a pea size amount in for this 8x10 study. The result?  I liked it quite a bit-- No or little odor, very smooth and clear, and so far so headaches or sneezing like I tend to get with most mediums.

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