Sunday, May 22, 2011

win some, lose some

If you've been wondering what I've been up to since last time this is partly that. Since I'd had pretty good luck with the results of the last two paintings I decided to work on this one drawn a few months ago which you may remember. I love the image and want to get it just right but this is as far as it got before I threw it away. I could see some things were acceptable but realized the colors weren't what I was looking for and I had definitely overdrawn the leaves and flowers in the tree - impossible to erase once I'd laid in the first wash of color. So rather than spend many hours working on something I wasn't going to be satisfied with I decided to start over.

Maybe the next version will look more like this:

I seem to have developed the funny idea that I have to put up a new picture for every post which is kind of difficult for me as I don't work very fast. Besides that I've been teaching myself a new way of painting these past four or five months. Old dogs can learn new tricks but it takes longer.

I think I'm going to have to find more silly stuff to talk about around here if I'm going to hold on to my blog party membership. For instance, a bagpiper was skirling outside the window a few days ago and I looked to see 50 or so cap and gowned graduates walking behind him down the middle of the street. It's a good thing this is a very quiet town so far as traffic is concerned or the country might have lost some PhD's.

Good too it was only one bagpiper as there were enough dogs howling as it was.



Lydia said...

Woof to you! Great little scene described at the end of your post, like a glimpse into another country...which it is! Don't sell yourself short on your self expression; you are a wonderful writer.
You can't turn paintings like yours as if on an assembly line. They are worth waiting for and your words are more-than-interesting-fillers. :)

I really like the colors you played with in the second of this lovely painting. They are moodier than the fresh green, which for me corresponds with the moodiness I see in the young girl.

Yea! No rapture!

Randal Graves said...

I didn't know Groundskeeper Willie lived north of the border.

Both paintings are worthy of a big thumbs up. Have to second Lydia on the moodiness, but there's this otherworldly cool of the first one, as if we poor humans are allotted a mere glimpse.

Ol'Buzzard said...

I look forward to your new post - picture or no.
the Ol'Buzzard

Mary Ellen said...

Can I have your throw-aways? I love both paintings...the colors in the first one were so cool and refreshing. The second one was also so beautiful.

Bagpipes...always sounds like a moaning cow to me, but I also find them interesting to look at. Who in the world came up with the idea of a big airbag with a bunch of pipes stuck to it? How does an idea like that pop up in one's brain?

marja-leena said...

Both paintings are beautiful, but of course you must go with your own heart. I'm wondering about your new technique, will you share one day?

As for bagpipes, they are an acquired taste that I've still not acquired, though interesting looking, and some kind of entertainement as it happned for you. I second Mary Ellen's question on the invention.

Is someone complaining about your blog membership? Not me!

Francis Hunt said...

You know, of course, the Scottish definition of a gentleman?

Someone who can play the bagpipes
but doesn't!

We Irish prefer the more subtle uillean pipes, played by pumping air with the elbow rather than blowing. Here's a good example.

Kay said...

I love scene you described. You should check out Red handed. He observes things everyday in his neck of the Canadian woods and has wry observations along with art!

susan said...

lydia - Halifax and the other small maritime cities are a bit odd compared to other places in Canada. It makes me happy to know you have such confidence that my writing can make up when painting is slow.

You're right that a moodier palette seems more appropriate than the one I first chose. I caught myself being too conventional. :-)

randal - I think the entire Parks Dept. are clones of Groundskeeper Willie but I'm still waiting to identify the rest of the crowd. It's a weird place.

I didn't hate the first (and real) one but what finally got me were the leaves on the tree. Then I saw there were other possibilities to explore.

ol'buzzard - That's nice of you to say.

nunly/me - Ah, once they're thrown they're truly gone. The second is just a quick tweak of the first in my photo-shop sample program.

When I was young I was compelled to accompany my parents to several highland games. If there's anything worse than one bagpiper it's having to listen to a hundred of them tuning up for a march.

marja-leena - I think you were off on your trip to Gabriola when I posted my last painting using the new technique. It's here if you'd like to see it but my scanner bed was too small to get it just right. Getting good images is a problem for me with anything larger than 8x10".

I think bagpipes are best heard at a distance over the moors and not under your window.

No, nobody complains but after a while I feel I'm not holding my end up :-)

francis - That is an excellent definition.

Thanks for the link to the uillean piper. I listened to him and one other and found them pretty interesting.

kay - It was pretty silly but strangest was that there were so few graduates from a school that has 50k students. Maybe they were from a smaller school.

I did go and look at Red Handed's blog. You're right that he's amusing.

Seraphine said...

skirling? i don't get out nearly enough. i'd probably call the police if i caught somebody skirling outside my house.

your drawing looks perfectly lovely to me. but if you think the leaves are overdrawn, by all means start over.
if you aren't satisfied, it will bother you everytime you see it.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I love the colors in the second one, particularly green you chose. Though I like them each in their own ways. The talented are always so hard on themselves!

I will always visit here, no matter what it is you have to say or want to say. I love your work, but I can be patient and wait for it. It and you are well worth it.

Pagan Sphinx said...

P.S. I enlarged the second image again and came back to tell you that because of what Lydia said in her comment, I looked for a long while at the expressions of the young woman and the fairy. What I liked most is that they are such sincere, expressions. They seem so absorbed in each other; quietly conversing. It would be fun to make up a dialogue for them. :-)

TheCunningRunt said...

I'm totally in line behind Mary Ellen for your cast-offs - they might not be up to your aspirations for them, but I think they're just beautiful!

And too, your writing is always plenty interesting, don't rush the paintings on our account! :)

gfid said...

i cut my castoffs into strips or tear them into chunks and use them in collage and/or scrapbooking and/ or cards (or i did, back when i was painting and had time to organize family photos) or recycled them in paper making.

bagpipes are meant to be played out of doors and heard from a distance. they're agonizing under a closed roof. We tried to include a piper in our irish band years ago. there was no way we could practice inside, and even outside he was so loud the rest of us couldn't hear ourselves. our last ditch effort involved sending him into the basement while the rest of us played upstairs. i think we hurt his feelings. he moved to another province shortly after that. i've since seen a band play with a piper who had an electronic bagpipe. he could control the volume! a major breakthrough!!!

did you know that there was a time in history when bagpipes enjoyed the prestige and acceptance that the piano now has, all across Europe? they were one the most common/popular instruments, with one in most any place where people played music.

jams o donnell said...

I love your paintings Susan. They are always a delight to see. But picture or no picture your posts are always essential reading

susan said...

sera - Skirl really is the name of the sound the bagpipe makes - it's also defined as a shriek :-)

I'm glad you like the drawing as so do I but there was no way around the leaves I'd drawn but to do the whole thing over. At least I'd only begun to paint when I stopped. I hope all is well with you.

pagan sphinx - Had I painted the second one rather than messing with the first one in photoshop I may have kept it but, alas, the original would not have allowed those colors.

I'm glad you enjoy visiting here and will endeavor to entertain more frequently :-)

cr - I hadn't put so much time into that one yet that it had bits worth saving but the new version is underway. I'd visit your blog too even if you didn't post the wonderful pictures but it's so nice that you do.

gfid - I have a feeling you can be outrageously creative when you put your mind to something. My photo albums are old and were done before scrapbooking came around.

I love the story about the poor bagpiper you tried to have join your Irish band. You'd think all that blowing would tire a person out. Francis came by and told me about the Irish Uiellan pipes and posted a link to a very cool youtube video.

No, I never would have guessed they were a popular instrument. Odd, that :-)

jams - How very kind of you to say so :-)

Seraphine said...

i'm probably not the only one who finds bagpipes sometimes annoying. they are probably an 'acquired" taste.
there is one extremely positive thing about them though-- bagpipes don't make good elevator music.
sometimes bagpipes can be emotionally touching- that's when i like them best.

Seraphine said...

my final was yesterday so now i'm freeee for the summer. i might even have some time to waste. i never thought wasting time could sound so delicious.

susan said...

sera - Bagpipe music in elevators would definitely see more people getting some needed exercise.

You're right that the laments are very touching to hear in the distance.

I'm so very glad to hear you're done with finals. I've missed you a lot this past while and hope you'll be spending a bit of that free time in virtual socializing :-)

Steve Emery said...

How disappointing when you realize it's not going to work. I usually find I can't go back AND I won't do it over. I almost never have the same drive or interest on a second go round, so the opportunity is just lost.

I like the colors you used - but when I see your color adjusted version I understand why you were dissatisfied. The warmer colors bring an entirely different feeling, and a completely different emphasis to the figures.

susan said...

steve - I really was very disappointed and have put the whole thing on the back burner in hope the impetus will return after it's been left for a while. Somehow the whole thing needed more power than the watery shades would allow.

Linda said...

i truly must say i am becoming the biggest of losers when it comes to blog in me being one... i cannot get my comments to always work on this comp. so want you to know that if i tried, it STILL might not be now..sighs..

love them both but know the feeling as i too am a slow painter even if the beginnings...i tend to work slowly on more than one at a time and feel it gets redundant to all but myself... you must have lots to photograph is ever you feel like going out or just gaze out that window...look what was there today, i would have loved to see it...or maybe 'today' is this day of saturday? i am not going to risk looking and now going to attempt to hit send
. or publish or and move onto your newest one. ;)xxx

susan said...

linda - See? Your comment arrived just fine and you are a wonderful blog friend.

The problem I have with my camera is that I can't see the screen in daylight so I point in the direction I want to photograph, allow it to focus itself, and then click the shutter. I never know what I've got til I download. Most days I don't bother carrying it. Drawing is easier :-)