Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Little Dipper

Well, that digital camera will be purchased if I have to auction off my cats. (No, I would not do that, but almost). This is a detail of piece that's pretty well done-the color is too saturated on the computer, but I absolutely love using acrylic on stained white Canson Mi Teintes paper (the rough side). This suits me beautifully. The acrylic dries fast so I can quickly glaze over spots without making mud. I can cut the paper down if the composition isn't working. It's cheap but archival and good quality, and just like everything digital, modern acrylic paint is coming into it's own with tons of types and variations of colors and thickness. I love also that I can go from watercolor thin washes to buttery thick paint on the same painting and it won't crack. I can use lines, color patches, gesture draw (the seated figure is just that).

I plan to scan the reference photo I used, or the section of it that this is worked from, to show the editing process. The painting is basically two sets of complementary colors, orange and blue, and red and green. I favor outlining in burnt sienna. I will try to have the completed painting up this weekend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In contemplating my next piece, I pay homage to Henri Toulouse Lautrec, probably one of my favorite artistic influences. I'm studying his compositions, and noticed in the beach scene reference I am working with now, the similarities in composition are evident. Lautrec was a dwarf (the photograph at the top is a mirrored image for fun-he never seemed to take himself very seriously) and it only now occurs to me his stature must have greatly influenced his viewpoint, which are generally overwhelming. His compositional strategy reminds me of someone swinging a weighted bucket on a bungee chord, which puts viewer within inches of striking distance of the framed action. They literally spill onto our present day reality. I think he must have loved the total scene enveloping him as he spent time at the Moulin Rouge.
I will wait to display the photo reference and my attempt at a finished piece, but I love being a part of "the action", watching people and letting their noisy colors and conversation invade the picture space. I have to take a break from sketching to go somewhere, and so I'm taking those few minutes waiting for my ride to study Lautrec. We'll see how good a student I can be!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Detail of seashells (untitled acrylic)

Well, add to my list of goals, save enough money for a decent digital camera and a larger scanner!

starting all over again

Detail of Rebecca (my daughter) in acrylic

"Ode to Joy" (Detail of first attempt at acrylic)

"Cara" (most recent charcoal)

This is the art blog of Susan Obaza. I've been interested in art all of my life, been drawing and painting actively for around 12 years, and I thought it's time I create a place for myself to share my work, things I'm learning specifically related to the arts, and to ask questions of other artists or interested visitors. I do have some goals in mind. I think I've wearied friends talking about my hopes and struggles trying to make it somewhere in the art world, and they've been patient. And I need that support. I need your comments, your prayers, your encouragement and criticism, or I just need you to know what I'm doing. And I need accountability. I also need a place to visit artists out in the blog community on a regular basis, and links list is by far the easiest way to accomplish that. It's hard being alone, hard to stay focused and hard to create without the joy of sharing it. I also love to write, so this is perfect for me.

I'm in a bit of a quandry at this point. I received excellent "basic training" in traditional drawing and painting disciplines. I'm extremely grateful to my teachers and fellow artists who are brilliant and have remained friends. They're all over the world now, showing work, teaching and forging new artistic paths. I will include links to them. I have a commercial art associates degree from Luzerne County Community College. I received atelier training under Tony Waichulis. He is doing everything but writing the book on trompe l'oeil these days. But this turned out not to be my path. And that is where I am-trying to fine tune just what that is. I work in oil, charcoal, colored pencil and now acrylic, which is where I'm attempting to land. I will include two recent pieces I've done. I think keeping a record of recent work will help me be more objective. My greatest skill seems to be in portraiture. This is a joy for me, but also a problem, in that I have never really developed the discipline of thinking in terms of the whole-my composition skills are lacking, as I most usually paint or draw vignettes sans background of any kind, or just shapes or light shading if that. Or I use imprimatura, so there's a ready-made tone in the background.

So then, my goals are to achieve at least one painting a week, improve my compositional skills, improve my skills working with acrylic as that is a new media for me, and begin to jump back out in the pond. I have not exhibited work for probably a year now, and that seems like a lifetime. My ultimate hope is to land a gallery or the equivalent of that.

Thanks for visiting, thanks for sharing. Sue