Sunday, December 01, 2013

Virtual Paintout 12: Vevie Goes to Iceland!

Echoes In The Sky

Echoes across time
Whispers of adventure
Sagas retold
Hearts burning
Echoes in the sky

(poem by Retta Stephenson)

November is now Vevie's 12th outing with the Virtual Paintout gang, led by Bill Guffey (HERE).  The year has flown by! One more month and Vevie's travels are over, for she has decided to retire and curl up in her snuggly warm bed. 
Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)

But for this month of November Vevie traveled, via Google Street View, to Iceland. Brrrr! We ended up in Northeast Iceland, in a place I have no idea how to pronounce:

Having been first settled by the Vikings in 874 AD, Iceland is the unofficial protectorate of Viking poetry. Though known as fierce warriors, it surprised me to learn that for Vikings, POETRY was a way of life! They considered it a gift from Odin, and to tell a good poem was to earn one's Viking name.

For my November painting, I chose the following view. It was so typical, with a lone tree and house, a large expanse of land near water. And of course, I couldn't resist adding some Northern Lights!

I played in Photoshop and chose this color scheme, flipped the house to face inward, and added the Northern Lights...

First I toned the canvas with yellows...

Here's the underpainting...

Decided I didn't want the yellow that strong, so washed it over with purples and blues before I went any farther...

Okay, NOW I'm liking the sky! Also worked on the next layers of the foreground and house...

Vevie has joined the scene, the Northern Lights are glowing, and Lo! there are ancient Viking symbols and Rune lettering in the sky. Vevie looks up, dreaming of times gone by...

Though the land is open and sparsely populated, this close up shows the windows of the little house glowing with a friendly welcome to travelers...

Close up of a few of the Viking symbols...

Close up of Vevie, sitting quietly under the night sky, listening... remembering...

And the finished image (can click any pics to enlarge):

"Echoes in the Sky"
Northeast Iceland
9 x 12 acrylic on 
wrapped canvas

Happy painting,


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Virtual Paintout 11: Vevie Goes to Peru!

For October Vevie and the Virtual Paintout  gang took off for ... Lima, Peru. Hola!!

First, I visited (via Google Street View) a tourist attraction: Park of the Legends. Beautifully manicured, lovely gardens, trees, flowers, water sculptures. Playgrounds and zoo animals for the kids, and a mini Machu Peechu.  Felt too... touristy.

Second, I visited the downtown city. Huge buildings, streets teeming with cars and people, colorful businesses. Felt too... impersonal.

Third, I traveled to the outskirts, scouting for rural beauty. I almost cried at the poverty. Crumbling husks of homes, barefoot kids, shacks stacked up the mountainsides... where people LIVED. Felt too... heart-breaking.

Lastly, by chance, I traveled up an extremely steep mountain road. Along the way, I passed all three types: touristy spots, businesses, and obvious poverty. Yet this road led them all to the same place: the huge stone cross statue called Cruz del Cerro San Cristobal, a famous landmark in Peru. 

This last location made me smile. We are all the same in our Hearts. We all need hope, love, and meaning in our lives . And to help each other get on up that road. Cuz sometimes it gets steep!

And that's why I was originally going to call this painting "Uphill".

It was a joy to paint this from my heart, and not worry about being judged, or about performing. See... this is a Landscape. A Landscape doesn't "usually" have graphic design added! But after seeing this beautiful country and pictures of their culture and art, I wanted to include design work to represent these creative people. Here then is "Uphill, Peruvian Style."

My Google street view scene (can click on any pics to enlarge):

And the "making of" pics...

I played with color 
schemes in Photoshop:

Sketched in with sepia pencil:

 I enjoy the look of the wrap around image:

 For the values I used yellow ochre
and red oxide:

 Decided to start the design first,
to better gauge the colors needed
for the landscape part:

 Fun toning the canvas with 
pink and orange:

Ultramarine blue and 
cerulean blue added:

 Continuing with color and details,
refining the clouds and road:

 Done! and drying on the easel:

 Design close up:

 Cruz del Cerro San 
Cristobal close up:

 And Vevie won't let 
me get away without
her own close up:

"Uphill, Peruvian Style"
Cruz del Cerro San Cristobal
Lima, Peru
9 x 12 acrylics
on wrapped canvas

Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)
my Virtual Paintout muse

Happy painting,


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Virtual Paintout 10: Vevie Goes to the Isle of Wight!

The where of who??!! 

This month the Virtual Paintout  gang took off for the Isle of Wight. Being a geographical ignoramus, I had to look closely at the map. You never know where in the world our leader, Bill Guffey  is going to take us next!

The Isle of Wight is the largest island of England, in the English Channel. It has a fascinating history, being mentioned as far back as the Roman Empire. At various time throughout history, everybody and his brother attacked it if they sailed down the English Channel. In more recent times, it was a favorite vacation spot for the "rich and famous", from the likes of Charles Dickens to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

And what a gorgeous island! Vevie did a lot of prowling (via Google Street View) before she settled on this old stone church and graveyard, in the town of Brading on the East end of the island. Having nine lives, she has a special affinity for graveyards.

To Vevie, graveyards are not morbid. Rather, they remind her of the gift of Time. A place of rest and reflection. That each day is to be cherished, and lived to the full. 

A favorite quote of mine comes from the 1994 movie "Star Trek: Generations". Captain Jean Luc Picard is talking to Wil Riker, his Number One officer:

"Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey that reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we live it. After all, Number One, we're only mortal."

And now the "making of" photos. (can click on any pics to enlarge)

Here is my cropped version of the scene:

After playing around in Photoshop with various color schemes, I settled on this one. Though in the end, I toned down the orange:

I like to pick out my tubes of paint for my current color palette, and then put all the rest away. For this painting, I used a few more than usual. They are Interactive Acrylics by Chroma: Pthalo Turquoise, Chromium Green Oxide, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Alizarine, Brilliant Magenta, Vermillion, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Dioxazine Purple, Titanium White, and Paynes Gray. (whew!)

After giving the canvas a coat of gesso, I decided to again play with texture. So I took my palette knife and added some "rocky" foreground texture for the stone wall and some grasses, using white texture medium. Then drew in my design with a Derwent Inktense pencil, in Madder Brown, softening it with water:

Decided to add some values with Burnt Umber this time. I used to do very detailed grisaille underpaintings, and I guess I was missing that, so did a quicky version, only using browns instead of grays. Ha ha, so really it's not a grisaille, but rather a brunaille. ;-)

I started in with my dominant color, turquoise. I mean, ALL OVER. It was exhilarating!

Adding in the focal color for the tree, shades of plum, red, purple, etc.

All done! Vevie was added, the sky brightened, and the "spice" colors added (yellows, oranges and pinks):

Drying on the easel; the texture throws off a lot of reflections:

Some close up details:

"Time... Our Companion"

St Mary's Church, Brading
Isle of Wight, UK

9 x 12 acrylics
on wrapped canvas

Years ago, I wrote the following in my journal. 
I don't feel as though I've yet learned to live up to it... but I do try:

"I will live this day to it's fullest. 
Time is the coin of my life, 
and I choose to spend it wisely."

Happy painting,


Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)
 my Virtual Paintout Muse

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dusting Off the Ol' Sketchbook

Detroit was a fascinating place to explore for our Virtual Paintout  destination in August. Another place that caught my attention (in addition to THIS painting)   was an underpass, with arches and graffiti. Especially the grafitti. The word oxymoron comes to mind. :-D

Here is the original location, from Google Street View:

Vevie decided she was too much of a "star" to pose for a mere sketchbook painting, so she sat this one out. Hmmmph... she's not a spoiled kitty... oh no. Not at all...

Anyway, this one tickled me, so I couldn't pass it up. 

"Vandals for Peace"

8 Mile Road
Detroit, Michigan
6 x 8 sketchbook

Colored pencils
Watercolor pencils
Neocolor II sticks

Happy painting,


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Virtual Paintout 9: Vevie Goes to Detroit!

A red picnic table
A flowing river 
A park

Where families come to make memories. 
Where lovers gaze into each others eyes, and plan their future together. 
Where an older couple walks, holding hands as always... in their hearts young lovers forever.

Detroit, Michigan. Motor City. Motown. City of Champions.

Now a troubled city, with a colorful past and uncertain future. Yet there are those that stayed or have returned, and are rebuilding. Downtown renaissance, riverfront development, revitalization of historic buildings, even neighborhood garden coops.

In spite of huge problems, there seems to still be hope, tenacity, and a determination to thrive.

So this one is for the people of Detroit. 

I call it "Hope & A Future". My title came from a favorite verse in the Bible that seems appropriate for the people of Detroit.

 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..." Jeremiah 29:11-13

Now for the "making of" photos... (can enlarge pics; I kept most smaller for faster page loading)

First, my spot as it shows on Google Street View map:

And my cropped idea:

Ran it through photoshop, and here were the 3 color scheme possibilities I came up with; I chose the hot red/yellow one:

And a value study:

I love texture, and this month played with a layer of tissue paper glued down (under and over) with acrylic painting medium:

Toned the canvas with a soft yellow:

Started the drawing with burnt umber watercolor pencil and burnt sienna paint:

Did some underpainting in tones of orange and pinks:

Changed my mind! The red picnic table disappeared amidst all those hot colors, so changed over to the blue color scheme:

More layers:

And drying on the easel:

A couple of close ups for you:

All finished!

"Hope & A Future"

Riverbank Drive
Detroit, Michigan  USA
9 x 12 acrylics
on wrapped canvas

All are invited to join the Virtual Paintout gang each month in visiting and painting new places via Google Street View. Each month our leader, Bill Guffey, chooses a new location and we all "travel" there and pick a spot from which to paint. Here are all the deets! 

Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)
My Virtual Paintout muse

Happy painting,