"Summer Serene" 14"x18"
It's the end of summer break for my boys and both are back in school full time once again. That means the house just got a whole lot quieter! After quite a busy couple of months with lots of distractions and activity, I'm breathing a little easier now that the days are my own again. It seems in summer most days follow an unpredictable path, and from one day to another I'm never sure what the family will be up too or how it will require my time and energy--which it usually does. As a mother, and an overall caregiver, I find my mental energy used up during the hot summer months. It leaves little quiet time for serious painting. Painting takes a lot of mental energy, and I do feel frustration at times when my work is calling me in the studio and I am pulled in other directions.
Some things I love about summertime is the garden and the veggies, fruits and flowers we tend all Spring, waiting and then watching as they bloom in glorious waves throughout June, July and August. My husband grows beautiful vegetables; onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos... just to name a few. Combined together they make the best salsa you ever have eaten, especially fresh picked, chopped and still warm from the sun! I have also discovered numerous ways to cook zuchini, carrots and will be making pickles with our delicious Armenian cucumbers. I am not a fan of cucumber normally, but these are absolutely the best. And the grapes are from my father's glorious garden this year!
Another summer treat has been watching the quail babies run through the backyard on a daily basis. We've seen groups of tiny tiny chicks and also a larger group, the quail toddlers. They live in the Chamisa bushes behind our back yard and love to perch on the fence, calling to each other and always on the lookout for possible danger! The adults (there's usually a group together) are quick to herd the little ones back to safety, and very strict about it-- chasing them all to the cover of the brush. Watching them run about has been very amusing.
As for painting, I have been experimenting with different oils and making my own oil paint and painting putty mediums over the summer. You can read about my experiments in the previous posts. After my last experiment making putty with calcite and water washed flax-linseed oil I was very surprised with the results. Since then I have done a little research and played around making some new earth colors using different oil combinations. Below you can see Cypress Umber light pigment (Natural Pigments) with the water washed flax-linseed by Art Treehouse on the left and a boddied linseed oil on the right. what a difference! You can read about my experiments with different oils here: Linseed Oil Experiment and here: Grinding Paint
I then made a third mixture with the two paints: pigment, thicker bodied stand oil, about a quarter percent of the water washed oil and calcite. The result was exactly what I hoped for, by combining the properties of the two different oils I created an earth color that is viscous yet settles beautifully after the brushstroke. The calcite not only reacts with the oils just as it did when making the painting putties (previous post) it also creates a lovely texture when painting and as it is a 'colorless pigment' it add transparency without dulling the color a bit. That is a good thing for layerists like me, who follow the Fat over Lean rule and would like an alternative to adding lots of medium to paint for glazing. I find a little medium goes a long way when combined with my hand made paints. By creating the unique properties I want to employ the most in my painting I produce a more personalized painting experience, and once I add different mediums to the prepared paint I develop those unique properties even more. It is a fascinating process.