Saturday, October 06, 2007

"White Owl" -- oil on canvas -- 24x36" -- Margie Guyot

This one just won Best of Show at the Livonia Fine Arts Competition (Michigan). I painted it last February up in my studio, having reached the point of being tired of standing out in the freezing snow, looking at the dark, dreary landscape. I was in the mood for hot colors! Ziggy-zaggies! This was painted on a recycled canvas, an older painting that nobody wanted. Rather than destroying the canvas, I sanded it out with a power sander, then went to Home Depot and bought a quart of oil-based primer. One of my painting buddies recommended this. Well --- Hah! Don't try it!

Not only was this a tough composition to draw (it took me several days of drawing, wiping out, re-doing) but I quickly discovered that regular housepaint oil primer is NOT compatible with artists oil paints! The lilies would wilt and die quickly, so I painted them first. Immediately the paint started reacting with the oil primer. It felt gummy. Then it appeared to be dissolving into the primer, turning chalky! I was furious, but refused to throw it out. I kept going, piling the paint on thickly.

Eventually I managed to get it all under control. Maybe it was the orange paint that was the most difficult, the most reactive.

Since then, if I want to recycle an older canvas, I sand it with the power sander, then coat it with a thin layer of titanium white, mixed with a bit of raw sienna.

Most everything in this painting came from a garage sale. I'd gone to my very first garage sale back in the early 70's and have enjoyed them ever since. Most of my house is furnished with garage sale items. I love garage sales -- they're like "shopping roulette"! My latest find? A unicycle. I'd gotten it cheaply, thinking I'd sell it on eBay for a profit, but alas -- I see eBay's loaded with unicycles for sale. Nobody's buying them. So -- look for a "Still Life with Unicycle" sometime in the future!

PS -- My entries have been somewhat limited lately because I'm in the process of buying a house up north and trying to pack up everything down here. My time for painting has been cut to a minimum (temporarily!).