I went to the public gardens today and took lots of pictures. The flowers are so pretty! And the typical overcast day was a nice light diffuser :)

I tried coating watercolor paper with a couple layers of gesso and painting on that instead of board. It held up well but the first few colors came out rather flat. I'm not too sure what I think of this painting. It hurts my eyes to look at it haha and is definitely not pretty. But I don't have to like it...

acrylics, oil pastel

I got a lot done yesterday! I finished this painting, still need a title for it but that can come later.

Then I worked over an old painting I never likedI've been using gesso instead of white paint and I quite like the texture of it.

So I went with that texture and got this :) which is based on some childhood memories.

As much as I would like to work only with the paints with the natural pigments, giving up color and the quick prepare time would be difficult.

And just for fun, my flowers...

Here's an update on the latest painting

I like how it's coming along so far which is always a good sign.

And I took some photos over at the park for inspiration. It's easy to forget that I'm so close to the water here, there's lots of fun rocks to bring home with me :). and driftwood. and shells. and everything else haha

While I was in the little bit of woods I did some sketching of a turned tree stump. I had found some charcoal on the beach from someone's old fire which worked rather well. I didn't have time to get too detailed because it was getting cold but I think I'll definitely have to go back more often to sketch. It's good practice.

works in progress

I've been inspired to branch out and try new styles of painting lately. I know that I hold back a lot because it might turn out way too weird. It's been reading about some of the great painters like Pollock and Picasso who are very inspiring so I figured what the hell! Only way I'll get better and bad art is better than no art :).

Here's an oil pastel on masonite that I did yesterday which is sort of my usual style. It's about 6x5

And my work in progress. Feels good to get the easel out again and to work bigger! If I had my own place I'd set up huge canvases on the wall but I'm too afraid of getting paint all over my rented apartment. Got a lot to do to it but I'm having fun :). acrylic paint

dirt paintings

I have been experimenting with natural pigments ever since I got the book Green Guide for Artists by Karen Michel. It's a guide to making your own paints with a focus on sustainability and nontoxic materials. It included a recipe for egg tempera which seemed easy enough, combine one part egg yolk to one part pigment, mix well, then add water to get the thickness you want. I was a bit apprehensive as to how well it would hold up but it was used for centuries and many of the paintings in the museums, such as ones done by Michelangelo, still look just fine!

This painting was my first- I just used whatever I had around the house for pigments: paprika, green clay, charcoal powder, henna, dirt, curry powder. The green clay and charcoal went on the smoothest because they're the finest ground, but I like the texture the rougher pigments make. Once it dried there was no egg smell and it doesn't scratch off.

Here's a bit of a close up- black is charcoal and the red is the paprika.

My second painting was done on a mdf panel. I really prefer the wood to the canvas- much smoother texture. This time I tried to make my own gesso which had a bit of a learning curve but turned out great!  I got some regular chalk, ground it up, and mixed it with water and gelatin- it takes a lot of chalk to make it come out right and it's still watery but once it dries there's good coverage. Gives it a neat slightly powdery feel.

I'm really liking working with these paints. I love being involved from the beginning and the fact that they're all natural materials.When I paint with them I feel more connected with the earth and so it should be a really interesting path to explore. Besides now I have an excuse to dig up dirt everywhere I go to look for new colors haha!