Turtle Tale

After success with the “blob painting” technique I wanted to go a step further. The delight of blob painting is what shows up, like images in the clouds. Starting a larger piece on better paper, my initial blobs were without intent, just color and movement. I don’t have a photo of that stage, but you can see it under the white line drawing below.

After the ‘blobs’ sea turtles appeared!
I took a bold step with deeper color to get a more under-sea feeling. I tested this in photoshop but the result was disappointing. Too busy, and I lost all the white.
So I got out the intense liquid watercolors and deepened all the blues.

Then I started in on turtle patterns. One thing I love in my reference photos is the bright aqua highlights. Since I’d killed all my what’s paper, I got out the acrylic. I always feel like I’m not making a watercolor anymore when I take this step. But, painting the fine highlights of yellow @ aqua gave me the turtles I wanted.

At this point I can see that I need more of the deeper aqua moving thru the background, indicating clear sandy bottom in places.

I didn’t want to turn this into an acrylic painting but I think I have already!

Any other ideas? I’d love your thoughts. Here or on Facebook.

Art Moves Us, and I am Moving Art!

I’m in the throes of moving my household, but more importantly, my studio. This is the part of the house I will miss the most, since my new temporary space doesn’t have such a wonderful workspace. But I’ve discovered treasure buried in the challenge of going through nearly ten years of artistic accumulation.

It’s wonderful to see all my work together.

My helper hung it all over the house, floor to ceiling: recent, older, small, large, figure and landscape, she hung things I would never have considered finished or for public view. I sold some of  those! Maybe my evaluation of my own work isnt always the best evaluation.

Some of my old work is much better than I originally thought.

Chartres Cathedral ©2008 Patrise Henkel

Said helper put stacks of unfinished canvases outside for people to rummage through, and a neighbor appeared at the cashier table with one I was surprised to see. I was selling canvases to be repainted, and this was a heartfelt painting I never finished, as I lost my confidence in it. Seeing it again years later it looked pretty amazing to me, and I had a major pang of regret that I hadn’t completed it. I looked at my neighbor, a fellow artist, and saw how much she admired it, enough to buy it and hang it in her home. I felt the tug of the old ways of thinking, and caught myself making disclaimers and apologies for it not being better. Then I saw her post about it on Facebook. I can let my work move out in the world, making room for the art that’s waiting to come in NOW. Wow.

I can throw out old work.

I used to be afraid I could never recreate something, so I had to hang onto things to prove I’d done them. In a way, that’s true — I’ll never make things that same way again. But I can create new, anytime. I trust my Muse!

Moving on is important, and clearing out the old makes room for the new life and creativity to come. So Out with the Old! If you want a bargain on some art, leave a comment.

Goldfinch and sunflower

Here’s a painting recently completed for my neighbors, to celebrate their 1st Anniversary.

The painting was purchased and a fundraising auction earlier this year, and I worked with them to create a bird painting that had special meaning.

Both K and her husband S live in close contact with the natural world. They keep chickens, raise award winning garlic, grow most of their own produce. S teaches organic gardening. They plant these flowers especially for the goldfinches and enjoy watching them from their porch.

Both of them love to watch the goldfinches, especially in late summer when the flowerheads on sunflower, coneflower and rudbekia are ripe for the snacking. The goldfinch is at its brightest plumage, too. Now that the air is cooler, the finches have lost their brilliant colour and are greying down for winter.

It was a pleasure to make a painting like this while watching these birds each day in the garden. I hope K & S enjoy it in their home as much as I did making it for them.