Monday, September 30, 2013

"Whole Piece 12," Daily Painting # 47

"Whole Piece 12," Available (click here)

5" by 7"

Oils on Panel

I made it! Thirty paintings in thirty days! 'Tis a relief to have accomplished my goal with a last marathon of three paintings in one day! Squeeeee!

If your interested in knowing more about this series visit here. Find out how you can get your facial feature painted here.

"Whole Piece 11," Daily Painting # 46

"Whole Piece 11," Available (click here)
4" by 4"
Oils on Panel
If your interested in knowing more about this series visit here. Find out how you can get your facial feature painted here.

"Whole Piece 10," Daily Painting # 45

"Whole Piece 10," Available (click here)

4" by 4"

Oils on Panel



If your interested in knowing more about this series visit here. Find out how you can get your facial feature painted here.)

"Whole Piece 9," Daily Painting # 44

"Whole Piece 9," Available (click here)

4" by 4"

Oils on Panel

I'm in the last throes of a 30 day painting marathon. In order to reach my gaol I must complete 3 small paintings today. More will be said about this painting in my catch up period. Wish me luck!

(If your interested in knowing more about this series visit here. Find out how you can get your facial feature painted here.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Whole Piece 8," Daily Painting # 43

"Whole Piece 8," Available (click here)

4" by 4"

Oils on Panel


Even a Smile Isn't Straightforward

Have you ever been digging through a box of ancient family photos and found a picture of someone without a label that nobody in your immediate family is old enough to remember them? Did it give you a dull sad feeling in the pit of your stomach that made you search their face to understand them? For me it is as if I owe that long past relative some sort of personal understanding, some recognition. I've stared at eyebrows, at which side of a mouth sits higher in a smile, at the softness of flesh around eyes and tried to have a moment where it feels like we are looking at each other face to face in the present.  Often I latch on to one aspect of their expression and waffle as to what it means. Ultimately I make a decision to be certain of what it means. But I can't help knowing in the back of my mind it isn't real enough. I can't complete the self deception.

I find myself with a similar feeling when studying a facial feature. There is so much that can be seen in the pull of muscles and flesh that makes up a facial expression, but there is also so much that can be read into that expression that isn't there.

(If your interested in knowing more about this series visit here. Find out how you can get your facial feature painted here.)

Next

I am excited to delve into some wrinkles. Amorphous and playful curvilinear lines that I can accentuate with emotional color.

"Whole Piece 7," Daily Painting # 42

"Whole Piece 7," Available (click here)

4" by 4"

Oils on Panel

Whole Piece Series

Here is the much hyped second nose painting (It was completed yesterday, but the photo disappeared! :P). The relative of the first nose painting. Today you will be seeing at least one more Whole Piece painting of the corner of a mouth(It's almost done! :)). It is exciting to see how my own impression of the facial feature and expression it shares shifts the longer I look at the feature in isolation.  (Read about the Whole Piece Series here. Join the Whole Piece series here.)

Process

For this painting I played a lot with texture. I wanted to capture the feel of the skin texture and wrinkling without going into photo realism which could be tempting when focusing on one small area for awhile. I'm happy with the mood that texture conveys here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Whole Piece 6," Daily Painting # 41

"Whole Piece 6," Available (click here)

4" by 4"

Oils on Panel

30 Paintings in 30 Days! Yeeps.

I'm in the final stretch of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge I joined. I had a total of three days off over the last month which means I have to finish 5 paintings in the next three days. I've done one and a half paintings these last two days. Something has come up both days that has kept me just short of two paintings a day. This is the last push! I do not intend to be beaten. So there.

The Series

I have finally gotten to a new feature! So far for my Whole Piece series I had only done mouths and eyes, but I fully intend to show off every facial feature including important wrinkles and creases. (The Whole Piece series is explained here. To get involved read more here.) This is yesterday's painting and since then I've completed another nose. These two noses were a great opportunity to show similarity and difference between generations as they are of a mother and daughter with the same facial expression.

Next

Another nose as I mentioned. Then a corner of a mouth (Currently in progress!). Then, some forehead wrinkles. That's the plan. I think I shall close out this 30 days challenge with the Whole Piece series.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Whole Piece 5," Daily Painting # 40

"Whole Piece 5," Available (click here)

5" by 7"

Oils on Panel

A Shadow Cast

Whole Piece 5 Side View
(Without as much glare! I must take some
 time to redo the photographs
 of so many of my paintings that
are tainted with the glare from
bright lights in night photographs.)
The moody gloriously shifting shadows in the reference for this painting drew me to more subtle brushwork than usual. I am intrigued by how subtle an eye can be. In interactions between people we focus so much on other's eyes. It is natural to spend a lot of time understanding the other person through what their eyes tell us, so we think of them as bright and full of contrast and liveliness. Here the shadows cast across the skin and over the eye are much more dramatic in contrast than the eye itself. Because this eye is in shadow I feel it draws my eye to it more, trying to understand it's subtly, trying to read the expression.

Whole Piece Series

I have gotten a few volunteers for my Whole Piece series! ( You can read about the idea and how you can join in here and here.) I believe my next piece in this series will explore a new feature. I'm interested in a few photos I have of noses and forehead wrinkles.


Adventures that Lead to Paintings

I have a trip to the zoo planned for tomorrow! I'm hoping for some splendid new reference. I must spend some time with the monkeys I think, and perhaps some colorful birds. Hopefully something will surprise and inspire me. I will not be able to paint, so I'll be playing catch up for a few days. Wish me luck. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Attentiveness," Daily Painting # 39

"Attentive," Available (click here)

6" by 6"

Oils on Panel

Ornate Hawk-Eagle

When I have some time to myself at the San Diego Zoo I usually find myself late in the afternoon standing at the far back of the zoo in front of one of the raptor outdoor aviaries. (I often pull anyone I'm with there too, but other people don't seem quite as intent on staring at these birds.) Once I found myself with a churro in hand tearing mouthfuls and chewing at about the same pace as the giant Harpy Eagle was consuming what appeared to be a rat. The bird's focus and careful dexterous movement felt familiar, gruesome, and beautiful.

This  Eagle's sharp outline and quite present patterning are eye catching, but its beauty is not what kept me watching it. Whenever I am there it seems to be a bit removed from the viewing area and fascinated by one place or another on the low ground of its soaring aviary. This time I actually saw the low growing plants rustle as a creature moved under them. Because of the eagle's interest I watched everything more closely. I watched the ground for what seemed like minutes (it was probably just a minute) and then watched the eagle for minutes as it made small shifts, seeming always to move so that it could eye the ground more carefully.

Next

I believe another bit of a face will be captured. If you'd like to see your eye, nose, or mouth painted visit this post. And if you'd like to know why I am painting individual paintings of eyes, wrinkles, and mouths visit this post

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Sisters," Daily Painting # 37

"Sisters," Available (click here) 

5" by 7" 

Oils on Panel

More on this painting tomorrow! It is time for bed. See you all tomorrow.

"Commingled," Daily Painting # 36

"Commingled," Available (click here)

5" by 7"

Oils on Panel

Subtle Color

Out of the bouquet of flowers that my husband brought me I singled this simple one out for an unusual reason, at least for the way my mind works. (A mind drawn to brilliant colors like a magpie to shiny objects.) I picked this flower for its subtle but present color. Then, of course, I couldn't just have it sit in a lovely vase. I went around the house with the flower in mind. I spotted the abalone shell, a shell thought to be gloriously colorful, and liked the idea of showing how similar they are to one another. I wanted the idea and colors of the two organic things to commingle.

Next

Today's painting is begun, I'll leave the rest for a surprise later today. ;)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Whole Piece 4," Daily Painting # 35

"Whole Piece 4," Available (click here)
5" by 7"
Oils on Panel
Process

Oh the mustache! That unruly bugger was a load of fun to paint. Capturing the abstract qualities and personality of the coarse facial hair was a new experience. I've never painted facial hair this close up, so I played with deep purple shadows and green highlights to give it playfulness. Also, what better way to spend a day than to gaze at a smile! Painting this today perked me up.

For the Whole Piece painting series I want capture how much we read from just one facial feature. I look forward to painting the wrinkles in a brow and the subtleties of how the rest of a facial expression shift the shape of a nose. Looking at just one piece of an expression makes the viewer consider what the feature expresses in a new way, or at least that is what I hope it will do.

Next

Perhaps a lovely little flower. I have the most beautiful bouquet to inspire me. (My absolutely sweet husband brought me home flowers tonight! I am all smiles about it.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Whole Piece 3," Daily Painting # 34

"Whole Piece 3," Available (click here)
Oils on Panel
4" by 4"
Process

I'm excited to do more of these individual feature portraits. (See this post about the Whole Piece series.) My new panels that came in give me a perfect variety of shapes and sizes to play with different feature compositions. This was the first time I've painted on a tiny 4" by 4" panel which gave this painting an intimate feeling of interaction. The subtly of lighting in this piece was a challenge to capture while still including enough value shifts to maintain an interesting compositional flow.

Whole Piece Series Plans

I want to create a large body of these pieces and I'm interested in getting as much variety of features as possible. It would be exciting to get people from around the world to contribute their photos for this series. (*crossing my fingers*) If you are interested in getting a portrait of just one of your features please send me a very clear photo of your face or that feature and if the photo works for me I'll use it for one of these paintings. There is no obligation to buy the painting.

Please email me about the Whole Piece series photographs by email at ambergoulet@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Daily Painting # 33

Untitled
8" by 8"
Oils on Panel

One of Those Days

Today was filled with distractions and not feeling well, but I was determined not to break my daily painting challenge. I pushed through, and got a decently worked out painting as a result, but it isn't to the quality that I feel comfortable with selling. I am happy with some aspects of this painting, mostly the color choices and brushwork in the koala's arm. I'm proud I didn't break the challenge. 

Next

A productive day! I'm hoping for some bright color again. The search will begin in the morning. For now rest, so I will do better tomorrow!


Monday, September 16, 2013

"Light Sliver," Daily Painting # 32

"Light Sliver," Available (click here)

Oils on Panel

8" by 8"

Process

Today is a day when I had to accept that the process is important to go through to a finish even if the outcome is less than in our control. I've been feeling out of it all day. Perhaps I'm coming down with something. I was determined to work this painting out and so I did rather slowly. I'm most happy with the contrast between the mostly shadowed cooler space and the glory of warm last light on autumn leaves, which often stick around in CA into early winter. I think ultimately this painting could use simplification from the point of view of a clear head. Perhaps I'll be tempted to tweak it tomorrow. ;)

(Hopefully I can put up a better photo tomorrow too!)

Place

This is another painting from a photo I took on a hike on the Julian end of the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve. We went on a short hike there on a nippy early winter day. We were determined to go out even if we could only make it right before dark. It was still and sharply cold. We ventured off the path to explore an enormous oak tree. It was a moment that brought me clarity. The graphic quality of the clean line of color through the muted shadows fit that mood perfectly for me.

Next

An animal, I think. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a focused day. I'm excited that more panels in different sizes and shapes are arriving! I've only had 8" by 8" panels left for a little while now and I've been itching for a rectangular composition.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Observer," Daily Painting # 31

"Observer," Available (click here)
Oils on Panel
8" by 8"
Always Shifting

Whenever I see these jewel like birds in the aviary near the entrance of the Wild Animal Park they perch briefly, maybe peck and forage briefly, cock their head about and fly off to investigate the intriguing place they spotted. This bird perched a bit longer than usual studying the canopy overhead before flying off with another of her species following. I wanted to capture that focused thoughtful gaze in this painting, as I don't often see paintings of birds that are more than displays of beauty. I hope I achieved that aim.

Sadly I'm unsure of this bird's species. I'm gonna have to start writing these down as I take reference photos! Next time I'm at the Wild Animal Park I'll check, but in the meantime if you recognize the species I'd love to know.


Next

I believe I will do another landscape. I have some lovely moody photos to take advantage of. If not then another addition to my Whole Piece series. I hope to get two paintings done in one day sometime this week as I missed yesterday for a very happy family event. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Lightly Perched," Daily Painting # 30

"Lightly Perched," Available (click here)
Oils on Panel
8" by 8"
Something pretty and peaceful was painted in the end! :) This will be a short post as it is coming in under the wire after a much awaited dinner out with my hubby at a new restaurant with scrumptious food!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Whole Piece 2," Daily Painting # 29

"Whole Piece 2," Available (click here)Oils on Panel8" by 8"

Abstract Familiarity

I'm fascinated by the way that our understanding of the visual world when taken out of context can provoke a shift in our emotional response. Images that are familiar, friendly, or comforting become ambiguous. Exploring the concept of seeing faces as individual parts, that are whole on their own and aren't seen together as a whole, has taken me back to my interest in presenting images representationally while shifting the way the image is presented so that it is not familiar. I'm pursuing the idea that an image becomes somewhat abstract when its context is changed and because of that it does not allow the viewer to have a straightforward response. (See my face blindness post to further explore this topic.)

Next

Something... straightforward? Something pretty? Maybe. :) I certainly want to stay on the expressive color kick that these last two pieces have displayed. (I think I will do more individual facial feature paintings, but I'll take a break for now.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Whole Piece 1," Daily Painting # 28

"Whole Piece," Available (click here)Oils on Panel8" by 8"

Face Blindness

Yesterday I listened to Strangers in the Mirror, Radiolab (a podcast and radio show from NPR) while painting and it led me to ponder painting something inspired by people with face blindness. This morning I woke up at "the crack of dawn" determined to take photo reference of my early rising Dad before he got too busy with his day. Then I went onto to the errands of the day and finally towards the end of the day I was able to paint! I've managed to finish it just under the wire.

The podcast featured Chuck Close and Oliver Sacks, two people that inspire me and two people who have face blindness. My impressions is that for them faces are disparate elements, an expressive eye, a twitching mouth, a scrunched nose all dart through their minds but can't be seen as a whole. I wanted to give a sense of how each feature can seem odd but engaging when we concentrate on it in isolation from the rest of the face. I may do more of these individual feature paintings overtime.

Progress

I should be able to post a more accurate photo tomorrow. I pushed the color in this painting more than came out in this late night photo. But I've made it with no gaps through the first eleven days of Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days! I feel accomplished, though a bit tired. :P :) 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Golden Pasture," Daily Painting # 27

"Golden Pasture," Available (click here)
8" by 8"
Oils on Panel
Santa Ysabel in Bloom (last Spring)

I didn't end up focusing on the clouds themselves again, but I have been in love with the mood that clouds can imbue on a landscape. Perhaps that is because I'm already wishing for Fall in this heat and I know that I have months to go before Southern California will give in to cooler weather.

In the same valley as yesterday's painting this low spot always has the most blooms. I love the contrast between the overcast sky and cool distant field to the golden glow of the afternoon light on the wild mustard blooms. This valley is one of my favorite places in the world. It changes from month to month, holding onto blooms then greenery in this low spot longer than anywhere around in the dry season.

Hike Through the Painting

Just to the left of this painting on the higher ground of this vast field is the entrance to the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve where I have ventured into spaces like this rather than reveling in their views from the side lines. You can even meet the cattle that graze there in person, though I haven't gotten too close as I am the kind of person that recognizes their girth as powerful and respects it. :P ;) It is definitely worthy of a visit and a hike (It is steeper around this area than you might expect.).

Next

Something not a landscape I think. Though don't trust me, I'm in the mood to follow a whim.


Monday, September 9, 2013

"Diffuse Calm," Daily Painting # 26

"Diffuse Calm," Available (Click Here)
Oils on Panel
8" by 8"
Santa Ysabel in the Spring

On the lead up to my wedding last Spring I was making the drive through Santa Ysabel often in the most beautiful time of year. It was gloriously green with cool moist air and piles of clouds. On this day I let myself get distracted from wedding prep and pulled off the road to glory in the leisurely moving air and the quite around me.

Process

I played with a scraping technique to give the textured feel of the grass in the field. I also used a softer brush than the usual stiff bristol brushes that I prefer to capture some of the soft transitions in the clouds.

Next


Clouds! (I think?)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Betwixt," Daily Painting # 25

"Betwixt," Available (click here)
8" by 8"
Oils on Panel
Coulter Ridge

These golden clouds were hovering over the the gap between the desert well below and the distant mountains. The air was without moisture and air was rapidly cooling from the hot day as the light was already below the mountains behind me. It was so still, in a place that usually constantly whips wind with violence over the ridge to or from the desert. It felt as if I was so high that I was level with the clouds in peace.

Process

I focused on creating the dark cool mood. I kept my brushwork simple on the lower portion of the painting, so that the added texture and detail in the cloud's brushwork could sing.

Next

I would love to revel in some more glorious clouds. I'll see what I can come up with. :)


Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Unworried," Daily Painting # 24

"Unworried," Available (click here)

Oils on Panel

6" by 6"

Young Bighorn

Most times when I visit the bighorn sheep exhibit at the Wild Animal Park up on Condor Ridge I find a group of snoozing bighorns of various ages. They have the usual poses of many hoofed creatures resting, bodies relatively upright and necks curved to rest. I captured this image on a hot day, most of the animals were beating the heat by resting, some of the bighorns were even flaked out on their sides legs sprawled. But right in the middle of the enclosure, closer to us gawkers, was a juvenile bighorn carefully laying with legs tucked in and just his chin touching the boulder beneath him, his face was serene almost smiling and the heat did not seem to be stressing him at all. I'm happy to have witnessed this telling pose and to have studied it further in paint.

Process

All I can say is color! I focused on pushing color to enliven this subject. Okay, and I wanted to control the texture and quality o brushstrokes carefully, which I believe I achieved in the end after a bit of readjusting.

Next

Something boldly colorful I hope!

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Unabashed," Daily Painting # 23

"Unabashed," Available (click here)

Oils on Panel

8" by 8"


As I am not feeling well presently I'll save further description of this painting for a later edit of this post. For now I managed to finish the painting! See you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Lookout" Daily Painting # 22

"Lookout," Available (Click Here)

6" by 6"

Oils on Panel

Brilliant Blue Bird

"Lookout"

Side View

What captured my attention in this bird was that his coloring was bold and gorgeously chromatic and with that seemed to come a boldly stubborn personality. I remember he sat on that branch staring over his shoulder watching people watch him in the large open aviary much longer than he had to before flying away. He was beautiful, but not in a placid gaze in awe sort of way. No, he was beautiful and had personality. He wasn't a bauble. I didn't hear anybody else that was staring at him mention that aspect of his presence so I thought I'd show him respect here.

(Hopefully I'll have a better photo, without glare, for you all to see tomorrow.)

P.S. Does anybody know what kind of bird he is? I've seen him and others of his species before at the large aviary at the San Diego Zoo, but I've never learned their name. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"It Glows!" Daily Painting # 21

"It Glows!" Available (click here)
5" by 7"
Oils on Panel

Grover Returns

"It Glows!"
Side View for Texture

I said today's painting was going in to the unknown. What I didn't realize was that baby Grover was really the one going into the unknown. I've gone a bit potty over Grover and I couldn't help thinking of the adventures he might next pursue around my house. Here he has discovered how beautiful a candle can be. I imagine he climbed up like one might a palm tree, legs and arms wrapped around it gripping tightly and inching up to finally reach the top and feel the warmth on his nose as he used his nose to help him balance on the wax rim. (Of course, I warned him about not touching the flame or hot wax. Don't you worry.)

Process

The biggest challenge for this piece was the live flame wavering and melting the wax baby Grover was balancing on. I enjoying embellishing the melting wax portions of the candle with gobs of paint on the panel.

Next

Perhaps a face (human or otherwise)? I'm thinking Grover may have more adventures in the future as well. We shall all find out tomorrow. ;-)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Flying Practice," Daily Painting #20

"Flying Practice," Available (Click Here)

8" by 8"

Oils on Panel

Grover

I found a way to paint a muppet! I believe Grover rounds out my fuzzy trio nicely (pink lion, moth, and muppet). I had completely forgotten about my husband's old tiny stuffed Grover. He was up sitting on a shelf clutching a shriveled pumpkin (The story behind Grover and the pumpkin's relationship is convoluted and will be saved for later.) His proportions are a bit different than we usually see on Sesame Street (not to mention this guy is tiny) so with his big head, short limbs, and more rounded body I believe he is a younger Grover. Here he is still daydreaming about becoming Super Grover. The only thing I missed was that amazing nubbly fur that Grover has on Sesame Street. Oh well.

Here is a favorite Grover clip of mine, I watched it earlier to get inspiration.

Next

The unknown...

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Green Sphinx," Daily Painting #19

"Green Sphinx," Available (Click Here)

 5" by 7" 

Oils on Panel

Pacific Green Sphinx Moth

I find myself at a loss to explain why moths are both beautiful and fuzzy but alien and creepy. I think we may all feel tricked by the fuzziness. Most of the time we associate the word fuzzy with kit rabbits, kittens, puppies, chicks, and teddy bears (especially teddy bears featured in fabric softener ads – click only if you dare). It is uncomfortable for us to face that creatures other than mammals can have that cuddly feature we call fuzz, like tarantulas, wolf spiders, and moths.

Unlike butterflies their bodies are big enough that we can't just look at them as colorful floating baubles. We see their insect eyes. 

I find myself drawn to their alien qualities. Because I don't instinctually understand them I can't stop staring, so I paint. 

Process

In this painting I wanted to capture the different surface textures. I like the differences between the brushwork on the surface the moth is perching on, the moth's fuzzy body, and the moth's wings. I also wanted the moth's unreadable face to be clearly noticeable, so that the viewer can't help but be drawn in to trying to understand it. Finally, I pushed the color for mood and visual interest.

Next

I do wish I had met a muppet at some point in my life. If I had taken a photo of a muppet I'm sure I would have painted it tomorrow. I like the idea of a large lion puppet, a moth, and a muppet being the subject of three consecutive paintings. 

As it stands I have no idea what is coming next, but I'm excited to start.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Pink Lion," Daily Painting #18

"Pink Lion," Available (click here)

7" by 5"

Oils on Panel

The Lion Dance

The reference photo I used for this painting was taken at the first lion dance I have witnessed in person at this past Chinese New Year in front of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. These giant puppets always looked strange and playful to me in photographs with so much texture and detail to take in, but they feel much more like a bizarre animal interaction in person. The giant blank eyes that occasionally blink and the mixture of loping movement and athletic moves are impressive but the true disorientation occurs when the face is so close to you that you can't take it all in. That feeling of being confronted by an uncanny alien is what I was interested in conveying.

Next

The alien features of this fuzzy mask remind me of a particularly fuzzy moth, which then reminded me that I have a lovely photo of a fuzzy green moth. This green moth I have a photo of isn't extremely fuzzy or that alien looking but he's up next!
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