All art copyright (c) Mike Kloepfer
"The level of achievement that we have at anything is a reflection of how well we were able to focus on it."
-Steve Vai

Friday, February 25, 2011

Still life

Testing out some new brushes:

It was a great opportunity to test out my new Princeton 6300 series brushes. They are recommended in the book Brushwork Essentials by Mark Christopher Weber. He uses water-soluble oils, and he mentions in his book that these synthetic bristle brushes are preferable to natural-hair bristle brushes:
"All the natural hairs absorb water, which reduces their strength and spring to varying degrees... For this reason they become more difficult to use with water-soluble oils if you thin with too much water or rinse as you paint. Bristles in particular swell up and become unmanageable mops."
"The synthetics are nonabsorbent, so their spring and shape are little affected by water when thinning water-soluble oils."
"The Princeton 6300 series is an exceptional brush, having the strength and durability of a good bristle and at the same time coming to a point as fine as many a sable. "

This may explain some of the problems I have been having with the painting process. I work mainly in acrylic, but I am striving for a more traditional oil-painting look, feel and finish.
Acrylic presents the same problem with natural-hair bristle brushes as with water-soluble oils. My bristle brushes have swelled up and are unable to get a fine point. No wonder I have been struggling!
The idea was sound: to get results similar to oils, use similar techniques and similar brushes. The problem was with the way the natural bristles absorb the water and eventually become unusable for anything but scrubbing.
I may be able to get the desired results with Acrylic, but I will need to adjust some of the painting process to take advantage of its inherent capabilities, and to avoid struggling to try to make Acrylic behave in ways it isn't designed to.
The lesson?
Know your materials and adjust the working process to attain the desired results.
So far, I am pleased with the way these brushes handle and their capabilities. I am excited to continue using them and see if this helps resolve at least one of the difficulties I have been encountering with painting.

Acrylic, ~4x5"
(This is one of the advantages of working in a place that sells floral supplies. )

Speaking of materials, I also picked up some new mediums and additives, and will be experimenting with them to adjust the drying time, the viscosity, and the transparency of the Acrylic paint.
This is an exciting time to be a painter - there are so many new materials out there to try!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lilith - a 'personality' portrait

I have been wanting to 'get back to basics' and return to what I love to do at the most basic level, which is drawing and portraits.
I chose this photo by JoSchwab on Deviant ART (no longer posted in the gallery) for the excellent top-lighting which reveals the form beautifully, the organic randomness of the hair, and the directness/intensity of the expression; (there is no 'glamour' pretense about this, or any of JoSchwab's photos for that matter. )

I liked the idea of treating the hair as a painter would - not as individual strands and locks, but as masses of form and shape, interacting with light.

02/18/11 Here is the drawing so far:

Graphite and carbon on gray Canson paper, ~6x9"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daily Drawings



Exploring and developing ideas...

I set a goal to do short drawings regularly; to sharpen my skills, coordination and perception.
Also, to warm up before diving in to my longer, more involved pieces, and to 'get the mojo flowing' so to speak...

Please forgive the image quality - I am using the webcam on my laptop.