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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Aspen Tree Paintings

I have never thought of my self as an aspen tree type of artist until I took my palette knife out. And then it was a completely different story. A palette knife freed me from so many inborn tendencies to make straight lines and consistent edges with aspens. I also had fun with color and texture.
Vanguard
10x10", Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c)2014

. Here is a step by step example of how I painted my second one.


Stage 1: Preparing the canvas. Tinting the canvas with a neutral color of ultramarine blue mixed with burnt umber toned down the bright white surface and enabled me to see my colors more realistically.
Once the canvas was completely tinted and dry I was ready to begin.

Stage 2: The underpainting. With this first layer I composed the background with three different shades of blues and purples. I worked quickly to blend since acrylic dries fairly fast even with a paint medium mixed in.
Stage 3: Painting in the trees. I chose ultramarine blue to lightly paint in the shapes of the aspens.

...And then I added a layer of white.
Stage 4: Using the palette knife. Once I had the underpainting of the trees in place it was time to apply the rest of the paint with a palette knife. The very nature of aspen trees gives me the freedom to interpret them with very few restrictions.
Whisper
8x8", Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c)2014

Both of these paintings will be at G44 Gallery's annual Holiday Show, November 21-December 24. There will be forty-four artists represented. All work is for sale. If you are in the area I hope you can stop by.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Draw Every Day

The thought of drawing every day used to overwhelm me.  Perhaps it was because an art professor in college once told me that every artist should draw at least two hours a day. He did draw and he was good at it. But did I really want to devote that much time to it each day? No. And so I didn't. Painting takes up most of my time. It was a good excuse.

I really wanted to draw though so I started out with lower expectations than the two hour challenge. What if I drew for 5 minutes, or ten. Or maybe at the most 30 minutes? Surely I could carve 15 minutes out of my day for drawing. Plus, it became self motivating when I was giving out sketch books like the art fairy to my adult children (who are artists) and challenging them to draw. And then when my son, Adam, challenged me to a drawing a day, I had to walk the talk.

I've heard it takes 3 weeks to develop a new habit. Now, almost 2 months later, if I don't take a few minutes out of my day to sketch something, I miss it. There is satisfaction in the doing. My eyes are getting stronger. I'm training them to see form, shape and shadow with confidence and much more quickly. To speed things up I usually use a pen so that I don't take time to erase and try and make it better.

I encourage you to draw. Don't let it become a big deal. Make it fun; draw what you like and what inspires you. It doesn't have to be perfect. If you only have 3 minutes, take 3 minutes. Keep it simple. And you don't have to show anyone unless you want to.

Here are some samples of what I have been drawing. Below each sketch is my inspiration for drawing it.
I like to think of each new day as a blank canvas. An opportunity to start anew with fresh ideas, hope and expectations for great things to happen. (I set up a miniature easel and canvas on my table.)
One of my favorite old paintbrushes.
A feather floated off the table where my husband ties flies.

My favorite honey jar.
I enjoyed a few minutes outside on a warm October day looking up at this small tree branch.
This is one of the last jars of canned peaches that I put up last summer. I hadn't canned peaches in years.
I attended my granddaughter's birthday party. I sketched quickly before the candles were lit. I gave her the sketch as an extra little gift.
I've been trying to drink more lemon water.
My Christmas cactus bloomed early this year. I loved the strong lines and bright red color. Drama.