Monthly Archives: October 2011

More Imaginary people – drawing on book pages


“He Was His Mother’s Favorite”

Oil pastel, watercolor, graphite, gouache on muslin 5 x 6 inches

I am so loving doing these little paintings using Lynne’s technique!  I feel like its magic the way a face sort of appears on the page, and I love doing the eyes.  This is a great learning experience for larger paintings too.  I feel like each one I do I learn something new about painting the human face – and the expressions just amaze me since I don’t know beforehand what they are going to say!

“Elv” (from Alice Hoffman’s The Story Sisters)

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, graphite on vintage book page


Imaginary People I know – drawing on book pages


“Homecoming Hopeful”

Gouache, oil pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 5 inches

“Hopeful’s Sister”

Gouache, oil pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 5 inches

“Barb was always right…”

Gouache, oil pastel, colored pencil, watercolor, graphite on vintage book page  4 x 5 inches

First of all let me say thank you to Lynne Hoppe for her generous tutorial on her techniques for the amazing faces she produces.  I tried it and found that I loved working with her technique.  I never know what little face and expression is going to happen until it appears (like magic) on the page.  I used very small pages, but this would work with larger paper too, not necessarily pages from old books. its just that old books sometimes have very nice paper for oil pastel and graphite.  I used a falling apart volume of “Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – there is a gift inscription in the front that says Christmas 1898.  If the pages hadn’t been falling out, and the spine only partially there I wouldn’t have had the bravado to use the pages – its difficult to get past those early childhood warnings about never coloring,  marking, or tearing a book!  But these were very nice little paper! just right for drawing on.  I also found it interesting where certain words on the page fell into the drawing.  On Home Coming the word ‘smith’ suggest teeth or orthodontia.  On “Barb” the words ‘are to’ on on her upper lip – which would have been even more perfect if it were ‘are too’ which would reinforce her argumentative nature – but you see what I mean!


The Guardians – Red Riding Hood


“The Guardians-Red Riding Hood”

Watercolor on scrap wood with plaster 7 x 18 inches

Once upon a time. . .  In the forest where the great wolf roamed, the trees stood guard over the small creatures who lived in the wood.  The wolf was well aware of these powerful tree spirits and did his hunting beyond this enchanted forest…

I have been experimenting with plaster over wood, and although it requires a different technique of painting than I am familiar with, I am growing more accustomed to the way the plaster soaks up the paint as it dries almost immediately, but with the watercolor it can be re-wet and moved around as necessary.  I do  not like the appearance of acrylic on this substrate, it looks plastic and too shiney, so I chose to use watercolor.  The wolf is done in graphite and charcoal.  The graphite has a silvery sheen on the plaster, and I found I liked it for this part of the painting.  I contemplated putting a layer of beeswax over this painting, but since I have not figured out how to do that properly yet, I will leave it as is.  I can always add that later!




Red Riding Hood

Acrylic on canvas 11 x 14 inches

I saw this movie recently, Red Riding Hood, and the luscious fairy tale cinematography really caught my imagination.  I have always  loved fairy tales, and this one seemed just right to try painting a few of those fleeting still shots from the film, and my own imagination!  This was a difficult painting for me — I used Golden’s gel medium “Fibre Paste” as a texture layer – not so good for this kind of a painting.  It dried to a really hard finish that looked something like 1950’s California stucco.  I couldn’t even sand it away.  I probably should have started a new canvas, but I was already partially invested in the painting before I realized it was going to be an issue.  The plastic surface was the thing that really put me off.  On the jar it says “A flexible film with a handmade paper appearance.  Use as a texture or as a ground on canvas or board.”   I liked the idea of a handmade paper appearance – but that isn’t what it looked like at all, and I kept thinking I could make it better somehow.  No.  It made all the acrylic layers turn very patent leathery, and I kept trying to sand them off, I tried matte medium, I tried all my tricks for decreasing the inherent plastic look of acrylic, which I usually do not have a problem manipulating into a less plastic looking surface.  I can only assume it was the “Fiber Paste” ground layer.  Anyway – this looks about as good as its going to look.  I can’t seem to figure out why they call it a “look of handmade paper?”  Doesn’t look like any handmade paper I’ve ever seen.  So I gave up painting and just attacked it vigorously with sandpaper.  I do kind of like how the sandpaper made the stucco look like snow, I thought that was kind of neat.  Anyway, I’m working on some other paintings in this theme without the ” handmade paper” look.  Now I’m trying encaustic, just a clear layer of beeswax – this hasn’t worked out to well for me either — you will see what I mean in my next post!

PS:  Do visit Michele’s blog to see her really powerful images of Red Riding Hood – her’s are so beautiful I am totally inspired and a little daunted – she is an amazing artist!