Unexpected Results

I’ve been experimenting with little canvases and fauvism, a style of art I love.  I love the work of Portland, OR, artist Trina Hesson, who, among other things, does faces on small canvases and boards.

I like not being limited to the local color.  But I’ve felt many of my attempts at using unrealistic color always made the painting look like a big old mess.

With these little canvases, 5×7″, I’ve started out without any real goals, except to play with color.  The size is non-threatening.  I like the idea of being free of skin tones.  When I was making fabric sculptures, I hardly ever used skin tones.  They could be any race, they could be just figures anyone could identify with.

dream guide
Dream Guide

With these little paintings, I’ve used mostly dark colors:

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Let Your Dreams Guide You
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Peer Pressure
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Is there a color that would make me safe?

I decided this week to work with lighter colors.   It was a terrible week — shootings, ICE arrests, and a deepening feeling of division around me.  So much unnecessary sorrow.  I’m shocked almost daily by  how well the “divide and conquer” political strategy still works.  I also had a discussion with a person I know who has a very rigid attitude about who is to blame and why.  That all crept into my latest 5×7″:

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If you just admitted I was right, we wouldn’t have these problems!

I use art as a window or a door into the imagination and out of this fragmented world.  I don’t often do directly political pieces, but it’s hard not to.   I hope this one is political and humorous.  Her frustration that people don’t see she’s right.  The imperious stare over the glasses — a look many of us of a certain age look out at the world with.  It makes me laugh.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately.  What do you think?

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New Painting – Summer Dreams

Plants are just beginning to bud, the brown earth breaking open to delicate green blades working their way into sunlight.  But I am dreaming of summer.

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Summer Dreams by Joy Murray, acrylic and ink on canvas, 8×10″

I think it could be hung vertically or horizontally.  It was inspired by this sketch:

doodle

 

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Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here, and  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

 

 

How to Mix Skin Tones

How to make realistic skin tones is one of the challenges of painting people.   It took me awhile to realize that there is no real formula.  You can mix every tone or color from the primaries red, yellow, and blue in watercolor.  With acrylic paint, a bit of black and white helps.   However, if you’re too realistic, you lose something.  A painting that’s like a photograph, or in my case, more like a doll.  Monotones and no personality.   I’ve learned to  paint using lots of colors and layers and collage.  I’ve learned a lot from Gwenn Seemel on how to look and react to skin color and the dynamism of the human face.  I’m trying to learn how to paint the light that shines forth from every being, and the prism of their personality.

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I also like using no color at all, keeping color and race out of the picture:

12 bus stop

 

 

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St Foster Keeper of Stolen Wisdom

But I like to use a mixture of every color, too.  It’s amazing to me how many tones and shades can be made by mixing and layering color.

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One of the things I liked about working with fabric sculptures years ago is that I didn’t have to use skin tones at all.  The figures could be any race, any body.

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Dream Guide

I’ve experimented lately with some fauvism in my journal:

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I think the hardest thing to learn is that there is no “right” way to mix skin tones, you have to develop your vision, and the way you interpret life is your own — a blend of your skills, your materials, and your vision.

My mistakes teach me so much, if I look at them as teaching tools, instead of mistakes.

When I work in acrylic, I use a parchment paper palette and I store it on moist paper towels in a sealed plastic box, my own stay wet palette.  I got this system from this video by art teacher Ron Leger:

When the paper and paint start to show signs of age, I use up all the paint by just doing intuitive painting for back grounds and other projects.

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I dripped leftover paint on this long canvas, then mixed a purple gray with the rest for another background.  It helps to have a few “beginnings” around the studio.  They speak to me, eventually and a painting gets started.

My last palette had all the colors I’ve used mixing skin tones on it.  As I was thinking about skin tones, I had to think about race and all the tension that continues to plague the world over skin color.

I have enjoyed looking through the Humanae Project by Anjelica Dass who is photographing all the skin tones she can find in a very eye opening project that speaks to our uniqueness and the wide range of colors that can’t be contained by simple reductive terms of race.

Still we fight and we have difficulties understanding the world.  Skin color is an easy way to draw lines between people.  It makes it easy for those who would manipulate us for their own gain to turn us against each other.  Skin color, race, identity are all volatile and vibrant ideas that swirl around our communities and countries.

So I took all these ideas, and all the  colors on my palette and made this piece:

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How do you mix skin tones? by Joy Murray, 8×10″, Acrylic and collage on canvas

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What do you think?

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Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here, and  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

 

I just can’t explain it

I started this piece when the first freeze came and I knew I wouldn’t get any more blooms.  It was supposed to be about me holding too hard onto summer, but then it kept asking for revisions (artwork does talk to you) and it became about something else — acceptance, deterioration,  rebirth — so many metaphors swirled around and defied explanation.  After a month of working on it off and on, it’s finally finished.

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I finally figured it all out I just can’t explain it, 8×10″ mixed media on canvas

What do you think?

~~~

Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on Instagram@joymurrayart and Twitter @joymurrayhere.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.