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.

 

 

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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.

dream guide
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.

A Bird Told Me

Yesterday I got a chance to work on art almost all day long.  It was a rare event and I savored it.  When I was working on my illustrations for the video Never Going Back to the Gravity by Mad July, I didn’t have time to work on my own illustrations, but I still worked in my journal.  I write in the morning and sketch when I get the chance.

In March there were a few times when I was in meetings or on a long bus ride and I got to do some stream of consciousness sketches.   It was interesting to me to see how little scribbles turned into visual narratives of a sort.  There was  no set direction and no goal.  A different sort of energy comes into play than what would happen if I was drawing from life where I get super focused and aware of the world around me.  In these, I became more aware of the world within me.

Three of them, I am developing into painting.  All of them speak to reconnection with the natural world.  This one became the painting I posted last week:

Pencil and colored pencil
Spring Redemption

 This one:

Became this new painting:

A Bird Told Me, watercolor, ink, pencil, colored pencil on 300 lb Arches paper treated with absorbent ground gesso

These drawings and paintings helped me move forward a bit with my art.  The Spring Redemption painting took three tries to get the face the way I wanted.  After the first try failed, I decided to paint over it with Daniel Smith’s absorbent ground gesso.  It covered the first painting fairly well although there was still a shadow.  When I painted, though, the paint bleed outside the lines I had drawn.  It was not a happy accident.  I don’t mind loosening up when the watercolor won’t let me have my way, but I wanted subtle use of color.  I got a fresh piece of Arches Paper and everything went well the third time around.

The paper that failed me got another 2 coats of absorbent ground.  I purposely made brush strokes for texture.  Since I knew the paint might bleed, I paid attention to edges and stopped before I reached them and let the paint settle.  It mostly happened with very wet applications. 

I painted the dress of the woman in real lapis lazuli paint from Daniel Smith.  It’s a duller blue that ultra marine, but I like that it’s “real,” and provides for me a little history and earthiness to this woman who is listening to nature sing.

The next sketch I’m turning into a painting is a bit more abstract and I’ll show that hopefully next week, if I can keep carving out painting time. 

Life is good.

All comments and shares are welcome.

Thanks for stopping by.

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