Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Painting this week ;-(

OK, it's been a bit of a crazy week and after work, then coming home to water the garden, feed the bunnies, feed myself, check up on all my web stuff, I have just been falling into bed. So I haven't got in any painting time. I did however, manage to make two calendars over on Zazzle using some past art, so here they are. If I get any thing done Friday morning I'll add it in, but not holding my breath!

Rock Art Dogs 2012 calendar
Rock Art Dogs 2012 by maryhysong
See more Dog Calendars

I used a lot of the rock art dogs I did back in the spring for this Rock Art Dogs calendar. And for the Cats calendar, I picked some of my favorites from my 30 Cats in 30 Days challenge from last January and February. There were a couple that were just not a good length x width ratio that I had to leave out though.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Italian Sunflowers

Italian Sunflowers, 18x24 acrylic on canvas
All right, was a very busy weekend with 2 birthdays parties, one Sat. and one Sun. And with my daughter and her 3 girls spending the night Sat. night.

But I did manage to finish the Sunflowers. At least I'm going to declare them finished because if I keep mucking about I'm liable to ruin them.

Besides I'm getting the itch to try them in watercolor.....

In the meantime I've added some of my photographs to items in my Zazzle shop.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Sunflowers, 18x24 work in progress
I have been working on these sunflowers some more this week. It is hard to find just the right shadow color for the big one that is back lit. I've tried several things and am still not quite happy with it.

I'm also really noticing a distortion from my camera; I'm getting a 'fish eye' sort of look, this shot isn't too bad but on some it has been real noticeable. I'm sure it's just a camera setting or something. Will just have to play with it some more.

I'm using Chroma's Atelier Interactive Acrylics. I like how I can blend one layer into the next, but I am giving some serious consideration to trying out some of the new water miscible oils. If you have tried them, please tell me what you like or don't like about them, or if  you prefer one brand over another and why.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Sunflowers, 18x24 work in progress
One day in Italy we were driving to Sarnano to see the Carlos Crivelli exhibition and as we came around a corner we happened on a field of sunflowers in full bloom. Working from a photograph I took, here they are.

First I drew them, them went over the drawing with diluted regular black acrylic, adding some shading.

Sunflowers, 18x24 acrylic on canvas, work in progress

After the that I washed Raw Sienna over the canvas, lifting out some of the areas that should be the lightest.

Sunflowers, 18x24 acrylic on canvas, work in progress

Here I've begun working on the sky, mostly Cerulean and white with touches of French Ultramarine and Cobalt.

Sunflowers, 18x24 acrylic on canvas, work in progress

Then I darkened it at the top with more Cobalt. I went over the lightest petals of the main flower with white.

I've used some burnt umber and nearly every yellow in my paint box to start on the flowers. Slowly working my way down the canvas.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bell Peppers

Tonight I decided to try out some more of the handmade paper that I bought at the paper making museum in Fabriano. This is colored a light green and has a smooth side and a rough side. I used the rough side. This quick study of bell peppers was done in Atelier Interactive acrylics. I didn't use much water with them because the paper is pretty thin and I didn't want it to buckle.

This one is done on the same paper with soft pastels and pastel pencils. I don't have a large selection of pastels so I don't have a lot of colors to work with, this was about the best I could do with what I have.

These were inspired by the exhibition I saw in Ascoli of Giulio Gabreielli's (1832-1910) work. He mostly used guache or oil on paper and worked in small sizes. It was really cool to see his little sketchbooks. Also very cool was the fact that many of the buildings and landscapes he painted are still there, in some cases little changed from when he painted them. The exceptions are the additions of electric lines and the exchange of donkeys and horses for cars and motorbikes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Early Morning in Montidinove, finished

Early Morning Montidinove, left side
Early Morning Montidinove, right side

Well I think I am about finished. If you are just joining me, this is an Early Morning in Montidinove, Italy.  Each diptych panel is 12x24 inches, Atelier Interactive acrylics on canvas. I have posted the panels as separate photos so you can click on them and see them larger than if I posted them in one photo together.

Now out to do a little gardening while I think about the next one!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Early Morning in Montidinove, almost finished

Early Morning Montidinove, work in progress
I think I am nearly finished with this. Here I've straitened up some bits on the pink and white buildings. The perspective isn't quite right on them but I'm going to leave it. I did raise the street in front of the pink building and it does look better now.

Before I washed that right hand building with the purple mix I had coated it with binder medium so it wouldn't lift the layers under neath. Unfortunately the medium is a bit shiney so now I'm getting some glare. Also the area is a little darker than this in real life. 

Early Morning in Montidinove Work in Progress

Early Morning Montidinove work in progress
Here I've been working on the cobblestone street and small details here and there.

Early Morning Montidinove

I wanted the foreground building on the right to be in a darker shadow (and it actually is darker than it's showing up here) so I washed over the whole area with a mixture of Indigo (blue-black) and Quinacridone Red Violet. I then restated the texture. I also adjusted the perspective of the window sills. Then painted over the shrubs and flowers.

The dark shadow area on the street is not black but a combination of Indigo and Burnt Umber. For the cobblestones in that area I just added white. For the cobblestones in the sunny areas I washed the street with a lighter mix of the cobblestone color, then lightened it up with Titanium White and Naples yellow to add the cobblestone texture.
I brightened up the pink house a bit with Vermillion+Titanium White and added some white to lighten up the house next to it.

I see a few more bits I need to tweek, mostly small details but I am very pleased with how this painting is turning out.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Early Morning in Montidinove Street Scene

Early Morning in Montidinove  work in progress
I have begun  a painting from one of my photographs, an early morning street in Montidinove. This is a diptych, each panel is 12x24 inches.

First I drew most of it out in pencil. I skipped all the modern electric lines and street signs. Then I went over it in diluted acrylic.

Early Morning in Montidinove, work in progress

Then I toned the canvas with diluted raw sienna.

Early Morning in Montidinove, work in progress

Then I worked on the shading with diluted burnt umber. All of this was done with regular fast drying acrylics.

Early Morning in Montidinove work in progress

Then I broke out my Chroma Atelier acrylics. These are acrylics that can be re-wet and reworked even when touch dry. I like how the new layers of paint melt into the first layers. I think it builds up the color nicer than with regular acrylics.

Here I've begun on the sky, at the very top is a little cobalt blue.

Early Morning in Montidinove work in progress

Then I began adding Cerulean mixed with a little Titanium white as I begin going down the sky, adding more and more white as I go, going back and forth blending it in.

Early Morning in Montidinove work in progress

Towards the bottom of the sky I added a touch of Naples Yellow. Here I've also begun laying in some local color and suggesting the wall textures.

Early Morning Montidinove, work in progress

I continue to work from back to front, adding color and texture. Here I've also smoothed out the sky a little more.

Early Morning Montidinove work in progress

Here I've begun work on some of the background and mid-ground details like the flower pots. I have now covered the entire canvas with at least one layer of the Atelier paint.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Italian Sketchbook

Church in Pescara, watercolor
Happy PPF a bit early! I have to work early in the morning, so thought I would get this posted before I go to bed tonight. Finally photographed my sketchbook from Italy, pitiful showing for two and a half weeks, though we were busy going here and there! And I have over 3,000 photographs to work from in the future.

Most of these are from a lovely 8x10 sketch book that John gave us when we arrived at The Retreat. It took the watercolor surprisingly well, with minimal buckling.

Street in Force, watercolor & ink

Fountain in Vittoria, pencil
Grape study, watercolor
Ivy takes a nap at the beach, pencil
Archway, Montifortino, watercolor

Force, pen & ink
rustico at dawn, watercolor
The beach at San Georgio, pencil


San Taddeo, watercolor

Field of Sunflowers

View of Montifortino from Mt. Sibillini

Wine Jugs, the big one is about 35 litres or more

water study, 16x20 handmade paper watercolor
San Taddeo, 16x20, handmade paper, watercolor

These last two, San Taddeo and the water study are done on luscious handmade paper that I bought at the paper making museum, made right there. They have a rough surface and a lot of sizing so they barely buckled when I did the big sky washes. I don't usually go for rough paper, but this was great for the stone texture. I bought about 20 large and 20 small sheets, along with some sheets that are colored but not as thick. I haven't tried them all out yet. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Montifortino & Italian Scorpions

Italian Scorpion, about 3 inches long
I did not realize before this trip that Italy had scorpions and they are bigger and uglier than the ones we have here at home, I killed this one after I took his picture. Fortunately no one was stung.

On Tuesday morning we headed over to Montifortino, a hill town right on the edge of the Sibillini National Park. The Sibillini's are part of the Appenines, or Italian Alps. I am told that deep in the park is a glacier and that the glacier melt is what is piped to the houses and also sold as bottled water.

Town gate, Montifortino

church window, Montifortino

We parked below the town gate and hiked up to the top of the town. There was an empty church with this unusual brick treatment.

church door, Montifortino
Farther along there was another church, this one seemed to be in the process of restoration. Here you can see the original size of the doorway and how it was bricked in and made smaller.  This is very common in doors and windows in buildings all over.  There was a pretty park like area around this church and we were going to sit and draw. However, a quick black snake darted along and that made Elise quite nervous so we walked back down the hill into the more populated area.

buildings in Montifortino, note the recycling bins on the street

view from Montifortino towards Sibillini Mts.

Montifortino, laundry

If you live in town you hang your laundry out from your windows, like this.

Montifortino, base of the wall around the town

As we left Montifortino we drove around the base of the town.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We Find a Roman Temple

On Monday we just took a drive, taking this road and that. First we ended up in Montidinove, another typical hill town.

piazza, Montidinove


View from Montidinove

street, Montidinove
garden, Montidinove

Later we drove down the coast to Pesaro and had a bite to eat. We stopped for a bit along the beach for a snack and some sketching. We drove up the coast aways, then headed back inland.

We followed some signs for an archaeological park, which was closed, but I was able to take some photos through the fence.

As usual, nothing was in English, but I looked it up later online. Apparently this is still under investigation, but it is a Roman Temple site from around 1st-2nd century AD. But they don't know to what deity it was dedicated yet.

Farther up the hill is a little town, Monti Rinaldo. The place looked half deserted, especially since it was siesta time. Even accounting for that a lot of the buildings were empty and the windows boarded up or shuttered.

Monti Rinaldo

Monti Rinaldo
After leaving Monti Rinaldo we were headed home and decided to stop by a little 'rustico', a tumble down house for some sketching. The old houses stand up pretty well until the roof tiles start coming off in the winter winds. Then the roof slowly gives way. In the meantime ivy and even trees gain a little foot hold in the walls where eventually their roots push the rocks out of place and the walls start to come down. In a hundred years or so there may not be too much left to even show there was a house here.

We made one last stop at a little vineyard near the Retreat for some pictures of the ripening grapes.