Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dee-licious too

Boyed up by my success with "Dee-licious" I went home and drew the design for "Dee-licious too." The idea and the title, thought up by Brenda, was clever - a tulip pot with one large tulip blossom and a bunch of stalks. But looking back, I realize I didn't think carefully enough about the background. I just thought I would do a sort of soft glow around the tulip blossom.


Big mistake! House paints don't actually work that way. You can't get from orange to purples in a nice smooth way. Here is "Dee-licious too"  through the window, after one day of painting. I took a photo so that I could work on it at home to improve the design.


Here is the new design. The halo around the blossom is replaced with the same turquoise, blue and purple  that is on the first banner.(BTW, I did this by using "Paint" software to touch up my photo.)

Big mistake! When I started to make the changes on the actual banner, Brenda told me that I could not add that much paint. Too much paint and the banner might crack.  Darn it! A horrid design or a cracked banner?

Here is St Tulip, the "martyr en la jardin" at the end of day 3.Darn halo!

Here it is today - the end of day 4. I still do not like the halo. If only I had made the background either blueish or yellowish. Either colour would have worked - but not both. .

Tomorrow will be my last painting day. All I have left to do is outline the blossom, paint the bottom part black (where the Nanaimo Art Gallery Logo will go) and check for any unpainted areas. I am pleased with the outlining so far - but a bit uncertain about how to outline the petals.  I think the best thing will just be to go around the  whole blossom and not try to distinguish the petals even a tiny bit. I'll do thicker lines around the bottom of the flower and leave it at that.

I realize the lesson I was supposed to learn from banner painting was "do it and let it go". That is a good lesson for a person like me who keeps hoping for a "happy accident" to make her paintings really zing. The other lesson I learned was that I need to create an initial design that will actually work with the medium. Next year, if I do another banner, no shading! I'll go for the true Norval Morriseau stained glass window look. Maybe, in the meantime, I'll try working with acrylics on a regular canvas ...

Dee-licious - done

Here is how my first banner, called "Dee-licious" turned out. I was really happy with it. The design and choice of colours really worked. Lots of people talked to me about the deer eating their tulips - so the story worked too.

The hardest part was shading the background from turquoise through blue to purple - but the space was broken up by tulips - so not too hard. The other hard part was doing the black lines around everything. Some of the banner makers seem not to want to put black outlining on their banners. In contrast, I knew black outlining would really add to the design. But it was hard to do it neatly. My hands were not completely steady and the banner material moved away when I pressed on it. I eventually realized that the lines would not be perfect and did the best I could.From a distance it looks great.

So with that great success behind me, I agreed to do a second banner to go with it on the same lamp post.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 14 - Making a Banner

On Thursday I went to see my mentor, Penny Maday. She is so encouraging. One thing she suggested  was to make a banner for the Nanaimo Festival of Banners (sponsored by the Nanaimo Art Gallery).

The theme for the 2013 banners is "Creative City." Penny said the nice thing about doing a banner is that you do it and you let it go. No fiddling around after to "fix it,"  I wasn't sure I actually wanted to make a banner and "let it go," because it will hang somewhere in Nanaimo for the whole summer.What if it needs fixing?

Nonetheless, Mike and I went up to the Nanaimo North Mall where an empty store has been set up for banner painting. What a fabulous place. Banners were strung up on about 20 large frames and people of all ages were painting their banners. For the really big banners, people were standing on stools to reach the top. The colours were gorgeous and the paintings were terrific. I learned that to make a banner, you  first make a 4x8 cartoon for the banner. Then the people running the festival copy the image onto banner material. After that you paint it with acrylic house paint.  I got an entry form and started to think about a subject.

In the end I decided to do a banner of a deer eating tulips. I think this subject represents lots of things about "creative cities" -  gardeners' attempting to make a lovely garden,  deer attempting to find something to eat, and the city council attempting to sort out the inevitable conflict!

On Saturday, I found some photos of deer on the internet and made a drawing. Then I spent the rest of the day trying to fit the deer and some tulips into a 4x8 space. Eventually I had a drawing that I liked. I coloured it in a few different ways and ended up with this:

I think it is cute and cheery and tells a story. The black tulip was a late addition and will be valentine's red in the final version  I'm booked for painting next Thursday and Friday. I'll make a post next weekend about how this  goes!

My oldest grandson has made banners where he lives. I hope, if reads this, that he will give me some useful banner-making advice!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nanaimo Boat Basin - May 2012

I think I have finished this painting, started last year, of the Nanaimo Boat Basin .

At first I thought this painting would be of Nanaimo's Port Theatre - and the theatre is there. However, the boats have now become the real focus - with the theatre in the middle background and Mount Benson clearly in the distance - bringing it all together. 

Last week I changed some of the colours  from a lot of pink and orange to a more blue-pink-grey look. I think it works much better because even on the brightest spring day, Nanaimo never really looks orange. After all - iti was the pink of the cherry blossoms against the green of the theatre windows which first attracted me - and there they are - picked up by the pink bumpers on the old trollers and reflections in the water. Quite nicely composed I think. A bit effervescent - on purpose.

Political statement - I am calling it May 2012 because the Boat Basin is going to be completely rebuilt by a private company and I don't suppose it will look this way next spring.

Artistic license - I added 2 cherry trees and simplified the parkade, etc. to right of the theatre. Also - kayak is totally fabricated - but I think it works.

I am hoping to have a consultation with my mentor and then put this painting in the Port Theatre on April 16.