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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Wisdom of Children

   Children, suffer those who say, "Yes, I knew it all at that age too." Chances are, they never grew out of it.  We adults and elders who would teach you what we have forgotten, and what you and all of us were born knowing, are still learning and relearning. Be patient with us, because we fear you'll make our mistakes and feel our pain. We once knew too of simple things that mattered just like you. We once knew love, forgiveness, trust and the practice of joy.

   We lived, and in our striving for things that never mattered, we forgot.   What we recognize as wise, we look for in elders and don't alway see it in children. We admire the aged sage who knows of sharing, care, forgiveness, love, laughter, and play. Those who've learned to smile back at daiseys and dance to sunsets that you embrace so easily are our wise ones. Forgive us our blindness if we don't see it you. In this way you'll teach us to forgive. So if you can, be patient with us when we try to teach, so you might teach us that what mattered all along was Love.
  Thankyou for letting me be the student, even when I don't see you doing it.
tina jones

"September's Embers"
Oil on Canvas
A Photo Montage of this painting's progress may be seen here:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Glazing the Cherry: Beginner's Guide to Glazing

Glazing is (deceptively simple) an Old Master Technique used to create translucent color which allows light from below the color to shine through. When I began glazing in '97, there was very little information available on the net. Today, everyone is doing it, (I love that!) but the approaches vary. I'm a goal oriented, frugal and practical painter. I like to find the simplest ways to paint and pass them on to others. (One of the reasons for demonstrating with craft acrylics is to show beginners that painting need not cost a lot. This can alleviate the fear of trying, and more than anything I want you have the freedom to play.After trying a few things with craft acrylics, I highly recommend moving on to regular tubed acrylics or oils).
  In any medium the goal in glazing is translucency. Approximately 1 part paint to 20 parts medium is mixed, then applied over a subject. The result is like looking through a piece of barely colored stained glass. You still see the subject clearly, it has only a blush of color. The mix can be much more translucent than what I will show you, meaning it can be a ratio of 1 part paint and 50 parts medium.
 (Here, I'm using FolkArt's Floating Medium for craft acrylics. Golden has a glazing liquid that works wonderfully for regular acrylics. In my oil work, I use Liquin for oil paints. Use a medium suited to water for water based paints like acrylics and one suited for oils in oil based paints.)
   Glazes must be allow to dry completely. After, subsequent glazes may be added allowing each layer to dry before adding another. My portraits have about 15 to 20 glazes. (For this demo, we will only do 3 glazes._ Glazing produces natural, translucent looking skin (on people or cherries) that can't be produced using opaque colors. Again, the point is to see through them.
   I'm working in craft Acrylic here to demonstrate. The penny is to give an idea of the amounts. There is no need for precision whatsoever.
1. is pure paint in Apple Barrel's Bright Red. Below it is what I am using to glaze. It's FolkArt's Floating Medium. I've added a scant of black to the medium only so you can see it in the photo. It's perfectly colorless.
2. is how much medium and paint I'll mix. Just touching the tiniest dot of paint (1 part paint) to about 20 parts medium.
3 is what they look like mixed, and I've dragged the paint out to show that you can see through it.
Creating a Glaze
   I find it best to apply glazes with a flat brush or an angular flat. I like the point on an angular to get into small places easily, and I can lay it flat to apply glazes in smoothe, wide areas. Here's a demonstration on one of my black and white works. I've painted a cherry and lime peel in grayscale (black and white.) I've made glazes with each of 3 colors as I needed them (acrylics dry quick, so make them when ready to use them). Each was made just like the photo above.

Colors:    Apple Barrell Pumpkin Orange
             Apple Barrell  Bright Red
             FolkArt True Burgundy
Using my flat brush or my angular I apply Orange first in the lightest areas. It's ok and sometimes desireable to go over whites with this. Later, if needed you can touch those pure white highlights back in. (As you can see, there is very, very little change in this painting in the first glaze. Each glaze builds color, and each allows us to see through to the light underneath. This is also used to be able to see through skin where veins are painted.) Allow this layer to dry completely. Depending on the humidity, Acrylics are dry in about 10-20 minutes.

Orange Glaze

The second glaze is done in the shadows in True Burgundy.

The third Red is our Bright Red. This is in the light areas between the orange and True Burgundy. Note that all of these colors can overlap. This causes a visual blending, meaning they look blended, though we never blended the colors.

Now, Glazing is a New Master Technique. It's yours. smiles.

 Here's my finished work which has the addition of Apple Barrell Leaf Green for the stem and the lime peel.
 "Cherry Lime"
Acrylic on Canvas

If you would like to see a start to finish simple demo on creating this painting in grayscale. See my step-by-step tutorial here:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Night Meditation

Lucid, I rise from yawning sheets and make my way through halls. White lace sways and drapes drift on lunar sighs. My hands brush a wood screen door that was never locked, and I emerge to a quiet place. Flat stones, still warm from a long gone evening sun - like petals against my feet, and I walk with silent purpose to a garden I've never seen. Moonlit colors are blue and grey. Scarce violet whispers of yesterdays and gates open to a little place where I am always home. The path leads me to a humble bench of stone. I take my rest there alone and not alone. Midnight fragrance fills the air of flowers and me. Lights speak in muted twinkles and tell me it's ok to sleep. The bench is sure, and I am safe. I lie down and look up through trees. Branches that dust the stars protect me. Sleepy wings come to enfold and blue light bathes me to dreams.

tina jones
"Rain on Stone"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Headless Burros" How to Use Reference Photos

Photo by Tina Jones "Headless Burrow"

Using photos as a reference. If it's not believable in the photo, it won't be believable in paint. This particular photo is an extreme situation to show how "off" something can look. The rear burro turned his head to nibble/scratch at his far side just as I snapped the photo, and now appears headless. If I wanted to shock scare people, I'd paint it as is. If not, I'd use another photo.
   I take ten to twenty reference photos for each subject, because people and animals move, light changes and what looks normal at a glance may not upon later inspection.
  •    The photo is where I choose composition. Usually, I get something workable in the initial shot, but often I crop the photo. In this case, I'd rather the burrows be toward the left side, so I'd crop an inch or two off of the left side of the photo. This is my planning stage.
  • Do I want the burro/burros center top to bottom?
  • Do I want to omit the far burrow or use another reference photo for that one? 
  • Should I move the bottom of the fence? It creates a dead-center line in this compostion. Center is often dull to the eye. Placement of that line at 1/3 from the bottom or top makes for more interest in composition.
  • Do I want the ground shadows as is? I look at shadows on the ground/surface as part of the composition. Do I want them as is, or would omitting some make for a more cohesive piece?
  • Much of the shadow here is cast from a nearby tree. Will it be believable as is, or might I put only shadows under the burrows for better composition?
  • What about the lone vertical steak on the fence? Is it adding anything to my idea of painting the burrows? Might it be ommitted? Might this work without the fence altogether?
  • Do I want to paint the grass, or might this burrow look ok in a desert, among rocks or sipping water?
   These are some questions I encourage you to ask yourself about your reference photos. Be critical of them. I use reference photos as a sort of shopping list of what I'd like in my painting, taking what I like and leaving the rest. Following is a quick, loose sketch to show how I chose to place the burro on my canvas.

 Burro Composition Sketch in Acrylic

Happy Painting!
tina jones

Sunday, March 13, 2011

One third of the people

I've heard that one third of the people are going to love you no matter what you do.
One third of them are going to dislike you no matter what you do,
And one third of them aren't going to care one way or the matter what you do.
  It leads me to believe that it's best for us to be ourselves. Trying to please isn't going to change the statistics..."no matter what you do."

  I've come to believe this to be true of art too. People like what they like. I think people are simply built for different likes, dislikes and apathy. I, for instance do not like sweet potatoes. No matter what you do to them, I'm not going to like them. It isn't personal, even if I were someone to whine at a sweet potatoe for not acting or tasting like I think it should, and even if I were to try to make the poor spud feel guilty about it. It's still going to be a sweet potatoe, and I still won't like it. I simply can't, because I'm in that one third (I'm not sure of the numbers in sweet potatoes) who is not going to like sweet potatoes.
   Rice cakes. I don't really care one way or the other. They're ok, but I don't have it in me to love or dislike them. In my world they simply exist, because I'm in that (theoretical) one third that doesn't have any passionate feeling about rice cakes.
   Strawberries, I love! I love them fresh, frozen even canned. I love them in pies, jam, dipped in cream, or plucked from the patch! I don't think I've met the strawberry I wasn't smitten with, and there is not a thing strawberries can do about that. I'm in the (imaginary) one third that loves strawberries with every fiber of my being. It's just the way I am, and has no bearing on strawberries whatsoever.
  All of this to say, it doesn't pay much to worry about who doesn't like you or doesn't notice. Chances are it's nothing to do with you and more about that person's hardwiring. I think time is best spent with those who like, love and care about us.
    I spent too much of my time thinking about those who didn't like me as a kid, and I neglected those who tried in every way possible to show me how much they cared. Those who loved me anyway were my precious one third who was going to love me no matter what I did. These are the ones I think of and devote my time to now. I am their strawberries, and they are mine.
   Those who are perpetually disappointed in you have their own things to deal with. Let them go with your loving blessing. Those who don't care one way or the other, keep your arms open that they may come or go, and those who love you no matter what, give of your time, thoughts and care. Let them know you appreciate them. If your busy with all of that love, you won't have time for worry about people that you don't really matter to. Surround yourself with love, and give it freely. Be strawberries! hehe.
Closeup Painted Chair Seat
Acrylic on Wood
Approx. 8x10"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Salt the Soup

If I sense a need for salt in a pot of soup, I put salt in it.
That may sound simple enough, and it is, unless we want get involved in overthinking it.
I don't get mad a various vegetables, meats or seasonings for not giving enough salt.
I don't decide that these components of soup are mean or greedy or that they just don't care.
I don't judge them at all, infact.
I don't point fingers at them and sit in a corner pouting or preaching at their lack of contribution.
I don't waste my time blaming them, after all, I just want to eat the soup.
I put salt in the soup.

I do the same thing when I sense a need in the world.
I put it in.
Take care the use of the word, "but," lest we make asses of ourselves.
Blame never got the job done.
Salt the soup.
tina jones

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Protect Your Copyright on Blogger and Other Sites

I found a gadget that helps to prevent the copying of posts and artwork in Blogger, and I thought others might be interested.

1. Disable Right Click:
(This will keep users from using the "copy and paste" function on your page.)

Click the following link and copy the html code in red. (Left click and scroll over the code to highlight, Right click and select "Copy" from the drop down menu.
Come back to your "Dashboard," (Dashboard tab is located on the upper right of your Blogger page.). To the right of your blog (listed there), past the orange tab, open the gray (arrow) drop down menu and click, "Template."
Click on any "Add a Gadget" box. A small window will open.
Choose "Basic" from the left collum. 
Scroll down to click "HTML/JavaScript." Paste the html code in it. No title is necessary. Click ok, then try it out!
  Want to try it before you make the change? Right click on any post in my blog and see the alert that comes up. This was simple and quick.

2. Adding a Watermark to your photo:
   I'd advise, as I intend to do, that you also watermark your photos. This option will work on any site that you post your photos, because it's done on your computer before uploading your photo. You can
 put a clear or opaque wording over any image. Your photo editing program will have the option to "Add Text" to your photos. My photo editing program is Picassa. Within it, I click the "ABC(text)" option in the  "Basic"editing menu. It lets me type anywhere on the photo, choose opacity and place the wording anywhere I like. The words are up to you, but I chose my website. Other options are "Copyright by (tina jones). etc. I'll include a watermarked photo of one of my paintings here. I have the opacity set to one-fourth, so this could be even lighter. Most computer come with a photo editor. If you like, Picassa may be downloaded for free, here. It's a simple photo editor.

3. Resizing your photo:
   Another option is to resize your photo small. It's unlikely that someone who wants to make prints of your work to sell would print them, because the smaller the size, the less the quality of print. Around 100-200 pixels is not worth a copyists efforts. If they try to print an 8x10", it's going to look bad. Resizing can be done by Choosing "Export" from the "File"menu. I regularly choose 500 pixels or less.
First, Click "File," Save to keep your original high quality photo. Click "File," "Save As," to give you original a name. In this case, "Tizzanne Original Size."
Next, click "File," "Export Picture to Folder,"A small window will open. Type in 500 or less in the available size box. (I've gone down to 100 for photos here).
Choose a folder in the top box to store your smaller photos for the web.
Click "Export."
Once the photo is exported to this folder, "Right Click" on the photo and change the name of the photo, in this case, "Tizzanne for Web." This, so you can remember that this is your smaller photo. Upload your smaller photo to the web, and feel safer.
  Numerous other photo editors, including free options are available, Each will have slightly different wording for resizing/exporting photos. Here is a link to several.

Oil on canvas
This painting is featured in one of my many Free Step By Step Video Tutorials in the scrolling Youtube bar to the right on this page. Come paint along. smiles.
tina jones

Saturday, March 5, 2011

If I Could

If I could, I'd tell you that all is well. There is no need for worry about cobwebs. It's ok if the spoons aren't stacked just so, and it's alright if you don't do the dishes. It's ok if you want to cry, and it's so beautiful when you dance. If I could I'd take away any self doubt you had, and show you not only that you're loved. I'd show you, you're love itself. I'd let you know that you're never alone, that alone is an impossibility. I'd show you that we're all one, and how very precious you are to all. I'd show you the best of your heart, and give you the beauty I see in you. I'd make the strands of light and love that connect us all glow for you. I'd show you a common purpose that is so simple. Love and be loved, and simply be Love. I'd take away the "if only," and "Yes, but," and I'd replace them with peace. I'd give you the stars that are already yours, I'd lay the ocean in your hands and show you your bothers, I'd give you mountain ranges and show you your mother, I'd point at the birds and show you that you fly.  I'd show the sun and show you how you outshine it. I'd give you music, your music, your song, and I'd let you hear it in the heart of God.
  But I have only this paintbrush, and eyes that don't always see. I get so involved in the illusion of what's real, and at times bills or a stray stroke of paint define my existence. Hangnails bode the end of time, and politics in my mind can all but steal my hope....when I forget that these tools are not my God. When I fight of my will against material ideas, I forget I am more than made of material. The physical me is no more me than the reflection I see in a mirror. I forget that like you, I am the stuff of stars.  Since we are one, though perhaps you'll see you, if I show you me. I who stumble, and forget I am Love, remember with me.

"Tribute to My Fellow Angels"
Oil on Canvas

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Gamble: Notes on Human Observational Ability

"Roll of the Dice"
Oil on Canvas
  A few weeks ago, I ventured into the world of shopping, again. I waited for a car to pass, then I crossed on foot from Walmart toward the other side of the main drag in front of the store. While in the road, the car now over an aisle ahead, put on it's breaks and accellerated toward me backwards, I ran into the aisle, and the car swerved toward me faster. I ran into an empty parking space out of traffic. Then the car stopped and came slowly toward me..
   Apparently the fellow accidentally passed the convenient parking space, backed up and into the aisle, and never saw me, until he was driving toward me into the parking space.
  I was hit twice by cars while walking as a child. Once it was just a bump, another time it was a lot of bruises, but nothing broken.
  The good news is I got some exercise, still have some hustle in me, and none of my 1 1/2 dozen eggs were cracked.
   Remember that movie where people had cheated death, and it just kept comming after them? I'll report back soon..At least that's the plan. sheesh

tina jones