From the archives: Two Paintings from 2008

I’m cleaning up my blog archives and I found paintings and posts that have never been seen, like these two paintings from 2008:

face study with peonies by KatCanPaint

Face Study with Peonies
Acrylic beeswax mica on canvas

I’ve been working on a painting for quite some time now, I dutifully scan every bit of the progress of it. This painting has lived with me for at least a year now without ever being finished. I constantly paint and paint on it, constantly changing my mind, constantly changing styles. This painting has seen the worst of it. I had completed most of the details after doing this Face Study, and decided that I had a direction and a final vision for the piece. (yay!) While varnishing the finished canvas, something happened with the napthol crimson in the underpainting, it bled through all the layers of paint; every little struggle, every little change, every mark I made and every decision with a brush stroke is now ruined. I almost had a giant hissy fit. With a heavy sigh, I put the painting away, maybe for another year, maybe forever.
Then I picked up a brush and added random swirls to this Face Study I had on my table, soon they were roses, and then I added more peachypinkyred and highlighted with white, and then just a bit of yellow… pretty soon they were impressionistic peonies. In the process of painting I just got over the loss I felt with the ruined painting. Sometimes they aren’t meant to go on a wall, sometimes I am just meant to learn with the process of painting.

Sometimes I have to let go of my art.

But I will be more careful with that napthol crimson.

Lady Godiva
Acrylics and beeswax on illustration board

This was originally a painting of a mermaid. I default to mermaids when I paint if I’m blocked because even if you can’t think of something to draw or paint it is always good to just start with something. Anyhow, the waves and water I was painting turned into hair, and there is no tail in sight. I think it just sort of morphed into Lady Godiva. Can I even begin to say how happy I am with her face? The scanner didn’t pick up the colors (common complaint, I know) but I’m still okay with the way it looks. Her face! The subtle painterly shading and form, the almost-realistic quality… I’m pretty sure this is my favorite painting so far. All these face studies and paintings I’ve been doing have been successful, even if it was a bit difficult for me to get through it all, I think I’ve decided on this style for the future of my girls.
A little personal landmark in the painting process right here. It is difficult to see the end when I am in the thick of it, when there are ten or so unfinished girls scattered about and paint on the carpet (oops) and no cohesive look to any of the ten, but I think I’m starting to ‘get’ it. (Beware, patting yourself on the back too much. Next post will be whining about how you are specifically Not Getting It.)

<3 Kat

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9 thoughts on “From the archives: Two Paintings from 2008

  1. iangoldsmith says:

    There’s definitely a stylistic link with these faces. They’re great! I think your work is probably more recognisable than you think it is. I like it.
    I know what you mean about difficult colours though, I’m working with purple and terre verte at the moment and they’re proving really difficult, miserable colours to handle! Perhaps the purple has imperial ideas above its station…
    Good post.

    • katcanpaint says:

      TY Ian,
      I write about it a lot; the disconnect from where I am and where I want to be. The problem is that I want acrylics to look like my romanticized idea of oils, that instant depth and character. I’m just not there yet!
      Pthalo blue is my favorite color to work with and it is the hardest for me to control. Too much and my people look like zombies!
      Are you posting another painting soon?

      • iangoldsmith says:

        Yeah, I’m still working on the painting from my last post of “Phoebe”. Hoping to get her nearly finished tomorrow.
        I know what you mean about the blue though. At one point in the painting I added to much Prussian blue to the skin tonnes and she took on a sort of permanently asleep look instead of the dozing on the sofa look that I was aiming for.
        Why don’t you give oils a go? They’re tricky to start with, but once you get used to them they’re pretty cool to work with. They have a lot more depth in the flesh, so to speak and the fact that they dry slower can be really useful!

      • katcanpaint says:

        I like the instant gratification of acrylics, plus I have a lot left. I don’t know more than the basic ideas of oils so I feel like it would be like starting out from square one again.

      • iangoldsmith says:

        You might find that most of it isn’t starting from scratch. It’s getting used to using thinners instead of water to clean and thin with that’s the hardest bit. That and adding oil to your pigment. Everything else is much the same.
        It would be a rewarding experience in the long run though. paintings take on a whole new depth in oil!

      • iangoldsmith says:

        If you get a reply three times, it’s because every time I hit reply my reply disappears. Sorry.
        Anyway, yes I’m hoping to post the finished version of Phoebe from my last post soon.
        I know what you mean about the blue as well, I added a little too much Prussian blue to Phoebe’s skin tonnes at one point early in the picture and she went from dozing on the sofa, to a sort of permanently asleep look, briefly!
        Have you tried oils? If not, why not give them a go? They take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of them they’re really rewarding. I’m still learning, but I like the results. I like the fact that they dry slower than acrylics and have great depth when you see them in the flesh so speak.
        Hopefully I haven’t written this reply for the third time in vain this time :)

      • iangoldsmith says:

        Just clicked reply and it says ‘duplicate comment detected’, so you may indeed have three replies. Sorry. It’s just every time I click reply it disappears into the ether and leaves an empty reply box with no sign of it being sent… oh well.

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