Two young chicken portraits

Cockerel and Pullet, each 9×12 in. on panel, acrylic, © 2017 Cindy Schnackel

Finished two chicken portraits this week! They’re on my Current Inventory Page

Did a few finishing touches to some other pieces. Sorted through a stack of little drawings to see which I might put in tiny frames and which might go in the collage drawer. Next, will tackle cleaning and organizing because things are creeping outwards again and it gets hard to work. Once my space is all neat again, I’ll get back to a large political themed piece, at least for a few minutes a day. It is hard to find that sweet spot where the ‘joy’ of painting overlaps with the feelings of horror about our current administration. Then, (or maybe instead of!), some more thrift store makeovers. Also wanting to draw more again and eyeing a birch panel we got at a lumber yard, to maybe gesso and do some large scale drawing or mixed media on. I dunno. So many ideas, there is a log jam. Usually, cleaning the studio helps un-jam things.

Studio table overflowing with doodles and works near completion earlier in April 2017. © Cindy Schnackel

Inktense colored pencil (sepia?) and wet brush. © Cindy Schnackel 2017

It’s getting to be in the 90s every day now, a bit hot IMO to paint outdoors, but I’ll watch for occasional breaks and do some more plein air so I don’t get out of practice before fall. Maybe just go sketch the nearby canal as water can be a challenging subject. Even though the canal isn’t very pretty, I’ll be happy to represent it fairly accurately, or put some weird spin on it, either one.

For April I’m seeing quite a few of other people’s shows. I hit several galleries on First Friday and will see a few more yet before the end of the month. Other than the miniatures in the gift shop at {9} The Gallery I have plans to show with a women’s painting group at The Artery (Studio 6) again this summer and then in November. Details TBA when I know more! Things are a bit slower here in summer, and I try not to commit to too much that would require riding the city bus in the heat. Summer is a good time to stay in the air conditioning and work on new miniatures!

Painting and Gardening in 100+ degree weather

Work in Progress, for a show at Olney Gallery in September. 

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Large panel painting in progress

I finally committed to the idea I had for this large panel, but by the time I did, it was well over 100 every day. This past weekend it was around 114! Normally I don’t paint outside unless it’s under 90 because the paint just dries too fast and I wilt in extreme heat anyway. But, this needed to be done by late August and there’s almost no chance it’ll be good outdoor painting weather again before Oct.

So, when it “cooled off” to 106 today, I was out there spattering, glazing, dripping and slinging paint. I had a water spray bottle in one hand, which helped keep the paint wet long enough to get the runny effects. The paint dries instantly in this heat. The panel itself heated up so it was a little like painting on a frying pan. Artists who use oils and spray paints seem to take advantage of that. For acrylics it can be a real drawback but one just has to work with it, or wait for better days!

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Cooled off to 106 today, ran outside to paint before it passes.

I LOVE spattering and dripping. We did a lot of it painting theater sets and other large scale things. It was like being given permission to make a big mess, plus the effects are fun. Because it’s all so random and you have to work fast, it’s a great loosening-up exercise. Happy accidents happen, and give rise to more ideas.

This painting will almost certainly have birds in it, but you never know what life of its own it’ll take on. Tomorrow morning I’ll be out there again. We’ll see where it goes.

Flowers that survived the 114 degree weekend

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Hollyhocks

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Red sunflower, about 6 ft tall, the back is mostly yellow but the fronts are red!

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Dwarf zinnia mix

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Sweet potato flower

Technically, the sweet potato flower did not really survive the 114 degree weekend, because it seemed to have stopped flowering just before that. I moved it to the shade because the plant looked like it was struggling in even morning sun right now.

This is an actual sweet potato, not the ornamental kinds you buy for the foliage.

I had bought some sweet potatoes at the grocery store, forgot to cook them, and they started to sprout leaves right in the paper bag they came in. I continued to ignore them and they got to be a nice houseplant, LOL, but I was concerned they would die if I didn’t get them in soil soon. This was in winter here, maybe Jan or Feb. So I took it outside and put the bag and all into a pot and dumped potting soil into it and watered it good. It continued to grow into a lush plant, only getting a little damage from frost.

When it got hot this spring, it began to flower! Being related to morning glories, the flower resembles them. I can’t seem to capture the full beauty of the bloom, but they’re mostly white with a lavender and purple tone as it goes deeper inside. Luminous is how I’d describe them. They’re not quite as big of a flower as morning glories and they tend to hide under the foliage.

I’m told this is really rare for them to flower and that I should try to save any seed it makes. So far I can’t even locate a seed head. It may be that the heat, or lack of pollinators, prevented pollination and it may not even have seed as a result. If it does make seed, info I read said they’re rather rare and valuable to gardeners because that’s the only way to get genetic diversity in them. Most of them are propagated by roots because of how difficult it is to get seed. I wonder if the fact it was in such a crowded pot made it flower. Sometimes ‘stress’ makes a plant flower, and go to seed. High heat is one of the things that can do that with some plants you don’t generally want to go to seed, too, like lettuce. Some herbs and greens are “slow bolt” varieties that give you a little longer time to cut greens before they bolt and die. In all my reading up on the sweet potato I don’t recall if the vine is perennial. Seems like it would be; guess we’ll find out!

 

 

 

Painting Bigger Today; Countryside Magazine

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Mostly finished a large palette knife painting today on the patio. Beautiful weather for it! The light was fading, and our birds were wanting to come back in, so I packed it up for the day at about this point. After I got in, the birds came out to play for awhile. After they went to bed, I added a few more strokes to the painting. It may be done now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.

The painting is “Swear Jar,” acrylic, 36 x 48 inches, on deep edged canvas. It will probably be in  Olney Gallery in September, (price as yet to be determined). It’s based on a quick drawing I did in a sketchbook some time ago. Whenever I’ve heard that expression, I thought of an angry monster in the jar trying to get out.

Last week, I finished, (or at least mostly finished), all the miniatures on wood scraps, and haven’t decided where they will be shown yet. Some will probably be at Olney, and some with {9} The Gallery when I do the show slated for October, that will focus on animals, especially since deciding to no longer eat them.

And, though I don’t have my issue yet, I’ve seen photos proving it, and the author, Jerri L. Cook, has confirmed it, Jenny Garcia and I were featured in Countryside Magazine for I think the June issue! Jenny made the art doll of my long passed away hen, Fergie. Her life-like chicken dolls are amazing. I’d followed her on Facebook for months and last year finally had her make one for me. I’ll post more about it when my issue arrives. Jenny’s site is Pet Chicken Ranch

After years of blogging here the ‘add link’ feature finally seems to allow me to title links instead of just posting the URL. So I hope that works for viewers. Looks nicer!

Today in the Studio

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An unfinished sculpture for a fall show watches over the work table. Today I’m cutting out old drawings from my sketchbooks, and words from newspaper and magazine headlines as captions, to collage onto lumberyard scraps. These small pieces will also be available at fall shows. A completed one sits among them.

I keep a large drawer of collage materials, and go through phases of what look they have. Making several at a time they tend to be in series of similar themes. I like to use acrylic gel as an adhesive. The wood blocks are sealed with Golden Paint Co’s GAC 100, an acrylic made for the purpose of sealing wood and other materials, before I add anything. (GAC 100 is also a great all-purpose acrylic medium.) Sometimes the wood grain and knots, etc, will show, other times they’re painted over and then roughed up a bit so wood peeks thru here and there. I like crackle effects so those are frequently part of the overall finish. Once all the artwork is dry, I seal them again. These are a good use of scraps, both wood and sketchbook kinds, that might otherwise end up in the trash!

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Only two left, numbers 4 and 8! $45 each at {9} The Gallery on Grand in Phoenix!

There are still two similar miniature pieces available at {9} The Gallery, 1229 Grand Ave, Phoenix, AZ, out of the 9 cube shaped pieces I had there. I’ll be showing at 9 again this year, details to come when they are known!

Sculpting a bigger butt, and adding eyes

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Enlarging the behind, work in progress, 2016

Decided one of the sculptures in progress needed a bigger butt. I enlarged it with an air dry clay called Paperclay, not to be confused with a kiln fired clay of the same name. This can be hard to find at art supply stores but I reliably find it at Michael’s. Last time I got it, it was the last one in stock! Whew!

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The pin holes in the add on buttocks are to let more air in so it dries faster and more evenly. I put it in the sun to really bake it dry! After it dried, I smeared small scraps of thin chiffon fabric with acrylic medium, and pressed that down over it for some added strength. Other fabrics work, too, but chiffon seems very strong and flattens so well it’s barely detectable.

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When that was dry, I put a thin coat of Golden’s heavy modeling paste over it, and made fur texture with a  home made texture tool. I save plastic cards etc, like used bus passes, and cut a pattern into them to make a texture. You can paint or glaze over the dried texture to get various looks. If you can’t wipe off your paint/glaze before it dries, you may be able to carefully work that area back again with a rag and some rubbing alcohol, or fine wet-dry sanding film and minimal water. I usually have a damp rag in one hand and work fast, but the more aggressive methods will work if an area dries too fast for the rag alone.

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Eye detail, sculpture 2016, Cindy Schnackel

 

Here’s a close up of the eye of one sculpture. I bought realistic eye balls from a maker who makes them specifically for use in arts and crafts, etc. A lot of the processes I researched involved baking various clays in the oven, or other toxins, something I didn’t trust to be safe in a house with pet birds. I may explore some other ways to make my own eyes, but in the meantime, these are fabulous, and I sculpt the lids, etc around them after attaching firmly to the substructure. I debated whether this sculpture would even have eyes, since I kind of liked the way it looked without! But, in the end, I’m glad I put eyes in it now. Perhaps a different piece will be eyeless.

By the time these are shown in the fall, I may have changed things, but here’s where they stand now.

“Are they mine?”

Possum Commission for Christy Puetz Painting by Cindy Schnackel © 2015 All rights reserved Acrylic on panel 11 x 14 inches

“Are They Mine?” Cindy Schnackel, Acrylic, 11 x 14 in.

Finished a commission this month and didn’t want to post a pic of it until the buyer had seen it first. She picked it up today, and I’m happy to say she really liked it! The piece is acrylic on panel, 11 x 14 inches.

Most of this late summer/early fall I’ve been running to one doctor or test after another! I lost part of my hearing and no reason can be found. I’ve had numerous tests, including an MRI, and while getting the IV for that, I passed out, which resulted in a trip to the ER, then a neurologist, and what I hope will be the last unpleasant test this coming week, where I think they’re going to try to make me have a seizure. Yay. I’m hoping that the conclusion is that I just passed out from the IV grossness. It’d be nice if my hearing came back, too.

Despite all that I’ve managed to do a commission, a small charity project for the Mesa Arts Center, a new painting for a November show, draw quite a bit, and work on my continuing vegan inspired series. What I haven’t done is upload much of any of it to the net. Some is being intentionally held back until closer to when it is shown.

 

I’ve also been asked to be in a pre-Christmas show of all miniature/small works, and will be showing some existing pieces plus hopefully a number of new tiny pieces, that will make great holiday gifts at reasonable prices. Who wouldn’t want original artwork for a present?!

I’ll post details of all the shows, and images, when they’re announced by their respective galleries.

There have been a number of good shows this summer and fall, and looks like more to come. The following sites review a number of shows every month and/or discuss art walk events and info:

http://www.theartsbeacon.com/

http://blog.nicoleroyse.com/

http://artlinkphoenix.com/

 

Showing Friday Aug 7!

This Friday, I’ll be taking a number of small paintings to a one night show at {9} The Gallery. This is a group show, including Kyllan Maney, Brenda Edwards, Aileen Frick, Geoffrey Gersten Eric Babcock and more.

It’s a studio sale, and I’m taking pieces that are from as far back as 2010, and as recent as this year, most of which have never been out of the house, but tucked away somewhere taking up space! All are ready to hang, many are in frames and if they’re not they have deep edges. Most are paintings, but there will be a few drawings, too. Sizes range from around 6 x 6 inches to 10 x 10 inches for paintings, up to about 20 x 20-ish for the ‘house’ frame one. One or two drawings are smaller than 6 x 6. Prices will range from $25 for the smallest drawing, up to $150 for the largest, the house frame piece. Some of the pieces have been discounted just for this event.

Opens 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, 2015

1229 Grand Ave., Phoenix, AZ

See gallery’s Public Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/9TheGallery for more info.

See my inventory & price list: https://cindyschnackel.wordpress.com/sale-current-price-lists/

As you can see from my price list, some of the pieces will be reduced a little for this one-night sale. The discounted price applies to purchases made in person at the gallery during the event.

If you’re in Phoenix for this First Friday, hope to see you over on Grand Avenue! Thanks!