Saturday, March 29, 2008

Trying Something New

I've run into some visual difficulties with my current oil painting and decided to try a new technique with acrylics that I've been reading about. It's called glazing, and it's really bloody difficult. Lots of fun, but FSM help you if you screw up.
Basically it's very fine layering of paint, to create (more often than not) a believable skin tone. It's a lot like watercolour, except not quite as easy to make muddy. Although I did overwork it a bit (:ahem:) I'm still rather satisfied with the results. I learned a lot, and not only regarding acrylics. I would definately be more confident with watercolours after this. It was also my first time using masonite as a support. I gessoed it myself and managed to get that wrong too. Ah well. I know what not to do for next time.
I really enjoyed working on the masonite - It was very smooth and creamy to work on, unlike the textured canvas that I am used to. It was very inexpensive, though warped slightly after I gessoed it. I'm not sure how one would remedy this in future. Although I do love having a boxy canvas to hang on the wall sans frame, the masonite or a similar smooth wood surface does have a lot to offer. I may have to go for framed wooden supports in future (if my wallet allows).
I've also been hearing "varnish" a lot lately. I'm shocked that this never came up in school, and the fact that it didn't is only strengthening my argument that I'm learning more on my own time (so far this year my weekly expeditions to the local library has had a more bountiful harvest of new knowledge than all of last semester of school). I had never considered varnishing an acrylic painting, but I suppose it makes sense. Having never before worked with oils I hadn't heard about varnishing them either, but that makes even more sense still. I don't own varnish, I will have to get some.
For now, I am eager to try this glazing business again.

(The bottom photo is midway through the painting.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Snow

It's nearly April and officially spring by date alone. We're being dumped with another 15 cms of snow as I type. When will this end? We've already got snow banks on the side streets (those streets not fortunate to have city-sponsored snow removal) taller than me, and that's after they've melted over the past week.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to enjoy that little taste of spring that we had last week as I was drugged-up and incapacitated on the sofa, eating my meals with a spoon and watching gratuitous Kids in the Hall. I had my final wisdom tooth out last Tuesday and things are healing well. I also had a root canal done at the same time, and it's been (surprisingly!) more sensitive and difficult to work around. I had fish and chips for dinner tonight and it was terriffic. I'm so over instant mash and diet-supplement drinks. I'd kill for a salad about now.
Speaking of Kids in the Hall: Guess who's going to see them live in May? I'll give you one guess. If you guess wrong then you are never allowed to speak to me again. Ever. I'll assume that you guessed right, which would be John and I, and that you are currently happy for us. It's the whole gang, live, in person, doing stuff. We bought the tickets today for the Coquitlam show. We're both really excited. I've always wanted to go and see them live, secretly fearing that one of them would perish and therefore I would never be able to experience the whole troupe when I did finally go to see them. Just hold 'til May, ok guys?
I took some pictures of G in the snow this evening. The flakes are just so huge, they were calling out to have their pictures taken.
The first picture is my favourite (the one up there at the top of the post). I'm not sure what she was doing, but it turned out alright. Her smiling one king of turned out mid-blink I think. There was an awful lot of snow falling, after all.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I am designing some mittens:

They are, without a doubt, the coolest things I have ever designed. I'm working my second one, and refining the pattern so that I can release it. I'm hoping to make it a free Ravelry download once I get the sizes all figured out. They are super fun to wear!

I have had this idea in my head for a very long time, obviously inspired by Nightcrawler of Marvel fame. I used some Paton's Decor that I had lying around, the perfect colour blue. Not my favourite yarn but certainly well-suited for this project. The mitts I am making will be the small of the pattern; there will be an XS, M and L as well. I was considering doing a colour changed and a bit of a stitch change and making Ninja Turtle mitts as well!

On a side note: I have the most beautiful cat in the world . . .

Friday, March 14, 2008

And They Wonder Why Artist's Are Starving?!

That's over a hundred dollars right there, folks.
I'm really enjoying oil painting in school, so I decided to sink some money into my own supplies. I went with an odourless solvent so that I can still paint in my windowless dungeon of a bedroom, and Walnut oil instead of Linseed. Apparently it doesn't yellow with time as Linseed tends to, and it is more resistant to cracking. The cost different was minimal, so it seemed worth it. That is, if any of my paintings are around long enough to risk becoming yellowed . . . and I don't mean in the Goodwill or anything. Those paintings clumped together on wire racks always give me mixed feelings.

Lady Bing Cherry. She wanted her picture taken too. How could I say 'no' to that big stupid smelly face?

Sarjaent is becoming a really nice little cat. Except when she bites you. Then you kind of want to throw her off a cliff. But she's super cute in pictures.

She also loves to eat the houseplants. And string, despite my best efforts to keep it away from her. I keep telling her that she's going to kill herself with the stuff, but she's a very stubborn little cat.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Some Knitting For Your Eeballs . . .

I present to you: John's Cobblestone

This is the first sweater I've made John, but certainly not my last. It was a joy to knit, despite the yarn (Paton's Decor in Rich Blue) being full of knots and otherwise inconsistent. I very much enjoyed the construction and the garter stitch, which was surprisingly satisfying to knit up. It will need some blocking, and potentially some lengthening, but we will see how it goes after it is properly shaped.

In a potentially vain attempt to thin my ever-growing and mutating stash, I made some mittens. I had bought a skein of Thrumming when I worked at Knitter's Bazaar and had not yet built up the courage to use it. I had also acquired a bag full of half-balls of Paton's Classic Merino Wool in all manner of variegates. I thought it might be fun to work up some colourful Newfie Mitts . . . and it was! They are ridiculously warm and I really like the eclectic look of them. Unfortunately (?) it is not cold enough at the moment to wear them. Hopefully this doesn't change!

Admittedly I bought some more yarn. This is the one (ONE, just one) skein that I purchased at Granville Island on my Vancouver Adventure. It's silk and it's hand-dyed and hand-spun and it's lovely. It's hiding out in a zippered baggie at the moment. I can't risk anything happening to it. One day it will become a kerchief. The most beautiful kerchief in all the land.

And this beauty is my latest monster. It's Ganomy Hat, by Elizabeth Zimmermann, and arguably my favourite hat I've made to date. It was super-fast to knit up and valiantly managed to use up every last scrap of one particular ball of Alsfoss Lopi that I had no clue what to do with.

The little star is from "Christmas-Fiddle-Faddle" by Zimmermann, and (I think) adorable.
This Lopi stuff I have never before had the honor of working with. I use "honor" lightly. It was like a Norwegian sheep stomped on my fingers before exploding in my face. My entire workspace was/is (depending on when one reads this post) covered in wiry bristles of yarn. My fingers are sore and dry. The hat looks awesome though, and isn't unpleasant to wear at all. It sure does make me feel like a gnome!