Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Orchid Study

Orchid Study

6x8in oil on canvas panel NFS

The first time I ever did an orchid I knew I would have
to get really familiar with the way they grew. Very intricate.
I don't think I ever posted this study when I finished it because I
wanted to keep it for future reference.

Artist Note

Continuing my story of how I grew into my
Fracturing Technique.
On yesterday's post I left off with forgetting my brushes on a
plein air trip. I had all the rest of the equipment, but as my
companion was my beloved hubby, who does not have the
slightest desire to paint or brushes to borrow,
I had to improvise.
I tried twigs, leaves and as I was scrubbing on with a flattish stone,
using it like a palette knife, I wondered if this is what the
cave men did... and that's when the light bulb went off.
Credit cards. Something I never seem to leave home without!
Step one

I applied all the colors with the credit card feeling my way
with the textures and strokes. I took the window squeegee
we carry in the car and used it to clean off some heavy areas.
and smooth over others.
I liked the texture and freshness of this combination of tools
so took photo.
Glad I did or I would not have a record of my journey.
This is from over three years ago.

This is all credit card work...and the difference between
the marks the knife and the card make are because of the
way it is held. Hotel plastic keys are the best as they
are more flexible.
With a knife you use your wrist more because of the handle. 
With the credit card you use your arm more because it
becomes an extension of your hand
The following images are from a different painting made
when I got into really using it.
Held lightly and
pulled downwards.
Mushing in -
see pressure with
finger on back.

Accent touches.

This last one is great for tree trunks. Use long length
of card and put tree trunk color (variegated) mixture
on palette and swipe edge of card into it
Apply with a side motion.
I still use this one for my tree trunks.
I gave workshops using this technique for quite a while
with great results. Everyone was given a
bathroom squeegee to take off excess paint cleanly
or move it around.
Wanting to have the same freedom with my small paintings
led to me to making my handy tool. The color shapers you can
buy did not have the same "response to the paint and surface"
as the one I made, but if an artist has never known the
difference I do not see it being a problem.

I was told there is an Australian artist who pulls out
a credit card for accent touches and I am sure there are others
It just seems so natural and handy once you discover it.

Check out watercolorist Rita's clever idea for making the handy tool
in Italy. Click on Rita Vaselli She is so generous with her credit
and helpful to others.  I tried to pick it up
Use the translator to read what she says.

I heard from Audrey who took a fracturing workshop
in December.
She has just done a really lovely fractured lily.
Click on  Audrey Hindsman
If you are interested you can read about the fracturing workshop
on her Dec 17th post.

I loved hearing from Blanche Niznik and she put a generous
mention on her blog. She is preparing for a show
but still took time in to do a great fractured apple

A big thank you to all of them for their enthusiasm and participation..

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  1. Thank you for sharing your journey. It is interesting to hear how a limitation forces one to be creative. I think that it is important to fail, some times it is then the miracles happens.
    That is what I like with pushing my limits and how I do things. It makes an interesting journey.

    PS.I love those birch trees.

    1. I am never bored for sure and it sounds like you are never either. Glad you found this post interesting. I would hate to ramble on to an empty chair!
      You are pushing into the abstract with your painting today. I like it.

  2. julie, not only do i love your paintings, but also your art spirit. when i'm reading your words i feel that "yes! this is a person who gets it!" and who would be wonderful to know... : )

    whether i'm commenting or not, i always look at your posts. your words and your paintings just make me so darn happy... : )



    1. Well I think I will print out and frame this comment Lynne. I genuinely got warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you so much.

      How about that unique piece you did with the teabag. Your work amazes me.

  3. Dear Julie,so good to see you in action!
    Each phase seems a beautiful abstract work of its own. Then all these works magically merge into one, et voilà, the fracturing!

    (Now my scrapers processed with neoprene, thanks to you, they will travel around the world)

      Life is beautiful, through painting friendship, exchange (often very funny) experiences artistic .... and blogging, of course! Have nice sunday,Rita.

  4. Hello dear lucky day, another lovely comment.
    Hope you have a great response to your post showing your scrapers and the beautiful results.

  5. Couldn't stand it any longer and had to give fracturing a go! An entire day was spent playing instead of working on paintings for a show due to take place April 26th. I haven't found the scraper yet but did come across an Ace Putty Knife Flexible size 1.5 inches. Some of this information you've shared Julie, is ending up in my work. Think I mentioned in the past I started out with the soft edges and kleenex a la C.W.Mundy. You've added a stronger dimension. Thank you so much for sharing. Also will learn to link better.

    1. Hi Blanche, I am delighted to place a link on this post to show your fab apple. I think some of the technique is a natural for your personal style. I am looking forward to seeing your upcoming show.

  6. I love it! Necessity is truly the mother of invention. I just love your creative spirit! (Great painting, too!)

    1. I thank you Sue, and want to tell you I love the portrait of your grandson.

  7. How clever and resourceful of you! I love this story and the painting from that day. It takes real artistic vision to pull this off- amazing!

    1. Hi Mary - artistic vision never occurred to me. I just wanted to paint and if I even looked as if I couldn't, sweet Hubby would have had that car turned around in a flash ready to be off.
      Your absolutely beautiful tree painting started my day off right.

  8. Thanks for all your sharing Julie...I love your work and reading your blog!! I bought your artbyte video and I'm itching to have a go! I have used a roller, cards and bamboo skewers with acrylics and loved it, I don't think the roller would work with oils...but may try it though!

  9. You are certainly not one to just let go, really love your inventiveness :-) Actually this is all very inspiring ! xx

    1. My hubby says that about me too, Jane.
      He thinks there is never a problem I can't solve, but the question is... do I always solve them "right?"
      Thinking of your lovely flowers.

  10. That was a very creative solution to leaving your brushes. It's amazing to see how your process developed, thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Bruce - thanks, I am pleased you think so. I think most women find creative solutions especially when they have young kids...then it sticks.
      Looking forward to your next painting.

  11. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. Goes to show that you never know what can happen when you try something different and that expensive equipment is not always the ticket! It is making me wonder what else might be a good painting "brush".

    1. You will find lots of things, Libby.
      I use old athletic socks to mass on the underpainting and do a lift out. You like a smooth surface so you could try it. I wear a glove underneath and slip my hand into the sock and the toe area becomes the brush. The pressure it what determines the outcome.Once again the whole arm becomes involved but a twitch of a finger does magical things.

  12. You still own this technique, Julie. Another beautiful piece and I have to tell you that I've never seen another artist use purples/violets as beautifully as you do. That Dyson piece still rings in my head, as does each piece on which I've seen that color.

    1. Ah, Sherry - you know how to say the nicest things!
      I have not thought about it before so will become more aware of my purples.
      Can't wait for you to finish you new painting.

  13. WOW.
    I absolutely love all these! I use credit cards with my acrylics to spread out the color but never have tried it with oils- I am definitely going to try this!!

    1. I know you will love it with the oils.
      Loved your painting of your beautiful daughter.
      Thanks for the visit.

  14. Your trees are absolutely beautiful! Who knew a credit card could actually be a good thing! I need to put mine to this kind of use instead of the other! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story of your creative mind at work:)


    1. Thanks Jennifer - enjoyed a laugh at the "good thing!"
      Looking forward to seeing a flowering tree.

  15. I'm glad you forgot your brushes so you could come up with "fracturing"---I should have used my credit cards in this way instead of the way I have used them...if you get my meaning...haha. Love this orchid!

  16. Another wonderful post, this painting!!!!

  17. Oh, Julie, what beautiful work. I must go enjoy the rest of your blog. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Joan thanks for the visit and I loved your watercolor with the blue and white pitcher.

  18. What a beautiful painting, Julie!

    It's very interesting to read how your technique developed. I've used credit cards for spreading paint in a large area, and often use them when applying primer to a panel. Maybe one of these days I'll try painting some detail with them. Thanks for sharing!

  19. If you cut the cards to different sizes you can go from large to small marks. Neat as can be.
    Thanks Diana.

  20. Forgetting your brushes was serendipity, wasn't it? The orchids are gorgeous...aren't they just the most awesome flower? I have done three small oil paintings this week using your wonderful technique. Thank you again for sharing it with us all. xo from still snowy Wichita (but melting).

    1. I need to do more to get to know the orchid because it is a truly beautiful flower.
      It is so nice of you to say you enjoy the technique, Lisa. Your bird in the tree in amazing and I really mean that.

  21. I LOVE this post! What a wonderful idea for credit cards! I do a lot of plein air painting - and I am going to put an old one in my easel for use on location! I am going to try this out on tree trunks on my very next landscape! Thank you for being such an inspiration to us all :)

    1. Hi Tammy - glad you found the hint a good idea. I promise you will love it. I mix a line of different trunk colors to swipe the edge in.
      Love your snow scenes. How lucky to be able to paint plein-air from your window.


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