Friday, July 27, 2012

Sketch for "Well Worn"

Sketch for "Well Worn" ©Laura Gable
It's always fun to go back through the sketchbooks and see where the planning happened for a current painting ... even if it was over 2 years ago. :-) Now if only the effort could be more consistent. Not all the sketches end up as paintings ... and conversely, not all the paintings start out with sketches. (See the earlier post for Well Worn.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


"Randomosity" acrylic inks on 6x6 clayboard, © Laura Gable, SOLD
Ampersand has a wonderful product called Claybord. It is a very smooth surface and very absorbent. It feels a bit like a smooth venetian plaster, though I don't believe it contains any marble.

Color was important after I'd been working a while with the black inked scratchboards. So tinting the clayboard seemed just the ticket. The FW acrylic inks were the perfect surface treatment. Once dried, the inked surface was scratched a bit. Acrylic ink was added more opaquely in the top layers, then lifted in places as they started to dry. I was happy with the color results. The blues have such a comforting sky-like color. Often when I add blue to a painting, it's like breath has been added to the piece. The painting somehow can breath. In plein air painting, we say that it has an airy quality.

I enjoyed the movement and flow of this piece. In the midst of all the movement there's the underlying framework which adds balance. Like our overcommitted lives, perhaps? Eat healthy and take care of yourself in order to take on the day and all the firehose of information that comes into our lives.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Well Worn"

"Well Worn" 6x6" oil painting on board, ©Laura Gable
When I visited my folks in Nebraska recently, I was taken with their simple, ordinary ways which makes them who they are. I've always liked the way my Dad sets aside his old boots in this same little spot in the bathroom next to his sink. Inside there's a pair of his white socks all rolled up and tucked away. Everything's together and ready for the next wearing. 

I recall my Grandpa wore similar boots back in the 60's. I'm sure he tucked them away in the same manner as my Dad does. In almost every memory of him, he was wearing these big boots. He shuffled when he walked, and had a heavy step. You could always hear him coming and with a booming voice as he entered the room.

So for today, a melancholy small painting to share, and a sweet reminiscence of these two great men.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Scratch Board Art

5x7" Scratch board Art: "Stately" with acrylic ink (SOLD); "Visionary";
"Rooted in Possibility" with acrylic ink (SOLD); "Breaking Open"

Scratch board is an amazing product from Ampersand, available at many art supplies stores. I get mine locally at Hobby Lobby when they are in stock, or order them online at Dick Blick or Daniel Smith. Ampersand also has a nice website, detailing some of their paintable surface products.

It is a clay coated Masonite board covered with a thin layer of black India ink. The white clay is revealed with even the slightest scratching on the surface. Kits with a variety of tools and inks are also available, but my tool of choice is a carpenter's awl shaped like a pencil. (Which surprisingly and accidentally made it through airport security in my purse one time). It has a nice weight and fits into my hand well. I found it at the hardware store. The ones with the fat bulb like tops are difficult for me to hold, as they are unevenly weighted.

Once you decide on a design, it is drawn onto the board with white colored pencil or regular pencil, or if feeling adventurous -- just start scratching without a guide. Graphite paper can also be used to transfer the image. It is very forgiving, especially if you use a light touch and don't dig too far down into the clay material. 

For the coloring, I purchased the FW Acrylic Inks at Daniel Smith. He sells sets with various colors. The iridescent colors are very nice and add that glittery touch without being too overbearing and shiny. Just a light coating is perfect, and most of the color goes where the black has been scratched away. Sometimes many layers of scratch followed by ink are necessary to achieve the look. Final coating is with an acrylic varnish. I like to mix the gloss and matte together to create a satin like shine. 

Hope you enjoy these fun little images. Photographing them can be challenging, but I will post a few more that I did using watercolor and gouache.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nested Home

"Nested Home" oil painting on 6x6 canvas. SOLD
The holidays of Summer take us back to our roots where we have built a nest made up of our heritage, our families, and our friend-families. And a celebration of our Nation's independence is fitting.... of course shared with these loved ones. Enjoy your celebration.

This little painting was done on a black gessoed canvas. The "bice" blue was added for the background. It's a slightly greyed blue that denotes our lovely magnificent skies. Sometimes depending on the overcast quality of the sky, it can be greyed even more using a smattering of cadmium orange. Quite versatile, it can also be lightened with white or brightened with other blues for sunnier days.

The little egg rests alone in this colorful nest, and so the question arises as to where the other eggs might be. Rare it is for a bird to lay only one egg. We currently have a robin's nest on our back pergola--full of 4 active and healthy hatchlings. Their little heads now poke up beyond the perimeter and their necks seem made of elastic when the parents arrive with meals of wiggly worms. Every 10 minutes or so they feed, and continue through most of the day. Seeing how much they consume, it's no wonder they grow so quickly. It's usually only 2 weeks once born that they depart the nest.