Tag Archives: painting

Artist Spotlight: Katinka

Pink Lady by Katinka

Pink Lady by Katinka

In the past two years, you may have read a post or two here about our foray into the world of painting. You might recall reading about our art teacher, who taught us acrylic color washes. Her suggestion to combine simple shapes with complex washes inspired our entire series of guitar paintings. Of the twenty or so painted in the last year, about half of them now hang in the homes of family, friends, and buyers in the States and overseas. It only seems fair to credit our teacher for the idea, as well as her tireless support in helping a partially color-blind learner with color choices, guiding us to new acrylic media and tools to texture our paintings, consulting on project supplies, introducing us to pastels and toned tan paper, and about a million other timely insights that helped us develop artistically.

Katinka, who signs her work Tink, teaches children and adults in a variety of classes, local events, and workshops. You can see so many smiling faces at her most recent class, a Wine and Paint event in Temecula. That class demonstrates the combination of interesting silhouetted shapes with complex multi-colored washes. Katinka uses this approach in a series of her own that has proven quite popular at the art festivals and galleries where she shows her work in California. If you want to give color washes a try, click over to Youtube and pick up the basics of color washes in Katinka’s five-minute Acrylic Color Wash Tutorial.


She Likes the Milky Way by Katinka

She Likes the Milky Way by Katinka

In exchange for setting up accounting files in Excel, an introduction to WordPress blogging, and research on art festivals, we got to choose one of Katinka’s paintings for our office. We picked She Likes the Milky Way, a 20×20 canvas painted outdoors at one of Katinka’s festival appearances. We absolutely declined an offer on it from the last person who visited to buy art.


Squash Blossom Girl by Katinka

Squash Blossom Girl by Katinka

We’re very pleased to also have one of Katinka’s smaller watercolor works in our office: Squash Blossom Girl. The rich interplay of light, reflection, and shadow in her eyes is characteristic of Katinka’s portraits. Perhaps we can convince her to post another video on her approach to eyes!

If you live in the Los Angeles area and would like to attend a workshop, we recommend you follow her blog where she posts all upcoming events for adults and children alike.

At the Club by Katinka

At the Club by Katinka

art sales today

We sold two paintings today. We had our doubts that anything would ever sell due to a Craigslist ad, but we were happily proven wrong.

Guitar #20: Frozen Coast caught an art lover’s eye on Craigslist. While she was here, she took a liking to Dream Journal #8: Night at the Lake. Good choice! We are very fond of that one, and miss it already.

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You can read more about Guitar #20, or Dream Journal #8, in our archives. Their original posts include detailed close-up photos.

Dream Journal 8 (1) - Copy

Celebrating Recent Art Sales

10 guitar 7 detailThe business coach we’ve worked for the past seven years often reminds us to take time to celebrate our successes. This carries a special importance when you work independently. After all, a sole proprietor works without any sort of company hierarchy to hand out employee-of-the-month awards, bonuses, or other forms of recognition. Artists working independently face the same challenge.

Plus, you can easily focus on all the things that haven’t yet worked out the way you hoped. If you try ten different things and one succeeds wildly, you might be too caught up in your nine other failures to really appreciate it. It takes a certain mental fortitude to keep moving forward, and celebrating your successes plays an important role in that.

Last week, we had a wonderful chat with a local business owner referred to us to discuss some potential ways we could work together. We mentioned, somewhat dejectedly, that we had only sold about five pieces of artwork since we began seriously attempting it last fall. She said it was funny we viewed it negatively, since she found that number quite impressive.

That made us pause and remember to celebrate our successes. So, we hope you don’t mind if we take a moment to review what pieces have sold in the last nine months. On a side note, our little poetry book has been selling a couple of copies each month, mostly overseas. Though that isn’t a phenomenal sales figure, it certainly does make us happy that the collection is getting out there.

Let’s have a look at what we’ve sold so far.

guitar -001

Guitar #1 sold in October 2013 through Etsy to a MWSNM reader in Canada.
Buy a print or card of this piece.

8 guitar 7

Guitar #7 sold in November 2013 through Etsy to family in the USA.
Buy a print or card of this piece.

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Guitar #15 sold in November 2013 through eBay to a buyer in the USA.
Buy a print or card of this piece.

behold the awesomizer - (13)

Behold the Awesomizer sold in February 2014 through eBay to a buyer in the USA.

ink frog 1 (1)

Diving Frog sold in June 2014 through eBay to an overseas buyer.
Buy a print or card of this piece.

seahorse dreams in progress

This week we’re taking on a new subject: a seahorse! We really enjoy the 40 x 16 inch canvas dimensions of Sedona Sunset and thought it would be fun to try some similar abstracts that size. But, the new canvas had been languishing since we put down the first layers a few months ago. Then last week, while pondering the canvas, the shape of a seahorse appeared in the color washes.

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It’s worth noting here that the edges of the canvas really are perpendicular, but the camera tends to make them look irregular. Something something focal length – who knows?

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The textures come from mixing acrylic texture paste with semi-gloss white interior house paint and applying it to the canvas with a small paint roller. When that dried, we repeated the process, then painted over that with more white semi-gloss. For the color washes, we used deep permanent green and copper, applying it in a couple different layers, and spraying the wet washes with 90% rubbing alcohol.

You can get bottles of either 70% or 90% rubbing alcohol in the ‘health and beauty’ section of the grocery store. We replaced the bottle cap with a spray nozzle. When you spray it onto wet color washes, the drops of alcohol repel water, creating some really dramatic effects. We made it even more weird by soaking up some of the liquid with bath tissue which, being highly absorbent but soft, makes a handy addition to the arsenal of color wash tools.

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After lightly outlining the basic shape of the seahorse with pastel, which easily washes off later, we filled in the seahorse with two layers of wash. We used deep permanent green and a spot of black for this, mixed liberally with water. You have to be careful with how much water you use: the more water, the less the paint wants to stick. We get around this by gently brushing a layer of gloss varnish once the wash dries. This seals in the paint. Even so, sticking to varnishing one color at a time becomes necessary. The wet varnish tends to pick up a little color, and if you try varnishing the whole canvas at once you can end up smearing color everywhere. You’d probably be better off with some kind of spray product, but we avoid using aerosols in the house.

To give the seahorse skin some more definition, we added a layer of black dots. We did these with a really high-tech tool… an old toothbrush. You get some black paint on the brush, gently smush it into the bristles, then swish it around in water. After letting the excess water run out, hold the toothbrush over the canvas and run your thumb along the bristles. Presto! Black dots splattering everywhere. It isn’t easy to control the splatter, so we keep a wet rag nearby to mop up stray drips and splashes before the paint dries.

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With the basic shape decided and a layer of speckle on it, it’s time to add another visual element to create a little depth. We went with bubbles.

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The blue color – Katsura Blue – is a gift from our wonderful art teacher. We should mention that all of our color wash techniques are a gift from her! It’s like a whole new world of painting opened up when we learned them last year. Katsura Blue is a really vibrant blue formerly made by Holbein. Holbein, for reasons unknown to us, decided recently to discontinue making Katsura Blue. So, if you don’t already have some, you are S.O.L. – sorry. We use our last remaining tube sparingly. We used a minimal amount of this rare color with, again, liberal amounts of water. After a light layer of pure white for the bubbles, we brushed on clean water and then sort of dabbed the wet brush in the blue and then dabbed it onto the watery circles. This created some interesting swirly effects, like tiny atmospheres. Later, we’ll come back and give the bubbles some definition and highlights.

seahorse dreams in progress  (7)

Seahorse Dreams is far from finished, but we wanted to post a few in-progress photos while waiting for a layer of varnish to dry. Ellie the Studio Cat has some dreams of her own. We often wonder what they are. She seems to have zero interest in keeping a dream journal.

ellie kitty on the couch

Guitar 20: Frozen Coast

Guitar #20: Frozen Coast
Acrylic paint, varnish, and texture media on gallery-wrapped canvas
24 x 30 in. (60.9 x 76.2 cm)
Colors: Prussian blue, anthraquinone blue, deep permanent green, white, black.

This painting is currently for sale on eBay SOLD. (Please see our current art sales on eBay. Thank you.)

At 24×30 inches, Guitar #20 is the same size as Guitar #8. We enjoy working at this size, even though building up the layers of color and texture on something this size takes approximately forever.

Below we have a bunch of close-ups that show just how textured this piece is. The last half-dozen or so pics illustrate its long journey from blank canvas to colorfully tactile art. Enjoy!

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As promised, some “in progress” photos. Yes, we did start off thinking this would be red, but got wonderfully sidetracked by blue instead.

guitar 20 in progress  (2)

guitar 20 in progress  (3)

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guitar 20 in progress

cosmic hand

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A John Buscema panel from Thor #200 (Marvel Comics, 1972) inspired this painting. Measuring roughly 2 feet wide by 3 feet high, it comes on unframed canvas. The canvas comes from Fredrix, intended for use as a floor mat. It didn’t make sense to us how a loose piece of canvas on the floor would become a floor mat, so we nailed it to the wall for a couple weeks to paint on it.

cosmic hand (4)

Unlike the small pastel study from last year of this same panel, it wears a metal bracelet, hinting at the eye in a similar tribute to Jack Kirby. The detailed reflection lines on the metal became the focal point of the painting. Frankly, that results in a somewhat unbalanced piece, with the eyes drawn to such a low center point under the mass of the open hand. It may be worth coming back and adding another visual element to balance it out: a ring or rings on the fingers, or something held in the palm. It will decorate the kitchen wall until then!

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galactic banana

Sometimes it’s fun to paint silly things. Case in point, the galactic banana.

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We did the background last summer when we got some good training on basic color wash techniques. We enjoyed it so much that painting over it became nearly impossible. It suggested many grand epic things to us, most of which seemed to lie entirely outside our ability to execute. Do you ever have projects like that? Projects whose potential scope becomes overwhelming to the point where all progress stops? Maybe it’s time to stop being so serious about them, and just go bananas!

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Banana may not be a masterpiece, and it may never enjoy its own page in an art history book with a polysyllabic discussion about the conceptual meaning of it all. But, it made us smile, and sometimes that’s enough. Here are some close-ups to enjoy.

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