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Officially back from hiatus

Journal Entry: Wed Jan 15, 2014, 7:21 PM



Wow! So I've been in a big art rut for quite some time now. I didn't realize it, but I went from checking DA every day to just not really caring about anything to do with art. Sometimes I just get sick of art and do that, but I always come back. And here I am about 3 months later finally free of artist block!

The strangest thing got me off the hump, so do expect to see some pretty drastic subject matter changes. I am still finishing up portrait commissions that I had previously engaged to, but will be spending my time after and in between that working on these new ideas! I am actually sitting down to paint right now, so I should have something to show for it very soon. :)

I hope you all had a great holiday and new year. I'll be working on catching up on comments too - I have something like 180 feedback messages to go through o_o. I look forward to catching up with everyone! ;)

-Marie

Q and A : Blending with Acrylics

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 8, 2013, 10:33 AM



Someone asked me a question about my painting style, and when I realized I had already written a book - I decided it was probably a good idea to just make a journal post about the topic. That way others may be able to find it useful as well.

Here's the question: "how do you get your acrylics to look so smooth? Do you water them down or is it the brushes?"

Answer:

That's a loaded question! I have always been into the idea of painting that way - I believe it's technically called a blended style - but I was doing it before I even heard about that! Basically it's a combination of paint, brushes, and ocd. xD At one point, I decided that I didn't like the way lines and such that hadn't been blended in looked. I found I had a lot of trouble blending though with my current brushes/paint, and considered trying oils. I followed the suggestions of an oil painter who offered lessons and info on what brushes to get. The oil painting didn't work out, as I had just become too accustomed to acrylics, but 2 of the brushes ended up being incredibly useful for acrylic painting.

The funny thing is, I have never heard of people using these brushes with acrylics and you can't even buy them on dickblick.com. You have to spend like 24 bucks for one brush through a private supplier, but on the bright side the brush lasts 2+ years (mine is still going strong). Seriously even with acrylics that tend to eat the heck out of any brush. It's a brush by Alexander and it's a badger filbert. It only comes in one size. They also make a badger flat brush that i use for background work. But, I use the filbert brush for just about everything -  the only time I don't use it is when the space is too small for that brush to get into and in that case I use a small titanium round. Titanium is synthetic and holds up amazingly well to acrylics. It also has a tendency to get very frayed once worn in and this is great for blending.

See a picture of these brushes here and notice the difference between a worn in brush versus a new one- sta.sh/0vdqqmxpl44

That's the other important thing to note. Most brushes are pretty useless for blending when you first purchase them because they are too stiff and still have too much form. It's a good idea to use the brushes for other things until they are properly worn in. I use the rounds for detail work until they get frayed enough to blend with. I also keep my main brushes in water all of the time. The rounds don't take as well to this as the filbert and flat does, but they only cost 2 dollars a brush - so I don't really care. So long as you wipe them and change the water once a day, you will not have to worry about any funk on the brushes. This helps to keep them soft..another aid in blending.

Lastly, the paint. I use 3 different types of acrylic paint: Golden Heavy Body, Golden Open Acrylics, and Chroma Atelier Interactives. See picture here: sta.sh/024ga3y28c2o

Open Acrylics are amazing for blending. As with all acrylics you have to keep them wet. I use a fine mister from Chroma Atelier to keep my palettes wet. Spray them every time you notice them starting to get tacky. With Opens all you need to blend right is a bit of water. Mix it in as you're using it on the palette. You want the consistency to be creamy but not watery. This is something you will have to just practice - maybe I'll make a video sometime in the future to show what I mean, but otherwise it's hard to explain past creamy! Do not keep it thick though..that will just make a mess. Don't let it get too watery or the pigment won't hold. You can always tell when they paint is perfectly mixed when it just flows smoothly and mixes well with other paints already on the canvas.

Heavy Body acrylics are what you use when you can't find what you want in opens. I use them for all of my neutral gray paintings because sadly, they're not available in opens. I use retarder to keep them from drying so fast and keep them wet more often than I have to with opens. The paint is very thick and will have to be watered down a bit more to make it workable. It is great paint though..it usually comes out so nice and creamy when watered down right, and the pigment is very strong.

Interactives are a nice alternative to the more expensive Golden products and I use them for blocking in huge sections of color. Usually for backgrounds and landscapes. In my personal opinion, they dry too fast for portrait work. Typically when working on a portrait you want a palette to be able to stay wet for days. Even in an airtight container, this paint likes to dry out. The other big reason I don't use it is the severe loss of pigment. They don't seem to be bound as well as the Goldens pigments and when the amount of water I like to add is added, the paint loses it's oomph. Especially if working on something with a liner brush where the mixture needs to be very fluid or glazes.

The rest is just finesse which comes from practicing..and practicing..and practicing. ;)

I hope that answered you're question though and that I didn't speak too confusingly. It's sometimes hard to explain something that you just know from doing it over and over and I might have left something obvious out!

Everyone Beware

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 4, 2013, 8:38 AM


I've started up a new DA: O campaign! I finally finished Dragon Age 2 and since there is still quite some time until the next game comes out - I went back to DA: O. Prepare to see some more DA art o_o - Currently working on a Fenris and will try to tackle Alistair again if all goes well :D

Sometimes

Journal Entry: Thu May 2, 2013, 3:51 PM


Sometimes I feel like I just can't win. Something good happens and something bad promptly occurs to make up for it. But when something bad happens, I notice that there is never something good to help balance it out. I usually take on smaller tasks that I feel I have some control over to make these positive bursts in my life, and when those fail it makes me feel even worse. I sometimes wish I could stop caring about whether or not I'm amazing at something. What does it matter if I never manage to make it there?

Some would say, it's a good thing to strive for more..but it's just a lot of disappointment. Disappointment is worse than settling for mediocrity. But then again, if I could do that, I wouldn't be in this position to begin with. I'm not trying to be negative here, in fact I spend 98% of my time being ridiculously optimistic. Forcing optimism just makes that 2% feel incredibly worse when it happens though.

I'm really not looking for anyone to make me feel better here (or maybe I am who knows) - I just wanted to get the thought out of my head..so that I would hopefully stop dwelling on it. You know that whole write it down and forget about it thing. I'm also curious if other people feel like this or if it's just me? I feel like I'm incredibly sensitive sometimes..

Is it really April already?

Journal Entry: Sat Mar 30, 2013, 2:11 PM


Well not yet, but REALLY SOON! I haven't written a journal in forever. Lately work has been taking me way too long to finish as things keep getting in the way. I'm currently working on a Daenerys painting from Game of Thrones and it's coming out really good so far. Gotta get amped up for Season 3 after waiting for a fricken year!

Then I'm going to have to finish that Lovecraft commission..which has now evolved into a Shoggoth versus Mechwarrior painting. That should be interesting. After that I'll be busy with probably all of my spare time finishing a huge set from that commission I mentioned awhile back. It has taken us a lot of time to just find the right ideas to go with. It will be nice once I get started since all in all it will be 7 paintings.

Hrm so..yeah..I still want to finish my Alistair painting and start a Fenris but there is just not enough time in a day! :( Maybe I can squeeze it in there somewhere between the commisions. Hope everyone that I don't talk to regularly is doing well!

Happy Valentine's all you Saucy Deviants!

Journal Entry: Thu Feb 14, 2013, 7:13 PM


I am feeling very Dragon Age-y today and so I thought an Alistair Valentine would be appropriate from the most awesome aimo. Hope you all had/have a good one! Now to get to work :)




So It's Going to be a Good Year!

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 5, 2013, 2:54 PM


I just got the biggest job ever and I am SO excited about it! An old friend of my husband from like 10 years ago contacted him to ask about my art. Since he shares my work on his FB page all the time, I guess she had been seeing it for awhile and was interested in hiring me for some commissions. Well...I'm thinking OK one or two paintings..very cool! Well after talking with her more, it was more like 7 paintings..and then we talked more and found that we both have very similar interests so once I'm done with this one project, there will be more work. To name some of the pieces she was interested in creating: Freddy Kreuger, Dexter, Frank the Rabbit (Donnie Darko). Roland from the Dark Tower (YES!), and the guys from Supernatural which is what I think really got her attention since I'm working on that Dean painting right now.

Anyway, the big project will be a Buffy theme. Something I'm not sure all of you will be into since it was a thing of the 90's and you either loved it or didn't care. I used to love it but haven't watched it in ages..I noticed not long ago that they finally put it on Netflix and was thinking about watching it again when this fell into my lap. It's the biggest grouping I've ever worked on so it will definitely be a challenge, but I'm super excited about it! And I'm happy that I'll be busy until probably June or July at least with work that is already sold. :D

Woo! With this one client I have officially tripled what I made last year. Way to go me!

New Method

Journal Entry: Fri Feb 1, 2013, 9:26 PM


So I finally finished my Morrigan portrait tonight. I will get pics uploaded tomorrow when I can get some good light, but until I replace my studio lighting, sunlight is still the best I can get!

I have been meaning to try a new method with painting for awhile now. I had commissions lined up though as well as pieces I needed to bring to my gallery and thus wasn't able to try something new. Now I only have 1 active commission left, and no new work due at the gallery for more than 2 months, and so I finally have some room to explore.

What I want to try is the Munsell Value System and I think I'm finally in a place where I can understand it. I have been working on color for so long and have gotten good with it..or at least good enough for now. Now my major roadblocks have been values, and sometimes when you try to do both with color, it just doesn't come out as good as it could. And sometimes it is just frustrating! Your eyes can be really tricky sometimes, and I find a lot of the time I lose the values and form in some spots on the face.

I found this really amazing article that gave me some good pointers for creating a scale and all that. Thankfully one of my books had a good explanation of mixing the colors too although I ended up eying it for the most part. I now have my gray-scale palette ready to go and I'm SO excited to see how this portrait turns out!

If you're curious what the current project is - I'll most certainly tell you! It's going to be Dean Winchester (aka Jensen Ackles) from Supernatural. I have always watched the show, but lately have not really been thinking about it much. The other night I had this EPIC dream that I was on the show, but it was actually real and not just a show! And there was a monster, of course there was, and we beat it's ass all while making bad jokes. I woke up thinking 'I HAVE TO PAINT DEAN!' Because he's my favorite! And who doesn't love a guy who sings Eye of the Tiger in front of a whole crew lmao. Writers wake up and write down ideas from dreams, so why not artists as well? Eh? Eh?

I'm not dead, I promise!

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:22 PM


The past few weeks have been a little hectic, and I've been outright lazy this most recent week. Part of that was stress and burnout; the rest was not really feeling at my peak for creativity from a lack of mojo probably caused by the stress and burntout! xD

I've been finishing up this Matt Smith painting this week and have just been soooo bad about getting it done! I finished the face, the hair, pretty much the part I enjoy doing and since this was a commission, the client wanted the painting to show the top part of his suit. I guess I didn't realize how much of a pain in the ass Matt Smith's 70's tweed blazer would be to paint! I feel like it just goes on and on and on and on..I'm SO BORED. I just want it to be over!

On the bright side, it will look amazing when it is done and the will fricken LOVE both this painting and the David Tennant one..but never again will I do a 16 x 24 painting where almost 2/3rd of the canvas is a blazer! Gah >_<! I only have one more sleeve to do, and then finish in his suspenders and pants (only the top and black thank god). I WILL get myself together and finish it up tomorrow though.. I have so many ideas going through my head and they are all being squandered because I have been so lazy with this painting! xD I am such a stubborn child sometimes. I don't wanna! :)

Anyway, hope everyone has been doing well. I'll be getting back into action and hopefully getting way more work done after this commission is complete. And the next Doctor Who painting I do will be the way I like it! Up close and personal! Rawr =^.^=

Trying out this Free Feature Thingamajig

Journal Entry: Wed Jan 16, 2013, 3:33 PM


Ok, a friend of mine was doing this and I thought it was kind of cool..so I guess I'll try it out too. Here are the...

RULES:
★ 1. The first 20 people to comment on this journal, I will put their avatar and the three deviations I like most from their gallery on the list!

★ 2. If you comment, you have to do the same in your journal, putting the tagger (me!) on the first place. The idea of this is not to get a free feature, it is to spread art around for everyone!

★ 3. Link me to your journal so I can see!

Basically, to do your entry, just copy and paste the rules and post it to your journal. I would count as the first commenter so you can start with me as #1.

--------

#1. :iconsabasreflection:

:thumb348142024: :thumb346341882: Tigger by SabasReflection

#2. :iconcaen-n:

Fried Idea by Caen-N Rose Idea I by Caen-N Edgar Allan Poe Idea by Caen-N

#3. :iconkoisnake:

nightmare at the bottom of the stairs - cosplay by koisnake Tired Link is Tired by koisnake Mira the Dog by koisnake

Thank You! :)

Journal Entry: Mon Jan 7, 2013, 8:49 AM


So, I was pretty busy this weekend and I also think I'm coming down with a cold. I didn't get a chance to check deviantart, which I have become rather obsessed with lately. Anyway, i came back to this crazy lump of comments. Before I got held up, I had noticed that Jack Nicholson and David Tennant were fighting it out on the favorites/comments battle. Now Galadriel is in the running too!

Lady of the Golden Wood by miz-mezzy 59 comments 17 fav  
Allons-Y by miz-mezzy 73 comments 24 fav  
Words of Wisdom by miz-mezzy 54 comments 12 fav

Now granted a lot of those comments also include my thank you, but still! I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of responses I've gotten on these paintings! And thanks especially for those who stuck around by watching and continue to give their support.

Getting back to the painting battle, it seems that David Tennant (Doctor Who) is the heavy-weight champion. I'm curious to see if anyone will catch up, or perhaps a new painting will have to do the job! :)

Thanks again! You guys are awesome!

Get Over It

Journal Entry: Tue Jan 1, 2013, 5:24 PM


Really feeling frustrated about now. I love seeing people's artwork and at the same time when I see something that is phenomenal, it reminds me how much farther I have to go. I feel like it has taken forever to get where I am skill-wise, and while I have made considerable improvements, I'm still not there. What annoys me even more is when people have these misguided notions about what makes a good artist. Really? so apparently these people are gods and are going to dictate to the rest of the world what art should be! That just annoys me. Everyone has their own tastes. What they like and what they don't like. And then there is a whole other level of what they enjoy doing themselves with art.

I've always been of the mind that if you don't like something, you should just not say anything about it. Or if you do say something, say what's GOOD about it and nicely say what they could work on if they ask for the input. You don't have to bash hopeful artist's dreams by telling them you think their work sucks. And what does your opinion matter anyway? Even if you don't like it, who's to say that others won't? It is all relative. So there is no point trying to define what 'good' art is or should be because it is different for everyone.

I happen to love portraits, why? Because that is what I do! Sometimes I see other work that's good, but just isn't to my liking or I can't fully appreciate it because I'm not involved enough to know the work that goes into it. Most artists, myself included, are their own worst critics. I might not be amazing, and I certainly know my own shortcomings. I just do the best I can with the current skill level I have. I get better with practice and unfortunately that just means I will be at it for many more years before I live up to my own expectations. But does that mean I shouldn't share my work?

I have had several commissions from people who obviously thought I was good enough to buy from. I keep my paintings priced reasonably, but I don't take slave labor fees either. I have been in local galleries and just found I didn't like the markup of commission fees nor the pegging that happens when they like one thing you do and expect you to keep making more of the same. So I tend to stick to personal and online sales.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to vent. I love people that foster a comfortable art environment and can't stand those who try to put restraints on it. I remember when I was a child of about 8 or so, my mother got me a private drawing instructor. I remember I brought all of my drawings, ones I was VERY proud of, and she just tore them to pieces with criticism. She spent the whole time correcting every little thing I did, even down to what and when I chose to erase things. I left wanting to cry and not even wanting to bother with art. It wasn't too long after this, that I felt the pull to go back to drawing, and I just told myself that I wouldn't let someone force me into their version of art again. Everyone's version is different, and you can't be creative when you're hand-cuffed to someone else's notions of what you should be.

Btw, nobody said anything directly to me, I just read something that conflicted big-time with my current upset about feeling way behind the artists I admire.

Hooked on Getwatchers xD

Journal Entry: Mon Dec 31, 2012, 4:40 PM


Title pretty much explains it all! I'm sitting here trying to pull myself away from looking at art and getting people to look at mine in the process! I love receiving feedback and being able to brighten others days with my own feedback. At least I hope I am.. o.O. Anywho, I am feeling seriously inclined to get some work done tonight after spending all of last night playing games. I started a new game in Dragon Age and finally got started on Skyrim. Yes, yes, I know I'm late to the party. Going to get some work done on Doctor Who 11 tonight I think. Still working on the background at the moment which is this really awesome blue nebula. I need to add some stars and then I can get started on the face! My favorite part :) Welcome to new watchers! So glad to have you here!

Busy Busy Busy

Journal Entry: Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:31 PM


I have been working at finishing up my outstanding commissions as of late. I have been DYING to finish up some of my Alistair (Dragon Age) paintings and just haven't been able to justify working on them until I get my "work" done. I finished Darkness for my best client - you can view it here fav.me/d5pd2bx - it was a Christmas present and his girlfriend absolutely loved it.

Now I have to finish part two of a commission for both the 10th and 11th Doctors (Doctor Who). I already have David Tennant finished and am now getting started on the Matt Smith one.

I recently moved my studio into a larger room in the house and was ecstatic at first, until I started painting! Especially on dark colors, I found I was having major light issues. I couldn't figure out what it was until someone pointed out that the walls were blue which probably wouldn't reflect light as well. Now I'm having to deal with a lot of glare because the light does not channel in here well at all. I've been messing with CFL bulbs at 5000 kelvin which is supposedly the best temperature for painting (clean white light) but none of them are bright enough. I will probably have to order some online to get the wattage I need. The alternative is that I could paint the room white again, but UGH I hate painting rooms, and there is so much stuff in here to cover >_>

Anyway, back to paintings. After Doctor Who, I have to work on a HP Lovecraft inspired piece. Was told I can use complete creative license and literally use any character I want. I still have no idea what I'm going to do, but am leaning towards Cthulu mainly because the descriptions are better for him. I like Shub too though, but can find next to nothing to describe what it looks like. We'll see I guess, but it should fun to work on.

After confiding my extreme Alistair fangirlness to a friend of mine, I found out he was really into the game as well and had a thing for Morrigan. I told him I'd have to do a painting of her too then and he said "I'D PAY FOR THAT!" Which turned into another commission..haha.

Also coming up in the distant future will be David Bowie from Labyrinth. A friend of mine had commissioned this awhile ago, but then told me to hold off until she had the money. But we picked out a composition and everything and I just have to get it done. That will be great fun because I LOVE Jareth! I would do it whether it was commissioned or not and will probably just paint it and hold it for whenever she has the money.

One last thing! I have also recently gotten a severe itch to paint Link (yes legend of zelda). I have always loved the game, but not sure why I all of a sudden got the urge. I probably won't be able to do that for awhile, unless I can sneak it in between the others.

If you're ever interested in getting a commission done, just send me a note. I do acrylic paintings on canvas (or hardboard) and it will be a physical piece to be shipped to you.

Giving up on Robbie for a Time

Journal Entry: Mon Oct 15, 2012, 10:54 AM


So, I had a major setback with Robbie and I don't think I can manage to get this costume done in time for the premier. The whole body is done. Overalls, foot shoes, gloves, fur shirt, etc. But the head gave me a major problem. I used a papier mache like pulp to fill in the negative space in the front of the face - from an earlier mistake I made not making my original square large enough. Well..the stuff even though hard on the outside, did not dry on the inside properly. I was left with a moldy, wet mess. I had to scrape out all of the pulp and even sand some mold off the foam.

I thought of a way to fix the  negative space problem with foam, but after the setback, I just don't feel like it. I certainly don't feel like doing it rushed. I still then have to cover the head with fabric, which I'm really not 100% sure on how to do pattern-wise. But, the mold problem just really killed my confidence on actually making the head work. I think if anything, I would like to start from scratch with new foam. I've even considered perhaps buying one of those big huge Styrofoam balls for constellation projects. The biggest problem I was having aside from the mold, was getting the shape oblong and round. Ugh.

So, not to say Robbie is shelved forever - I have so much of the costume done that it would be silly to not finish it. I'm just not going to have it done by 10/26 like I had hoped. I'm taking a break to work on a Halloween costume which is a hefty sewing project, but that's about it. It's sort of a medieval dress. Pretty complicated, but will be amazing if I can pull it off. Anyway, just wanted to write an update.

Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Sun Sep 16, 2012, 11:13 AM


I think today is going to have to be a painting day. I haven't painted anything in almost 2 weeks and I am getting requests for  commissions in time for Christmas, while I still have to finish my Doctor Whos! I still have to do one of Matt Smith..heh. Plus 2 other commissions on the horizon. So I need to get moving and clear them out.

I managed to finish sewing the fur shirt for my Robbie cosplay last night. With all the trouble my sewing machine was giving me, I'm amazed I got it done with no major mishaps. I will get a picture of it up later! :D

Cosplay Antics

Journal Entry: Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:11 AM


So trying out DA again after seeing so many great cosplayers on here. I'm trying to work on a Robbie the Rabbit costume from Silent Hill right now. Have gotten a lot of good info from a bunch of different people and am working on the head right now. Making it out of insulation foam and it is such a pain in the butt. I will post some pics of my progress, but really it just looks like a big lump of shapeless mess. Sculpting malleable materials is SO much easier than cutting and sanding..and sanding..and sanding. Ok, Robbie is driving me borderline crazy! But that's OK! I will finish him!

On the DA side, going to try separating all my goods up into sections..thinking painting, maskmaking, and cosplay. So far I have only cosplayed once as Lulu from FF8, but am hoping to increase that in order to get more cosplay fun going. It's one of those things where I realized how much I love dressing up and not just as a vampire or something equally generic...but as a character I really love from a game and/or anime. I've got a knack already for creating props and masks/ head units, but I need to do some work on the sewing end. Anyway..enough ranting. Time to start uploading some pics >_<