Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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01/14/2004: "Feeling the Muse!"

Last night was incredible. After work I was feeling a little tired but I promised myself that once I got the canvases in I would start painting so I forced myself to get started. First I played around in PhotoShop for a couple of hours trying to find just the right composition (this time I scanned a black and white line drawing I did of a woman wearing a sarong) Next I deleted the drawing's background and dragged the drawing into several of my rainforest photos. I used the paint bucket tool in PhotoShop to add color to the figure, changing them around until I came up with a combination. As I've written about from my last show Flesh Tones I am very interested in color theory, so I play around a lot with color placement. It helps that I don't use realistic colors on my figures, so, for example, if the top of the painting needs blue I can give my figure blue hair to round it out.

But I digress, I dragged several elements from photographs into the rainforest photograph, duplicated layers etc. then cropped in around 50 different variations until I found one that felt right to me. Then I printed it out and used it as a guide for the painting that I started.

First let me say that I am incredibly impressed with the canvases I bought from Dick Blick. For those of you who missed me obsessing about having to buy prestreched canvas because of my bad back...I spent A LOT of time talking to product specialists at Dick Blick trying to decide what kind of prestreched canvas to purchase. Since I live in a place with no roads coming in or going out, I can't get anything delivered by ground, only air, so I usually don't qualify for "free shipping" offers. Dick Blick does offer a discount for orders over 200 bucks shipped to Alaska that was very reasonable, but I had to buy a lot of canvases all at once in order to get the cheaper shipping, so I was terrified I'd buy 12 canvases and they'd turn out to be crap.

The one's I finally decided on are called Masterpiece Vincent Masterwrap Canvases.

canvas (5k image)

I was afraid that the surface wouldn't have enough tooth, or that it wouldn't be stretched tightly enough or that the wood from the stretcher bars would press up against the canvas...but none of those things occurred. It was great. The canvas has a 3/4 inch width so it fits in most gallery type frames, they are completely squared (something difficult to achieve when you build your own), they are toothy but not too toothy, they are gallery wrapped so if you can't frame them you can paint the sides, and there is salvage canvas in the back so you can restretch them if you need to. I couldn't have been more pleased!

And the best part was, not only did I start a painting last night, but I actually finished it as well. That is a new record for me on a work night. Of course today I have to drink copious amounts of coffee to keep from falling asleep. Also, I feel ok writing this at work since I didn't take a lunch break today.

So, the bottom line is that I had an awesome night of painting. It has gotten me so excited about painting. Don't you find that when you stop painting at a high point you feel more like getting back to it than when you stop in frustration?

So, one painting down, 10 more to go. I probably won't post any of my new work that I'm doing specifically for the solo in July until after the opening. I'm always retouching things and futzing around until the paintings are actually up on the gallery wall, and that's when I can take good slides and digital photos to post.

I am going to get a webcam though. I'm going to call it "Canvas Cam" and it's going to be aimed directly at my easel whenever I'm painting so anyone who's interested could see the painting as I paint it (but not me-I always look frightening when I paint).

Well, I better get back to work.