Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's Your Process? Inquiring minds want to know??

Hi Everyone,
My messy paint boxes
I've had several questions lately about my process, so I thought I'd share a little of that today, answer some questions, and I want to know about your process.  I really find it interesting, I think everyone may approach their art a little differently, so I would love to know how you create.

So here are some  questions and answers.

1. What is your painting process?

I paint from right to left, I'm not sure why.  I didn't even realize that's how I painted until I started taking WIP pictures.  I think I do this to avoid dragging my arm across my pencil drawing, but like I said I wasn't really aware I painted that way.

2. Are you left handed (because I paint from right to left)?  No, I'm right handed.  I think I start on the right so I won't be dragging my arm and hand across the pencil lines smearing the graphite onto my paper.  After I have a section painted I cover it in paper towel.  I have my painting draped off kind of like a surgery with a small opening over the section I'm working on.

3.  . Interesting to see how you build the painting up in sections Carrie that something you've developed to fit in with your young family or have you always painted with this approach?

I have always painted this way,  I believe it stems from impatience.  I really need to see if my painting is working.  If I lay down washes over the entire paper it really overwhelms me.  So I finish a section at a time and I feel that I'm accomplishing something and I can see if I'm getting the desired results.

4.  How do you get such dark, darks and such intense colors.

For most of my darks in the background the really saturated black sections I use a combination of Indigo (very staining), sepia and occasionally I throw in some lamp black (but it is sedimentary so it's hard to get a nice even wash), in the case of my last painting I mixed some of the greens I was using to the blacks to make a cohesive color story.  I also don't use a wet on wet technique very often.  I mix more saturated mixtures of colors.

5.  Do you use fresh paint each time?

That would be a big fat NO!  That would be such a waste of paint, in my opinion.  I also really love some of the colors that mix and mingle on my palette.  One of my strong points is that I can very easily match a color that I mixed.  I don't write it down it just is a natural color sense.

6.  What do you use for your palette? and what  brand paints do you use?

My first set of professional paints were Schmincke brand ( I bought them when I lived in Germany) and they only sold half pans and full pans.  So I have a large set of Schmincke large pans and the enamel boxes that they came in.  I have 4 of these sets and I use the case they're in for a palette.  I also recently purchased some metal cafeteria trays from a military surplus store and I love, love, love them for mixing my paints.  They aren't white which I was worried might throw me, but I've had no problem adjusting.  I also use Daniel Smith paints, my favorite, go to colors are the  DS Quinacridone paints.  They are gorgeous and I love them!

7.  How long does it take you to complete a painting?

My larger paintings normally take 2-3 weeks.  My smaller paintings take a couple of days.

8.  Do you paint from life or photographs.

I set up all of my still life subjects using only natural daylight and very strong lighting.  I then photograph the still life (I'm talking 200-300 digital pics) and then choose my favorites put them in Photoshop, crop them and saturate them.  I then paint from my manipulated photo.

9. How long have you been painting?

I've always been interested in art and have always been into some kind of creative project.  But, it wasn't until after college that I picked up my first professional watercolor set and a book on how to "The Ultimate Watercolor Course--Simple Techniques To Paint Like The Pros)"  that I really started to paint.  I painted for a couple of years at that time, then went on to paint murals with acrylics in peoples homes and work at my Mom's frame shop. After I had kids I picked it back up again.  It wasn't until that point I got serious about it.  That was 2 years ago.

10.  What attracts you to painting still life paintings specifically glass?

I first painted a still life last year as an answer to a challenge that an artist was hosting.  I was hooked after that.  I then wanted to challenge myself so I added glass into the still life and I was hooked once again.  I love the challenge.  It amazes me how many little abstract paintings are in a realistic painting.  It is really painting shapes, forms and colors at it's best.
Steven 5 doing his thing
Sam Man creating
11.  How do you keep your kids out of your paint?

I don't!  I'm one of those Mom's that doesn't believe in putting away the breakables or bubble wrapping the coffee table.  They have learned from an early age that it's Mommy's art and paints.  I  will allow them to "help" me some times.  Steven has added paint to a lot of my works, in an extremely supervised manner.  They both have their own art supplies and access to do art any time they want to.  So far I've only had one painting ruined and it was in the beginning stages, Sam decided to add to my drawing--and that was about 6 months ago--he's much older and wiser now (the ripe old age of 2.5) :)

I would love to hear about your process.  Do you have anything you're dying to share?  Share with the class, we can all learn from each other.  And if you have any other questions for me I'd be happy to answer them:))



  1. Carrie...I so adore your work, as you know, it amazes me how different our styles and approaches are. Wonderful to hear about your cool!

  2. Wonderful, informative post Carrie. Enjoy your evening.

  3. Carrie!!! It's so generous of you to share your process in such a lengthy and detailed explanation!

    The "cover the painted parts with paper towel" part is great -- now I have a tip to avoid spilling or dripping water over a painted dark passage...

    Years ago I've read a book by a good pastel artist, Doug Dawson, and he mentioned there are two kinds of painters -- those who paint from shape to shape (section by section) and those who paint layer by layer (working over the whole painting and develop every part of it to the same degree of finish, then go to the next level). I think I mainly belong to the first one, and when I try to do the second I almost always find myself end up finishing some sections and leaving others behind...

  4. Carrie, that was a most interesting post! I paint ALL over the place, which is why I often find myself frustrated and wondering what the heck I'm doing. And I definitely do not drape my board, which is probably why I am constantly blowing and brushing off bits of hay and animal hair!!!

  5. I just can't believe you are self-taught. You have a true gift. Awesome!

  6. What a fun post, Carrie. I think you are a brave artist to let your kids help you with paintings!

  7. Loved hearing about your painting processes! :-)

  8. Wonderful post, Carrie!! I enjoy visiting everyone's blog and have learned so much, even though I work with pastels most of the time! When I paint a portrait, I put all my values down..layer by layer, then I use my pastel pencils to blend all the luscious colors together! It was great reading on your painting process.. and of course, Sam is so darn cute!!

  9. What a great post! I enjoyed reading this. I tend to work from background to foreground. So I will complete the background entirely, then move forward and complete that part, until I reach the foreground. Only when I have completed that will I see the painting as a whole and then make any necessary adjustments. I was always taught to put light layers on the whole thing and then add to them, but this never worked for me at all. Hey, whatever works for us, right? Only when I draw do I work from left to right. It comes naturally but also avoids smudging as I am right handed :0)

  10. nice post.I love the topic and enjoyed the whole story!

  11. Thanks for sharing! Substitute copy paper for paper towel, and that's me lately! Love that you don't put things away from your kids, but teach them to respect other's belongings!

  12. I love that you let your kids participate! My girls never bother my paintings either, but are used to being around it and even used to being dragged around galleries and museums whenever we get the chance. And my process - I am nowhere near as disciplined! I tend to bounce around a painting to whatever interests me then or catches my eye (especially while I wait for something to dry), or needs to be painted next to make it start to work. Come to think of it, that's how I tend to clean my house, which is probably why my house cleaning and paintings often are left unfinished! I used to always have two paintings I was working on in front of me at a time in case I got discouraged with one or needed to let it dry, but I've at least stopped that madness :)

  13. sorry i'm missed your post carrie ...thanks so much for answering my question ... goodluck with "videoing" ...your photos WIP would make a good video.