Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Painting

This was another watercolor attempt. I managed to get the scale right this time. I used a doll to double check the painting's head was a little smaller than life size.
Framing her was a little tricky. I usually keep the matting pretty neutral. Dark green or pale blue are generally my wildest choices. But this was a very warm painting, with lots of pink (it's a little washed out in the photo above). None of my regular choices worked. I tried the bubblegum-pink out of desperation, and was shocked that I liked it.

The frame color was a new shade of gold paint I was testing out. My favorite gold paint finally ran out a while ago, and when I replaced it, it seemed like they'd changed the formula to a much cooler (greenish yellow) gold.  This one wasn't bad, but it wasn't perfect either. It was a bit too warm/pinkish for most uses (though that worked for this painting!), and it needed quite a few coats. I'll let you know when I find my perfect gold again!

 One quick tip: If you plan to do a lot of framing, it's nice to save any matting mistakes (ones where I mismeasured, or the blade slipped, etc.) I use these mistakes to test mat colors before I spend a lot of time custom cutting one in the wrong color. Even a three mats in a dark, medium and light tone can sometimes help narrow things down!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not Quite Right

When I haven't painted in miniature for a while, I struggle with the scale. I was quite pleased with this woman- until I held her up next to a few miniature pieces and realized she's about 3x larger than life. Of course, this occasionally happens in regular life too. My first "life size" full-body self portrait ended up over eight feet tall! But miniature paintings tend to look 'wrong' if they are significantly over sized.
 I decided to frame her anyway. She may end up somewhere in our 'real' house. I have a small collection of these larger-scaled but still tiny paintings, and I've been toying with the idea of grouping them on a small section of wall. I'll post another painting with better scale on Friday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Miniature Boxes

One of the tools we used a lot at the Guild School was a small square. It was a tool I owned before, but I reach for it a lot more frequently after the class! It made the construction of these boxes much quicker. I didn't even have to pull out my ruler!
This blue box was my first attempt. It's about 1" across.

Next came a green box covered in antique "scrap" images. It's difficult to see, but I painted the edges of the lid the same blue as the box above.

 The insides of these first two boxes are painted the same color as the exteriors.
Next came a rusty red box...
with compartments to store some of my hand cut dollhouse paper dolls. I still want to design a label for this.
Last of all was a painting set.
The tray is stored snugly inside the box...
but comes out when it's time to paint! I'd like to make a couple paint brushes to round out the set, but my attempts so far are very fragile and look a little awkward. I really wanted to have real bristles, but I'm thinking now that it may be better just to carve the end instead.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One Man's Trash...

I found this little plastic baby doll carriage in a bin at my local dollhouse store. It was marked 25 cents, so I bought it. I knew it would be an easy project.
 Here it is repainted. I added a bit more distressing than I usually would, so that the toy would look well loved.
 I used to hate painting eyes on dolls. They are so tiny, but if they look wrong, it wrecks the toy for me! I used to redo them countless times. Then I figured out a very simple method which looks surprisingly realistic. Use artist quality acrylic paints, because they less transparent than craft paints. Water down white paint until it is quite runny, but only a bit translucent. Paint the white of one eye with this. While the paint is still wet, dot the pupil in using slightly less watered down black or dark brown. The white and black/brown will mix around the edges of the pupil, creating a fairly realistic blue-grey or brown iris. Just repeat for the second eye, then add eyebrows, lashes, and any other details you want.