Sunday, July 8, 2018

My Sweet, Brave Boy

Zabi (pronounced "zobby"), my beloved dachshund, turned 17 on June 29th, 2018. I lost him on July 5th. I held him, wrapped my father's fleece jacket, as he passed away.
Tiny Zabi, napping on my desk.
As a pup, Zabi was known as the "Design Dog" – I was teaching graphic design at Indiana University South Bend, and he would come to work with me. He was so tiny then... and he would curl up and nap next to my keyboard while I worked at the computer.

Zabi loved to run, and bad weather never stopped him. Rain or snow, he'd run around his yard and make sure everything was in good order, snarfing up mulberries in the summertime.

He was a "babysitter" dog and loved puppies. When my other dogs – Tickle and Weema – were pups, he would lie down so as not to sit on them accidentally, and would play with them so very gently. He was the sweetest dog I've ever known.
Zabi, June 2006.
As Zabi grew older, he lost his hearing and took to sleeping in the pantry because I think felt protected there and was less likely to be startled. The night that he didn't come home, Tickle kept walking into the pantry and looking for him.
Zabi curled up with his girls, Tickle and Weema.
I will miss him every day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Exhibition: Visualize: Art Revealing Science




















Guild of Natural Science Illustrators 50th Anniversary Juried Exhibition 
Opening Reception: Monday, July 16th, 2018, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
July 16th - October 16th, 2018
American Association for the Advancement of Science Art Gallery
1200 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Egg Tempera with Koo Schadler

Egg tempera workshop with Koo Schadler. Koo, in the front of the room, 
preparing a demonstration. Participants' paintings are in various stages 
of progress.





















I am glad to have spent two weeks with Koo Schadler in her egg tempera workshop at her studio in New England. Koo is a fount of information and our days were filled with demonstrations, presentations and lots of time to paint. For information about Koo's work and classes, visit http://www.kooschadler.com/.

I prepared several weeks ahead of time, and worked up a "sketch" by arranging elements into a composition using Adobe Photoshop. This included a trip to Calypso Farm in Illinois to photograph llamas, one of which was to be the subject of my painting. I sent my composition to Koo and she suggested several changes to strengthen the piece.


An early stage of my painting. Here, I've just begun to work up the
background pattern. I have also started working on the llama, blocking
in the larger areas of color first.






















Still in progress, the background pattern is nearing completion, and
the llama has been worked up to an almost finished state.





















Egg tempera paints are basically pure pigments, in powder form, mixed with an egg yolk-and-water solution. It involves some work because the paint must be kept wet; once it dries on the palette it should not be rehydrated and used again. So the paint must be made once or twice a day. I found my paints kept a little better using a small porcelain palette — I use small amounts of paint, and this kept them puddled and moist, as opposed to spread out and dry on a flat palette. An egg solution is made from pure yolk mixed with water - approximately 1 to 1. Then, this egg solution is added to the pigment paste (pigment and water), and mixed well (called tempering). Enough egg solution must be used to bind the pigment to the surface of the painting, but not so much as to cause cracking and peeling.

My palette for my painting includes earth colors (ochres, siennas and umbers), greens (chromium oxide green, sap green, viridian), blues (cobalt, ultramarine and Prussian), black and titanium white. 

I love working in Koo's workshops. Working alongside other people is a wonderful way to learn. I love looking at other participants' paintings – it enriches how I work to see others utilize techniques and what they can accomplish. Koo's workshop studio is a lovely place to work... it looks out over a farm, and the landscape is inspiration in and of itself. And there were fresh treats from the garden every day – carrots and sugar snap peas. 


A close-up showing the detail of the brush strokes used to
create the texture of the fur.




















Koo covered a wide range of topics...including working with gold leaf, setting up and photographing still lifes and portraits for use as reference, preparation of a gesso panel (egg tempera is usually worked on a wood panel with rabbit skin glue), composition, color, and more. Especially helpful was being able to watch Koo work on a painting, laying down base colors and then building up to detail. Koo never missed a beat...she was quick answer all questions, made her way around the studio to check on everyone's progress...always quick to share her knowledge. 

I am continuing work on my llama portrait...once the background pattern is finished, it will be glazed to darken it, so it moves more to the background and doesn't fight with the llama for attention. I'm not sure yet if I'll add some subtle shadows. And lastly, I'll turn my attention to bringing out the highlights on the llama, and refining the edges of her fur. 

Thanks to Koo and her husband, Jeff, for a wonderful workshop and their hospitality. Thanks to all the wonderful workshop participants who broadened my horizons.

Images ©2016, Karen Ackoff.