Spring is springing and now is a great time to get some great material for new paintings.
The best thing you can do is keep your cell phone handy (if it takes pictures) and/or a digital camera with a huge memory card. Get out of the house and get some good exercise ... go on a walk! It will make you feel better physically and mentally, too. You can keep your eyes open for some of those inspirational shots to paint from while raising your spirits and getting fresh air.
For instance, if you find some flowers shooting up, you can take pictures from several angles. Be sure to get buds, partially open blooms and full blossoms. Take shots of the surrounding area, both close up and further away. You will have ground cover to set the scene and the native setting your flowers like. If they aren't in full bloom yet, go for another walk in a couple of days and get more shots.
It could be interesting to find some new foliage near a fence post, gate or gutter downspout. Last year we planted some ornamental prairie grass near an outside support post of our barn. Soon I plan to get some great shots of the new growth of the grasses. After it is full grown, I will take another set of pictures. Then in the fall, as it begins to die off, another set and the same when snow sets in. This will make a beautiful "4 Seasons" set of canvases which will I can hang together for a grouping. In the meantime, each one can be hung in anticipation of the others.
Think about doing a set like this with the buds, partially open blooms, full blossoms and another with the surrounding ground cover. A set of this type will look wonderful on canvases which are stretched around to the back of the stretcher strips. It gives the illusion that the painting goes beyond the confines of the canvas. This was a favorite technique of mine long before it was as popular as it is today.
I have always liked to hang unframed canvases and have a couple hanging in my home right now. If you have some old canvases around the house (the old fashioned kind that have staples on the sides) that you haven't framed, there are some other things you can do instead of going to the expense of having them framed.
Try using a piece of ribbon or trim that compliments the composition on the canvas and glue it around the outside of the canvas. An outdoor scene, picture of a horse or old barn would look great with a piece or rope put around the stretcher strips. I have simply painted a dark color from the canvas around the outside, covering the staples. Get creative. Go wild! Get those old canvases out & put them up where you can enjoy them.
Another alternative is to paint on a square of unstretched canvas, about 4" wider and taller than the stretchers you will use and paint all the way to the edges. After it is dried, stretch onto regular stretcher strips and you will save a bundle over buying the prepared canvases that are pre-stretched around the sides. If you want a deeper look, just stack two sets of stretcher strips of the same size and put a small diameter screw through them - at least one on each side before stretching the canvas over it. Stretching only about 4 or 5 canvases for yourself will save you enough to pay for the special pliers you will need to get the job done right.
For those who are scratching their heads wondering what I'm talking about, we will discuss different types of canvas and how to correctly stretch them very soon. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you, too, will be kept up on what we are discussing each week.
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