Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Peek-a-Boo", New Miniature in Acrylic

Peek-a-Boo, © Barbara A. Freeman
Acrylic on Claybord, 3 5/8" x 3 5/8"

My latest miniature work is a redo from one that I had done in colored pencil on film several months ago. I ran into problems with the first one though, and had to abandon it, (see below). I knew I wanted to come back to doing the chickens because I liked their expressions, they were so cute. I especially liked the way the one is partially in the picture plane. It was as though it wanted to be sure to be in the picture too. They were really funny to walk through and photograph. They were difficult to shoot, would not pose and instead, would come up to the camera and try to peck it. This chicken breed is the White Cochin Bantam.

This was my first animal painting in acrylic. I have always used either graphite or colored pencil to do any animals because I liked the control in getting all the small details. Now, though, after painting these, I would not hesitate to do more. It was a bit challenging getting all the value shifts in the whites though. Such fun! It still needs to be varnished. I'll post it again when I have it framed.

Radioactive Chickens, Colored Pencil on Film, (left),
"Peek-A-Boo", Acrylic on Claybord, (right)
© Barbara A. Freeman

Above are the two works side by side. The colored pencil work was finished except for the final fixative. However, after spraying it, the piece was ruined, my chickens ended up looking radioactive!!! I think it was because I sprayed the fixative too heavily, which caused the colors to run. A very bright yellow ran on the backs of the chickens and the blues surrounding them is neon blue! Needless to say, I was upset. So, I put the chickens aside and concentrated on other subject matter using a different medium. Even though it was disappointing having my work ruined after finishing it, the experience did end on a positive note by getting me to push myself into painting the chickens. I was very pleased with the results and think it is a better work overall.

Next, I am back to finishing up Always Illuminated, the illuminated word I've posted about earlier. I'm doing it in acrylic and expanding the work, making it more than just the word. I hope it works out! Until then, thanks for taking the time to read this and look at my work.


pinkchicken said...

These Banties are so wonderful! I love them! And I'm just awestruck by the detail in the grass Mom. That is just eye-crossingly good!

storybookstudio said...

Hi Barbara---You really caught their expressions in this and I like the lighting on the grass-once again a great piece. I will look forward to seeing this in person & framed -hopefully before someone buys it! :)

Dors said...

Oh I am sorry to hear you had such a disaster. How disappointing when you had finished it.
The one in Acrylic is amazing. I can imagine getting the values on the white being quite a challenge.

Wonderful piece Barbara. Love the composition.

Miniature Art by Karen Hull said...

I remember you talking about this Barbara, when you had problems with the yellow running - what a shame. But the acrylic one is suberb and the chickens are so very cute - glad you came back and redid it!!!

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Thanks,Gina, Ha¡ I think I was cross-eyed by the time I finished it all, what with grass and feathers!

Thanks Janie. I'm glad to hear that because my photo didn't have a lot of information and so had to do some inventing of the light and position of the Banties.

Thanks Dors, yes at the time it did feel like a disaster, but I gained from it and the second go was better.

Thanks Karen. I thought I talked about this to you when it happened. I haven't given up on pencils though, they are a great tool and I'm sure I'll find use for them again!

AutumnLeaves said...

I love the painting, Barb! Not only are their expressions wonderful, you can almost get a good sense of their personalities. The acrylic painting is fabulous too! I am really intrigued by those lush feathers, especially down the legs. Gorgeousness! I have a question about the illuminated manuscripts. What is the medium you use for the gold? I really love them and want to do some of my own and make use of the text on CD I bought from eBay awhile back on the subject. A bit of old style writing to it, though, so hard to make myself read it through.

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Thanks Sherry! There are some really strange and cute chicken breeds out there. I love the feathered feet too!

The gold I am using is acrylic, Golden Iridensent Bright Gold (Fine). You can find it here:

I paint the letter first. Then use the gold very thinly (watered down) over the top. It may take more than one coat to get the look you want. The gold looks really good with red under it. Just play with it first to get the feel of it. It can get thick because of the mica particles in it. A little goes a long way. Also, you will want to be careful of not letting it dry on your brush. On my "Always" letter, the WIP was done in egg tempera or at least that is what I was trying to do. There is no gold paint on that work. The very last photo though is where I have done it over in acrylic. That has the iridescent bright gold on it. I'm hoping to be finished with the acrylic version of it soon and you will see what I am talking about.

I hope you get a chance to have some fun with it!!

AutumnLeaves said...

Thanks so much, Barbara! What an excellent explanation and I am mentally noting the "pretty chicken" painting to remember where to refind the info you've given. Payday comes soon...

DEB said...

Gorgeous chickens! So fluffy - I can almost feel their texture. And what a great image you captured.....I always have trouble with the yellowish colors, and I can say with certainty that my photo would not have captured those subtle tones in the white feathers. Very nice!

I too have run into trouble with fixatives on colored pencil. I recently purchased Prismacolor Premier fixative, and I'm having much better luck with it than the Krylon I had been using. Also, this last piece I got brave and after the Prismacolor fixative dried, I sprayed on an archival varnish, just to make the piece more durable. I'm sending this one off to an exhibition where I know it will be banged around a bit. The varnish on top of the fixative worked out great.

Barbara A. Freeman said...

You're welcome, Sherry, I hope it works out for you. Just have fun with it.

Thanks, Deb. I agree, I had better results with the Prismacolor Fixative, but that is the one that I have and used! I still think I must have been too heavy handed. I also use a UV varnish as a final coat. What surface are you working on? I was using them on my work on film. The biggest problem I had was with bits of tiny stuff that ends up on the surface. I try to get everything as clean as possible, but something always shows up!!! Course, I am looking at it under magnification! I find the sprays harder to control and worry about the fumes. I do wear a mask. I have too many allergies as it is! I have been using a brush on varnish now for my acrylics. I haven't done any colored pencil in awhile. But, I agree, the final varnish does give a nice final finish to the work.

DEB said...

I've only tried the Prismacolor fixative on artboard pieces so far, that I've used acrylic and colored pencil, or gouache and colored pencil on. In the past, I get a lot of "mottling" when I spray Krylon on pencil and acrylic pieces I've done on absorbent substrates like bristol vellum, watercolor paper, illustration board. I was thinking it was the absorbency, but drafting film is so NONabsorbent, if you had trouble with it, that must not be the issue. I confess I haven't used fixative on the few colored pencil pieces I've done on drafting film. After hearing how certain colors bleed for you, I was afraid to. I've just mounted them under mat and acetate for protection.

Carol Andre' said...

I'm so sorry about what happened- I'm sure at the time you were just heartsick. But I have to say- excellent job with the acrylics. Lovely piece. So sometimes "what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger"!!! Hahaha!

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Deb, I do think it was probably me with too heavy spraying. I do think the Prisma Fixative is a better product with the colored pencils.

Thanks Carol. It is always good when you get something better following a mistake.

storybookstudio said...

Hi Barbara---just noticed the link to the chicken breed was Murray McMurray Hatchery--way back-- when I was raising chickens I ordered from them several times. How is "Always Illuminated going?" :)

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Hi Janie. That's so funny, it's such a small world. I wish you still had chickens.

"Always" is finished except for the varnishing. I can't show it because it is in two pieces and I can't attached them until they are varnished and scanned. Hopefully it will be together sometime next week. I really am happy with how it turned out. : )