Category: Inspiration

What color is your month?

Ingrid Sungberg's pink palette

I find that sometimes a specific color seems to appear everywhere I turn.  This May, it is the color PINK.  While generally not a color I use a lot, this month alone I have painted four paintings with lots of pink in them and I am working on fifth commissioned work with a predominance of pink.  Rose, fuschia, blush, watermelon, flamingo, bubble gum, magenta, ballet slipper, and azalea. Yep, pink is all around this month.

 

Ingrid Sungberg's pink palette
Ingrid Sundberg’s pink palette

I saw a sea of pink in the tulips in my neighborhood garden this morning.  I picked out deep rose nail polish for my pedicure today.  I’m planning to order a Cosmopolitan at the bar tonight.  I’m wearing my new pink Eyebobs. When will it stop?!  I’ll let you know in June ;).  

 

 

The importance of community

Communities final

What a great response I got last month for showing how I created the painting Women’s March (yes, I finally named it).  I thought I would give you another peek at the process of creating a recent painting titled Communities.  My concept was to illustrate the importance of the communities in our lives.
 
All of us are part of not one, but many communities. These communities might include our workmates, church group, country of origin, weekend soccer team, or book club friends. We often share common interests, goals, or beliefs. No one person has the same community as another, yet we each rely on and are strengthened by our bonds with our communities. Imagine what could be accomplished if we brought all our communities together to work for a common goal that benefitted all?

communities wip1

Step 1:  I started by incorporating some of the poured acrylic work that I’ve been exploring for the last six months.  I poured a half a dozen puddles of paint with a few drops of silicone mixed in onto a large canvas.  I tipped or spread (using a cake spatula) these poured paint mixtures.  When dry, I carved out ring and circle shapes by painting over these puddles with an acidic, olive color.

communities wip2Step 2:  I printed coordinating papers using my Gelli Plate.  I stamped and stenciled patterns on some of them and then cut out more ring and circle shapes.  I collaged them onto the canvas.

Step 3:  I added the large white areas by using a squeeze bottle of titanium white paint with Floetrol (a paint additive that helps paint flow more easily), creating these looping circles and large white areas.  I eliminated the orange ring as it was too distracting.

Communities final

 

Step 4:  The painting lacked a full range of values, and the shapes just seemed to float on the canvas.  So I added a darker green color to provide contrast and give the artwork a bit of weight at the bottom.

Step 5:  Needing more edginess, I flipped the painting 180º putting the most substantial area at the top.  This change created tension because the top elements now feel as though they might succumb to gravity at any moment.  I repeated the dark green color in other areas for balance and movement.  I added a very subtle dot pattern to the plain green background to break up this open space, then signed it.  C’est fini!

My six “not so easy” steps to making a painting

thumbnail sketch

I thought it would be fun to show you a step-by-step process of how I created one of my new artworks that will be hanging in my upcoming the show.

Step 1:  I usually start with an idea. In this case, it was illustrating the 3 R’s – reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Next, I start by drawing some little thumbnails (small, loose pencil sketches around 3″ x 3″ each), and picked one to use as a compositional reference. 

I liked this sketch because I wanted to make a painting with lots of open space. I’m working on adding more neutral areas in my work to give the viewers’ eyes places to rest among the chaos!

Step 1: Thumbnail sketch

Step 2:  Beginning with three R’s,  I added grids of rectangles, collaged in papers from my old textbook “Applied Mechanics for Engineers”, and scribbled on some formulas to the canvas for the math part.  The reading and writing parts were represented by font alphabets.

The concept was to place most of the activity at the top third of the canvas, leaving the bottom two-thirds much calmer.  As I started blocking in the major areas of color, I already knew that I wasn’t comfortable with all that open space. I felt the whole thing looked too simplistic. 

It was time to rethink my design.

Step 2: Block in shapes

Step 3:  First, I turned the painting 90˚ counter-clockwise and divided the large empty space into thirds.  I gave the top and bottom sections a light background and the middle section a darker background. 

Step 3: Fill in the empty space

Step 4:  I added organic shapes to soften the hard geometric lines gridding the painting and fill all that empty space.  I reversed the values of the “blobs” every time they crossed from one gridded section to another.  I accidentally created a shape that spelled “Hi” in the upper right corner. It was distracting, so I revamped it.

I gave up on the whole three R’s concept and just let the painting guide me to what it needed. 

Step 4: Paint the “blobs”

Step 5: And then I stopped.  It wasn’t done but I was unsure what else it needed.  So I just stared at it and stared at it. For three weeks!

Step 6: Finally, I got the idea to add some dots to give the painting some interesting movement and the focal point it was missing.  I turned the painting 90˚ again, painted a zillion dots, and finally, the painting was finished.  

I usually have a name in mind before I start a painting, but this one has eluded me.  Does anyone have a good idea for a title for this 3′ x 3′ painting?

 

Step 5: Stare! Step 6: Add dots and finish

 

 
 
 

Who uses pink golf balls?!

Interstellar painting

Most artists have favorite colors and use them often in their paintings. That said, it’s important for artists to grow outside their comfort zones.  One way is to use colors or materials that we wouldn’t normally use.  For me, nothing is further outside my comfort zone than the color pink.  I hate pink.  I don’t own a single item in that color.  Not a sock, an earring, or a hair barrette.  I have systematic banned pink from my life.  

However, last week my husband bought me a case of pink golf balls. PINK GOLF BALLS!  Who thinks of these things?  And it got me thinking too.  What would be a really hard art challenge for me?  You’ve got it…using a lot of pink in a painting.

So here it is, my newest painting…INTERSTELLAR.  While I am not ready to hang this in my own home, I’ve warmed up to pink a little more.  Enough that I’ll be giving those pink golf balls a try!