Feb 2, 2016

The Golden Ratio

The “Girls Just Wanna Paint” Challenge this month was The Golden Ratio or The Golden Means. 
Here is a somewhat easy description of The Golden Ratio. Historically it is believed that many artists, including Leonardo Da Vinci and Michaelangelo employed the Golden Ratio in their compositions. 
I often wonder how many artists intuitively use the practice without realizing it. I often purposely use a  simpler form, the rule of thirds, when designing my compositions. And out of curiosity, I did look at some of my past paintings to see if they fell within the rules and was surprised at how many did or came close. 

Although I didn’t think I would enjoy this challenge, it was good practice to plot out my composition to the max. And it ended up being fun. I have to admit, I did not use a ruler to take exact mathematical measurements. 

Above is one Golden Ratio template. Also, if you look at the wine glass and  bottle of wine, the liquids within are in approximate thirds and the smallest book is tipped at a height down from the tallest book in approximately 1/3. 

Jan 24, 2016

Home Made Brush Carrier

Home Made Brush Carrier

When Plein Air painting, at the end of the session because I keep all my brushes in one holder in my backpack, I sometimes cannot recall which are the clean and which are the dirty brushes since they have become mixed up. I know I end up cleaning brushes that are actually clean. I have tried taking the dirty brushes and putting them in the tube of my paper towels for the ride home, but they sometimes become loose and the hairs of the brush can end up bent.
This prompted me to make a simple, very inexpensive, lightweight carrier that fits in my backpack to place the dirty brushes. I bought all the materials at Lowes. 

Materials Needed:
1) 16" PVC Double Ended Extension Tube Kit - $4.19
    They also make a 12" Tube kit, but I like the longer size as some of my larger bigger brushes are      long handled. 
     (the kit comes with washers, but I did not use them)
2) Rubber Packing Sheet - $1.99 (Also found in plumbing aisle)
3) Glue - I used Gorilla Glue, but you can use any glue that works on plastic and rubber. If you don't have it on hand, get the tiniest bottle you can. 
4) Scissors 

Step 1 - I am creating a top and bottom solid cap with the "Nuts". (There are no solid caps that I could find in the plumbing section that go over the ends of the tubing and this makes sense as in plumbing they want open ends for water to flow.) I used a sharpie and the Extension Tube Nut to make a guide to cut the rubber sheet. I added about 3/16" outside of the guide all around so the rubber goes to the edge of the the inside of the nut. Scissors easily cut through the rubber and there is plenty of left over. (If you happen to own a compass that has an exacto-knife attachment, you can use it to easily make your circle cut on the rubber to the exact size of the inside of the nut.) 
                                                                            Step 1

Step 2 - Using the Gorilla Glue, I placed a few dabs within the edge of the nut and then pushed the rubber circle down tight. The rubber circle does stay in tight without the glue, but placing the glue insures it won't fall out when on location. Make sure you do this step on newspaper as Gorilla Glue does stain. Let caps sit and allow glue to harden for around 2 hours before screwing on the top and bottom caps you created so any residual glue won't inadvertently glue your tube shut and not allow you to unscrew your caps. Once dry, easily place your new caps on the end of the tubes. I used a marker after and place a T on the top of one end, so I know which side to keep up when placing in my backpack so hairs of the brush do not end up getting bent. I like the rubber ends as there is some give when the carrier is in my backpack

                                                                          Step 2

Final Lightweight Inexpensive Slim Wet Brush Carrier


Jul 31, 2015

Been in a fog lately

6"X8" River Fog-Pastel on pastel board

Our Girls Just Wanna Paint Challenge this month- Fog. This is a little fog study from our local South River. BwaaaAaaaa.


Jul 1, 2015

Bathing Beauties

Bathing Beauty Gulls 8"X8" Pastel 

Our latest Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge this month is Bathing Beauties. There are times when it is just so peaceful to watch seagulls perform their aerial dance and gracefully touch down into the water. I found myself entranced with them while up in Maine recently.  This piece will probably makes its way to Expressions, if you're interested in purchasing. Just needs some framing.  
Recently Sold

May 31, 2015

Girls Just Wanna Paint and Norwood Art Association Demo

Demo at Norwood Art Association and Girls Just Wanna Paint Challenge-Marsh

I was asked to do a demo at the Norwood Art Association and I also had the May Challenge of "Marsh" for our Girls Just Wanna Paint Challenge, so I challenged myself to do our theme at the demo. (Or how to kill two birds with one stone.) 
I used Uart paper mounted on a nice thick archival board to prevent warpage, and watercolor and gouache for my underpainting. I brought along my handy, dandy travel hairdryer to speed the drying time of the underpainting. When I paint plein air, I find the sun and wind are enough to dry the underpainting quickly. And then I jumped into the pastels. This is a process I have used forever and find it keeps the painting light in feeling and some of the underpainting still reads through playfully. 

Demos are always fun and interesting to do. You have to think fast, keep everyone entertained so they won't nod off and educate all in a short span of time. The Norwood Art Association audience was fantastic. Such a nice group of people, great questions asked and wonderful to interact with. Thank-you for the opportunity! And Thank-you to Nora for the pictures from the demo. Very appreciated. 

12"X12" South River Marsh 
This piece will be for sale at Expressions, Scituate or contact me directly through my website www.mfbruno.com 

Apr 24, 2015

Focus On Figures Show

Kiss-Oil Painting 

This oil painting of my daughter and granddaughter was accepted into the North River Arts Society Focus on Figures Show Juried Show. The opening is Friday April 24, 7-10pm. And gallery hours run from April 25-May 3rd. (Mon-Fri 9-noon, Sat&Sundays 1-3.) I always enjoy this show as the figure is one of my favorite subjects to paint and draw.  It is always a pleasure to see the other artists interpretations of the figure, also. I originally painted this piece for the GJWP challenge-Love

Speaking of the figure, I am honored and excited to have one of my portrait pieces included in the recently published book Art Journey-Portaits and Figures, published by North Light Books. You can click the link directly on this blog or on my website for more info and to purchase. It is available as a hardcover or ebook (make sure you are choosing the correct format if you would like to purchase.) It was so interesting reading all the different commentaries and techniques of the talented artists in this book. 

Jan 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Lost Field 6"x6" 
Margaret Farrell Bruno

Our Girls Just Wanna Paint Challenge for January is Memory. I chose the field that was near my house as the subject since it was recently plowed down to build houses. I am trying to take the outlook that I was lucky that I got to enjoy it and paint paintings of this subject for many years. I knew that it was inevitable that houses would someday be built in this area, so I made sure to paint and take lots of photos over the years in all seasons. It was still very sad to see it go. On the bright side, we do still have some protected areas that were required to remain untouched and I am hoping that in some of those areas this beautiful field grass may reestablish itself. I am thinking positive for the New Year and looking forward to those days. 

Dec 2, 2014

Magical Moment

Black and White Pencil Drawing

The Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge for this month is "Magical". And what could be more magical than becoming a grandmother? And of course this little munchkin deserves a portrait right away. Boy, it is going to be hard to not sneak away from my studio and spend lots of time with her. I already pass many an hour just staring at this little pineapple, watching her little expressions and listening to her sighs and adorable noises. Even her cries don't bother me. So much fun. It's truly magical. 

Nov 14, 2014

Some long overdue updates!


Catching up on some long overdue news in the next couple of blogs.

The Pastel Society of America recently held their annual juried show, held at the National Arts Club in NYC and Disconnected was accepted. I always find it a privilege and honor when my work is juried into this show as it is sitting next to the exceptional work of my pastel peers. And getting accepted to this particular show is no easy task. I recently heard the number of entries they received with how many ended up being accepted. Holy pastel dust, Batman!

What a daunting task for all the jurors. Thank-you to all involved at PSA for the dedication and hard work you put into this show every year!

I worked on this piece for quite sometime, considering placement of elements, design, palette and the painting’s message, which I hope is obvious and is a social comment. I used a triangular design to keep interest centered on the girl in the foreground and added a little whimsy throughout so the message wouldn’t be too heavy, including a double entendre of the Flatiron “art space” since you are viewing a 2 dimensional painting of that space. In other words, the painting is an art space in and of itself.

And speaking of space, I have always loved the inside of the National Arts Club. It's as if you have been transported back in time.

For anyone who would like to see this piece up close, I am currently having a solo show at the Helen Bumpus Gallery in Duxbury until January 6th and this is one of the pieces included.
Helen Bumpus Gallery

Oct 1, 2014

"Expressions of Fall" 6"X6" Pastel on board 

The September Girls Just Wanna Paint Challenge was "Expressions". Man, being more of a realist painter, this was a challenge to me. This painting is an "Expression" of the feelings fall brings to me. Wonderful flowing colors and their motion, sparkling and dancing with the fall winds. I tried to keep it somewhat abstract, but my realism bent kept sneaking in. I can't help it!