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Evelyn McCorristin Peters: 04.2010

Evelyn McCorristin Peters

Fine art for everyone


Studio, Brush Cleaning & Mediums

Hello everyone, and thanks for visiting once again. I've noticed lately that cleaning artist brushes has been a hotly discussed topic. Most artists dread the time when painting is done and it's time to clean up. Brushes can literally take more than half an hour to clean, and it's just plain boring. I do tend to use that time to zone out a bit, so when I look back at the piece I've worked on I usually have a new perspective. Unfortunately I find it hard to walk away and then start getting my brushes full of paint again!

I have owned the majority of my brushes for over 25 years. I attribute this to the care I have taken when cleaning. I also embrace any methods that do not use toxic chemicals. In the past I used Lava soap, and I still do about once a month on my brushes, but I use it all the time to wash the paint off my hands. My brush cleaner of choice is now Canola Oil. Yes, the kind you purchase at the grocery store. For my Brit friends I found out from Cat Salter that you call it Rape Seed Oil. You can work it through your brushes just like you would any other cleaner, using a rag to wipe off the paint and oil. The brushes stay soft and supple! The only thing you will need to get used to is that they won't feel really clean. The brushes will actually feel a little gummy. This is why at the end of the month I give them a good cleaning with the Lava soap. If for some reason I'm not going to be using my brushes for a while, I give them a coating of Vaseline jelly.

People have asked me what mediums I use with my paints. I like my oil paint to dry very slowly. I prefer Alla Prima painting but of course am not always able to finish a painting in one sitting. To slow my drying time I use Poppy Seed oil, which I purchase from Daniel Smith. If prolonging drying time is not necessary I use refined Linseed oil. For toxicity reasons I do not use cadmium paints. I only use cadium hues. Many manufacturers have been able to stabilize the cadmium, making it a safer paint.

I had not post this before, but right after the holidays I moved into my new studio. My husband and I converted our old house trailer, the one we used when I traveled with him and the shark show. He built a deck off the front and put a cork floor in. It's a great space with huge windows in the back and a great sky light. It also has a full kitchen, which comes in handy for coffee!


That's it for the brush cleaning seminar. Make sure to visit the blog of Cat Salter who also has some tips on brush cleaning. And if you're interested in a great book on Alla Prima painting I highly recommend a book by Al Gury. I actually had the privelage of taking a class with him when I attended the Pennslyvannia Academy of Fine Arts.  Thanks as always for visiting! Let me know what your brush cleaning tips are, I look forward to hearing from you!



Evolution of a Boxer Portrait Commission & Bixby!

Hello to everyone, hope all is well! Today I delivered my Boxer portrait commission to Lisa Tannenbaum. It's always a wonderful thing to share your work with others, but it is even more special when it's a personal subject for the recipient. It's been a long process, we are both really busy people, so I thought I would pass on the event!

The commission began after I placed a post on my blog stating that 25% of proceeds from any animal portrait commission would go directly to Florida Boxer Rescue. As anyone who has visited this blog can attest it is an amazing organization that I truly admire and am thankful for...I've adopted two so far, Tilly and now Abby!

Lisa soon contacted me and we started exchanging information about what she wanted. She sent me two pictures of her beautiful boy and girl who had already passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. I could tell by the way she spoke of them that they had been very special to her family. I hoped I could do them justice!

I chose this photograph to work from, it was a terrific composition already!
I developed a sketch for her to approve to make sure we were thinking along the same lines. The sketch was for general placement and atmosphere of the picture. I let her know that one head got kind of smooshed, I ran out of paper, and I would develop the background once I began the painting.This is the sketch I submitted to Lisa.

After getting her approval the painting began! I almost always work on a brick red ground. This is very helpful, particularly for an animal portrait. It enriches the color I add to the canvas. I began with the boy on the left, and basically put him in during one sitting. Adjustments were made to him later. He's a Brindle, so I added some of his stripes in.

Next I worked on the beautiful girl on the right. Here are some photos of how her face progressed. She's so wonderful, I really took my time to get her right!                                

After completing the dogs I moved onto the background. I liked that they were sitting on the couch, but I wanted to add something along the bottom so I created a blue blanket to match the denim colored pillows. First try I painted the background yellow.

But after looking at it for a while I realized the red background had really worked better. It just brought out the wonderful color in the coats of the boxers. After submitting it to Lisa, and making a few changes, I reverted the background to the brick red. Here is the final result I delivered this morning!

Lisa now has a wonderful portrait to remember her cherished dogs by!

I will be donating the 25% to Bixby, a two year old Fawn male who came to the rescue from Animal control.

As you can see Bixby is in pretty bad shape, but he has definetly come to the right place! He is with a wonderful, crazy foster Dad (he actually has five boxers living with him) named Bill.
Bixby just had his hip operated on at Quail Hollow Animal Hospital. It appears that it had been damaged through abuse in the past.

If you're interested in helping Bixby, here's where you can donate: Bixby Hip Surgery just click on the link and make sure you post that you want it to help Bixby. Any amount at all is a huge help. I will be sending $45 his way from this portrait commission!

Thanks everyone for taking the time to visit, hope you enjoyed the progress!




Plein Air Painting along the Myakka River

Over the past few weeks I've had several days of plein air painting. Just recently the weather has returned to Florida norms, but when we were out painting it was pretty cool, well for Florida anyway. I am very fortunate to live just a few miles from the Myakka State Park. It is an excellent representation of "the real Florida." Nature rules here, with alligators crossing your path, wild boar, deer, and armadillos rummaging around for food, and the occassional panther or coyote. The park is a magical place.

We were lucky to have access to areas not usually visited by the public. So the nature was left to us. As I painted, armadillos ventured out from cover. There has been a lot of rain this winter and the park is flooded in many spots, bringing the animals closer to paths and roads.

At the edge of the prairie I set my easel. I generally work on objects very close up. Here I decided to paint the vista. This is a real challenge for me, not only did I work on a much smaller surface than I usually do, 12X12, I also have a real hard time with greens! But when all was said and done, it was a marvelous day with friends, painting the beauty around us. I was happy with my final result.

Myakka Prairie 12X12 Oil on board
Evelyn McCorristin Peters 2010

We also had the occassion to visit the grounds of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. We set up by Cà d'Zan Mansion where I sat upon the ground to paint the Banyan Trees. It was a cloudy and misty morning and so quiet. The feel of the atmosphere came through in my work.

The next piece actually took two visits. The first attempt was ended abruptly by rain. This is a beautiful spot. My friend and artist Jean Blackburn has a wonderful cabin in the woods around the Myakka River. I always love to come here where the river winds its way through the woods. I was very happy with the outcome of this piece. The first day the river was low and the clouds were dark.

The following week the river had risen, submerging a large portion of the fallen Cabbage palm. The sun was also out! I managed to bring it all together.

Here is the finished piece!

Fallen Cabbage Palm 16X16 Oil on canvas
Evelyn McCorristin Peters 2010

I also had the time to do a few quick sketches out on Siesta Key, the most beautiful beach!

Looking forward to getting out again next week!
For those interested in learning more about Landscape painting I've recently discovered a new book Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice It's really terrific with lots of exercises and great reproductions from various artists. Give it a look!

Next blog post will cover brush cleaning, toxins in paint, and oil mediums. They have all been a hot topic on Twitter lately!