Paintober, Day 12 – Carte Du Coeur

It’s easy to focus on the bruises, discolorations, bleeding, the sections that are missing entirely, the shattered and shadowy regions that never heal correctly.

It’s easy to miss that most of the area is open, waiting, hopeful.

Hearts are vast.

carte du coeur.jpg


Paintober, Day 11 – Hope in Acridity

For today’s postcard, I initially coated the surface with solid lamp black, then thought I would inject sparks of lemon and forest green as agents of light and hope…which is more or less what I did, except that I soon realized that I much preferred the washed-out whispers of a wasteland rather than the all-encompassing darkness. Has a bit more character.

Postal version:

hope in acridity.jpg

With hard light and accented edge effects:

hope in acridity hard light accetned edges.jpg

Paintober, Day 10 – Chromatic Chlorophyll

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada, so I’d aspired to paint a Canadian flag.

Then I realized I couldn’t paint a leaf. It turns out that’s important.

So instead, I wondered what said flag might look like with a spontaneous burst of lemon, forest green, and black erupting like so much chromatic chlorophyll.

Postal version:


With soft light and film grain effects:

thanksgiving soft light and film grain.jpg

Paintober, Day 9 – Containment System

Day 9 was messy.

I’d started with the purple, uneven frequency lines, which attempt to stay on track despite being tattered and wayward. The lime and yellow arms are the inevitable result of trying to contain chaos–an endeavor made all the more futile by the white and green bumpers in each corner

All of this activity in such a crowded space causes stress on the system, represented here by the jagged white perforations in the center.

Postal version:

With linear light, linear dodge, and mosaic tile effects:

linear light linear dodge mosaic tile

I rather like this image as a mosaic, particularly the fact that the blocks are crooked and half-formed on all sides. Seems appropriate.

Paintober, Day 8 – Migrations

This postcard originated as a series of spirals in yellow ochre and burnt sienna, as those are colors I do not use frequently. The result seemed too melancholy, so I added spirals heading the opposite direction, this time with lemon and crimson hues.

The questions in this piece concern the cobalt blue: why are the dabs at the edges travelling to the center? Why does the center contain mostly pockets of blue, but also a larger, blotted area that blends into a muted forest green? What are those smaller colonies in the interior left swirl planning?

Postal version:


With vivid light and watercolor effects:

migrations vivid light watercolor

Are the blue pockets happy? Why did they migrate to this swirl from wherever they were living previously?

Paintober, Day 7 – A Cosy Murmur

@snarke has been introducing me to Grey’s Anatomy over the past two weeks. I’ve been really enjoying it, and found myself humming the theme yesterday.

“Cosy In The Rocket” has this odd sputtering noiselette that occurs at the 3-second mark. I imagine it as a sound produced by medical equipment during testing, and the postcard below is a visual representation of said noise.

a cosy murmur.jpg

Paintober, Day 6 – Splintering

I’ve been noticing that I tend to prefer the subtle hints of watercolors and distressed, faded, muted hues over the vibrant, heavier acrylics (which are what I’m actually using).  I began this piece by pooling crimson, black, and forest green, rinsing at least half the paint off, offsetting the sides with lemon and cobalt blue, and repeating several times. I particularly like the color contrast between the formations in the upper left corner.

Postal version:


With soft light, linear light, and stained glass effects:

splintering soft light linear light stained glass

My eyes are drawn to the middle section, and I imagine that the brighter colors originally resided there (where the black is thinner towards the center), but whatever was containing them has now burst, and they’re making their way through their world as best they know how.

Paintober, Day 5 – Half Measures

I began this morning’s painting by forming half-circles of burnt sienna in the center of the postcard, then mirroring every shape on its opposite side. Starting with lemon and forest green, I mixed every color with titanium white as an experiment, since the medium itself is a less vibrant shade of white.

After several strokes, I became curious as to what would happen if I switched from a brush to a sponge (hence the fire in the center), and then to a paper towel (represented here by the ultramarine blue / cobalt blue blend).

“Half Measures,” postal version:


With vivid light, digital palette knife, and paint daubs effects:

vivid light palette knife paint daubs

Paintober, Day 4 – A Harvest of Coats

For today’s postcard, I thought I’d try a background of solid yellow ochre, with a simple solid circle in the center comprised of an ultramarine blue / cobalt blue blend.

After swirling the blue, however, the piece seemed to be asking for a crimson and lemon border, similar to an acoustic guitar’s inlay.


Deciding to pursue a coat of arms theme, I applied several layers of paint and then washed most of the areas off with water, hoping I’d dilute them enough to mimic a faded, ancient crest. Then I added forest green and realized that my inlays now resembled trees, and in turn, the swirls were now delectable, non-GMO fruit.

This was a story of how sometimes you start drawing a solid circle, but end up with a tropical island full of produce.

“A Harvest of Coats,” postal version:

a harvest of coats

With color dodge modification and patchwork effects:

a harvest of coats after

I particularly like the latter version; somehow, it reminds me of a 1920s print ad.

Paintober, Day 3 – The Wire

For today’s postcard, I began by dipping a sponge into a pool of crimson, and liked the effect enough that I envisioned I’d make the entire piece a series of interlocking swirls…but something about the lemon strands connecting to the black poles reminded me of two tin cans connected by string. That, in turn, conjured a mental images of telephone poles, which led me to start humming “Under The Wire.”

“Under The Wire” is a song by Carbon Leaf that I recently covered, and although it’s (generally assumed to be) about the loss and hope of a rekindling a relationship, I always associate it with travel. And one would, on a non-metaphorical train, surely note miles and miles of telephone poles.

Postal version:

under the wire
With linear light, darkening, and noise effects added:

under the wire after

And so “The Wire” is a communication piece. Would that we always be as successful as the pole on the right.