All about the inspiration behind the art. Acrylic Paintings, Impressionism, Art, Southern, Modern, Contemporary, Coastal, Flowers, Famous Places, New Orleans, Florida, Gulf Coast, Food, Expressionism, Fauve, Cityscapes, Architecture, Decor, Painting, Beach, Tropical, Seascape, Landscape, Still Life Mona Vivar Fine Art: February 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Neither Sleet, Nor Snow, Nor Dark of Night--Or Why I Love the Post Office

As an Internet artist entrepreneur I use the Post Office for shipping all of my paintings smaller than 16 inches.  My buyers want to get their paintings promptly and in perfect condition.  So do I!  Over the years I have formulated three reasons why I and my customers should choose to use the U.S. Postal Service for delivering art:

1.  The Postal Service is reliable.  In moving hundreds of paintings through the postal system over the last decade, I have only had one get lost.  That one was in the New Orleans downtown Post Office ready to be delivered to the customer when Katrina hit.  The package was insured so I was paid for the painting, the customer had relocated to Houston and asked me to paint another painting to replace the one he wanted rather than be repaid, I painted him one and shipped it to Houston.  Both my customer and I were happy.

2.  The Postal Service will send you FREE boxes FREE of charge for all your Priority Mail needs.  What better way to keep down my customers' cost and mine than using FREE boxes?  You can order any of this online at  The USPS site will also let you calculate costs on shipping.

3.  The Post Office employees in my local office are friendly and helpful.  I live in a small town in Alabama, and we love our Post Office and everyone in it.  There is always a smile and "How can I help you?" at the ready when I walk in.  What could be better than that?

Mona Vivar, "Pelican Perch", 14 inches x 11 inches, acrylic on canvas
        Now on Ebay (and ready to ship USPS!) at Mona Vivar Florida Pelican Mangrove Southern Impressionist Art

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Using Something New to Paint Something Old

I collect Florida memorabilia and books about Florida.  I like kitsch!  One of my favorite pieces is an alligator ashtray (made in Japan!) that I came across in an antique store years ago.  Here he is:

And, of course, I have a big conch shell purchased somewhere else.  My conch shell, as you know from previous posts, is a long-suffering model in many of my paintings. 

The other day I purchased a new product from Utrecht called "Acrylic Medium Retarder Gel" that I was anxious to try out.  It looks a lot like clear Dippity-Do.  So I set up my Conch shell, alligator ashtray, and some fresh azaleas from the yard.  I bravely slathered the medium on my canvas and went to work.  I was delighted at the wet-on-wet thickness of the medium.  Here is my finished painting.  I think the new product worked well for the old memorabilia.

Mona Vivar, "Florida Memories", 14 inches by 11 inches, acrylic on canvas
Available beginning Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 after 6:00 p.m. (PST) in my Ebay
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Acrylic Painting (Part II)

I worked on the two St. Augustine images from yesterday's post and kept correcting them for light, color, and line.  Paintings always morph as I work on them.  These pieces were no exception.  Here is are the paintings today.

I will leave them alone for another day to look at them with fresh eyes and to decide if they are truly "finished" before varnishing.  Then they will show up in my Ebay store.
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Acrylic Painting (Part I)

Acrylics or oils?  That is the question!  I have used one or the other during my painting career, but lately I have been using acrylics almost exclusively. I tend to be impatient when it comes to completing a painting.  I also like loose, spontaneous paint strokes.

Here's the deal on acrylic paints:  great because they dry quickly; tricky because they dry quickly.  Just like most things in life, you can't have everything.

Keeping these ideas in mind, I decided to go through a typical acrylic painting session in this post.

Here's my palette. 

I use a limited number of colors ranging from white to black.  I always include Titanium white, one yellow (cadmium yellow medium), two reds (cadmium red light and Matisse Australian Red Violet), one pink, two blues (ultramarine blue and Phthalo blue), and Ivory black.  I also add two extra colors for bright, tropical Florida scenes.  Those colors are Matisse Southern Ocean Blue and Matisse Emerald.  Any professional grade acrylics are fine such as Liquitex, Golden or Derivan Matisse.  I use a Masterson Sta-Wet Palette so I don't waste too much paint and to keep the paint moist during a working session.  I also use a spray bottle full of water to help keep paint wet.  I have a large water container to wash brushes and a flat water tray to keep paint from drying on the brushes.

I always prep my canvas by putting a thin coat of yellow ochre on it and letting it dry.  I have my own photos of St. Augustine landmarks shown that I used as references in this session.  I worked on two paintings together to keep the colors similar.  I put a thin coat of Golden Open Acrylic (Gloss) medium on both canvases to slow drying time of paint and to allow me to paint wet-in-wet for the session.  Basic images were painted in with a mixture of ultramarine blue and red violet. 

Then I developed the paintings by blocking in basic shapes and correcting the building perspectives as I went along.
And I corrected perspective and color some more....
Meanwhile, my palette shows the color scheme being used.  My brushes are becoming more numerous too!
Then I correct some more!
I decided to call it a day to let everything dry.  The paint on the canvas is still wet at this point due to the Golden Open Medium.   It will be dry tomorrow at which point I will complete the paintings with thicker, more textured paint.  And I am sure I will be making more corrections!
I will publish Part II of this post tomorrow.  See you then!
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.