Michele Clamp Art

Droopy Tulips - Take 2

flowersMichele ClampComment

Another try at the tulips although the last version grew on me a lot.    Started very differently here with the paper completely wet and and then blocked in the flowers and the leaves and let the colors mingle.   After that had mostly dried I went back to sharpen up some of the edges.   It definitely hangs together much better.

I added in the dark background at the end just to see and I think it works.

Droopy Tulips

Michele ClampComment



There's one thing you can always expect from this painting lark - unpredictability.    This was done from a lovely photo from my fellow painter Bobbi Heath 


Isn't it great?    And it *should* have been extremely paintable.   Lovely big flowers,  long straight leaves framing the blooms,   good outline,   crisp shadows.   It had everything going for it.    Unfortunately I just could not do it justice and the painting is not so much finished but abandoned and left for dead.



Great shame.  The drawing was fine - lovely shapes, fills the page well.

Just couldn't get there with the paint.  Do I try again?   Come back to it in a few days.   Pffft.   Maybe take up golf?

Edit:   It's been a couple of days and this has grown on me a lot.    A closer crop improves things no end and it's now allowed out of the studio.   Sometimes it goes like this - the struggle of painting overshadows the end result.



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Daisies and Carnations

flowersMichele ClampComment

Daisies and Carnation

This is the fourth small flower painting and probably the last for a while.     Definitely a good way to make the best use of a 9.99 bunch of flowers!

All of these have been surprisingly challenging.  The close crop on the flowers strips away some of the usual things I would use to define the shapes.   There are no framing leaves or vase or overall flower shape to tell your brain 'this is a bunch of flowers'.    This means you have to be more precise defining your shapes within each flower.   As I like to paint fairly loosely this precision has to be offset by carefully choosing which edges to lose or soften.  Combined with the small format every brushstroke counts and it shows if things go wrong.

Having said that I think they've come out pretty well.   They look lovely together as a set and are a welcome punch of color when all is cold and wintry outside.


They look pretty fab to me.    If they don't sell in the next couple of weeks the next time I get to Ikea I'll pick up some smaller frames.    There's a space on my office wall that could do with some color.   (This is usually the cue for orders to come in.   That space on my office wall has been vacant for a while).


5"x7"/8"x10" matted.   Second picture shows painting as part of a set of 4

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Wayne County Courthouse

cityscapeMichele ClampComment

I painted this a couple of weeks ago and wasn't happy with the initial drawing.  So much so that it had to be quarantined in the studio.   Much happier with this version.  I think this is as far as I can take this right now.


11"x14"/16"x20" matted

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Sunflower with Daisies

flowersMichele ClampComment

Third time out with the small format flowers.   Sunflowers are great fun!  Very happy with this one.     I'm slowly learning that with flowers it's the darks that make them flower like.    Little spots and lines of dark are what make them come alive.    It's very tempting to spend a lot of time on the petals but you don't want to fill them up with too much color as you lose the contrast.

Happy with this one - it has the right combination of looseness and definition.

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Shipping Paintings - A Checklist

Michele ClampComment

This is surprisingly involved.    

I haven’t done it long enough for it to be second nature (yet).   But all steps are necessary:

1.   Before painting - make sure the mat will fit round the painting without leaving gaps.    It’s taken me five years to learn to do this (and much badgering from James).   I have a set of paint stained mats in the studio for this specific purpose.   Don’t use fresh ones - they’ll end up with paint on them.  Also - use standard sizes.   I used to think this didn’t matter and the painting would dictate what size it needed to be.   I spent a lot of time and money buying custom mats.   I was wrong.

2.  Take a good photo of the painting before shipping.   Not an iPhone photo.    Use good lighting.

3.  Flatten the painting.    This involves placing the painting face down on a board, lightly spraying the back with water, covering the painting with a clean board and placing a heavy box on top.   Leave for an hour or so until dry and flat.

4.  Mount on foam core using linen hanging tape.    Again using linen hanging tape hinge the mat on top.    Keep checking throughout that the mat frames the painting correctly.    Don’t use artist’s tape for this.    It always comes off after a few months.   

5.   Sign the painting.  I  do this after the painting is sold and after the mat is in place.    You don’t want the signature half hidden by the mat.  We, of course, don’t have any paintings in this state in the house.  Absolutely not.

6.   Add sticker with website and name on the back of the foam core board.  

7.  Place in acetate sleeve.   Add business card to front of sleeve.

8.  Print address label.   Try and remember which way the address label sheets go in the printer.     

9.  Print address label again - write note to self about which way round the address labels go in the printer.    Promptly lose notes.  

10.  Place painting in double thickness corrugated cardboard surround.  Use good quality packing tape on all edges.   Double check tape is secure.   Then triple check it.

11.   Affix address label and large pink fragile sticker.    Realize sadly that the fragile sticker probably makes no difference.   Add another fragile sticker.

12.  Weigh package

13.  Go to USPS website and print out shipping order. 

14.  Go to USPS office and hand the package and order sheets to the nice person behind the counter. 

15.  Leave and go and have a cup of coffee in the coffee shop over the road.

This takes longer than the actual painting.  But all is necessary.

March Flowers

flowersMichele ClampComment

Take 2 of the small flower paintings.    This one took even longer than the first.  This small format is much trickier than I'd imagined.


5"x7"/8"x10" matted.

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Daisies after a break.

flowersMichele ClampComment


There's a phrase 'It never gets easier, you just get better'.     This definitely applies to painting and, after a week's break,  I'm not convinced about the better.    This is a small 5x7 which is much smaller than I'm used to and you'd think would be easier.  However smaller has it's own challenges.   Less room for mistakes for one.  Each mark *really* has to count and stands out if it doesn't.   

It was interesting doing the close crop and filling in the whole space for once.  I'm keen on leaving quite a lot of white space around subjects so this was a departure.   It was quite liberating.  The background became more abstract (even though it's obviously stalks and leaves and things) and provided a contrast to bring the flowers into relief.

So as usual it was a struggle but a worthwhile struggle.   I like this very much and will likely do some more.


5"x7"/8"x10" matted.

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Organization time

Michele ClampComment

Well that was a huge burst of painting.   I've taken a few days off interspersed with trips to ship things and thought it was about time to rediscover the studio floor.

I keep track of paintings mainly through the website blog and ordering system but, in an uncharacteristic show of organization, I broke out an archive box.    Paintings go inside and I taped the collage picture to the front to show what's in it.    Each picture has a quick note - sold,  for sale or just left blank for those not allowed out of the studio.   

Finally the box was labelled with the month and year.    I realized afterwards that this might not scale... 

Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 - The Collage

Michele ClampComment

Well here we are at the end of February's 30 in 30.   I didn't manage 30 but boy it seems a long time ago I started with irises.    Ended on a high point with the dolphins and I think they all look mighty fine in the collage.

My studio floor however is not looking so good.


I don't usually leave things hanging around on the floor to this extent but it's nice to see things build over the month.   Time for a tidy up tomorrow.