Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friday, June 1, 2007 - Happy June Bug!

Does it feel like June already? We've had some hot weather and less than an inch of rain during the month of May so the grass is beginning to feel crunchy underfoot. Another hot day - almost 90F! and maybe some rain tonight.

So for June, how about a trio of Junebugs (just being silly since I don't feel like painting today at all).

And for some really interesting bugs and other critters, check out Naquaiya's art blog:

In class Tuesday, Sandy had us do more trees but all I got done was trying to do the technique she showed us for pines with snow. First, using Phthalo Blue (a staining colors works best for this technique), put down a block of color. When the shine is just off but it hasn't dried, take a piece of a card (credit card, id card, library card, whatever) and scrape the color off back to white (almost white) by pushing and squeegee-ing the color off in triangular shapes. Then, paint the greens of the tree around it, remembering that snow is rounded on top. Then you have a winter pine with snow covered branches - if you do it right. I tried several times and these are the best I could do.

This last one is Sandy's - she let me bring it home to study and try again - she felt sorry for me because I was ill and had to leave class early - plus she thought I was getting close and was almost there (such an optimist!). You see how you have to think triangular in the places you scrape out the "snow" and in the shapes of the scrapes, too. I have a hard time with the right side of the tree because I scrape better on the left side. Also I didn't leave any air holes for the branches to show like Sandy did - which makes this much more interesting. But this technique means you never touch the "snow" again - the card makes the shape and the shadows are made when the staining color is pushed down to the bottom and sides of the scraped area.

Pretty cool, eh?

Thursday, May 31, 2007 - Happy Saga Dawa Duchen!

Well, I promised some good stuff on Wednesdays since I wouldn't have time to post anything on Tuesdays - then was ill on Tuesday so didn't even finish wc class and didn't attend the figure drawing session, either! Also feeling punky on Wednesday. Sorry about that!

Today, May 31st, is a Tibetan Buddhist "holy" day called Saga Dawa Duchen (in the Pali/Indian language it is known as Vesak). It commemorates the birth and the death of the Buddha, the man born as Prince Siddhartha 2,558 year's ago (not in the same year, of course - Buddha lived 81 years). It is even more auspicious because it is a full moon - not only a full moon, but a blue moon (the second full moon in a month).

The above picture is not mine - I copied it from another Buddhist site - but isn't it interesting that the moon is blue?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - Busy Busy Day

Sandy changed our watercolor class to Tuesday 10am - 2pm plus I have the figure study group from 7pm - 9pm so probably won't be posting anything on Tuesdays anymore for a while. But should have good stuff for Wednesdays!

I did get some good critiques of the iris - there were lots of things still to tweak to get it right that I didn't see until it was put under Sandy's "Magic Mirror" = the large mirror above her table that shows you everything from a distance.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007 - Happy Memorial Day + Flowers

Today is Memorial Day here in the US - a day for cookouts/barbeques and family get-togethers of all kinds. The weekend the local pools open up for the neighborhoods. The start of summer! I will be going to Mom's for an early dinner/get-together this afternoon but before that I painted a bit more on the Peony and the Iris (after some good critiques from online friends).

The Iris is as done as it's going to get now. I pushed back the green and yellow sides with quinacridone gold and a touch of cobalt violet deep over the green and yellow and then added a touch of that same color inside the flower so it wouldn't be just there. I also cropped the bottom a bit after darkening the bottom and trying to get more of a curved shape there. At this point there are some places that are beginning to look overworked so no more on this one.

But the Peony still has a ways to go before being finished - I liked putting the greens in there: Undersea Green and Green Gold for the warmest ones + Sap Green and Indanthrone Blue for the coolest ones.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007 - I've Been Tagged!!!

Well, my watercolor friend, Michelle Himes has tagged me - I know this has been going around for a while because other blogs have mentioned it but never thought it would happen to me. So now I have to tell 7 things about myself that no one knows (well, someone will know, I'm sure) and also tag 7 people who haven't been tagged (is that possible??).

1. I have been a practicing Buddhist for 3 years.

2. I will be married to my wonderful, adorable, sensitive, happy, smart, cute, Marine Biologist husband for 12 years this June.

3. The best trip I've ever taken = Hawaii (Oahu, Big Island/Kona Coast, and Kauai/Waimea Canyon)

4. The worst trip I've ever taken = Belize (Blue Creek and South Water Caye)

5. I have a younger brother and a younger sister and we repeated the same series as my father and his 2 sisters (oldest sister, middle brother, youngest sister).

6. I try to paint every day but belong to so many online groups and local (real life) groups, it's getting hard to get anything done!

7. Currently in my home there is one cat, one turtle, 2 salamanders, a green tree frog, a dozen crickets and today my husband rescued and released an injured (or stunned) baby cardinal (but not before taking numerous photos of him - or her - everything is fair game for photographic material around here).

And the people I am going to tag are:

1. Ann Buckner Ann has been a painter friend for years and she does great landscape and still life works in watercolor and acrylics (but she's way too hard on herself).

2. Steve Sorrell Steve has a wicked sense of humor and has a great hobby of finding and collecting minerals that can be as beautiful as any abstract painting you'll see.

3. Shanti Marie Shanti Marie does some beautiful work and has a daily blog and a weekly blog (for larger pieces) - she is also a DailyPainter artist.

4. Molly Brose I don't really "know" Molly but I check her blog almost daily to see what she's done lately. She has a unique style and I love her work! I just checked and I can't email her - so hope she doesn't mind that I love her work and want others to love it, too :)

5. Jan Smiley I don't know Jan, either, but love her canyon works - the colors are intense and beautiful and make me drool - she is also a DailyPainter artist.

6. Carol Gillot Well, I got hooked on parisbreakfasts and now I have to have a daily dose!! Carol's work is light, lovely, interesting and always makes me want to see more - plus she shares great photos of Paris cafes and desserts!! YUM!

7. Belinda Del Pesco I first found Belinda at eBay when I saw her Frida and Diego paintings and got hooked then. Her work encompasses watercolor and various printing techniques that I don't understand but love the look. She is a fine artist in every sense of the words!

I hope I didn't break the rules by tagging artists I don't really know but I did share the ones I check on almost daily - so I kinda know them, right? And I think this is a way for viewers to check out some artists they've never seen and maybe fall in love with, too.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007 - More Work on the Iris WIP

I think the Iris is finished unless I see something else that needs tweaking a bit later. It was fun working wet in wet on hotpress - I even used some ox gall liquid in a bit of water to prewet the paper - which I think helped with the flow of the paint. Thanks, again, to Marsha Gray for her great photo and permission to use it for this painting!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007 - Iris and Peony WIPs

Worked a bit more on the Iris - and started putting paint on the Peony. Both on Arches hotpress 140# paper and 1/4 sheet size. Will take my time and continue to work on both of these over the weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thursday, May 24 - And Now For Something Entirely Different....

When I'm in a bit of a rut with my painting, I just start 2-3 new things at once. So that's what I'm doing:
1. A macro view of an iris - photo taken by Marsha Gray in my WatercolorWorkshop yahoo group - thank you, Marsha, for giving us this great view! I'm doing this on hotpress and prewetting the petals and dropping the color in and letting it mingle by tilting the paper.

2. A very interesting view of a peony - also by Marsha Gray - doesn't she take great photos?? So far, I just have a pencil sketch on hotpress paper. In order to try to see the shapes better, I put the photo and the paper upside down and drew it (I see a few changes I'll make before putting paint to paper).

3. Finished the RoseDesigned by adding some to the rose to give it more dimension, shading, depth (I hope) and then the bg in a mix of cobalt blue and cobalt violet deep which helped a lot.

4. Will start this old rusty truck next - photo by Marilyn Fuerstenberg also in my WatercolorWorkshop and SWAP yahoo groups - she says this is Bill's Truck.

Wednesday, May 23 - Tuesday Night Figure Studies

Well, we had our figure study group at the new studio in the Essex in Walnut Hills. Although the photos sent looked great, the room got darker and darker with no lights on your working surface after about 8 pm, 1 hour into the session.

And the long position the model was put in was so awkward and strange I had a hard time working at all and getting anything resembling the female shape.

Yes, the model is actually that thin!

Also, we were to have AC (the temps were 86F yesterday) but with the room closed it didn't feel like there was AC until we left, walked into the hallway where there was plenty of light and cool air flowing. I'm wondering if they are still working on the space and will have better lighting and AC next time - I hope.
Okay, enough whining! It's only a 20 minute drive for me and I'm sure it will get better. I guess I was just disappointed that we had the female model again - who is a real pro and comes up with some truly elegant and lovely poses in the short 10-minute poses she chooses herself - and I felt she wasn't utilized in the best way to show off her grace in the long pose (although if she is thinner next time, I'm going to have to make her eat a sandwich!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - RoseDesigned Background Ruined?

I did a baaad thing - the background is too mottled and splotchy now - I'm thinking about taking cobalt blue and doing a wash over the whole dark bg before doing anything else - but will that work or make it worse?
I hate losing this one to the trash because I was really liking it...

Monday, May 21, 2007 - In Class Today

After I finish the blue landscape study - what do I paint next? So far, nothing has called to me...I even printed out a lot of photos Jerry has taken - mostly flowers. Maybe one of them will be next? Fortunately, Sandy had a lesson plan for us - trees! Something a lot of painters have problems with - the shapes, the colors, the skyholes, everything about trees and how to make them look right. So we practiced and the time just flew by! And you can tell I need a lot of practice on trees :) ha-ha The last one doesn't even have a trunk - just practicing getting some autumn colors in without being so garish - needs darks but I was having such a time with this one - seeing negative shapes and leaving skyholes, and making the shape not a round or square shape...lots of things to think about when just painting a tree - how do landscape painters do it??

If you see me out somewhere just staring at a tree, don't worry about me - I'm just trying to SEE them better :)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007 - Cozens Landscape Finished

Finished the Cozens landscape pastiche for the landscape group and haven't found anything that I want to paint now - am in a wait and see mode. It's unusual for me not to paint everyday but I don't stress about it if I don't. So went ahead and started the Cozens again in a strict one color palette - Daniel Smith's Indanthrone Blue this time.

Jerry has to photograph something rusty for his next TriStatePhotography competition. So many things he could photograph including garden ornaments left out to rust, old cars and trucks and trains, old fences and gates...I like painting rust so he may come up with something I'll want to paint later.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007 - Landscape Group Painting

I joined a Watercolor Landscape group on Yahoo hosted by Donna Elio (check out if you're interested).

We are doing copies/pastiches of the masters of watercolor. Our first one was a copy of Alexander Cozens' (British 1717-1786)monochromatic landscape and we all were to do it plus any other landscape or seascape or cityscape work we want to do to share. Below is Cozens' work - all I can find is that it is 18th century and is called Mountain Landscape (grey watercolor on brown paper). Below is my version (not finished yet). The goal was to get that sense of distance by keeping the bg lighter and lighter and the foreground dark but we didn't have to use the same palette. I, unfortunately, chose yellow to start - must be a masochist because how do you darken yellow without adding other colors? So there is Aureolin (I don't normally use this but have almost a full tube I'm using up on just studies like this), Ultramarine Violet to brown it and then some Quinacridone Gold and Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Burnt Umber. Need the foreground to be darker and the bg isn't light enough to get a real sense of distance (I see other things I need to tweak a bit, too) I may have to do this one again to get the feel of it - although I like the brightness of my colors much more than the grey and brown of the Cozens version.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - Tuesday Night Figure Studies

Sandy missed the figure study group last night - off to a workshop. But I went and did these. As always, short 10-minute poses to warm us all up and then a longer (1 1/2 hour) pose to work with. I had trouble with the short poses - he used a large pole/walking stick as a prop and I think it threw me off a bit - he folded his hands over the stick which made it hard for me to get the hands right. Oh, well...posted just the long pose - did these only in graphite in my 9 x 12 sketchbook - didn't feel like doing anything larger. I think having a headache didn't help but I'm glad I went. Next week we move to Essex Studios and it's twice the size and new and light and air conditioned and heated and will seem very luxurious after the grungy warehouse experience :)

I think the second one looks more like him in facial features and body shape (I thinned him down in the third too much). I need to really work on hands and feet for improvement or else always work from the model's back!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007 - Can the Rose be Saved in Class?

Sandy said to bring the UGH rose to class and I did. I didn't think it could be saved and she thought it had potential. If it had any, I killed it! But she also said I had to show it - not sure why but you can't always has success and sometimes the failures are pretty darned spectacular! ha-ha This thing has watercolor, texture medium, gouache, collage pieces, watersoluable oil pastels and inktense watersoluble pens - tried everything and just couldn't get it to look like anything but a mess.

Now, the other rose painting I'm still working on is still looking good - need to go darker in the bg area. The misket is off to some whites still to blend and not sure how much I want to do to the rose itself - I like this look so far but more to come later...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007 - Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day today to all biological, step, adopted, and surrogate mothers today!

Put another light coating of the pearlescent glaze on the bathroom walls. Better. Maybe Jerry won't hate it when he comes home from his trip to the Smoky Mts. It has a shiny, pearl covering over the base paint of Tahitian Blue (which is a sea-green). Looks like the pearly inside of a shell. And the shelves and doo-dads back on the wall and around the room so it looks finished. The item in between the two shelves is an acrylic painting I bought from Robin Pushee (she lists as pretypleese on eBay). She does tons of mermaids and after watching and bidding on several, I finally won one that wasn't watercolor (wanted acrylic because I always intended to hang it in the bathroom). This one is on wood and is a collage piece - a pretty pink and blue mermaid with a 3D look. I just checked her work again and she's changed to more a child-like mermaid series.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 - To Paint or Not to Paint

Weeding and mowing and putting a glaze over the bathroom paint job - which now needs more work for the spots I missed :( This is why I never make changes to the house - a small job always takes days and days to get it right. The glaze is a clear pearlescent and it makes a nice shine unless you missed spots because you can't see where you were and were not with a clear glaze - must be a trick to it I don't know...have to fix it before Jerry gets home and hates it too much.

The gators painting is done done done - no more on this one. And no painting this weekend so just sharing the progress as this one was completed.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007 - Flowers for Mom

Well, I didn't paint today - but did lots of errands, including getting some annuals for Mom for Mother's Day (this is what she said she wanted so she'll be overrun by annuals from all of us this year).
As you can see, I have a color theme going on here...
Everyone had the same idea as I did today: get those flowers today early before the rush! ha-ha So the garden center was packed with people. Coming home with these little beauties made me want to plant something, too. Unfortunately, I don't have a green thumb and things are usually put in the "window" boxes around the back deck rather than in the ground so I remember to water them when I'm out there.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007 - Finishing Things

I'm calling Deb's Chevy done. The foreground is darker IRL than it shows here - don't know why. But I did get some shaping of the fenders and rounded parts of the truck done and put the metal parts in with some tinted gouache which worked okay - not shiny but then an old truck's metal parts wouldn't be too shiny. Anyway, done. On to the next unfinished painting...

Worked on the Rusted Rose Design painting - using granulating/sedimentary colors, I worked the "grate" and the bg: Lunar Earth, Goethite, Lunar Red Rock, Hematite, Moonglow (all Daniel Smith colors). My intention is to leave the rose and leaves/buds smooth.

And, unfortunately, I ruined the GWS rose - put collage on it and then some texture medium to sculpt the petals and buds. After that dried, I really didn't know what to do with it - so let the 5-year-old out to do her thing - and this is what happened :( Oh, well. Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you fail. And this one was a failure - so it will be torn up and tossed in the "round file."

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 - Tuesday Night Figure Studies

Last night we had our 2nd figure study meeting in the 18th Street Ironworks building - a male model this time, probably in his 50's, lean but not overly muscled. The weather had turned warm and it was hot in the 3rd floor studio but once you got working, the time flew by and you forgot you were hot and sticky! Here's just a few of the ones I did - short, 10 minute gesture poses to warm us up go by so quickly and you're just to catch the gesture of the pose - not detail. Then the model kept a long pose for the rest of the night. I worked on 3 of that pose, deciding to put some color in one (I'm working my way up to using my watercolor washes at some time but don't feel quite ready for that yet).

Grrr - hands and feet must be the hardest things to learn. Can you see where I thought I was doing a good job - but count the toes! ha-ha No, he didn't just have 4 but that's all I drew in :(

The first color was just putting Caran d'Ache (watercolor crayons) on and blending them together. The second color was adding water and blending here at home. I have to say I think I overdid the tummy pooch more than it was or else as I kept working it, it got bigger and looser.