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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Watercolor Monochromatic Portrait - Security Blanket

Monochromatic Watercolor PortraitThis is a monochromatic watercolor portrait of a child for my exhibit in March at Place des Arts. I started it awhile back and just got time to finish it. I may still add more wisps to her hair as it is looking too stiff but thought I would post an update at least.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Pride Updated

Watercolor Portrait Demo
I did a few touchups to this painting and I am much happier with it, mainly on the scarf but it really affected how the skin tones appeared to me. I darkened the shadow areas of the scarf more which helped to blend in the fine lines and I think made it look less busy.
The skin tones also appear more subtle due to the darks and I am much happier with it now so I think she is finally done!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Ripples

Watercolor Painting - RipplesThis is the latest of my watercolor paintings for my exhibit, number 20 out of 38, yay more than half way there! Committing to an exhibit is a sure fire way to get motivated and get painting. It has been a really great way to push myself to also try new ways of looking at things both subject matter wise and technique wise.

This is my second painting with water and while I liked the way the water turned out in the first painting I wanted the water to look different in this one and it definitely does. I also really love her hair, it shines across the room even from the opposite end of my studio which is over 10 feet which is really cool :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Watercolor Figure Painting - Into the Blue

Watercolor Figure PaintingThis is a figure painting that I just finished for my upcoming exhibit at Place des Arts in March.

I have never painted water before and I am quite happy with the way this painting turned out, both the water and the flesh tones. I tried to caputure the peaceful anticipation of being engulfed in water, warm of course ;)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Watercolor Portrait Demo - Pride Completed

Watercolor Portrait Demo
I adjusted her skin tone a little and softened a few edges. The yellow on the scarf was also painted in and some of the purples darkened. The background has faded into nothing with all the added color so I darkened it as well and that really helped.
I think this is completed but I will leave it for a few days and have another look with fresh eyes. I have been staring at her too long that I feel like she is starting to stare back at me ;) Distance is a good thing!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Watercolor Portrait Demo - Pride #3

Watercolor Portrait Demo

The fleshtones have been painted in and more layers have been added to the scarf. The white looking areas will be yellow but I am waiting until nearer the end to paint in the yellow shading.
The detail on the lashes and brows has been redefined as they were starting to blend in a little.
A bit more modeling needs to be done on her face as well on her nose as it is looking a little flat.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Pride #2

Watercolor Portrait Demo
More layers have been added to build up the face and her scarf. I have been moving around alot to let each area dry thoroughly as , especially with the purple, the paint is leaching a bit if it I don't let it dry thouroughly.

Partly due to the strong staining colors used but also I think that I am working on the back of the paper which is a bit rougher, oops. Always label your paper BEFORE you cut is so you don't forget :) Maybe this time I will remember!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Watercolor Portrait Demo - Pride Underpainting

Watercolor Portrait Painting DemoMost of the form has been painted in and I have painted in a bit of the detail on her scarf. I just love the way her scarf has wraps around her face. I am not following the reference photo exactly as this is not a commission so I can be a bit more free with my interpretation of this subject.

I have painted in some of the highlights in her hair as well. The highlights in her eyes are a little much right now I will tone some of them down later.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Watercolor Portrait Demo - Pride


This is the sketch for the portrait that has been transferred onto 140lb Arches Cold Pressed paper. The eyes are actually drawn on that dark as they will be quite dark in the final painting so I don't need to worry about the pencil showing through.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Watercolor Painting - Pride

Watercolor Portrait Reference Photo

This is the reference photo for the next painting that I am painting for my exhibit. I love the close up on the eyes and the way the scarf surounds her face.

I found the photo on MorgueFile from a wonderful photographer, Luis C. Tejo. More of his work can be seen at MorgueFile, this photo is at http://www.morguefile.com/archive/?display=53669&

This painting will be in color rather than monochromatic to add a bit more variety to the exhibit and just for fun and a change of pace. It will be 11 x 14" on Arches watercolor paper.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Watercolor Figure Portrait - Lazy Days


Watercolor Figure Portrait
This is another painting I started for my solo exhibit at Place des Arts but did not get a chance to finish due to commissions. I had painted it in January but when I was putting the finishing touches on the background I had a major accident!
I had used masking tape to get some nice crisp lines but did not push the tape down enough and the paint leached onto the figure. Only small amounts but enought to totally wreck the painting, ugh.

So I painted the figure again in sepia rather than cobalt blue as I had originally done and left the background light and with a bit of texture, which I think looks better anyway. I liked the cobalt blue but I like the sepia more so it all worked out for the best in the end :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Watercolor Stretching Boards

So I have been experimenting with different methods of stretching watercolor paper and have come back to the support that I originally had but was not using properly, isn't that always the way!

The first method I had tried was using the drawing board, paper stretcher board or hardboard soaking the paper and then taping it onto the board with the gum tape and then stapling to corners (optional). While this was the most consistent method to keep the paper smooth, it is very time consuming & messy. The tape works well but is a real pain to get off the paper and board once the painting is completed. Later I found a foam board that worked very well for this but the tape was wrecking the board when I removed it.

I then tried to build myself a paper stretch, well I had my father-in-law build it...anyway, it worked very well. But, always a but, I found the texture of the paper so tight that it made the paper much rougher than I am used to. Which would be great for landscapes I am sure and very wet in wet painting. No matter how much water I threw down, the paper seemed to go back into shape and buckle very little.

Then I heard about foamcore or gatorboard and that you could just use 3M masking tape to tape the paper down and then peel it off. I tried a foam board that was 3/4" thick but was not dense enough so it warped the paper a bit, but still worked well. I was working very dray though and the tape still lifted off in areas. When the painting was finished, I misted the back lightly with filtered water and lay it between paper towel and foam boards and then weighted down with books for 2 days and the warps came out very nicely.

I then read, on the package, of the board that I had purchased years ago, an incredible board, and had been using gum tape and heave duty staples on that if you just use regular office stapler, that is all you need. Of course it works like a charm :) It is just a dense foam core or gator board but it is all I could find in Canada locally. It is called Incredible Art Board and is available at Opus Art Store and can also be ordered online. I purchased the larger size for the full sheet of watercolor and used it for my latest commission and it was a pleasure to work with. Very light and sturdy which is really nice as I tend to move my paintings & drawings around alot when I work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Watercolor Figure Portrait - Untitled #2

Watercolor Figure Portrait
This is another (finally) watercolor portrait for my upcoming exhibit in March at Place des Arts. It is done in sepia again and is as of yet untitled...any suggestions anyone?
I have a few ideas floating in my head but nothing that grabs me yet :) I started working on it months ago and just did the finishing touches after completing my last commission. Only 22 or so left to go.... Next!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Framing and Caring for Your Artwork

The right frame can make your artwork stand out from across the room but it is also intended to protect your artwork from dirt and moisture. The placement of your artwork is not only about aesthetics but also about protecting your artwork and keeping it in pristine condition . Even if your artwork is painted on the most expensive watercolor paper using professional quality archival paints, as mine are, it is still important to choose your framing and display area wisely.

The artwork, regarless of the medium used, (watercolor, oil, acrylic, pencil etc) should not be hung anywhere that it would be subjected to direct sunlight or long periods of artificial light. Areas where major changes in humidity such as a kitchen or bathroom should also be avoided. If you choose to hang your artwork in a bright room or a room where artificial light is on for long periods of time, then you may want to consider using glass or plexiglass with Ultraviolet protection built in. It is more expensive but if you value your collection it will help prevent fading enormously.

If using plexi glass, any piece shipped framed over 11x14" is framed with plexi glass for safety reasons, do not use any cleaner on the plexi glass.  Just use a soft microfibre cloth to wipe any dust or smudges from the frame.  If you do want to use a cleaner, buy the cleaners made specifically for plexi glass and spray onto the cloth then wipe.  Spraying any cleaning product onto a framed painting whether it be plexiglass or glass is never a good idea as particles from the cleaning solution could find their way through the cracks and onto the surface of the matt of paper.
Choosing a Frame

I prefer a simple clean frame so that I can really focus on the artwork. I also like the fact that I can easily move the artwork from room to room and not worry about it fitting in with the color scheme or decor of the new room or areas. A sample of some of my framed work, ready to go to the exhibit are below.Framed Artwork
Choosing a Matt



The matt board prevents the artwork from making contact with the glass which can create moisture. I prefer an acid-free off white or ivory matt for all my paintings and drawings as I can easily move my artwork from one room to the next and it fits in with any decor.
I also like the way the simpler matt kick the colors and tonal definition up a notch. For a bit more detail or interest a matt with a thin line of black or other color also is nice and does not distract from the painting but sets off the color nicely. When mounting the artwork to the matt, never use any plastic tapes or any masking tapes. They can turn brown and brittle leaving a dirty residue on the artwork which could ruin it and alter its value over time.

Choosing your Backing
The backing board pushes the artwork onto the matt to help keep it flat and keep dust and moisture out. Always use an acid-free backing or a acid-free piece of paper or card between the backing and the matt to keep impurities away from your artwork. The back of the frame should then be sealed with water soluble gummed tape to prevent the airborne dirt or moisture from penetrating the frame.

Cleaning your Artwork

Once properly framed you should never need to clean or worry about your artwork inside the frame. When cleaning the glass, spray your glass cleaner onto a clean cloth, clean the glass and wipe off immediately. Although the frame has been sealed, when spraying, some of the cleaner could find its way in through capillary action and do damage... better safe than sorry!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Watercolor Dog Memorial Portrait of Kelly-Belle

Well adding the panelling to the house definitely finishes the background off. The daisies have been painted in lightly and a few touch ups to shadows and the yellow flowers were made...I think Kelly's portrait is complete!

As always I will leave it for a bit and stare at it from all angles to see if anything stands out to me. My eye is always drawn to Kelly's face instantly even with all of the flowers and foliage which is exactly what I was hoping for in the final painting!

Watercolor Dog Memorial Portrait - Update 14


Just a few finishing touches to be made to the daisies and the yellow flowers and then I think Kelly's portrait is complete!
I have done several tweaks over the past couple of days that are very subtle and are hard to see online but I have softened areas and darkened some of the flower centers and shadows. The deck has been darkened as well and more of the wood grain defined. A few more tweaks need to be made to the shadows and then I may add the panel lines from the house in the background to anchor everything down but will wait to see on the final shadows.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Watercolor Dog Memorial Portrait - Update 13

More of the detail has been added to the flowers along with some shadows and some extra leaves to fill out the area above Kelly a bit more.

The shadows are a little hard to see in the photo but they have been painted in with a bluish gray in some areas and pinkish gray in others show the reflected color of the flowers.

I will wait until daylight to add in the final details to the flowers. The deck has another layer painted onto it and will be darkened a bit further.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Watercolor Dog Memorial Portrait - Update 12

More of the flowers and leaves have been painted in both at the top and the bottom right corner. The shadow will be added at the top to better judge whether or not a few more leaves need to be added at the top.
Another small leaf or vine needs to be added near Kelly's head which I will paint next as well. Sometimes things don't pop out until you take a step back from the painting for a bit. Then I will finish painting in the leaves at the bottom right and add a few of the blue flowers on the right hand side very loosely. A few more washes will be added to the porch step and last but not least, the yellow flowers will be touched up to add a bit more depth and shape.