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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and thank those that have stopped by over the year for visiting my blog! Thanks also to those who took the time to leave a comment as they mean a lot to me, especially after 5 hours alone in the studio ;)




MySpace Glitter Graphics

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Watercolor Portrait - Regret

Watercolor Portrait - ChildThis is one of the paintings that has been sitting starting at me for months and it is finally completed...I think!

I think I jinxed myself with the title of this one as it has gone through many, many phases, many of which I regretted, then I managed to push & pull things back around until I was happy with it. It has definitely been a learning experience and is much darker in color and mood than many of my portrait paintings.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Clearing the Slate

With the Christmas season over and the New Year fast approaching I thought I would "clear up" my to do list of paintings that need to be completed and reorganize/clean up my studio. I have a few paintings that I started last year but had to put to the side to work on commissions and other projects and just never got back to them. They have been sitting in my studio taunting me to finish them so I thought this week would be the perfect time to do so.

I also have a painting that I started during a recent workshop I took with Kiff Holland which is about half completed that I will put at the top of the list. Kiff is an amazing artist and a really fun teacher. He uses very strong staining colors, gasp, yet when they dry they are so much lighter and blend into each other beautifully, well, when he does it anyway ;) I have not had a chance to play with staining colors much yet as have been so busy with exhibits and commissions since the workshop so I also plan to do some "serious" playing this week.

The painting is very different for me as the paint is very thick with strong rich colors. It is of a bowl of cherry's and the cool reflections that they make on the bowl.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Completed

Well I think this horse portrait is completed! I will leave it overnight, or rather bring it from room to room with me and stare at it throughout the evening, to see if anything jumps out at me.
I am quite happy with the final result and she was a pleasure to paint. I love painting animals, especially horses, and this one looks so sweet from her photos so I hope I have captured her sweetness.
Then if my client is happy with it, I will ship it off to the other end of Canada to be placed under the Christmas tree :)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Update #10

Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission
The reins and tack are nearly completed, just a few more details to be added and a bit more darks deepened. They eye is nearly done, just need to soften the highlight and lashes. One more layer of browny black over her nose and ears to complete them as well and then a few highlights and she will be complete!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Update #9

Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission
Several layers have been painted for the bridel and reins in different shades of browns. More layers will be added to give more definition and detail to the leather and tack. A bit more layers need to be added as well to the muzzle, eye and mane.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commisssion - Update #8

Coming down the homestretch...couldn't resist the bad joke :) Still lots to go but it is looking good with the darks starting to get laid in. The eye color is being built up and then the darks in her eye will be reestablished and her muzzle and ears & eyes still need to go darker.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Update #6

Much more of the neck details were added today layering with several mixes of brown, red & yellow. The background has been darkened but is not showing up very blue in the photo, I hate photographing artwork, but it looks quite nice in real life so I will wait until all the darks have been established before I decide whether to add a final layer to the background or not.

Christmas Watercolor Commission Portrait Commission - Update #8

I have done many updates to her face and hair over the past week as the resemblance was just not quite right. Her lips appear redder in the photo for some reason than they are in the real portrait so I am hesitant to lighten them further or they will not show as lips anymore.

As the paper need to fully dry between tweaks I tried to work throughout the day making little changes here and there modeling her features. As her face is only 1.5" from top to bottom, each little tweak required a very steady hand!


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Update #5

Her fur is starting to take shape which gives her portrait more depth and form. Many more layers still to go!

I got carried away with the fur and did not get around to darkening the background, maybe in the next update :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Watercolor Horse Portrait Christmas Commission - Update #4

Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission
Many more layers have been added to give a nice red glow. The eye and muzzle are starting to take shape now as well as some more of the fur directionality.
I will likely darken the background now so that should make things pop and then carry on with adding more fur details.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Update #3

Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission
The fur direction has been loosely brushed in for texture and now it is a matter of building up the color before I can start to add the details of the darker fur. It is a bit of a slow process as I don't like to rush the drying with a hair dryer so I need to wait at least an hour between each layer, but so worth it in the end. The color always looks so amazing and rich when wet, makes me love watercolors!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Update #2

Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission
I have started laying in the colors on her coat, some areas wet on dry and some areas dry brushing to add variety in texture and allowing the colors to blend on the paper rather than mixing on the pallete.

Many, many more layers to go!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Update #1

Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission
The initial washes have been laid down and the background is still slightly wet so may look a little warped but will straighten out by morning. The initial shapes of her fur and bone structure have been sketched in and now I will go over them in several different shades of brownish red to build up the depth and shape of her head and neck.

I will add a couple more layers in the background to build up the color with a loose texture once dried.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission - Sketch

This is a rough sketch of the horse that I will be painting as a Christmas gift for her owner. I rarely get the opportunity to paint horse commissions so I am quite looking forward to painting her. It used to be horses were all that I would draw!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Graphite Portrait Christmas Commission

Graphite Portrait Sketch Christmas Commission Gift
This is a graphite pencil portrait commissioned by the subject's son-in-law as a Christmas Gift for his wife and mother in law. The photo was really, really small and blurry but it was all that was available so hopefully I have captured him!

Christmas Watercolor Horse Portrait Commission

This is the reference photo I will be working on for my next commission. She is a beautiful show horse and will be painting in watercolor, 16x20".
The background will just be a light blue with minimal texture just to provide a bit of interest without taking the focus off of the subject. The tack will be included but without the hands and rider.
I have just started the sketch and am stretching the watercolor paper so should be able to start painting tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission- Toddler Update #7

Well, I did not do many updates for the grass as I think the only thing more boring than watching the grass grow is watching me paint it :) Although it was fun to paint, very relaxing, but took much longer than I thought it would, lol, got lost in there a few times ;)
I think her portrait is complete but again will also bring it with me from room to room so I can stare at it from all different angles to see if anything pops out at me.

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Update #5

Well I think she is finished! Of course I will sit and stare at her for a few hours off and on to be sure and see if there are any tweaks my client would like.
I may soften the reflected light on her cheek a bit more and debating whether to add more layers to the hat. Will ponder a bit more :)


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission- Toddler Update #6

All of the grass has been painted in and glazed over to add more depth to the field. The shadows (dark areas) on the grass need to be worked in a bit more still and her back leg needs to be darkened more and the grass softened around her legs so they don't look so cut out.
Last but not least, I will then lift out some wildflowers in the front!

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Update #4

Several layers of red have been added to her hat, many more to go. Her eyes and lips have been softened a bit but still need more softening and her skin will get a bit more of a blush once more of the hat has been painted.
More shape will be built up on her sweater as well but very loosely so as not to attract too much attention as being the lightest color I don't want it to draw the eye away from her face.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission- Toddler Update #5

Most of the grass has been painting, I wish I could say I had a trick for it to make it goes quickly without painting every blade of grass, but nope :) There is a bit more grass to the right and top but will take a better photo once all the details are added to include the whole portrait. A few wildflowers will be added at the forefront for a bit of interest and the shadows in the grass will be darkened in areas.

Her outfit is nearly done, just a few more details and of course the red bow in her hair and a few shadows on her shoe. Last but not least her features, especially her eyes and lips, will be softened and highlights added for a more natural look. Coming down the homestretch!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Update #3


Several layers of color have been added to her eyes and lips but still more layers to go and edges and highlights need to be softened for both. They look a little harsh right now but once the background & hat are done I can better judge the values and how much they need to be softened and highlighted.

A more rosy glow has been added to her face and may be tweaked further but again I will wait until the background and hat have been finished to better judge the values.

The first layer of the background has been added and several more will be added to achieve a darker green at the top and slightly lighter green at the bottom near her sweater. Once the background has dried, I can then start on that red hat!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Toddler Update #4

Wow it is a good thing I like puzzles! Her outfit is nearly complete just a few more details and a few shadows to add. It is a perfect color scheme and outfit for a watercolor painting as it is the primary colors overlapping to create subtle shades of secondary and tertiary colors. By layering the pigments rather than mixing each one, the white of the paper and each layer of color glows up beneath the next creating a glow that you just can't get by mixing.
The photo is a little blurry as it is larger and when photographing flat it gets a little shaky and distorted. I will set up a larger easel to photograph it for the next update as I hope to have more of the grass done. Hopefully the sun sticks around to get decent lighting!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Update #3

Her skin tones have been warmed up considerably and next the rosy glow will be added and the details to her eyes and lips.
Hard lines will be softened and a bit more depth added to her cheeks and neck. She is definitely starting to plump up!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Toddler Update #3

More of the skin color has been built up and the color on the lips and eyes have been set in. They look a little harsh right now as they need to be softened and highlights lifted out but I will wait until the clothing has been painted to better judge the final values.
Once the clothes have been completed, further tweaks to her skin tones may be needed as well as all the white throws the colors off so while they look a little dark right now, they will probably be too light once all of the white has been filled in. More layers have also been added to her hair and more will be added once her bow is filled in.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Toddler Update #2

She is starting to take shape now and her skin tones have been warmed up. Next I will add a healthy pink glow to her skin and work on the details of her eyes and lips while lightening some of the pencil lines.
The reference photo was taken at my client's farm on a warm sunny day so her skin has more of a warm glow from the sun. I love the way the light is reflecting off of her hair and side of her face giving such a nice glow you can almost feel the sun. Aaha as we sit waiting for snow here!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Update #3

Watercolor Baby Portrait Commission
Most of the day was spent working on the flesh tones and molding those big pudgy cheeks and eyes. Did I mention how much I love painting kids & animals, you just can't help but smile while you work.

The color of her eyes will be left for a bit until more of the skin tones have been built up. Now to put a rosy glow in those cheeks!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Update #2

The initial part of the under painting is completed (the brim of the hat is still wet so bit of a glare) and now the skin layers will be built up. I have erased some of the pencil lines and will continue to do so as the portrait progresses. The ugly globs of yellow on her eyes is the masking fluid which will have to remain there for a bit as she has very dark blue-grey eyes so I want to keep the reflections crisp until nearer the end.
Her hat will need to be left until the very end now as red is very unforgiving so if it gets wet after it has been laid down, look out! The sweater is starting to take shape and is white in the reference photo so I am using a blue under painting and may grey it up a bit in areas for variety.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Update #1

The under painting is taking shape and needs to be done slowly building up the layers to get the correct tonal values. The graphite is still quite dark, I will continue to lighten the lines as I paint to keep things on track. The painting looks a little dark but it is just my poor photography skills showing again, the paper is near warm white so that give you an idea how bad I am with a camera ;)

She is wearing a red toque which is going to look so cute once the red is painted on, will make her eyes pop even more. Like she needs it ;)

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Toddler Underpainting



I managed to get a fair bit of painting done today and the underpainting of her skin is completed. I will start building her skin tones now and laying in more details as I go. The masking fluid will come off her teeth soon so will look much less harsh and I will start to lift off some of the pencil lines as I get more of the details built up.


I also took a photo of the colors I thought would look nice on her outfit. They are more muted than in the real outfit so they don't attract as much attention. The green also for some reason (the color next to yellow on the top right) did not come out in the photo as green as it is in real life so it would be a bit deeper leaning towards blue, not as bright a yellow-green as in the original outfit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Toddler Update #1

This is an update of the toddler portrait I am working on. It is much larger but just tried to take a photo of the main area that I have worked on so far. The grass has been roughed in around her as I had masking fluid on the edges of her to protect her from the green background. Several layers of grass will be built up in varying tones of green and a few wildflowers will be lifted out near her feet.

Masking fluid is still on her teeth and the highlights in her eyes so looks a little funny right now but hopefully in the next update it will look better. I will leave the grass for now and focus on her more.

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Sketch

Luckily my client was able to get a clearer photo of the baby so I drew her again from the better quality image and I am much happier with the sketch. Although, I am impressed with how much I was able to guess from the shadows of the original :)
She looks a little older than her age in the sketch but once the big pudgy cheeks get their shape I think she will look more babyish. Her right eye looks a little larger at the top that it actually is due to the graphite being a little too dark but that will soften once I start painting as well and they will look more even. Aha onto the painting :)

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Toddler Sketch

Watercolor Christmas Portrait Commission
This is rough sketch of another little cutie that I am working on for a Christmas commission gift. Again, this is the rough sketch on cartridge paper that I will then transfer to the watercolor paper and finesse a bit more before starting on the actual painting process.
This portrait, with the background, will be 18x24 so she will be surrounded by grass and a few little wildflowers here and there that I will draw and paint directly onto the watercolor paper. I am waiting to hear back from my client to see if the plaid is to be included so sketched it in for now just in case!
I will be working on two portraits at the same time to allow each portrait drying time as I do not like to speed up the process with a dryer as I worry about the colors staying crisp and clean. For this portrait, click on the label below, annette to see only this portraits updates.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Christmas Watercolor Portrait Commission - Baby Rough Sketch

This is the rough sketch of an adorable little girl that I have been commissioned to paint. As the photo is quite small and blurry, I decided to do a fuller sketch on paper first rather than just the usual sparse outline, hopefully to work out all the kinks prior to transferring the image to the good paper :) (see the new sketch http://blog.stateofartportraits.com/2009/11/christmas-watercolor-portrait_2211.html to see what a difference a decent photo takes, whew!)

I will be working on two portraits at the same time for drying reasons as mentioned above. For this portrait, click on the label below, suzanne to see only this portraits updates.

Watercolor Painting - Vancouver Inukshuk

Watercolor Painting - Vancouver InukshukThis is my latest painting of the inukshuk on Vancouver's waterfront. I am calling it On the Right Path which is close to the traditional meaning of the inukshuk which is "you are on the right path" or "someone was here".

Inukshuks are made for many reasons, navigational, to mark a location out of respect, mark a good fishing spot, for a memorial or to mark migration routes. Whatever the meaning they always get my attention when I am out walking or roller blading along the water

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Favourite Painting Poll

Ok so I need some help :) I can't decide which painting to submit for a very competitive exhibit so I thought I would ask for all your help :) I have put a poll on the side for voting, please chose your favorite painting from the list (the paintings can be viewed at the link below) or if you would like to chose one from my other originals at http://www.stateofartportraits.com/original-artwork.htm just add a comment & I will add to the poll. I have until Nov 11 to decide & would really appreciate any feedback as I keep going back & forth on my fav :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Photos from the Art Focus Show

Watercolor Paintings from Art Focus ShowTracey Costescu at Art Focus Fall ShowIt was a very rainy & windy night but despite the poor weather we had a great opening night for the Art Focus 15th Annual Fall show. As always there was alot of great artwork including miniatures, hand painted greeting cards and prints. I will be at the show again on Sunday from 3-5pm so hope to see more art lovers then :)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Art Focus Fall Show

Well the show starts tomorrow night so I should be getting paintings packaged up, labeled and ready to hang but instead....I can't stop painting!

The hanging is tomorrow afternoon so I could package everything up until midnight or so tonight technically, why do it now when I still have time to put it off ;)

This is a photo of Wendy Milne and myself taken by Paul vanPeenen of us holding our paintings that will be in the show. John did a wonderful write up for us in the Coquitlam Now, check it out.

Of course it got me in a bit of trouble as I don't think I said that art and my kids are my two fav things....I am SURE I said they are two of my fav things...ok I probably said they are my 2 fav things because my hubby is so obviously my fav thing....geez when it is in writing on the screen even I don't buy it ;) He always calls my art my lover so I guess he saw it coming ;)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Art Focus 15th Annual Fall Show

Photo by Jennifer Gauthier
It is that time of year again and we are getting ready for next weekends 15th Annual Fall show with Art Focus. Myself, Wendy Milne and Louise Smith (front) are displaying some of the pieces that will be in the show.

Check out the full article by Sarah Payne from the Tri-City News Please join us at the Outlook for the opening reception on Friday night Nov 6 from 7-9pm. The will be wine and nibbles and many of the artists and friends will be at the show to visit.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gauthier

Friday, October 30, 2009

Watercolor Wildlife Painting - Ruffled Feathers

This is the latest painting I have been working on for a bit and I think it is done. I just loved the feathers on the top bird and the sideways glance and angled stance of the bird below! You can almost feel the tension as soon as the images were combined ;) In my mind the bottom goose is female and the top is male, insert your own scenario for the tiff ;)

The top Canadian goose is taken with permission from a wonderful photo from Dan Star I love his photos, must be his engineering eye ;)

The goose from the bottom is taken with permission also from a photo from Yersinia's photos on Flicker. She also takes amazing photos and has a huge variety of photos ranging from architectural to nature.

I photo shopped the images together and call it "Ruffled Feathers". It can also be viewed on my website for my original artwork.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Positively Petite at Place des Arts
November 19 - December 19, 2009

I have been accepted into the Positively Petite exhibit at Place des Arts this year. There will be many artists 2D and 3D artwork on display which will make great Christmas gifts I am sure.

The opening reception will be held November 19 from 7-9pm. Wine and cheese will be served and many of the artists and friends will be there to chat. Check out Place des Arts website for hourse and address.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Photos from Art Visions 2009

I finally got around to uploading photos from the Art Visions 2009 opening ceremonies.
The last photo is Mayor Sharon Shepherd looking at my painting on the big screen, ok, so she was probably looking at the speaker who is just to the right of the screen, but I prefer to think she was admiring my painting.
The show officially ended today but I believe the paintings will remain online for some time. Several paintings sold during the show and hopefully more will continue to sell as the Christmas season approaches.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Art Visions 2009 Opening Night Photos

Myself and a fellow artist - Photographer Maryann Hendriks AFCA
We drove up to Kelowna over the weekend to check out the opening and awards ceremony for the Art Visions 2009 show and it was totally worth the drive, although the cold weather was a little much, -10, yikes!

This photo was takend by photographer Maryann Hendriks AFCA at the Turtle Island Gallerywhere my painting is hanging, just above the painting we are looking at ;) I will upload photos below of my painting that my hubby took. It is a really cool gallery with aboriginal art and sculptures.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Annual Art Focus Show - Nov 6 - 8


















My watercolor paintings Corinthian, Give & Take, Room for Two & Shell Dance will be on display at the Outlet for the Annual Art Focus Fall Show.










I will be displaying several miniatures of flowers and seascapes as well. Please join myself and my fellow artists for the opening reception on Friday Nov 6 from 7:30 - 9:30pm and/or from 11am - 5pm Saturday & Sunday. There is always a great selection of artwork in all mediums and styles and lots of friendly artists on hand to chat.