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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Registration is Now Open for Realistic Graphite Portraits Workshop
February 4 & 5, 2012

Graphite Portrait Commission
I am happy to say that I will be offering another portrait workshop at Leigh Square.  This two day workshop will help you to bring your drawings to a whole new level of realism and depth.

We will combine short demos followed by hands on applications of each technique and lots of one-on-one instruction.


Some of the skills you will learn are:
  • how to choose great reference photos
  • an easy way to create accurate line drawings right from the start
  • realistic shading and textural techniques
  • an in depth overview of the materials used to make the process successful for any subject matter

Whether you are a portrait, landscape or still life artist your drawing skills will reach a new level of realism by the end of the workshop. A full supply list will be provided after registration.

Feb 4 & 5, 2012
Sat 10-4pm & Sun 11:30-4:30pm
$150.00 

Again, if you are interested in this workshop, please don't wait until the last minute to register as spaces may run out.  You can Register Online  or contact me at info@stateofartportraits.com  for more information.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Packing up for the Winter Artisans Fair
November 26 & 27, 2011

Autumn`s Fire - Oil on Panel
Wow, I have way too much art I am bringing....now how to fit everything!  I should really be packing up stuff but I just can`t pull myself away from the easel.  I learned so much at the workshop over the weekend and I want to get it all out before I forgot too much, I have a very limited attention span ;)

I am hoping to bring various pieces from miniatures to quite large pieces in acrylic and oil.  I do not plan on bringing any watercolors this time but ya never know.  Hopefully we have nice weather and lots of visitors.  If you are in Port Coquitlam (1100-2253 Leigh Square - Behind City Hall) over the weekend, please stop by and say hello :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What a totally awesome weekend!

David Gray and his portrait....and mine :)
I am still decompressing from David Gray's workshop on Whidbey Island hosted by the lovely Cary Jurriaans of Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio.  David is an AMAZING artist who also is an AMAZING teacher!  I learned so much in three days and I am sure I will continue to have things pop up in my head from the weekend for some time to come.

It was pretty challenging as I have never drawn with charcoal (other then the week before the workshop in a panic ;)) and then to paint from such a loose image was really an eye opener.

That is my portrait, actually not too bad, I was expecting worse.  I figured if  it looks human in the end and I learn lots I will be happy, so I am pretty happy....although other than the image here the painting may never see the light of day again ;)  Also, we all drew for easels so those of you that know me, no I did not ambush him and grab the closest easel to him :)  It was quite handy though as I was able to lean back at times and see what a painting should look like :)

Apparently I am much more stubborn than I would like to admit as even though I would tell myself I would draw/paint the way David was showing us, I kept reverting back to my old ways...argh :)

I redrew my portrait several times as I kept smudging it off by accident.  Apparently that is the beauty of vine charcoal in that is erases so easily :)  I then repainted my portrait several times as well but I learned so much that I really didn't mind whereas usually I would have been so frustrated.

There is so much to see when working from a live model which makes it really challenging but what a great experience.  I am definitely going to try painting in my life drawing sessions in the future as well as some more self portraits, although I need a break at looking at myself for awhile after doing so many self portrait drawings!

I really, really enjoyed David's process and will be spending all my spare time trying to absorb as much of what he tough as possible.  He spent a fair bit of the first day teach us to draw using the sight sizing method which I have read about many times but never really tried and I really enjoyed it, even though it is hard to break my old ways :)  David was also full of great tips and exercises which really helps break things down to more manageable pieces, now it is just putting in the time...and more time....and more time ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life Drawing - Self Portrait #5

Self Portrait from Life
16x20" Charcoal on Paper
Well, technically this is Self Portrait #7 but the other two are not done....they may never be done ;) I started my 5th portrait in pastel, I have never used pastel before...I learned a lot. I seem to learn by trying what not to do first, takes longer but works in the long run :) Self portrait #6 I started using charcoal only, no graphite, which I have never done before and chose a really rough surface. Why do I do this to myself? So, again I have learned a lot of what not to do and will likely finish it in the new year when I have more time.

Ok, so that brings me to Self Portrait #5 which I did last night. I spent roughly 2 hours on this one and it is gigantic!  I made all my landmarks in charcoal then realized I wanted to tone the paper first...so I toned the paper and made all my landmarks again. Probably a good think as getting my landmarks correct is my biggest challenge I think. I used only charcoal starting with a soft charcoal and then using a compressed charcoal for the details. I think I rubbed off as much as I added and not on purpose but again, I learned a lot...a common theme :) I did do all of the hair but it is at such a un-finished stage that it was just distracting so I cropped it out :)

I am not sure if I will do more on this one, it needs a fair bit more tonal range but as it is just a study it may just end up in the trash bin as I move onto the next. I think my proportions are slowly getting better and although I have a love hate relationship with the charcoal, I can see that it will eventually turn into a long loving relationship, just maybe not anytime soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ensemble 2011 Show at the Act in Maple Ridge - November 19 - December 17

Letting Go - $460
Watercolor on Paper - 16x20" Framed

Letting Go is one of the pieces that will be on display for the juried Christmas Show and Sale, Ensemble 2011 at The Act Art Gallery in Maple Ridge from November 19 until December 17.

This annual exhibit features small ensembles of individual artists' work that is related by theme, style or some other unifying factor. 
Ready - $460
Watercolor on Paper - 16x20" Framed
Reach - $460
Watercolor on Paper - 16x20" Framed
I will have three of my figurative watercolors on display, Letting Go, Reach and Ready.
I hope you can make it out if you are in the area.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Life Drawing - Self Portrait #4 Completed

Self Portrait Study from Life
11x15" Graphite & Charcoal on Paper


Well this is as far as I am going to go on this one. I could keep going for at least several more hours but I am forcing myself to stop as it is just a study, it appears I am very stubborn ;)  I am quite happy with the way the toned paper works with the graphite layers and will definitely be playing with toned paper a lot more!

I was not able to try the charcoal until near the end as the charcoal I had on hand seemed to waxy so I ran out and got some other stuff that seems to work much better so I am excited to try mixing from the beginning for the next portrait.

So other than the proportions being off I am pretty happy with this one and am looking forward to the next study :)

Glittery Texture
 I thought I would include a few closeups of the texture as well.  The first image hopefully shows the gold glittery texture (why is it the older I get the more I like shiny stuff?).  It is quite subtly and may not show well online but looks quite cool in real life.  I really like how it peeks through in areas of the portrait as well.
Untoned Paper Texture
The second image shows where areas of the paper were left untoned which I also REALLY like.  I think the paper texture is the main reason I spent so much time on the shaping of the portrait.  I wish I had spent more time on the proportions...sigh.  Live & learn right?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Life Drawing - Self Portrait #4

So I know I said I don't want to spend more than 2 hours on these studies....but I really want to put a bit more time in on this one as I really like the textured background and how it effects the portrait. 

My proportions are off again, argh, why don't I notice how off things are when I am doing the block in ;) I still have the deer in the headlights look but maybe that won't go away no matter how many of these I do, oh well.  If I can just stop making my nose way too long I think it will help immensely :)

So I will work on it a bit more tomorrow and post hopefully a more natural looking update.  I did try the charcoal but did not like the texture again.  I will have to try playing with charcoal on a separate sheet for a while before diving into a portrait I think.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Life Drawing - Self Portrait #3

I was pretty busy getting all my paintings ready for the show this weekend and life drawing on Tuesday night so this is the first chance I got to work on my self portrait mission.

I thought changing the pose a touch my make me look more mellow and slightly less crazed as I get a little intense looking when drawing from life it seems.  Especially a self portrait as normally I sing while I work but it is hard to draw yourself when you are constantly moving.

I started this drawing very differently than usual in that after the arabesque (the outline shape of the head) I blocked in the major shapes with dark flat graphite and then refined the features as areas progressed.  I really enjoyed working this way and have seen it done many times but thought I would be too lost if I did not get the landmarks in first. I was pleasantly surprised :)

I would have liked to have it more refined and have the hair a little less crazy looking but I am trying to keep my sessions to 2 hours or less.  I think the proportions turned out not too bad and it came more easily than usual so that is nice. Perhaps practicing more often (what a shock) really does work ;)

At the end of the session I stood up and saw a ton of flaws....always stand back and get a good look, I may need to tape that on my easel.  I started standing at life drawing sessions with the real models and really like it so I need to try to remember to do it at home.  Also I really want to try to use charcoal, graphite and white chalk next time if I remember.

I actually thought this project was going to be a chore but well worth the effort whereas I am actually enjoying the process so much I may have to keep doing these little drawings at least once or twice a month.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Port Moody Art Association 44th Annual Show - Nov 4, 5 and 6, 2011
Opening Reception tonight!

Temptation - $460
16x20" Watercolor Framed
Wow where does the time go! Tonight is the opening reception for the 44th Annual Port Moody Art Association from 7:30 until 10pm. 

The official opening will be hosted by Devin Jain, Port Moody's Manager of Cultural Services and there will be wine by the glass, great art and artists will be on hand to chat :)

Hope to see you there! The show is located at the Port Moody Recreation Center, 300 IOCO Road, Port Moody. Free parking, free admission and draw prizes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Life Drawing - Self Portrait #2

Well I thought this one did not turn out much better than the first self portrait as things look so wonky....then I saw it beside the first self portrait, oh my! 

Life drawing is very humbling! But I think I am making good progress already, ahem, especially compared to the 1st one ;)  The proportions are definitely closer so hopefully  I am training my eyes to judge better.  I did try again to use a knitting needle for measuring but I am just so shaky and my eyes kept bugging out trying to distinguish the real needle from the reflection so I just did the width and length of the head roughly and went from there.

I am definitely spending way more time on the shading and building form because it is just so much fun! But I will keep trying to focus more on the blocking in as that is the area I struggle with the most. 

But I must admit, drawing from life is so much more fun when I can see the details.  I really struggle in the life drawing with a model as I can not see very far. So I am searching for a good set of compact binoculars for close range viewing.  I am really excited to try them out on Tuesday, assuming I can find something I can afford!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Life Drawing - Self Portrait #1

Ok, so the proportions are pretty off (I blame the model who kept getting up every 2 minutes to get a kid something...) but for my first self portrait from life, not too bad :)

This was a quick sketch, roughly 40 minutes and I used really cheap paper and only an HB pencil.  I actually quite liked how the graphite blended on the paper considering it is just cheap stuff.  I had to be careful though as I kept smudging areas by accident as my kid stole my mahl stick to use for a fishing rod.  It was actually quite cute as he actually asked for it by name, he is 4.5 so pretty funny, but it kept him busy so I could draw :)

I am super excited to be going to David Gray's Workshop near the end of November...but, my life drawing sucks. I go to life drawing weekly, if possible, but I can not see very far so working portraits is tricky as I can't make out the details. So I figured I better bone up quickly and what better way than drawing from life (or mirror) hopefully every day until the workshop. So I should really be able to improve my life drawing skills so that I can focus on painting not trying to fix a really bad drawing and I will have a nice little self portrait collection.


When I set up the mirror for this I put it right next to my easel and as close to me as possible so I could see clearly.  Of course after I got going I realized that of course I could not take great measurements so I just eye balled it for this portrait...if I could just move my right eye over more....argh.  For the next one I will plan ahead and leave more time so that I can set up the mirror with enough distance to practice my sight sizing....something I have never done but have always wanted to learn so what better time than now.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FCA Small, Smaller, Smallest Show - November 15 - December 4, 2011

Ruffled Feathers - $460
16x20" Framed Watercolor
One of my paintings, Ruffled Feathers, was selected for the upcoming Small, Smaller, Smallest Show at the Federation of Canadian Artists starting November 15 and continuing until December 4, 2011.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Still Life Oil Painting - Cherries in Progress

This is one of the oil paintings I am working on right now and it is maybe at the midway point? I really have no idea so will see how it progresses ;)  I like to paint in layers so I need to let each layer dry before adding the next layer or I will end up with mud so I am working on several paintings at once. 

So even though by looking at my blog posts it may seem like I have been lazy and not getting much done....really I am doing stuff :)

I am starting to feel happy with the way the colors are progressing but am keeping this painting simple...well that was the idea.  The surface that the cherries are sitting on..can you guess what it is?...is turning out to be a fair bit more work than I anticipated but I think it is starting to take shape.

I worked on three paintings this morning so I should have a few more posting throughout the week to prove that I have been working :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oil Portrait of Girl - Underpainting

Under Painting - Oil on 16x16" Canvas
Well I had planned on working on a few paintings today but this under painting ended up taking up the whole day! But well worth it I think for what I learned from it.  Several areas are off as far as the tonal values are concerned but I will have to fix it in the next layer as I did not want to wear out the canvas :) I also need to soften areas such as hairline, lips etc but I figured this is a good base to start with.  I am sure it is much more detailed than it needs to be for the first layer but hopefully will make the additional layers easie.

This is my second attempt at this portrait in oil as the first one got obliterated when I tried to add the second layer to it so hopefully this time will be much smoother ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am so excited....

I may puke! I have been enjoying David Gray's works for sometime online and just registered for his upcoming workshop at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio in November, so excited!

The artwork of David's that I first say is the Portrait of Forrest which was a finalist in the Portrait/Figure Category of  The Artist's Magazine.  I fell in love with his work immediately but never thought I would get to see it in person let alone take a workshop with him :)

I was actually searching around for online demos using the classical method when I came across the workshop listing by accident as I did not even know that the Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio existed....I may have opened up a big can of worms as they have some really amazing workshops scheduled throughout the year.   


Check out more of David's work at his website at his website http://davidgrayart.com  I stop by his website at least once a week just to look, just exquisite work, sigh :)

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Still Life Oil Painting - Pairs Underpainting

Under Painting - 8x10" Oil on Panel
This is a little oil painting I have been working on.  I wanted to work on something simple to get a feel for this process so I chose a couple of pairs rather than jumping in again with a portrait (see note below, ugh). 

I will be adding color glazes over top but have to wait until the under painting is completely dry first, I hate waiting.  But I have learned my lesson well as I tried adding glazes over top paintings I thought were dry and ended up with a huge mess so this little guy will be going on to the drying wall for at least a week!

Hmm, what's next.....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

4th Annual Winter Artisans Fair
November 26 & 27, 2011

I really enjoyed last year's fair and am looking forward to attending again this year.   The photo to the left is from last year's event.  Funny to read back on the posts to see what I was up to last year at this time.  Apparently I was overbooked with three shows and behind on my framing....who says we learn from our past ;) 

Oh well, I work best under pressure anyway.  If I have too much time I just end up procrastinating :)  I will be bringing several new pieces to the show and hope to see some of the vendors from last year again as they were a super bunch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Watercolor Painting Demo at Burnaby Artist Guild Tonight

Better Days - $460.00
16x20" Framed Watercolor on Arches Paper
I am all packed up and ready for tonight's demo at the Burnaby Artist Guild tonight.  Luckily I did a double check and noticed now rather than tonight that I left my palette with all of my paints squeeze out on my table, wew that would have been embarrassing!

I had planned on painting a flower for the demo but felt it was pretty boring to watch so I decided a painting similar to Better Days.  I have changed the composition slightly and will vary the techniques to show another version of the same reference photo, I guess it would be called a series ;)

Now hopefully the rain will stay at bay and I will have nice weather for the drive!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Build a Blog in a Day Workshop - March 10, 2012

Screen Shot of Blog - Click to Enlarge

Have you ever wanted to promote your artwork or other products online but are not sure how and do not want to invest in a website and monthly fees?  In one day you can have your own free online portfolio up and running.  Blogs are a great way to share your products with prospective collectors, galleries and friends

Learn how to:
  • create your own Google account
  • create your own free  blog and have it up and running in class
  • learn how to navigate the Blogger interface to manage your blog on your own
  • add your own bio and profile image
  • customize your blog and much more
Leigh Square, Port Coquitlam
March 10, 2012
Sat 11-3pm
$75.00 

Again, if you are interested in this workshop, please don't wait until the last minute to register as spaces may run out.  You can Register Online  or contact me at info@stateofartportraits.com  for more information.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Realistic Graphite Portraits Workshop - February 4 & 5, 2012

I am happy to say that I will be offering another portrait workshop at Leigh Square.  This two day workshop will help you to bring your drawings to a whole new level of realism and depth.

We will combine short demos followed by hands on applications of each technique and lots of one-on-one instruction.

Some of the skills you will learn are:
  • how to choose great reference photos
  • an easy way to create accurate line drawings right from the start
  • realistic shading and textural techniques
  • an in depth overview of the materials used to make the process successful for any subject matter

Whether you are a portrait, landscape or still life artist your drawing skills will reach a new level of realism by the end of the workshop. A full supply list will be provided after registration.

Feb 4 & 5, 2012
Sat 10-4pm & Sun 11:30-4:30pm
$150.00 

Again, if you are interested in this workshop, please don't wait until the last minute to register as spaces may run out.  You can Register Online  or contact me at info@stateofartportraits.com  for more information.

Watercolor Portrait of Girlfriend - Completed Portrait

I knew I should have ran outside to get a decent photo of this when the sun came out for a brief few minutes this morning but I wanted to believe that it was going to be sunny today.  So I had to use studio lighting for the final photo so the colors look a touch off, the skin is not quite as reddish/orange compared to real life.

Just a few minor touches were made to complete this painting.  I softened a few areas on her face and hair and added several washes of brown to her eyes and lashes and some more golden highlights to her hair.  The finishing touches were also added to her ears and jewelery. Of course each layer needed to dry before adding another and with smaller areas it seems like more time is spend waiting than painting.  This is where having a home studio comes in handy ;)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Girlfriend - Finishing Touches

I have added just a few more layers of skin tone and softened areas on her face and I think her skin is complete.  I am now focusing on the final touches on her eyes, lips and brows.  Her lips are near complete but her eyes need softening, they look a little crazy right now which kills me, but it needs to be done once the paper is bone dry to avoid the risk of areas lifting off that I don't want lifted off!  I also added more glowing values to her hair and once the hair is completely dry I will lift off a few highlights, mostly on the lower portion of her hair.

Her ears were a touch off, thanks to the keen eye of her boyfriend.  He pointed out the size was off and it was not until after staring at them for some time that an area in the photo that I had thought was hair on her right ear was in fact her ear, duh ;)  So I have touched up her ears as well as adding more depth and shape to them.  I still need to touch them up a bit once dry but they are nearly done.  I always like to leave the ears until nearer the end as I find if I don't for some reason I end up adding way too much detail to them, I really like drawing ears, strange I know.

Her jewellery has also been painted in but will require a touch more details added once dry.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Port Moody Art Association 44th Annual Show - Nov 4, 5 and 6, 2011

Enter from the East
Oil on Panel
5x7" Framed
I am busy getting ready for Port Moody Art Association's 44th Annual Show.  The show of original paintings will be held at the Port Moody Social Recreation Centre, 300 Ioco Road, Port Moody, B.C., Canada.  Opening Reception will be Friday, November 4th 2011 at 7:30 pm and the show will continue on Saturday, November 5th 2011, from 10am to 5pm, and on Sunday, November 6th 2011, from 10am to 5pm.  I have not decided yet which paintings I will be bringing but I will have several larger pieces as well as some of my smaller works in oil, acrylic and watercolor.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Girlfriend - Facial Features

Click Image to Enlarge
I am still building up the skin tones a bit more and have added several more glazes to her hair.  I will leave the hair now and once her face is complete will add a few additional wisps and highlights if needed.

Her skin tone is still being built up slowly and I have started adding color to her lips and eyes.  They will be softened a touch and her eye color and lashes and brows will be darkened but not until the final skin color has been completed.  It takes a fair bit of patience not to keep going while the paint is wet as it needs to be dry for the way I work to add the final touches.  So I am just bringing her around the house with me to mentally paint the next steps :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Watercolor Painting Demo at Burnaby Artist Guild - September 27, 2011

Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
I have been invited to do a demo at the Burnaby Artist's Guild on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 from 7:30-9:30 pm.  I believe the demo is only open to members but that there are generally 20-40 members in attendance so should be fun to meet so many other artists in the community.  

I will be doing a watercolor demo and will be using a more loose technique as my usual process, while great to look at the finished product, is ridiculously boring to watch, even for die hard artists :)  As I don't paint flowers much, I thought hey, why not paint a flower - either I am insane or I really like challenges, I am leaning towards the later!  Of course anyone who knows me knows I have to have everything planned in advance so I have picked out a great reference photo to use and am getting excited to paint it already :)

The Burnaby Artist's Guild meets at the Shadbolt Centre for the Art at6450 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby, in room 106 (main floor, north end).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Girlfriend - Building up the Hair and More Skin Layers

Click Image to Enlarge
I have spent a fair bit of time building up her hair today as well as the flesh tones on her face. The flesh tones need to be built up slowly so they do not appear opaque so I paint a bit of flesh color, paint lots of layers of hair, tiny bit of flesh color, lots more hair...and so the day goes :)

Still several more layers of flesh color to paint and then I can start working more on the details of her eyes and lips.  The top area of her hair is roughly 80% complete and I will just continue to add glazes to make it thicker, recede in areas and glow a touch more.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Girlfriend - Building Up the Skin Layers



Things look a little crazy right now but should start to even out in the next update. The darker values of the hair have been laid in and now I will build up the middle values which will allow the darker values to settle in and the lighter values to glow a little more.

I have started adding the color to her skin but there is a long ways to go to give her a glow and add more color to the grayer areas.  The first layer of color has been added to her eyes as well and is much lighter than the final iris color will be.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Girlfriend - Initial Skin Layers

Building Up Initial Skin Layers - Click to Enlarge
Several layers have been built up which will help to create a more three dimensional portrait and enable the darks to glow rather than being flat and dead.  Her features will continue to be refined as the portrait progresses.  As the skin colored layers are added the shadow on her nose will become softer as will her lips and eyes.

Once the dark values are added to her hair the highlights should really pop and glow, I am trying very hard to be patient and not to jump in :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi


This portrait of Brandi was commissioned as a memorial portrait for my clien't, Lee's mother.

She was a much loved dog by both his mom and Lee's family and I am sure she will be missed. Lee is a super nice guy and is also a dog trainer . Check out his website, Dynamite Dogs

Watercolor Portrait of Girlfriend - Rouch Sketch

This is the rough sketch that I have transferred to my stretched watercolor paper.  Some of the lines are a little dark (like lashes) but once a few layers of paint have been added, they will dissolve and look less prominent as the portrait progresses. This will be a full color watercolor portrait of my client's girlfriend. 

The completed portrait will be 16x20 inches framed, it is nice to work on such a large portrait as even though the framed size is not huge, her face fills the image area which allows for more detail. I can hardly wait to jump in with the paint!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi Completed


This portrait of Brandi was commissioned as a memorial portrait for my clien't, Lee's mother. She was a much loved dog by both his mom and Lee's family and I am sure she will be missed. Lee is a super nice guy and is also a dog trainer . Check out his website at Dynamite Dogs

Well I think I spent more time painting the flowers than I did Brandi!   I did several more layers on each flower and ended up repainting them a few times as I was not happy with the first few times as they just looked flat.  I think the effort paid off now and I am quite happy with them now.

I also added more texture and variation to the grassy area and filled in the bushes in the background.  Last but not least I did a few touch ups to Brandi and I think this painting in now complete!  My client will be having a look at it tonight so I will keep staring at it for awhile to see if anything pops out.  If not it will be ready just in time for the party tomorrow so he can give it to his mom :)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Painting the Bushes

Several layers of various shades of green have been added to the background bushes and I have just started laying in gradated washes in the middle ground which extends all the way up to the top of the trees.  This should result in the middle ground slowly receding and the bush area being more diffused to look like distant trees.

Each layer has to dry which even in this heat takes a bit of time so it requires a bit of patience to wait but I think it will be worth the effort :)  While the glazes are drying I have been building up the details on the flowers in the foreground.  Each detail layer also needs to dry for the flowers, I realized after doing several layers which just blended into each other. Some of the shadow areas look quite dark right now on the flowers but once glazed over with several think glazes of yellow, they should look quite nice.

Usually I can get away with this method but with the yellow values it just not seem to work, even though I am using darker values which have been grayed down for the shadows.  So, good thing there are many of the flowers to paint so that I can jump around from flower to flower while the first ones dry.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi - Painting Face Fur

The flowers still need more definition to add depth and realism but I needed to let the paper dry so I went back to painting fur.  I added more color in Brandi's face and continued to build up more depth.  Several areas of her body were also softened while other areas received more glazes of color.  Just a few minor tweaks needed on her fur and then I think her body will be complete.

Her nose and mouth need a few more layers to build up more of a solid form.  I will also do minor adjustments on her face to better capture her character and just refine her features a bit more.

Last but not least  I will fill in the bushes behind Brandi which should really help to add more depth to the field area.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi - Painting Flowers

I have the fur up to 90% completion I think (still need to add more detail in her face and edges of fur) so moved onto painting the flowers.  Several shades of yellow are being used and once I have the values up to the level that I like on the flowers I will add in further details, mostly in the flowers in the front with less detail being added to the flowers beside Brandi. 

Friday, September 02, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi - Yup Still Painting Fur

Luckily I have the studio to myself and can crank my music while I paint all this fur :) I am getting much happier with the fullness and color of the fur and will likely give my hand a break soon and move onto the flowers for a bit. 

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi - Still Painting Fur

Building Up Fur Texture - Click Image to Enlarge
Poor Brandi  looks a little blotchy right now but that will even out soon.  The colors are getting slowly richer and hopefully the feeling of fullness is starting to show in her fur.  Still at least two more sessions on her fur to continue to build up the rich golden red color of her fur and then to soften and add more wisps along the edges so she does not look so cut out.

Back to work!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi - Painting Fur

Painting Fur - Click Image to Enlarge
I figured I better put down my brushes and post an update - sometimes it is hard to pull myself away from the easel.  I am working mainly on the structure of the fur right now and as the depth and shape progresses so will the richness of the color.  Brandi's ears have many more layers than the rest of the fur and you can see the golden red color which most of the rest of the fur will have once the layers are built up more.

I have just roughed in some of the dandelions to remind me where the shapes are so I don't over paint them unintentionally. I am fortunate to have a large chunk of studio time today and tomorrow so I hope to have her fur looking shaggy and full soon!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi - Field and Bushes

Adding Texture and Depth - Click to Enlarge
The bushes look pretty abstract right now but by building up lots of texture and the darks will add more depth and anchor the bushes so they do not feel too light.  Many layers have been built up using a variety of greens which lean from cool to warm.  Once dry, I will be able to add more of the details in the bushes for the individual shapes. 

The field in the middle ground has also had several layers of texture added in several shades of green and yellow.  Adding the texture again will help to add depth to the grassy area and gives the illusion of grass rather than a flat green expanse.  The dandelions have been suggested in areas and I will continue to add more flowers at this level.  Then once dry, I will add some brighter flowers as well to add another dimension to the middle ground.

Then I can work on the foreground flowers which will have the most detail.  I will also then work more on the layers of Brandi's fur and facial features. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

What a great day!

Add caption
I spent the day yesterday at Thunderbird Show Park watching the most amazing horse jumping and taking a zillion photos.  I have always wanted to see live horse jumping and it is one of the few sports that I enjoy watching on TV.  It is only a half an hour from my place to Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park, one of North America's premier equestrian facilities, how lucky am I!?!?!?

I have never been before so I was not sure what to expect and I assumed we would have to sit on a bleacher and watch from quite a distance.  Nope, we could walk around the entire ring, stables and warm up area, totally awesome!

I got some amazing photos of the jumps as well as some great close ups of the horses in the warm up area warming up and after the show relaxing, about 800 photos actually.  After the show was great as they were tuckered out so stayed still a bit longer for some great close up shots.  The last show of the season is in September so I hope to get a new zoom lens for my camera and head out again so I can get some better shots of the horses taking the jumps without having to lie on the ground with my head and camera stuck under the fence :)

I have had an itch to paint horses for the longest time but of course needed the right reference photos....now to sort through them all.  I see a lot of horse paintings in my future :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi Underpainting

I discovered the secret to super productivity in the studio....afternoon siestas! I wish I could nap everyday it is almost like having two of me :)

So I got a lot done yesterday.  This is the under painting stage so it looks quite rough still.  It is the groundwork that supports all of the details and fun bits.  It is really nice to work this way as by getting rid of all of the white of the paper you can better judge the values and it is not as intimidating. 

The area above Brandi will have little dandelions speckled throughout, many of them show as white now but I will be adding a yellow glaze to them so they will show up better.  The area at the top of the painting will be a darker bush so I did not need to worry about a smooth wash of color.  Actually not having it smooth adds texture and interest even though most of it will be covered over with bush and grass.  The grass will be much more subtle than the grass in the front though to create the illusion of depth.

The foreground has been painted in with many layers of grass and will be glazed in areas to create more variety and depth.  The flowers will each be painted yellow and will have petal details, the closer the flowers, the more details.  The stems will be painted several shades of green so that they blend in but still read as stems and not grass.

Brandi's fur and eyes have been built up with several layers of paint and will continue to be built up slowly adding depth and that soft wispy furry feeling.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Watercolor Memorial Dog Portrait - Golden Retriever Brandi

This is the rough sketch of a dog I will be painting in watercolor as a memorial portrait. She was a very well loved golden retriever named Brandi.  The lines look very dark as I bumped up the contrast in photoshop so they could be seen better.

I have kept the sketch quite loose at this point as I don't want to be locked in by any graphite lines as I want her fur to be wispy and soft and the dandelions to settle into the background and not look cut out. I had to laugh outloud after I posted this update.  She looks ridiculously googely eyed right now as I darkened her left pupil at the top but not the right yet as the right one is obvious in the photo.  I darkened the left just to remind myself of the placement.  It will look so much better once the first few layers of paint are applied!

 I will be using the photos of her posted for reference.  The first photo of her was taken recently of her running in a field that she frequents and loves.  Her face I will be drawn and painted from the close up photo of her when she was younger.

The completed portrait will be 22x28" in full color watercolor.  Looking forward to seeing some color!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

More Studio Ramblings - Keeping Mediums & Solvents Handy

I thought I would post this little tip as it is so nice not to have to muck about with solvent and medium cups and bottles.  I got these little bottles as the art store for under $2 and use them to keep my mediums, mineral spirits and walnut oil right next to my palette.

As they are squeeze bottles there is less room for air if kept squeezed out of the bottle.  Also it is nice to have the mineral spirits in the squeeze bottle so I don`t have to worry about the fumes (my studio is in my home and I have kids so the less fumes the better). 

The walnut oil I keep as well mostly just for cleaning out my brushes between colors, much easier on the brushes than using mineral spirits.

I work with several different mediums (watercolor, graphite pencil, oil and acrylic) often at the same time and on the same easel so it is nice to have everything in portable small containers.  I just pop them into a clear plastic shoe box with my brushes and slide them onto a shelf in one of my bookcases.  I have a separate shelf for each medium (well for the stuff I use most often) so when I change mediums, I just grab a shoe box from the shelf.  Now if only I could get the rest of my house half as organized, I could spend more time painting :)

Let there be Light.....

5000K T8 Florescent Bulbs
So after one of my lights that I clamp on my easel fell off at exactly the same moment as my client rang my doorbell to pick up their commission...I decided enough is enough.  Get decent studio lighting! Luckily it fell backwards and not on my portrait that I spent a zillion hours working on!

I had looked all over town a year or so ago for some decent 5000k bulbs and could not find any.  So I bought some reasonably priced OTT lights at Costco.  Unfortunately I would need to clamp at least 3 of them on my easel to get enough light. 

So I put some daylight bulbs in the above mentioned IKEA fixture which worked great, as long as I remember to keep tightening the clamp every now and then.  Well my memory is not the best these days.

So after my clients left, I ran out and bought a florescent fixture (I NEVER thought I would buy something so hideous) and the daylight bulbs from Home Depot which they did not carry last time I had checked.  Wow, it was like the sun landed in my studio only better.  Nice clean light, no glare, no shadows.  Now why did I not do this years ago! And really, the fixture is not THAT hideous :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different.....

Autumn's Fire 8x10" Oil on Panel
....this is what happens when an I am left alone in my studio unattended for too long.  I actually get to play :)  This was so much fun to paint. 

I have wanted to paint this type of landscape for eons now and had originally planned on painting it with acrylics but since I have been playing with oils all week I thought, why not?

I am usually very neat and tidy when working with oil paint (seriously) but I think I have paint everywhere after this one and it is only 8x10".  But it was worth it, so much fun.  I spent the entire morning working on a 16x20" oil painting of some really beautiful horses and needed a break from all the value changes and details awk!  Ok, now I really need to pull myself away from the easel and pack up for the art fair....or maybe just one more thing....

10th Annual New Westminster Cultural Crawl Starts Tomorrow....

 ...and I should really pull myself away from my easel and start packing up!  But I work best under pressure so likely will leave packing up until tonight :)  

Looks like the weather will cooperate after all and we are in for a nice sunny weekend.  If you are in the area I hope you can stop by for a visit at the Fraser River Discovery Center.  I will be there on Saturday from 11am until 4pm.