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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!

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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.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Oil Still Life Painting - Boxed In

Boxed In
Oil on Cradled Panel
$375.00 (Click Image to View Larger)
This is an oil painting I started way back in March.  I have been working on it between commissions so it has been kicking around my studio for some time now waiting to be completed.  It turned out quite nicely I think and in real life has a nice depth to it.

I was very fortunate to get the entire week "off" from the day to day stuff so I have been holed up in my studio the entire time, heaven!  I started several new pieces and have been working on finishing a couple other pieces.

Boxed In is the first to be completed and I am hoping to make good progress on some of my newer pieces tomorrow in between packing up for the New Westminster Art Crawl on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Kevin's Mom Joyce - Completed

Face Detail - Click to Enlarge

Completed Painting - Click to Enlarge
Just a few minor tweaks here and there and finished fixing up her eyes, which are really teeny tiny for such a large painting :)  So I think this painting is completed but I will wait to hear back if my client has any changes he would like.

Then the paper will need to be flattened as it did buckle slightly.  Which reminds me, I did take photos of the process the last time I had to flatten a painting....I feel a demo coming on....

A added a detail photo of the face to this post to show the size of the face and the features a bit more clearly.  Because the actual size is small, the skin looks quite harsh and grainy but in real life is much smoother and not so orange looking but I can't seem to get a better photo no mater what I try!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Kevin's Mom Joyce - Splatter and the fun bits

Click on Image to Enlarge
I made a few minor adjustments to her face and eyes and have to wait until the paper is dry again to make another pass on her eyes.  Her left eye is slightly larger right now so I will either try to open her right eye a touch or close the left eye.  I have softened the highlights on her face and they look quite natural in real life but show up a little bright in the photo.

Then I moved onto the fun part, the splatter :)  I splattered different sand colors in the foreground to add a bit more texture and interest.  I also added a bit more punch to some of the shadows and brightened up the wood grain and grass a touch.  Other than her eyes I think the painting is complete but will look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes, that is after my coffee of course, otherwise everything is just really fuzzy.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Kevin's Mom Joyce - Finishing Touches

Finally getting a chance to work on this portrait more, I was getting separation anxiety!  I have been working on the finishing touches off and on throughout the day to allow the paper to dry before refining further.  I have darkened the shadows values through the entire piece and added a few more layers of blue to the sky.

Joyce's skin has been glazed a few more times to give more of a golden glow and I have done much more work on her facial features.  Her face looks a touch orange as the paper is still damp so once dry it should look more glowing rather than orange.  I still need to add a bit more shadow to her under eye area and shape her cheeks a touch more so that the highlights on her cheeks, nose and upper lip are not so bright. 

Her teeth also need to be grayed down more as they are much too bright which is causing them to appear to be a little protruding.  This part goes slowly as the face is so small and each change needs to dry before refining further so patience, patience, patience.  Luckily I have lots of time schedule in the studio this week (yay) so I can make a change....be patient and work on other paintings while waiting for the paper to dry :)

Friday, August 05, 2011

10th Annual New Westminster Cultural Crawl - August 13 &14, 2011

Watercolor 16x20"
I am starting to put together my paintings for the 10th Annual New Westminster Cultural Crawl on August 13 & 14, 2011.  I will be located at the Fraser River Discover Center along with artists Marilyn Atkey and Anthony Hollenstein.  The Discovery Shop will also be open which features works of art from many Lower Mainland artists.

As I am still trying to decide what to bring....if you plan on popping by and would like to see something specific, please feel free to contact me or post a comment below and I will be sure to bring it along.  I can never decide what to bring!

For more information on the crawl, check out Tourism New Westminster

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Watercolor Portrait of Kevin's Mom Joyce - Building up Facial Features and Final Details on Beach

I have built up more definition on her face but it may require a bit more depth in the shadows once dry. Her eyes and lips will then be darkened a bit using the same colors, just slightly darker values.  I have also narrowed her jaw a touch on her right side and added a more golden glow to her skin.

The shadows in the sand have been deepened and the grass built up more.  I think a bit more rusty darkness is needed at the base of the grass in areas to fully anchor it down, similar to the grass near the pole more.  I have darkened the sky color as well and believe it is dark enough but may add one more layer, darkening just the top of the sky.