I found this porcelain muffin tray in the back of my art storage. I vaguely remember getting it (on Clearance, of course!) several years ago. The wells are 3" wide and 1" deep, which allows plenty of room for adding water and mixing paint. The whole thing is 12" x 12" so won't be good for travel, and it takes up more room on my work table than I am used to. What I do like about it, I discovered after spending a few weeks painting from it is that I am able to "organize" my palette. Here's what I mean.....
I actually only use three colors - Daniel Smith New Gamboge, Daniel Smith Quinacridone Violet and Winsor Newton Antwerp Blue. Every other color you see is a combination of those three - even the "grey" you see in the bottom right corner.
I was able to get what I needed for the Humming Bird Card project - a light green, dark green and a complimentary purple, and I had enough wells to mix and isolate the colors to keep them fresh. Of course, I still used the flat spaces between for testing mixtures, but the glass surface wipes easily with a paper towel.
My table also tilts a little, so there is a nice puddle of rich pigment at the bottom of each well that I can swish up and around when I am loading my brush.
So far, I am liking the process. This probably has more to do with finally sitting down consistently to paint. The note cards are small practices that I can complete quickly while honing my skills on a new subject.
I'm ready for Spring and Sunshine! :) Happy Painting!
Prince Charming--- Sometimes I get ideas for painting just by hearing someone talk about their life or experiences. I was listening to a coworker talk about her little girl who is very girlie but yet would not be afraid to pick up a frog or snake. That snippet gave me the idea for this painting-- "Prince Charming". I totally give the credit for the idea to the mom and plan to gift the painting when I am done.
The composition is a composite of my niece holding a cell phone and many, many trials and errors at posing the crossed legs. I searched through all my reference photos for just what I had in mind.
I had an idea about how to do the tutu from an earlier painting of my daughter dancing with her doll.
I experimented with squares of complimentary colors to give the background texture and define the edges of the tutu. My color palette consisted of Quinacridone Red, New Gamboge, and Antwerp Blue. The green of the frog was a combination of the three. The purple is supposed to compliment the green, but I'm not sure I pulled it off.
I did the black and white value photo near the end to gage where to punch up the contrast. (I always like the black and white better than the color--- it just seems more dramatic.)
I used the bottom 4 inches of my paper to experiment with the confetti squares, and was a little disappointed when it didn't fit into the finished composition.
I had the shoe ties curling off the paper which lead away from the girl and frog center of interest, so I cropped them out with the matting.
So--- the big question is..... what's gonna happen when she kisses him?!!
I had a photo of my daughter being fitted for her wedding dress. The Dressmaker was a painting from the time I took the photo. Five years later, I am finally getting to paint it. The original photo had poor lighting and a cluttered background. I used my photo program to exaggerate the lighting and printed a highly contrasted reference photo. To go along with the theme of my painting, I used India paper, which looks rough and "handmade". It has imperfections that look like fabric and really soaks up the water and paint. You can lift out, but must be careful. I "invented" a watercolor eraser by wiring a strip of micro cleaning sponge around the tip of an old brush. This helped me be more exact about lifting without scrubbing too hard.I also used the traditional sketchbook value study with pencil and water so that by the time I got to draw on the paper, I was very familiar with what I wanted to do. I used rabatment to enlarge the photo to fit the paper, being careful not to erase much and leave any ghosts on this soft paper.
This was important, because usually when I am excited about a painting and plunge right in, I end up struggling to correct mistakes that should have been worked out before.
I had been watching an art series about old Masters and Rembrandt "Chiaroscuro". This painting begged to be painted with that as inspiration. I left out the clutter in the background but added a mirror to reflect us watching my daughter in her special moment.
While the painting is essentially a portrait of this talented seamstress, this is one of those paintings I've done for myself. As I painted, I thought back to all of the memories we made during the preparations for her big day, and truly enjoyed the process.
Happy Painting! :)
Finished! Guacamole- Still life with Avocado, Limes and Cherry Tomatoes.
I love the complimentary violet-green combination- that happened quite by accident, but once I realized what it was doing I exaggerated it even more.
I still think the avocado could be darker, but I hate to lose the glazing effect, so it will have to be a little unripe for this one.
On to the next in the series! :)
This week I continued working on Still Life for an upcoming exhibit. I found some great avocados and cherry tomatoes in my kitchen and went in search of a shiny metal pitcher for reflections. I only found this pedestal bowl, which would be perfect for a fresh batch of Guacamole. I wanted to continue the practice with the lace but liked the idea of the red and green against the black and white checks. I challenged myself to make the avocado NOT look like a pear, but that may be a lost cause. I did end up with a wonderful glazing layered effect and learned a lot. ( After I was finished, I happened to think I shoulda used my glass pitcher filled with sangria... maybe not a good idea after all....)
I've spent the past year getting settled in our new home and re-learning how to paint. My new cubby actually has windows and the best morning light, so I look forward to early weekend mornings with coffee and watercolor. I've been working on developing landscape techniques but took a break and began work on this still life for an upcoming exhibit. I used a reference photo for the lace but made my own design and simplified the pitcher. The reference photo was striking in color, with a grey background and colorful fruit. I printed it in black and white so I could concentrate on the contour of the fabric. The detail in the lace shows strands of lace folded behind which helps to bring out the dimension in the lace. I used one of my own photos of a metal gravy boat and quilt to guide me in achieving the metallic look and reflections in the pitcher. (Not quite there yet, but heading in the right direction I think) Of course, pears are always fun and a great way to loosen up after painting tree branches. Painting the lace became like a very complex doodle and was in a way very relaxing. (It is hard to fret over work when you are concentrating that hard!)
I am excited to share some of the projects I've been working on, especially the portraits I've been completing using both my favorite media- watercolor and graphite.
This portrait of a graceful child was fun to do because her gaze captivated me during the whole process. While I usually enjoy the contrast of the black & white, I ventured into adding spots of color, especially in the eyes, to give a unique finish to the portrait.
Finally completed this past Summer, "Take a Hike" won award of merit in the 2016 WVWS All-Member exhibit at Parkersburg Art Center. The portrait will be a gift to the lady in the photo who has always been an inspiration of character and life long learning.
The finishing touches of the trees were problematic for me until the Jean Gill workshop at Timberline, where she demonstrated FRITCH scrubbers. I had always used them to "erase" mistakes in watercolor. The technique of using them to actually add interest was just what I needed to finally complete this portrait. Before that, I would stand back and say "What does it need?"
Funny how sometimes it is what you take out that makes the difference!
I think it is important to share our process with others, just as we gain from watching other artists work.