Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today's Sketch and Yesterday's 500th Post

Today's graphite sketch shows a hand mirror sitting on my desk, mirroring a portion of the fluorescent light and air vent.

Yesterday's post marked the 500th since beginning the blog and to celebrate we are having April Showers. Everything looks so fresh and green plus smells heavenly. I dislike intense thunderstorms with cloud to ground lightening along with tornadic weather but I love gentle rains that calms the soul and freshens the spirit.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today's Sketch

There is a painting project at Painting Friends called "Seating" so I chose a photo of Abby, one of my nieces, sitting on Bucky, the quarter horse. I will eventually do a more accurate sketch for transfer to watercolor paper. On a side note, Abby loves horses and is now taking riding lessons.

I really do enjoy sketching because I am not looking so much for accurate shapes but more for feeling and essence of the subject. Of course, it helps when the sketches do resemble the subject *grinning*. I so admire those sketches that have such movement and energy, with a special quality that catches the eye. Those artists do it with a minimal of pencil strokes or marks and each stroke has a confident quality instead of the hesitant marks that show in my efforts.

Below are a few more sketches done this afternoon of different horses using a 2H graphite pencil.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cold Elephant

A watercolor painting down for a project on Painting Friends. I'm not sure about the reference photo but believe it came from Morgue File.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ellie, Sketch

I drew Ellie again trying to get her proportions and shapes correct. I've spent a lot of time on this, drawing, erasing, drawing, erasing. It does look more like Ellie but still the shapes are wrong. The areas I'm more unhappy with are the nose and mouth area. More practice needed. Graphite on Bristol paper.

I lifted out a few lines around the mouth but the angles are still incorrect. I just love puzzles so will look at it again and do some measuring.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sketch, distorted shapes and angles

I took this photo just a few minutes ago so one can see the difference when the drawing is viewed from a different perspective. Interesting isn't it.
I used Photoshop to lighten the paper but what I wanted to focus on this post is the distortion caused by the way I had the drawing board. I haven't learned yet to compensate the angles when I have the drawing board laying on my lap instead of upright. When I look at the drawing as it is laying flat on the desk and I am sitting back in my chair, the angles look correct. When I raised the drawing to a vertical position, I can see how incorrect everything is. At least that is what I think happened. So I will sketch this little girl again to get the angles and shapes more accurate.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sketch, Chatter, Puppy Photos

A graphite sketch on computer paper from a still life setup to start off this Thursday morning.

The puppies will be three weeks old this Saturday. Their legs are wobbly but they are beginning to explore a little and play with each other.

The next photo is of Angel, the mother. I wish the photo was better as she has the sweetest face.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quick Sketch

A quick sketch this morning of an elephant, graphite on computer paper.

Not much time for artwork as I brought my sister home from the hospital. I'm sad to say that she is more or less bedridden now as any effort she expends shortens what breathe she has.

An Apple A Day

A 4" x 5" watercolor of an apple painted Monday, 04-20. I am chuckling as I just noticed I have the shadow going in the wrong direction.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chatter, More on Composition

This is what I posted at Painting Friends re' composition:

"The very first questions to ask is: Why do I want to paint this?

If you can answer that question you are on your way to learning composition.

I wanted to paint the iris because I love purple and the greens in the leafs but it is more than liking the color. It was the translucent quality of the light petals, the deep rich purple that offered contrasts to the light petals. The yellow spice color at the throat of the lilac which is actually a complement color. It was the line of the elongated leafs versus the more broad shape of the large iris.

So when I painted this the main things I wanted to emphasize were these elements:

Shapes and Line - elongated versus broad, hard edge vs. lost/found edges
Color - purples with its complement of yellow and analogous colors of yellow-green through blue-green, putting in a warm spice color of the quin. burnt orange.
Contrasts - Dark next to light in the focal point which was the iris; hard versus soft; smooth vs. texture

So if I were to do this again, and concentrate on only one element, I would choose line simply because line can bring us to the essence of a photo or a painting and help us learn the subject matter. Take a Sharpie and draw on the photo. Look how the lines help give balance, interest and a directional flow of the subject.

P.S. When using line, this is where one can leave out, add to, mute or bring forward areas. It is all up to you. That is why thumbnails, quick sketches, marking the photo, all tools to help us see and learn."

One of the suggestions at the art group was to discuss and work with one element at a time to develop more understanding of that element and have it truly sink in to the subconscious. I think the first element to develop, as stated in the "P.S." will be line simply because we can see it, develop it, modify it, evolve what we see to what we can conceive or create.

If anyone wants to jump in with comments that will lead to more understanding of composition, please do. I will then post the comments in a post so they can easily be viewed.

Chatter & Photos

These photos are of the flowers behind my room which is an addition to the original brick house. The delicate petals of the iris are so lovely set atop the sturdy stalks.

I have been studying the principles and elements of composition and design. I wish I could say I'm getting a handle on it but my mind right now is a lot like a cauldron with all the ingredients, bubbling and stirring around.

One of the purposes behind the April Paint Along at Painting Friends art group is to discuss composition. I have to remember that the Principles are applied to the Elements. I find it difficult to formulate in words so am taking it point by point and diagramming on a photo of the painting and will post that at the art group. The painting can be seen here.

Another thing that happened this weekend is my 21" monitor quit working, or at least the switch did. So now I am using a 15" monitor that is not giving me true color. If I lightened the screen then what is posted is too light on other monitors. So on my monitor everything looks dark. Hopefully, on yours, the paintings and photos are right.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chatter, Sunrise

No doubt I had the wrong settings on the camera because the sunrise had lovely colors this morning, the mauves/purples against the cool greens of Spring. This photo is looking NE. I love seeing the sun rise over the mountain. Why do mountains always look smaller in the photos I take?

No painting done. Sister is back in the hospital and we are waiting word from her daughter so will clean and move stuff around to ease some of the tension. Have to get the oils set up so I can paint in both oils and watercolors.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Odd Man Out 2, Watercolor

4" x 5" watercolor on Arches 300lb. paper. This time I wanted to do analogous colors in line with another art group to which I belong that is studying color. I like the simple shapes of pears and I find the tricky part is to get the texture.

Did another quick analogous color scheme and added just a bit of ink. Trying to get the hang of analogous color schemes. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Odd Man Out, Watercolor

Odd Man Out
4" x 5"
Arches 300Lb. paper

Just fooling around with paints this morning.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Scribbles done on blue sticky notes using a Sharpie. Playing around with backgrounds, divisions of space, angles and shapes.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

At the Mall

It has been a kick to paint this. It is watercolor on gessoed unstretched canvas. I wanted to practice figures and thanks to Ruth who supplied the photo for the April 2HC at Painting Friends, she gave me the perfect opportunity to play. There is more to the painting but I like it better cropped. I bet you have never seen such wonky umbrellas or perspective *grinning*.

Easter, A Time of Hope & Renewal

Flowers for Easter

Naked Ladies - for some reason I really like this photo
Lilacs - that were in the backyard
Amaryllis - from my daughter

Lilies - a different view
Wishing each of you a most Blessed Easter

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hickory Nut Tree, Watercolor

Hickory Nut Tree
6 1/2" x 10"

This tree is along the driveway and was painted from a reference photo. I wish I could have done the tree justice. In the photo, the tree is beautifully backlit from the morning sun. Still I enjoyed playing with the paint.

Chatter, Today's Sunset

This photo was taken at 7:43 p.m., CDT and is my view across the highway. It was breathetaking the way the sun changed the colors of the trees, almost like Fall foliage. I am trying to ignore the power lines as they mar the beauty of the scene but so necessary to a life filled with electronically operated apparatus.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Watercolor Iris

9 1/2" x 12 3/4"
Fabriano Aristico Paper

I deleted the original photo because it looked so washed out. This photo more accurately represents the painting. The greyscale of the photo allows me to check the values to see where they could be improved.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Watercolor Iris, In Progress

The iris painting was begun this afternoon on a 1/4 sheet of Fabriano Aristico using Mameiri and Daniel Smith watercolors. It was difficult to get a good shot as some of the leafs are more blue-green than is showing here. I also attached a greyscale of the painting just to see how the values appear. I have several goals with this painting as I am trying to learn more about design/composition, so here is how I see the painting. The iris is dominant and the focal point. It is at a right diagonal so some of the leafs are painted in a diagonal going the opposite direction to act as a counterpoint. I want the four corners to appear different and interesting but not enough to distract from the iris. The small iris (or it will be eventually) in the upper left was put there to give a bit of weight in that area and to provide a feeling of depth or distance from the larger iris. I am also being conscious of shapes surrounding the iris wanting to provide variety in color and texture. Some areas of the painting still have misket reserving the whites. I normally paint light to dark in watercolor but this time I started with the dark in the upper background and the darker purple petals of the iris.

Does or will this composition work? I am not sure yet. The main iris foes off the edge on two sides so may crop so there is a third side going off the edge. That can wait until later though.

Chatter, Watercolor Iris

What a way to wake up. A friend posted this video from the My Foil Hat blog and wanted to share it with all of you. It is art of a different kind but mostly for me it was the spontaneous joy that spread from teen to adult, breaking barriers and bridging the gap between generations.

My sister is coming home from the hospital today, the Puzzle Piece painting is finished and been e-mailed for inclusion in the project and am ready to begin the iris painting for the April Paint Along. The painting below was painted last year from the same reference photo we will be using for the April Paint Along.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Chatter & Baby Puppies

What a day. I had to meet my sister and brother-in-law about 1 1/2 hours from where I live to deliver his insulin. They were on their way to California when he realized he didn't have it with him. While driving to meet him, my oldest sister was taken to hospital by ambulance since I wasn't home to take her. She has a bit of pneumonia and other problems and is now doing somewhat better. Then I came home from the hospital briefly and the small pregnant dog my niece brought me earlier this week delivered four puppies on the old recliner in the studio. They are absolutely adorable and all appear to be doing very well. So even though it has been so very hectic I am so very thankful that everything has worked out as well as it has.

Last night I worked on the upcoming Puzzle Piece and it is about 3/4ths finished so I am tickled about that. Then while sitting with Joyce at the hospital I did a couple of ink sketches, just playing around. I missed having the Sharpie I used on the first sketches because one can cover a large area quick. So it hasn't been a complete loss as far as art is concerned.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Iris Notans

I'm playing with Notan's today while waiting on the laundry to finish its cycles, using a Sharpie black marker and computer paper. These are just the first of several I plan to do. This is of an iris that we will be painting in the April Paint Along at Painting Friends. I took the reference photo we are using and wanted to learn more about not only the lights and darks but what would make an interesting design/composition. I will be playing with removing blades or changing direction and/or shapes. While doing these I am also trying to keep in mind the Principles and Elements of Composition, so as I mentioned, there will eventually be several little sketches. This is part of the fun of learning to paint.

For more in depth information on Notan's please visit Dianne Mize, Compose blog. The link will take you directly to the post on Notan's.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Depot, Watercolor Final Update

Like a sore tooth, I kept looking at the areas that were bothering me in this painting. So the height of the train car was shortened and color grayed; added the mountain that sits behind the depot even though it wasn't visible in the reference photo. The perspective of the building and the rails was also straightened a little plus the color in the building was deepened. The brick on the actual building has more of a brownish-grape color cast to it with not a lot of definition in the brickwork. I found that difficult to achieve in this painting.