Sunday, October 31, 2010

Barbara, Portrait

Conte Pencil
8 1/4" x 10 3/4"

My next portrait effort is going to be in charcoal.  I found in this portrait there were too many hard lines and I was wanting more of a smoother look, especially in the shadows. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Portrait WIP, Conte Pencil

This morning I began a portrait using a black conte pencil.  The paper is bristol vellum which has a slight texture.

I am trying to utilize the approach in Susan Lyon's drawing video which is to mass in the darks and blending areas.  I have been measuring the features but need to measure again. 

In the second photo the nose appears too long.  The third photo shows the nose shortened a bit.  What I am not liking are some of the hard lines and I may be going too dark too quick.  Still not much detail done yet, as I am still massing in the darker areas. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Art Videos & Practice

This one looks spooky too doesn't it -  fitting for Halloween weekend.  Early yesterday I had the chance to view to art videos on  One by watercolorist Mary Whyte and a drawing video by Susan Lyon.  Both are excellent and will view them again as soon as I can. 

The photo above is a quick practice of the technique Susan Lyon uses but please, don't judge her video by this 15 min. practice piece of mine, because she is an excellent artist and instructor.  She begins with the eyes and in the video she used a conte pencil while I used an H pencil.  She takes her time to measure each small area (which I didn't do) and uses a paper towel to blend/smooth areas (which I didn't do).  She also begins with the dark areas using light strokes.  I hope to begin a drawing of my SIL today and will be using a black conte on bristol board vellum. 

On another note, Mom continues to improve.  She is moving easier, is able to play Canasta and is getting a bit grouchy ha ha.  Thank you all for your kind thoughts and well wishes for her. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pears Watercolor, Overworked Stage 2

You can see how overworked the paper is and areas of muddy color.  This might be saved using pastels or acrylics but first I'll go back in with watercolors to see what can be done. 

As can be seen in the cropped close up below, the pears still need lots more work  The pear on the viewer's right that stands alone (in the above photo) needs even more attention since it is a ghost outline of the pear. 
I was trying to go slow on the pears while I went fast over the back and foreground areas.  I am such a stick in the mud when it comes to the way I paint.  I rarely try painting "outside the box" but I was trying with this one *smile*.  I'm hoping to get in more painting time today which has been a bit sparse lately. 

I'm happy to report that my mom is doing very well.  Thanks all of you for the well wishes for her.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pears Watercolor, 1st Stages

I woke up at 2 a.m. and decided to use the time to start a painting of pears.  The pears were picked from a tree in the back pasture, then photographed.  I'm using a couple of new green paints, Rare Green Earth and Bohemian Green Earth by Daniel Smith.  I have also mixed some of the greens using yellow ochre, azo yellow, and cerulean blue.  Ultramarine Violet was used in areas of the cast shadows.   

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chatter & An Unfinished Painting From The Archive

This is an unfinished acrylic painting from 2005.  If I remember right, the reference photo was from the Wet Canvas RIL. 

It has been a busy week again.  Spent the day yesterday traveling to and from Joplin, MO.  Then spent the time today at the hospital with my mom.  She fell this morning but happily she is doing pretty well, considering.  She will be in the hospital overnight and my sisters and niece will rotate hours so she isn't left alone.  We think it is a positive event because the dr. found fluid around her right lung and cloudy so he thinks she has pneumonia.  She didn't have any of the symptoms of pneumonia so we feel fortunate to have it discovered early.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Skin Colors

I'm posting this photo of some of my skin tone color practice.  Looks terrible doesn't it.  The reds in the lower shadows look more saturated than they are in real life.  Shadows have been difficult for me and I'm trying to overcome that along with practicing washes.  So I did this incomplete face using transparent red oxide, yellow ochre, azo yellow, quin. pink.  In the lower quadrant i did a wash over the warm shadows with cerulean blue.  One thing I am pleased with, even though it isn't accurate, is the placement of the features.  I did this without sketching first or measuring so when it actually resembles a human I am tickled. 

We had company over the weekend and yesterday I took a break, doing nothing.  I'm really good at that.  Today I had to push myself to even do these washes but once the brush was wet, everything felt right again.  I received an order from Daniel Smith with Bordeaux as a new red for me.  It is rather a magenta color and works great in skin tones.  Now, I need to get serious and do more portraits and glass work.  Just have to overcome that procrastination bug which is fear in disguise. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Eye & Nose Practice

 Left eye
 Right eye
Warped nose

]I took a dime and drew circles for the eyes. My initial thought was to paint an eye without the lids, with the goal of getting the iris/pupil to look round using values.  But the thing to remember is the upper lid covers part of the eye so I put in upper and lower lids.

Fall Card Exchange

 The front of the card
 The back of the card
The inside of the card

I participated in a Fall Card Exchange at  It was sent to Tricia, who lives in the UK, and she informed me she received the card, so now I can post it.  I am rather a messy painter and had paint on the back and on the inside so I just applied more paint.  I used a reference photo posted by Jim Roberts from the Wet C. RIL for the front of the card.  The other is just from my imagination. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Protrait Sketch Beginning

This is the beginning of a sketch of my sister-in-law.  She has these lovely prominent cheekbones and gorgeous silver hair.  Does this beginning sketch look like her?  Not at all.  I do these practice sketches to warm up, to practice drawing the features, and to become familiar with the current subject.  Of course, I want the end result to be a likeness of the subject but if it doesn't achieve that goal it has helped me learn more of what to do and what not to do.  Every drawing, sketch, painting is a step forward, even if it is a failure, when we can learn from it. 

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Watercolorist I Admire

I don't often post twice in one day but I've been admiring the work of a masterful watercolorist, Fealing Lin.  I love her work, especially her portraits.  There is such light, movement and color in her paintings, they are a joy to view.  I would post a photo of her work but because of copyright, I won't.  I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.


I bet you are wondering why I would post such poor photo?  This was my grandmother's house and this photo was taken sometime before 1954.  Actually I think it was in the late 40's.  The area in the foreground is a strawberry patch with some of the strawberry pickers working.  Did you notice the old cars and trucks? 

Thanks all of you for the comments on the watercolor portrait of my brother.  Your encouragement and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.  A couple of suggestions made in a couple of online art forums was to check the left side shadows and to enlarge the pupils.  Isn't it wonderful to get such helpful feedback to improve a painting. 

Friday, October 08, 2010

Eye Practice

Not much chance to paint today but have done a few swatches of graded washes using three primaries and then this eye.  The colors used to paint the eye were Indanthrene Blue, Cerulean Blue, Quin. Rose, Cad. Red light,  Yellow Ochre and Azo Yellow. 

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Portrait Finished

The painting was signed this morning and met with my brother's approval.  His comment was, "too bad it looks like me" then grinned.   Now, on to the next portrait and eye practice. 

Monday, October 04, 2010

Portrait Study Update 2

This photo shows the work done this morning.  Still more to do but have to work on "honey do's" sometime today.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sunday Morning Chatter

While out driving yesterday, there must have been a motorcycle meet somewhere in the area.  There were cyclists everywhere in a 30 mile area.  I am also intrigued by photos showing what is happening in the side view mirrors while looking forward.  Silly?  Perhaps but it is just one of the things that triggers my imagination.

With my coffee this morning, I am enjoying the artwork of the Bold Brush Painting Competition winners and the fav15% from the competition.  It excites my senses to see the juxtaposition of colors and shapes, the designs and the brushwork.  I then wonder what are the judges thoughts - what did they see in the Best of Show winner, Caldas da rainha Portugal by Eugen Chisnicean Watercolor 46cm x 68cm, that it stood out from all the other entries.   I think the painting is masterful, both in design and execution, and has that extra something that sets it apart from the ordinary. 

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Portrait Study Update

Today I took a long drive and thought about this portrait, painting it in my mind, thinking of brush strokes and their placement.  Believe me when I say what I paint in my mind is much different than what you see on the paper.  But painting in my mind is one of the best exercises to help sharpen the focus, to visualize the shapes, the varying colors and values, that creates the forms of the face. 

Tonight I've been painting the eyes which still have to be set back into the eye sockets and have more work on the iris and pupil.  (Note to Self:  paint the eyes first next time.)  Both ears have to be shaped and painted and still have to paint the hair area and reshape the forehead, adding shadows to show the top of the forehead is tilting a bit away from the light.  I have yet to decide whether I will paint in the beard and moustache that is shown in the reference photo - will probably leave those out because I think he looks better clean shaven.  Oh, musn't forget to add laugh lines and darken shadows on the rest of the face. 

I bet you are wondering why it is taking me so long to paint this??  It is simple, after awhile I stop painting and look at it off and on while I do something else.  It helps me to see areas that need to be altered or adjusted before continuing on with the process.