Tuesday, June 21, 2011


There is more that could be done to this painting, like putting in the hint of scales or darkening the side of the larger koi to create more modeling.  I think I'm going let it sit for awhile then decide what more needs to be done, if anything.  Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Koi, In Progress

I've begun this koi painting and the photo is showing more saturated than it is in real life. I usually start my painting with light washes then go darker and more saturated.

I bet you wonder why I post so many WIP's instead of finished work.  It is simply because I paint for awhile, walk away from it and then go back to the painting.  I look at the work constantly as I walk by or get a glimpse of it while working on something else.  Working this way has become a habit in the last year or so. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Koi Sketch

This sketch is based on a photo taken by Intrigued from the Wet Canvas Reference Image Library (RIL).  I appreciate the use of the wide array of photos found in the RIL all contributed by the members and are copyright free for use. 

Our third month of the YOP (year of painting) is coming up the 20th and the subject is koi so I decided to sketch a couple to get in the flow of things.  I love the grace and movement of the fins and tails plus the variety of beautiful color found on koi. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tea Party

I worked more on this last night, adding just a slightly darker shadow on the left side of her face and more detail to the table setting.  Below are two photos showing the stages of this painting. 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tea Party, Almost Finished

Still have work to do on the tea cup and gloves, as well as the glass dish.  Will look this over for a day or so then look at it with fresh eyes.  I meant to mention this is painted on a 15" x 22" (half sheet) Fabriano Aristico watercolor paper and cropped to 13" x 16 1/4".  Thanks for staying tuned!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tea Party In Progress

This is the progress on the painting this morning.  One good thing about looking at a photo of the painting one can see what looks out of kilter, such as her left eye.  It has to be lowered.  My plan is to lift out enough to reshape it before going further with the facial skin tones.  Happily, cobalt blue lifts pretty easy, not true though with the reds in the skin tones used in the white of the eye.

I've been wetting the surface of the skin first, letting it soak in, letting it dry until the sheen of the wet water is gone, then dropping in more water and paint. I read about this method on Susan Tustain-Harrison's website/blog. 
My palette to this point is cobalt turquoise, viridian, cobalt blue, deep scarlet, perinone orange, perm. rose, yellow ochre, azo yellow and transparent brown oxide.   

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tea Party Sketch

I've been working on this sketch today from a photo I took last Saturday.  There was a group of young girls celebrating by having a tea party.  I asked their parents if I could photograph them to use for possible paintings.  Happily, they gave me permission to use the photos. 

The girls were absolutely adorable, dressed in colorful long dresses, hats with feathers and their gloves.  I had to up the contrast just so the drawing could be seen.  I'm hoping I can portray how her head is slightly tilted as she looked up at me.  Plus, need to check the distance between the eyes and the tilt of her left eye. 

I did the reverse of what I normally do, drawing direct on the watercolor paper.  So I'm going to trace it on to tracing paper just in case I need to paint it again. 

Color Swatches

Have you ever had times when everything painted ends up in the round file?  This past week or so that is what has happened with me.  I thought a good way to get myself back on track was to do color swatches, practicing glazing/washes skills, and reading about techniques practiced by other artists.

I also did three small paintings where I dropped in colors randomly then tried to compose a painting from the random design.  They were so bad that they will not get a debut here.  I like to think of these times as working out problems/solutions, subconsciously making decisions as to how who what when where.

A big thank you to all the subscribers continuing along with me and to all of you making comments. 

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Studying Composition & Design

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon and evening reading "Pictorial Composition and the Critical Judgment of Pictures" by Henry Rankin Poore thanks to The Project Guttenberg EBook found on-line.   I can read it, understand it intellectually, but when it comes to actually working it on paper or with paint, I falter. After reading halfway through the book though, I think my understanding of composition and design is a bit more clear.

Below is photo of some of the fundamental composition formats from the book.  Design comes into play when we structure the areas around the subject to play supporting roles by size, shape, light, dark, values, line value(size, length, width), massing of shapes and areas and colors.  If I'm wrong in my thinking, I hope someone will correct me.
I have a couple of wonderful photos of a Fancy Dancer taken at the local Bell Pow Wow that I have been planning to paint.   In the first sketch of the Fancy Dancer above, I was trying to place the "great white space", counter change (light next to dark, line directions) and how line leads into or away from the subject, remembering line can create action or calm depending on its direction.  Did you notice the almost "S" shape of the figure?  My plan is for there to be areas where the eye can rest but overall the feel of the painting will be one of action. 

The second sketch of the two figures was actually done first, just to show the contrasts of light against dark.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Roses Study

I've been practicing roses this afternoon with my goal to have them not so stiff looking, with a sense of flow and light to the shapes.  This study is better than my usual so am fairly happy with it lol.  The Nikon Cool Pix camera I used to take the photo intensifies the colors so this photo has been desaturated a bit and perhaps could use a little more. 

Canning Beets

Canning Beets
13 3/4" x 14"

If you would like more information about this painting,
please contact me.