Sunday, March 26, 2017

OK ... Hilda, This Is for YOU


Spooky-looking eyes - using aureolin, quin. burnt orange and phthalo blue

Getting her furry - quin. burnt orange, scarlet lake, a bit of indanthrone

Adding the more neutral grey - orange, scarlet and indanthrone

Same colors for the bit of her back and shoulder

Touched up and darkened here and there. A very light background will be added later, after I finish all eight of the cats, so I can see them all together and decide on some unifying colors.

Several days ago, Hilda Muxo Klinger [fellow blogger] left a message on my artist's Facebook page. She very thoughtfully and kindly enquired if I had disappeared from the face of the Earth. Not quite! But I have been busy, and posting from this newer laptop is much more awkward and time-consuming. When I take photos, I download them onto my older desktop [which no longer can access my blog] There I edit them, because the photo editing is much better than the laptop. Then I have to mail the photos to my laptop, to make them accessible for me here. Damn, I really dislike computers!!! Anyway, thank you, Hilda! on to more cats ...

Thank you so much for dropping by!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Isn't he magnificent?? You can understand why they were revered and worshipped long ago. I think this is one of the Spanish wild bovine breeds. There are several groups in Europe that are "back-breeding" to re-create some of the older breeds of animals. They were actually better suited and more fit to survive in their environment. The concepts of back-breeding and re-wilding are fascinating to me. I wanted to create an homage to this magnificent animal. My idea was to have him roaring out of the cave, with images of his ancestors behind him - sort of symbolically showing his return.

This is a photo of a skeleton in one of the German natural history museums. I used  the shape to create my image.

First tentative washes, with burnt orange and an indanthrone/pink mixture.

Getting into the blacks - pink, orange and indanthrone.

Gradually building up shadows defining musculature and indicating light source.

Starting a scrumbled background with aureolin, pink, burnt orange and indanthrone.

Finally gently spraying the entire paper, and dropping in black and letting it flow.

Darken one side of the face and neck, and add [by direct painting and lifting] some prehistoric graffiti  on the wall behind him.

My critique ... the bull does not look massive and impressive enough. Perhaps a different format? Also, having the bull emerging from  the cave-like background would have been more readily accomplished using a lifting technique. Ah well, live and learn.

Thank you all for dropping by!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

With a GREAT Sigh of Relief ... the Hollyhock Is Done!

Finished glazing aureolin on the flowers ...

... then started on the leaves. They have a nubbly surface, so I tried to create that impression by sponging first.

I then glazed with some phthalo green and gold, and indanthrone and gold for the darker areas.

Glazed over all with the same two mixtures.

TA - DAH! Well, not really. It was very difficult to get the look of shadows on yellow, as well trying to maintain the delicate feel of the petals.  I am very happy to call this DONE!

I did a black/white edit to see how the values came out compared to the original photo.

I also did a touch up on an oldie from a year ago, darkening the shadows. I think one of my big faults in painting is being too cautious. 
Meanwhile we have been having the most un-Vancouver-like winter.  It's been very cold since the beginning of December, with several dumps of snow. This was taken on our walk Sunday. we have had more snow since then, and still more predicted for tomorrow. Everyone you talk to here has said "ENOUGH"!! Our weather is usually with 0 - 5 C temperature, and rain, not -10c and snow. We are a pampered lot here in Lala Land :)

After a hard slog through the snow, it's good to have a lie-down in front of the fire.

And Bruno has done nothing for over two months. It's going to be interesting getting back to riding - for both of us.

This was my beast on Sunday. I've dug it out twice since then.

Thank you all for dropping by! Stay warm and safe!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

As I Drag My Brain, Kicking and Screaming, to Paint What I SEE not What I THINK I See

A detailed drawing, with all my scribbled notes [probably phone numbers and to-do lists, too]

I may have posted this earlier. This is the second attempt to get the color and darkness I want in the background -  about eight w/w washes ...

Using indanthrone, quin. pink and aureole to get flower colors; phthalo green, gold and burnt orange for the leaves and stem.

More glazes - starting to look like hollyhocks.

This is where my brain is balking. I "see" yellow and shadows, but somehow cannot make myself paint those shadows dark enough to look real - give the petals depth, form, curvature. A yellow hollyhock should not be blue! ARRGHHHHH!!! Looks like it's time for guts, "damn the torpedoes", whatever.
To be continued

Thank you all so much for dropping by!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Well ... THIS Is Going to Take a While!!! Latest Work in Progress

My Tracing. I really do prefer drawing free hand, but when the subject is this complex, and the details are necessary, I trace from my photo.

The subject

The colors. The pink hollyhocks, from my sister's garden, have beautiful shapes and shadows, but I thought I'd try doing them in yellow. The above photo is from my landlady's garden.

MANY glazes, starting with aureolin, then  gold with phthalo green, and several of  phthalo green and burnt orange for the darks.

Finally finished all the glazing yesterday, and am starting the subject.  I found I didn't get as much streaking from applying water to pre-wet before glazing by instead wetting gently with a spray bottle. So far, I am  using aureolin, and quin. pink with the blue shade of phthalo green for the shadows [weird combination though it seems] And I am staying with gold, burnt orange and phthalo green [yellow shade] for the greenery.
Once again, I leapt in without fully appreciating how difficult this would be. But we'll see what happens. I think I'll need to have a couple of "easier" paintings on the side to work on when I start going cross-eyed with all the detail on the hollyhocks.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Distracted Parent!!!

My model - the distracted parent
"Me ... me ... come after me - my wing is broken"

My drawing, initially focussing on the head

First w/w applications of a warm grey-brown and some black
The eye done with a brighter orange - quin. sienna

Adding more burnt orange, and intensifying the detail of the head

Lovely burnt orange, applied w/w, using both a thin and also much thicker mixture, and intensifying the details of the head and neck

Tail feathers painted w/w with the warm brown then thick black dropped onto the tips and allowed to flow

A bit more detail added to the tail feathers, and she is done
"Distracted Parent"  33 x 28 cm
I debated whether to add some background - probably some light sponging  at the bottom with  the grey-brown to suggest ground. But I decided the tail feathers had become the focus; anything around them would be a distraction.
Colours used - quin. burnt orange, quin. sienna, quin. pink, quin. violet, indanthrone, cobalt blue
We have killdeer here all year round, and quite often they nest in the field, riding ring or even the manure pile. After the chicks have hatched, they are immediately able to run - and they do - like the wind, all over the place. Their parents must have quite the job keeping track of them. When anything "predatory" [including me apparently] comes near to the nest or the chicks, mom and dad immediately go into what is called distraction display. They make noise, and spread their wings and tail feathers, and sometimes even seem to limp along to give the impression that they are helpless, so the "predator" goes after them rather than the kids. All righty - that's the Nature lesson for today!

Thank you so much for dropping by.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Two Simple Paintings ... Step by Step

I started this with aureolin over all, then  did the leaves in quin. gold with phthalo green, and  green with quin. burnt orange for the darker leaves. The branches were painted with orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

I used the same colors for the broken reflections . Then mixed aureolin, a quin. pink and cobalt blue  to indicate water.

I used a darker grey [with indanthrone instead of cobalt] to add rain drops, and  accent the focal area.

I used almost all the same colors, tending more to the warms -  aureolin, quin. gold and burnt orange, phthalo green, quin. violet and indanthrone.

I warmed the focal area with a thin w/w application of gold, then some burnt orange was  drawn in and softened.
Both paintings are about 12 x 6 inches.

HAH!!! And I thought we would have a mild winter!!! All of December was fairly cold, then it started to snow at the end of the month. And got even colder!! Nights are down to -10 to -15 C., and not anywhere near freezing during the day.
This is one of the willows in the pond near Bruno's paddock. I have always wanted to do some paintings inspired by it, hence the willow branches.

His Imperial Highness is NOT amused. Actually he's quite warm, wearing a quilted under-blanket and a heavy winter blanket on top. And he gets small mountains of hay, especially at night. [Horses generate body heat when digesting, so always a good idea to increase their hay when cold out.] I had to turn off the water to the barn as the pipes freeze, so I am doing bucket brigade duty with hot water. We are both missing our time together!

As for Maggie, she is quite happy to be outside whatever the weather.

Thank you for dropping by, and I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!