Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Carp Update

   I really have been having fun playing with the colors and scales, especially as I thought it would be impossible to create a decent impression of the scales without meticulously painting each one. But this has turned out to be OK. Now I think it's time to tackle the water, again in a more impressionistic yet realistic way.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Basics Are Done ... Now ...

The plan

The finicky sketch

First "pours" of aureolin & quin. burnt orange

Some more aureolin, & indanthrone blue

Tone some of it down with burnt orange

Color on carp - aureolin, burnt orange & cobalt blue
   I've never painted a carp before now, and it seems almost all watercolorists do a carp sometime. So here I go ...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

You Can't Win Them All ... or ... My Impatience Is Showing

A clematis I started , that will never be finished

   They don't all work out. In my case, it is usually because I have been too keen to start, and to finish. I don't do proper value sketches and color plans. And sometimes I have a feeling the paint should just FLOW off my brush, and do exactly what I want! WRONG!!! The clematis has some good points, but the tea dribbled on it negates finishing it. 
   The rabbit was to be for one of my co-workers, who at one time had a rabbit called "Smokey". Unfortunately, the rabbit has turned out looking like a "schmoo" - a cartoon character form decades ago; it was basically a white blob. Bunny aside, the rest of the work I like. The soft background washes I always love, and the grass effect I like as well. I'll definitely use that look again. 

The sketch doesn't look too bad
A bunny I was trying to do for one of my friends


Friday, May 27, 2011

A Short Evening's Walk

Tall trees surrounding a pond, with some very heavy-looking clouds behind
Sun-dappled birch
Big, beautiful maple along path
Horse-friendly entrance and gate
Park surrounded by small farms

   As the heavy rain has abated, I thought I'd head out for a quick walk. I live quite close to a large pedestrian/ equestrian park, and it's very lovely and relaxing to be there, either walking or riding.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

No ... I Did Not Disappear Off the Edge of the Earth

A very photogenic Grace

Eyes, and some light washes of quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone blue

More wet washes

I've started using some dry brush technique

   I was at the feed store a couple of weeks ago, stocking up on hay for His Imperial Highness, and I was attracted to a very sweet Bernese Mountain dog. I found out she "works" at the store with her owner, Danielle. I asked if I could take her outside for some photos, so all three of us went out, and Danielle helped me "pose" Grace. I've been playing with the painting for two weeks, and I think it still needs darkening of the blacks, and of course more depth of shadow. But she is a very sweet and attractive girl, and I think I am catching some of that in the portrait.
   This is not the first attempt, which is below. I'm glad I started anew, with a better angle of her face.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Farmish Moment ...

The very well camoflaged egg

Dancing up a storm to distract me
I can't even see her head

She was also very vocal

They actually look quite pretty when they do this

Temporary barricade

And Bruno couldn't care less

When I was hand-walking BrunZ around the ring yesterday, preparatory to riding [to let him get the saddle "feel", and tighten the girth] a killdeer became most upset and vocal. She was in one corner of the ring, and obviously had a nest there. 
   While I rode, she was extremely brave in her attempts to warn us away. At one point, I glanced below my inside leg/boot, and she was almost directly under us. Several times she swooped around Bruno, almost right under his nose. Thankfully, Bruno could not give a damn, and just kept evenly going on.
   After I finished riding, and took care of BrunZ, I went to the corner to see if I could find her nest. There was nothing yesterday, but today, while cleaning the ring, I found her nest with one egg. She will probably lay two or three more, and then it will be a few weeks till they hatch. We had a similar situation last year, when they decided to nest on top of the manure pile. I would get  scolded every morning by "mom" about not disturbing the kids.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's Not Perfect, But ...

Indian woman
8.5 x 9 inches

   As I say, it is not perfect, but I am pleased. I did the painting quickly and efficiently in one day. I did not religiously follow a photograph. It is much looser than my usual style. It was good to try something different. PLEASE feel free to criticize; that's the only way I will improve. Thank you.

So Far This Morning ...

LOVE the face

   So far today, I have NOT cleaned the chinchilla cage. I have NOT cleaned the cat litter box [one of my least favorite chores; I think I'd rather muck out a stall with my bare hands] But I HAVE been painting, as it is once again too wet to ride outside.
   I fell in love with a photo that a friend took while in India. The woman's face is so strong. And I am really trying to loosen my style of painting. I quite dislike how I have come to almost slavishly follow a photograph. Call me a perfectionist and a purist, but I cannot honestly, from my heart, accept such work as a fully creative piece of art. I know I may offend some people, and I am putting my derriere on the line, but so it goes.

Prelim. sketch

1st washes - cobalt blue, burnt orange & violet
Still wet

Building structure with my favorite color combinations

More refinement in glazes.
Quite a way to go yet.
   In this, I would thank Peggi Habets, whose portraits inspire me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just a Quickie ...

   A friend was over yesterday, showing photos of his recent tour in India. He works as a tour guide all over the world; next week he's off to Greece ... lucky hot-dog! His Indian pictures were fabulous, almost a visual overload; I can't imagine what it would be to experience the country for real. There were some very good shots of the most intriguing-looking people - you could see the strength in their faces, and the pain and joy in their eyes. I was quite taken by the photo at top, and have done a quick sketch. I think I'll try a painting of her as well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Feast for the Eyes [and Some Inspiration, Too]

   Like all artists, I am constantly seeking to improve my art. As a result, I frequently [as time permits] search the internet for "how-to's",  and other artists' sites. Very recently, upon googling "Asian watercolors", I discovered the work of Myoe Win Aung. He is an artist from Myanmar, born in 1972, and shows his work mostly in Rangoon and Singapore. [The Singapore Watercolor Society is also an interesting site] Unfortunately, I found no web site, so I have collected some of his work here to show you. Pleas let me know what you all think of his art.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Brief Update

The BrunZ
At a suggestion from a "follower"

I had originally thought to do a study on white only. At the suggestion of a "follower", Nil Catalano, I added a soft and natural-looking background for a horse. I think it improves the overall appearance. I must admit to being a quite impatient person, and as a result, I do not take a painting to anywhere near its conclusion. I thank you, Nil, for your advice. And for my readers, a visit to Nil's blog is definitely time well spent. He creates the most wonderful sketches and beautiful, fluid watercolors! His site is www.nilcatalano.blogspot.com
I think this is as far as I will go with this.
Bruno: a study    7 x 7 inches

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Great Weather ... GREAT Day!

Japonica in bloom, in front of the pond

The two willows at far side of pond

Bruno, enjoying a munch of fresh grass

My home-made covered kitty-litter box

Daffodils in full bloom

My dear land-lady, Pat, trying to get Buddy to "smile" for a photo

Bruno, on the lower back lawn, in front of riding ring and barn

Wild violets in bloom

I didn't even know I had "paper-whites" in my garden.
They have such a beautiful perfume.

Very odd-looking photo of Bruno reaching, mouth agape, to scratch himself. 

Fruit trees in blossom. As I was taking this, Bruno
was taste-testing lower branches 

Grande Finale - burning off the old, inedible hay
Fire Marshall Bruno

     FINALLY ... we are getting some spring-like weather here on the "Wet" coast. It wasn't a particularly cold winter, but SOOOOO long.
   With the bright, almost-warm weather, I got a lot done the last two days. From the top of the page downwards ... I made a covered litter box for Miss Pumpkin, who is most zealous when she uses the facilities. I took one of the plastic storage bins from the barn, cleaned it up, and, after measuring Pumpkin, cut an opening in one of the narrow ends. She loves it, and I don't have litter and other bits all over the bathroom.
   I took some photos of Buddy, in an attempt to get some references for a portrait. Pat [owner] adores him, and he worships her, so I'd very much like to do a painting that reflects that love.
   I rode the lad. It had been over three months, what between wet, soggy conditions, and me getting over a few infirmities. But yesterday, my trainer/friend, Rhonda,  came over to help. She suggested I use my old dressage saddle with a fleece half-pad underneath. It seemed to fit and work well, [Bruno will let us know if he finds it uncomfortable over time] and I was very happy to be using that saddle. I've been riding him with an equitation saddle, and when one is used to a dressage saddle, it's like riding with no saddle. The dressage one is like a big, comfy easy-chair. And Bruno went very well, much more attentive and willing to communicate. I think he's liking his role as a saddle horse.
   At the end of the day, I decided to finish off burning the old inedible hay. Here in the country, one is allowed to purchase a burning permit, valid for a month. This is done in April and September, when it is still quite wet, and there is no chance of a fire spreading out of control. So at 8 PM, I started cleaning out one of the hay storage areas, and hauling the old hay out to burn. I finally finished around 11 PM, and under the watchful eye of Fire Marshall Bruno, I made sure the fire was out.