Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Win Some ... Lose Some

The hibiscus turned out quite well. I am not sure about the brooding background, but it is a good  foil for the  light flower.

The aeonium was an interesting challenge. A bit more forethought on my part would have been good.  I painted the background first, and got swept away by creating soft, graded washes. The dark would have been better on the bottom half. Then the darker leaves would not look so out of place. 

I tried to rescue it by cropping.

If the bottom had been dark, I could have blended the shadowed leaves more readily into the background. There are a few spots I really like - all of the greens turned out well, and the one red leaf going from yellow to red to violet. My glazing proficiency improved. It was wonderful to watch the green/gold alter with applications of yellow, alizarin and violet; it certainly does increase the depth of color. So, as far as technique goes, it was time well spent. But you'd think by now I'd have learned to PLAN from beginning to end!
As always, please feel welcome to leave your comments - love them! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

An "Almost Done" and a "What Possessed Me to Start This?"


I am here.


Almost there - yellows are actually more intense in real life.

I desperately want to start riding again, but the weather is against me; it's still very wet and bone-chillingly cold.  My fingers almost froze cleaning the paddock today, so sitting in the saddle, holding the reins was definitely out. I did spend a good [and happy] hour grooming the lad though. We both enjoyed it. Then he had his backyard grass time, surrounded by a small flock of mallards.
Anyway, as always, please feel welcome to leave your comments. I love them.  ;)

Happy Clients!

Two of my friends from the horse world, Iris on the left, and Jessica. Jess came over to pick up her painting of Misty today. And Iris came along as her GPS, because Jess is almost as bad as I am with getting lost. [When we first moved here, I took over an hour getting home from school; it was 5 blocks away.]
I also gave them a bit of an incentive to rustle up more clients; I promised 1/2 price on their next painting, if they came up with a new client. They left, chatting about who would like a painting, and what they would like done next for themselves!!! :)

Iris's horse, Maddy

Another painting of Maddy.

I also gave this painting to my nephew for his birthday this week.  He loves my car paintings, bless him!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Aeonium and a Birthday

I was here ...

... and now I'm here.
It is starting to develop a glow in the leaves. YAY! 

My aunt, sister, and the birthday boy [and Bruce, of the 9 lives fame, on the buffet]

Julian, playing with some non-digital cameras I brought over. 

What a handsome lad!!! And smart, too!

The aeonium is coming along nicely. I will continue to go s l o w l y...  

I had a wonderful time at my sister's last night - so good to see the family! Julian, devilishly handsome, witty and profound [do I sound like a proud aunt and godmother?] was pleased with his party and gifts. I had, a few years ago, given him one of my car paintings, and he loves it; it's on his bedroom wall. So I took over another yesterday. His reaction was an eye-popping "Wow, cool!" Jules and I have always been in tune, ever since I met him when he was 5 weeks old. I love it that we can pick up a conversation, and enthusiastically follow each others train of thought. He is special.
And since we are back to our usual B.C. weather - mild and WET, I am getting a lot of painting done. And Bruno is in his paddock wearing flippers and a snorkel. I'll get down later, and clean up the paddock, and give him a good grooming, and take him out for a hand walk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

S ... L ... O ... W ...

I can hardly see ant difference, but I have been putting some shading on the leaf tips in purple. I suppose it is hard to see, when I've been using a brush the size of 5 eyelashes!!!

When I'd reached my limit with the above painting, I moved to the hibiscus, and worked on the leaves.

As always, please feel free to leave comments or questions.
I am off to Vancouver this evening. My handsome, brilliant, wonderful [do I sound biased?] nephew, Julian, is turning 18 today.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Slowly .... Steadily ... Creeping On ...

This is generally where I am heading ...

Format size is about 10 x 12 inches.
I have almost all of the local leaf color down; now the FUN part.

This is going to be a long, slow haul. Almost of the painting is being  done w/w, using small to tiny brushes. It does make a difference to the quality of depth and the 3-D effect, so I will continue with it.

The Perfectionist Strikes Again ... or Once More with the Aeonium

To cover up the wubbles and lack of sizing, I had to go very dark, and didn't like it. So ... 

I started again. I masked all the leaves, and started glazing the background.

... and glazing

... and more glazing

... and yet more glazing, till I was satisfied I had a rich and noticeably-graded background.

I started the foliage last night [a midnight oil-burner]

And I am still getting the colors down on all the leaves.
I am sure they will need at least 2 more glazes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Hope I Am Learning from My Mistakes, because I Am Making a LOT of Them!

Nice subject - I was having fun, puddling in w/w.

Still having wet fun, but the reds may be too dark, too fast.

More work on the leaves.

Here's where it went wrong. I decided to mask all the leaves, and try to get a graded wash of several hues.
The edges, after 2 -3 washes, started leaving oozy marks from the stapled areas, leaking onto the painting area. I tried a desperate rescue attempt. I used a large, flat, soft brush to remove all the background I had done. It was removed reasonably well, but so was the sizing! I tried [no choice, really] to go very dark, and I did, but I don't like it. I will try again, changing the format a bit, making it narrower, and apply the lesson learned - MASK FIRST.    

I tried several washes of alizarin crimson and phthalo blue, but , to my eye, it does not look at all appealing.
Back to the proverbial drawing board!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Still Cold ... Still Snowy ... Still Painting ...

The view outside my front door this morning

"Hens and Chicks"
A photo I took at Western Gardens 2 years ago

This should keep me busy for a while

Another one from Western Gardens

I may pay for not masking completely, with slightly uneven washes, but the background is going to be very dark, so I might be all right.

I really needed something  warm and summery to paint, and a break from working with all the blacks and darks in Buddy's portrait. So I dug into my photo library, and came out with 2 photos I took [of many] at a local nursery.
Ahhhh, I can feel the heat!!!
As always, please feel most welcome to leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm making sure the birds are well fed.

There's Bruno inside, having his hay.

The pond is frozen solid.

The lad is staying warm, with 2 padded blankets, and lots of hay.

I thought I'd try a painting of this, NOT that I like the snow, but the grasses do make an interesting and complex composition.

My favorite tree [yes, I have a favorite tree!] in the park.

Out for a quick walk with the dog. WOW, was it cold!!!

Our weather has suddenly become most un-Vancouver-like.  Out in the countryside, we've had temperatures down to -7C at night, and it feels much colder ... you know, the sort of cold that freezes the inside of your nose. And we've had a fair bit of snow over the past 3 days, about 8 inches. So that means no riding, just stuffing Bruno full of hay, and making sure he has warm water [carried from the house]. If horses do not have potable water, they could develop an impaction in the colon, colic, and possibly die - serious business!
All this means I am also getting on with Buddy's portrait. And I am going through my photo reference to find some flowers with HOT colors! 

I've finished "mapping" the colors of his face, and am starting in with the blacks. As always, all your comments are so very welcome!