Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Working on my Weakness ...

The Green Man and the hanging horse have been recycled. Not my style, and not looking very inspiring. 
I picked up a great book on composition a week ago, and am avidly devouring it. Composition is definitely my weak spot in painting, and I am working to improve that. I appreciate that my technique is good, but without strong design, there is not much to an artwork.
I've started the two paintings with the aim of creating something much more striking and impactful. Neither of the above paintings is finished; they need a lot more strengthening of value and color to integrate the subject into a cohesive and hopefully striking piece of art. Onwards and upwards ...

As always, you comments are most welcome. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


On the lighter side, I'm playing with a rose, as a botanical.

On the dark side, I am working on this at the same time. I am finding it to be quite emotionally difficult, as you can imagine. Here's the story ... The dentist with whom I work is very concerned about "sugars" in his patients' diets, so I thought I'd do some research. I found a site, with Dr. Robert Ludwig from UCSF discussing the increased intake of sugar, and especially in the form of high-fructose corn syrup [it's only been around in our foods for about 30 years] It is in almost all,  if not all, processed foods. And it is nasty! We do not metabolize it as glucose, but as ethanol, as in alcohol, and it has the same deleterious effects. Dr. Ludwig considers it the cause of the world-wide trend to obesity, as well as the increase in so many diseases - Type II diabetes, heart diseases, allergies ... it's a long and horrific list. From there, I followed the trail to what is being done to our food. I found two extremely good documentaries, "Food, Inc." and "The Truth about Food". I could go into great and gory detail, but won't. Suffice to say, that I was shocked, horrified, saddened and appalled at the complete lack of any moral fiber in some of the meganational food corporations, Monsanto being one of the top on the list. Of course there were clips in the documentaries of slaughterhouses, so that is the reason for this painting. I sincerely hope you all get a chance to watch the two documentaries.

As always, your comments are most welcome!   

Friday, October 19, 2012

Waiting for Inspiration ...

I glazed over all the leaves, darkened the shadow on his face and ears, and painted a color in the shirt. I don't quite feel where I want to go with this now, so I'll put it aside till inspiration bangs me on the head. 

This is me, with my second horse, Sweetie.
We did a lot of smooching.  :)
Me, bareback on Tuffy, my first ever horse.

He used to do a great moose imitation on cue!

I feel the need to do something in a more representational rather than realistic vein. I thought something using my appaloosa as inspiration might work. We shall see.

As always, your comments are most welcome. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Tis the season ...

I thought I'd model the mask one of my patients gave me years ago, when I started riding. When I was feeling goofy at work, I'd wear it under my protective mask, and then take the top mask off to reveal the "inner me"!!! Dentistry really can be too serious sometimes, so I add some humor.

I left the red/green man here ...

I glazed over the background with a mix of quin. violet and phthalo green. I gave him pupils, and started on the mouth. 

This is un-retouched. 

I've increased the saturation somewhat. The colors are weird, but I think it looks quite good. Whoa!!! ... I think I like it! The painting still needs a fair bit of work. I'd like to put a fig leaf earring in the ear. [Julian wears an earring.] And I am tempted to do a graded wash over everything, dark on the right to almost nothing on the left.

I had the BEST ride today! Finally after five years, I feel like I'm getting my strength, endurance and muscle memory back. I've been riding during that time, but not really training. Either I had someone else's horse, or had a horse that I couldn't "push". Good ol' Bruno [not so old] is eminently suitable for training. He's fairly young, fit and very strong physically and mentally, and he has come to really trust me. That took time - when he first came here, he did not even want to be patted. I guess life on the pacing track was hard. I am LOVING our times together.

As always, your comments are most welcome.   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Green Man Continues ...

I've been gradually glazing thin w/w applications of alizarin crimson and quin. violet to the leaves and face.

This photo was taken outside [yay, it stopped raining] and warmed in the editing.

This is the unedited photo.

And this was taken under a studio light, and touched up.

I hadn't really planned out a color scheme for this, so it's taken some interesting turns.  My green man is becoming a red man. I find it appealing though - it certainly is working out to be an intriguing value study, if nothing else.

As ever, your comments are most welcome.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Something Different ...

A clip from the 1958 movie, Auntie Mame.

Julian, as my version of the Green Man

Thin quin. burnt orange over all, then a graded wash of alizarin crimson.

Building up shadows with the orange.

More shadowing, and I've blocked in the hair.

I'm starting to add deeper shadows with alizarin crimson in the warm areas and quin. violet in the cooler spots.

I have always been fascinated with mythology and ancient legends. One of these is the Green Man, who symbolized rebirth, and the proliferation of new growth in Spring. In modern times, he is seen as a symbol of Nature, and the protection of the living planet. That's my interpretation anyway. :)
I have taken a sketch I did of my nephew, and am working in warm, "natural", autumn colors. So far, I am quite pleased with how the painting is coming along.
The clip from Auntie Mame deserves an explanation. I love the movie and the character of Mame. She is a wonderfully eccentric woman who LOVES life, and the plot revolves around the story of her raising her nephew. I sometimes see myself as Mame, in my relationships with my niece and nephew. My niece, Paulina, is having some anxious times right now as a teenager. We had a chat a few weeks ago, and she wanted to have more times together. Yesterday, I drove into Vancouver, and spent the afternoon with her. Somehow, we ended up heading out towards the university area, strolling along the nearby streets. I used to work in an office in the area, and it was so pleasant to see how the area has changed and stayed the same - both. I've always loved that part of Vancouver. It has somehow kept a small town, hippie atmosphere. Paulina said I looked like an alien to the planet, looking and wondering and examining all around me. I'll take that as a compliment, and blame it on my "artist's eye".

Paulina and I stopped to admire some gorgeous dahlias.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Because You Asked ...

The latest on Trigger


Before I start getting ready for work [at my "real" job] I thought I'd quickly post Trigger's state right now. He still needs a bit of fussing - perhaps more thin glazes in the shadows, and his delicate roan spots.  Judy left  a message wondering where the update had disappeared, so here it is. I must say, the watercolor in real life looks much better than on the screen here. I quite like it, and hope the owner loves it!!!

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Like Opening an Unexpected Gift ...

For me, it is like opening a gift when I take off the masking. This is Trigger as he is now. I have a lot of touching up to do - ears, eyes,  mane, face, some rust-colored flecks in his coat - but basically he is done. The background colors are not quite so garish in reality; they are a bit more grayed. I am pleased with how he has turned out, and really hope the owner feels the same.

As always, your comments are most welcome. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trigger Takes a Dramatic Turn ...

I went as far as I thought I could with the grayed-violet shadows.

I played a bit with a black around the eye and muzzle, and decided I needed a background to determine how dark to go with his head and neck.

I didn't want to mask, but had to do so. The first wash was quin. burnt orange with quin. violet. The second was quin. violet with cobalt blue.

Then I did several scrumbled washes, using the same colors plus indanthrone blue.

[It's actually not quite as red as this.]

Now I am working on darkening the shadows with a black mixture, and working on his features.
Quite a difference from the last version!

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two Out of Three for the Leaves, and a Fresh Start for Trigger

This one came out relatively well. I did a w/w wash, with no masking, of quin. gold and cobalt blue - they flow so beautifully together.

This leaf is all right, too.

I would have been better to have stopped here, but ...

... I wanted to go darker. Mistake.

Creeping along with thin washes of quin. red, quin. burnt orange and indanthrone blue.

I found a few drawing errors, and I wanted to show more of his chest, and the neck in proper proportion. I think he is coming along better than Trigger I.

As always, your comments are most welcome.