Monday, July 29, 2013


Studio light

Early morning light, pushing the cools

Early morning, pushing the warms
I've tried all different light settings, and I still can't get a true-to-life color with this painting. I think it must be the strong complementary colors of orange and violet. The values are a bit weak, too, because as soon as I increase the contrast, the colors look even more weird. Anyway ... I added some color to the ground and the goose peeking between the other's legs, to bring the focus more to the one with his wings outstretched.

I darkened the entire background.

And I intensified the shadow colors within the flowers. I also lifted some stem at the bottom. Again, it was difficult to get the actual values and colors, working with the complements of purples and greens.  

I deepened the background grass colors, as well as the shadows on the kid. I also deepened the pinks on his face. I thank you all for your input on these paintings. It really helps to have outside observations!!!

I've been up since 6AM, with Bruno hollering for breakfast. So I finished up some odds and ends with these paintings, and tried to get some decent photos to put up here. Now, it's time for a work-out with the Big Guy, and then hopefully into Vancouver to pick up my niece, and head out to get some photos and sketches of some old Vancouver homes.

I thank you for dropping by, and your comments are always welcome!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Just a Quickie ...

It's quite a high key painting, and I'm not sure how dark I want to go ...
7 x 7 inch framable

the model

an intimate moment

goat bliss

more goat bliss

A few weeks ago, I wandered off down the street with my camera to visit the goat farm. The owner graciously gave me permission to go in and mingle with them. Wow! They were so keen for attention. I had some trouble getting photos, with them milling around, trying to get a scratch.  I've never been close to domestic goats for any length of time, and they do have a most distinctive and strong aroma. But the goats were very friendly and well-behaved, and I believe we all had a good time! :)

Thank you for dropping by, and your comments are always welcome!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ink and Wash - One of Vancouver's "Hobbit Houses"

The "hobbit house" on King Edward Avenue
8.5 x 10.25 inches

It's not great art, but it is a cute architectural rendering. I surprised myself, and got in done inside of two days.
This is truly an adorable little house on one of Vancouver's main streets. It was recently on the market, listed at $2.86 million. No, this is NOT the place to find reasonable homes. Vancouver experienced a huge housing sale boom, starting in the early 1990's. It was quite horrendous; where I was living at the time, houses were being torn down at a rate of one per square block per week. It has slowed down somewhat. But all of these beautiful old homes have been replaced by monstrous houses covering almost the entire property.
Anyway, enough of my grump! A few facts about the home ... It was built eighty-three years ago, has 2416 square feet inside, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and sits on a 50 x 130 foot lot. You don't get much here for your housing money!
I thought I'd like to do a series of older Vancouver homes. Most of them date from the early 20th c., so are quite Victorian in design.

I thank you for dropping by, and your comments are always welcome!

Monday, July 22, 2013


The spare stall is stacked to the ceiling with wonderful, soft hay.

There are even bales stacked in the alleyway.

Garden is still doing well. The snow-peas and lettuce are great [had some for dinner], and everything is growing.

I have darkened the background. As I thought, the shadows and colors in the flowers need to be strengthened - they are just overpowered by the darks.

I started the ink and wash as well. So far, so good ...

I was up early this morning, as I knew the hay was being delivered. But I thought Andy would call first. NO ... I was in the bathroom, and had to call out to tell him I'd be a minute. Then I helped unload 120 bales of hay - my stash for the year. It is beautiful this year - soft and green - as we had more rain. It is SOOO nice, I am going to have to put His Imperial Chubbiness on a bit of a diet. He is ready to inhale as much as he can get. Probably a hay-net will be in order, to slow down his eating.
So between unloading hay, going on a small cleaning rampage, and doing some painting, it has been a full day.

As always, I thank you for dropping by, and welcome your comments! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Couldn't Wait till I Finished ...

W/W drop-in-the-paint wash of aureolin yellow.  

Another variegated wash, this time of phthalo green [BS].  I allowed the hills and valleys of the wet paper to dictate where the pigment would settle.  

And a much darker variegated wash of the phthalo green with some quin. burnt orange. Then I did a bit of lifting with a barely damp brush while it was still wet. I LOVE the effect! For some reason, it brings to my mind visions of fairies in the garden [not that I am a believer, but just a dreamer].

I am also starting something new - ink and wash. I used a fine Faber-Castell PITT artist pen. This is an older home in Vancouver, known as the Hobbit Home. It really does look like something out of The Lord of the Rings - love it!

Thank you for dropping by, and your comments are always welcome. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Long Overdue ... Another Process!

I was visiting my sister in Vancouver a few days ago, and her gorgeous  hollyhocks caught my camera's eye.

I painted the cast shadows first, with a mix of aureolin, permanent rose and indanthrone blue. Then did some of the form shadows in a mix of aureolin, perm. rose and cobalt blue. 

 I painted the leaves and stalk in different mixes and glazes of aurelin, quin. gold, quin. burnt orange and phthalo green[YS].

More work on the form shadows.

I saw a lot of very soft reflected colors in the petals. I used aureolin, the pink, cobalt blue, quin. sienna and phthalo green - all very thinly.

Here is where I am right now. It's really quite lovely and delicate, and I am loath to put in a background. What do you think?

Thank you for dropping by, and your comments are always welcome!

The Curse of Hands - notes on riding

Photo from www.care2.com

Photo from www.horseforum.com

I've been away from the blog loop for a while - very busy with a new venture, and with spending some thoughtful time trying to figure out more about Bruno. My riding trainer has been away at shows, so that leaves me time to experiment on my own.
I was moved and inspired to try a different approach in my riding by a movie I recently watched. It's called "Buck", and is about a cowboy-type "horse whisperer" from the States. He actually worked with Robert Redford on the film "The Horse Whisperer".  Buck Brannaman is an amazing man, who overcame his early years of physical abuse by his father to become a gentle and sensitive and knowledgeable horse trainer. Two things really struck me in the movie. One was a horse that had been so very badly spoiled that it had become a killer. There was a scene where the horse actually lunged at a man in the training pen with him, bit his face to the bone, and then jumped on him to finish him off. Unfortunately, the horse will have to be euthanized. The other thing that stuck in my mind was a comment Buck made ... "Control the feet, and you control the horse."
We humans are all so very hand-oriented. If we want something done, we use our hands. This most definitely does not work with horses. They don't like someone on their back constantly pulling and jabbing at their mouths. Believe me, it is SO difficult to resist the almost automatic reaction to fix something the horse is doing with your hands. But I have spent the past couple of weeks making a very conscious effort to NOT use my hands. I am using leg aides only to steer and encourage his forward movement. It was awkward at first for both of us, but gradually Bruno has been responding beautifully. And I know he appreciates it. He is always happy to see me, welcoming me with a whinny or nicker, and he is keen to go for a ride, eagerly accepting the bridle. I have seen some videos of people riding without bridles or with just string in the horse's mouth. I can only aspire to reach that level of intimate communication with a horse sometime in the future.
The photos at the top of the page are of a technique called rollkur or hyper-flexion.  Unfortunately the method has become popular in the dressage world. You can see that the horse's head is so tightly cranked in that it can hardly breathe. I most vehemently do NOT consider this an art form in riding!
I must add, I love my riding instructor. She is always positive, and is definitely on the horses' side. She brings me back to earth in my riding. I tend to disappear off into the clouds. It's the artist in me! :)

Thank you for dropping by. and, as always, your comments are welcome.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Snail's Tale ...

I believe I left our friend here ...

I did some thin washes of bright colors for an underpainting - alizarin crimson, aureolin and quin. burnt orange.

Then I started glazing and glazing and glazing, sometimes with the original colors, sometimes  with a dark brown. I did the same with the body - layers of different hues of green.

I have finally reached the stage where he has the appearance of being backlit by a soft light.  I still can hear the instructor, in one of the two sets of watercolor classes I took, saying "darker ... darker", every time she commented on my painting. I have a tendency to be tentative until prodded.

And I am still playing around with the geese, trying to bring a stronger focus to the goose with his wings out. I've gone over the entire background - geese and all - with a red-orange wash, and the other two geese in the daylight got a thin wash of cobalt blue. I may yet bring out some more intense shadows on the #1 goose, and do more with the ground.

Thank you for dropping by, and, as always, your comments are welcome. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some New Happenings ...

For the background, I floated in some WN cerulean blue, and stroked in a line of a dark blue-black under the snail.

Heading out to feed Bruno his breakfast, I noticed a snail on the patio. The light on the picnic table was so subtle, I put the snail up there and took some photos. After his modeling session, I put the snail out on the grass. 

I have painted thin washes of quin. burnt orange and indanthrone blue - VERY thin.

Here I've started with her eye, and placed the tan spots on her face.

A tentative start on the face ...

I was in a quandary as to how to paint the texture of her ears - all those kinks and curls - without painting each strand of hair. 

I think this looks quite realistic without being too fussy. I put pigment down with a round brush, in S-shaped strokes, and then go over them with a damp, flat brush.

On July 1, I joined an artists' cooperative gallery in Vancouver. There are eight other artists, and the gallery itself has a very good "feel" to it when you walk in. It is in a very funky, artsy area of Vancouver. I hope to gain some exposure and commissions, but if nothing else, I will definitely get more experience in the business side of the artist's life.

Thank you for dropping by, and your comments are always welcome!