Tuesday, December 23, 2014

JOY ... Miss P. Is Looking Pretty Darn GOOD!

I thought I'd post these in reverse order, only because I want this photo at the beginning.
Here, I've removed the masking, and finished off the scarf - adding touches of black detail, and softening the whites in the shadow area with some pink/orange mix.
I have also darkened the black of her lips, and started doing some detail work with her facial hair. 

After several washes of the pink/orange mixture, the scarf looks all right.  I've darkened her nose a bit more, and added some of a purply color around her eyes where the skin color shows through the hair.

I painted the scarf with permanent rose and quin. burnt orange, and the "lines" of the shadows in the scarf with indanthrone. I shadowed the tongue with a mix of my favorite "animal" colors.

I needed to put some darks down right away, to see how dark to paint the shadows in her coat.
The tongue is pink and orange, as are the lighter spots around her lips. The black is burnt orange, violet and indanthrone.

And this is the first Miss P. I started ... still needing a bit more work with her hair.

This is it for now. It's teeming rain, so I got a good four hours of solid painting done this morning, and hopefully this afternoon I am able to finish at least one of the Westie portraits. My next projects will be a horse by the name of Voodoo [and he suits the name!] and a friend's dog, called Drake. Looking forward to both of them!

Thank you for dropping by! And have a wonderful and safe holiday!!! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Haven't Been This HAPPY Working/Playing with a Painting in Months!!!

I have started my second try at Miss P. I painted the background doing a w/w wash with permanent rose and quin. burnt orange, and then scrumbled with those colors and cobalt blue. Then I did another rough application with a violet made of indanthrone and pink. 

... quick bit of shadowing ...

... and now she is starting to look like the adorable dog she is!
I love expressing emotions in animals' faces. I painted this one, called "The Laughing Labrador",  several years ago for a good friend.

I love the expression she has here - another face full of happiness! Just began last night, with two washes of phthalo blue for the background, and am working on her face this morning. I have no idea what color to paint her scarf - I need it bright and sunny, but not overwhelming. Any ideas???

I really haven't been this excited and pleased with painting in months. But working on these two portraits is such a joy!Thank you so much for dropping by!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Starting to Get a Feel for the Portrait ... or ... Miss P. Continued ...

I started with some masking on her nose, and a few hairs around her eyes. Then I did a few washes on nose and eyes. It looks so weird at this stage!

She was looking a bit like a dog here. For pigments I used permanent rose on the nose and ears, mixed with quin. burnt orange. For everything else, I used mixtures of quin, burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

A background was needed to see how dark I could go with the shadows in her coat. Here I did a w/w wash with aureolin, then when it dried, another w/w wash of quin. burnt orange to warm it up. 

Then I played with the black mixture I was using for her coat ...

Finally, I feel good about where I am going ... how to approach painting her. I am using stronger glazes for her coat, and painting them directly. And I have darkened the background. This is another trial run for Pucca, and I am pleased with this! For the next [and final, I hope] one, I will correct the drawing error in the dashing and debonair scarf she is wearing. For some reason, I left the drawing incomplete with the scarf, and when it came to painting it, I blooped! I will also be much more comfortable getting those shadows done in her coat. I think a slightly different format will be better, too - shorter and wider.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Friday, November 28, 2014

More Thinking and Sketching Rather than Painting ...

I did a quick poured type of watercolor of Miss P. and a friend, heading toward the Golden Gate Bridge. I had sketched all sorts of San Francisco backgrounds - they were at the pier at Embarcadero, up in Pacific Heights and Nob Hill - till I finally found this one to look best.

This was a more traditional portrait drawing. I quite like this one. I'll try painting it, once I decide on colors.

And this is the other sketch I did. This one was from a photo of Miss P. at the beach. She looked like she was having such an utterly fantastic time. From her owner, I found out that sunning is one of her big loves, just one down from food!

Well, I have a few ideas percolating in my head. I'll get working on them this weekend as paintings, once I decide on format and color.

Thank you so much for dropping by! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Experimenting ... or ... I Am Being Pulled Out of My Safe Zone

Some experimenting going on!
This is a LONG way from finished. And I know I will be doing many more renditions of this wonderful dog. I have about thirty photos of her, all different, all full of life and humor. Her owner recently requested a commission of Miss P., and I accepted with great enthusiasm. This Westie has such personality, such character, it is amazing! She and her owner [a watercolor painter and teacher]  both seize life, and savor every morsel. I find I am being pulled out of my usual approach to painting, exploring ways to express this joy in living.

This is another painting I started late last week. I thought I would re-visit one of my earlier paintings [below] but this is as far as I got. Miss P. is so much more compelling.

I believe I am going through another growth phase, always hard, but the results are great. With painting, I am being pulled out my usual ways, trying to really express some strong emotion in my work.
With riding, I have also taken some steps forward. I have always preferred at least a bit of control. As a result, I have done almost all my riding in the ring. But Sunday, two of my neighbors made me an offer I couldn't refuse. They saw me heading home from a walk with Maggie, and said - go home, change, throw a saddle on Bruno - we're going in the park. So I did! Thanks to their wonderful companionship, I was so comfortable riding him into the "unknown". Yesterday, I took him out on the trails solo! And I got the feeling from Bruno that he loved it, and wanted to keep on going. 
A very strange thing happened yesterday. I woke up, went into the kitchen, and found the chinchilla cage OPEN! ... and one was missing. I quickly shut the window [if he got out, he was a goner], put the cat in the bedroom, and Maggie outside. Maggie had been lying, staring at one of the sofas, so I was fairly sure the chin was under it. After a rousing, merry chase, I caught him, and put him safely back in the cage. The question is - how did the cage door open? I now have a large safety clip on the door. Never a dull moment!!!

Thank you so much for visiting!

Monday, November 17, 2014

"CATAWAMPUS" ... Another Process, This Time a Poured Watercolor

I must have used a quarter of a large bottle of masking fluid.

I poured, using permanent rose, aureolin and indanthrone in very dilute applications.

I masked some more, and did another  application of the same colors. I missed photographing the next step. There I went from pink to alizarin crimson to get darker shadows.

32.5 x 19.5 cm.
This is the painting now, in need of some careful glazing here and there, but basically done.
I love that word "catawampus" - it means kitty-cornered or at an angle. As my purpose and focus with this painting was the backlighting on the cat creating that angled shadow, I thought the name perfect.

Pumpkin obliged for the reference photo.

Thank you so much for dropping by - hope you enjoyed your visit!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Aurora Ranalis ... Loosely Translated as Light of Frog ... Another Process

This was the sketch for the painting. My model was one of the frogs in my collection - must have about forty.  The frog joke [and collection] started after I moved out here fourteen years go.  I had never seen or heard tree frogs before then. They are tiny and adorable, and have a huge BARGUMP noise for such a small animal. I fell in love with the wee beasties, and would rescue them if they wandered into my home or barn, or managed to fall into the pool and couldn't get out. They show up in the strangest places! 

First I did several w/w glazes with a mix of quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone to establish the shadows .

I had originally planned to try painting an effect like scarves of bright transparent colors, but it looked like so much work, so I opted for an impression of the aurora borealis. Here, I did a w/w application using aureolin and phthalo blue.

Then I painted two w/w washes with a dark blue-black mixture. And here he is - the tiny frog admiring the lights.

Aurora Ranalis
13 x 9 in.
33 x 23 cm. 

I added this photo, too, taken with a flash. It seems to interpret the painting more as I see it.
I have another pose of the frog on paper, ready to paint. This one will be in BRIGHT colors!

It's been pretty soggy here for the last two weeks. I haven't been able to ride, which I miss terribly. Just managed to groom His Lordship, and take him out for several walks on hand. I'm also doing a lot of studying online, catching up on all the continuing education courses I need for re-licensure as a dental hygienist. There was even one titled "Saliva: the Magic Fluid" ... how does that tickle your fancy????? Maggie, the stealth dog, has turned out to be quite a sleepy-head in the winter [I don't blame her - hibernating seems like a great idea to me, too] She doesn't really like the rain, and will only go out if someone else is outside with her. So it's pretty slow here.

On a very positive note, I am LOVING teaching! I am teaching the second session of classes [five classes per session], and this time I have seven students. They are all having a great time. And I noticed yesterday, in their project, that they are making big improvements in their techniques. For some reason, getting the paper adequately wet to allow for the pigment to flow was an issue, as well as using a very delicate touch when applying paint. Most wanted to forcefully and directly manipulate the paint, rather than allowing it to move on its own. But I saw definite improvement. And most importantly, every one is happy to be there, painting. I am thrilled to be able to do this!

Thank you so much for dropping by!!! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Today, I just found out, is Blog for Peace day. I can hardly imagine a more worthy cause than peace throughout our world. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just Because I Like Geese and Warm Colors ... Geese-in-progress ...

I thought this was too beautiful a composition to not finish, so I flipped the painting over, and traced the geese onto the back, and started again.

Using the same colors throughout ... hansa yellow, alizarin crimson and indanthrone blue

Removed the masking last night, and did a bit of touching up and detail work this morning ... VOILA! DONE! I really like the hot colors, and the shapes caused by sunlight on their feathers.
Hot Geese
9 x 12.5 in.

Seagull Study
10 x 6.5 in.
I did this quick [for me] study of a seagull earlier this week ...

... and prepared three images for the class on Saturday. I've done the daylily before, but the class liked it a lot, and wanted to try it, so I'll be painting it again. The two landscapes will be excellent practice for flowing w/w washes for the sky and water.

It has finally stopped raining. For a while there, I thought I might have to build an ark for the animals! So I am heading out to play with Bruno - YAY!!!!! And I have an old university chum coming over this afternoon, with her husband, to help me finally set up a web site for my art.

That's life on The Farm today. Thank you so much for dropping by!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

UH ... MOO??? ... or ... Another Step-by-step Animal Painting

I wanted to re-do the painting I had done of the calf earlier this year ...
so I started in with my favorite color combinations for painting animals - quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone blue. I did several glazes of differing browns. I also used a touch of quin. sienna and alizarin crimson for the ears.

There were a few tense moments [of a watercolor-y variety]  when painting the eyes, trying to get  a soft fluidity with the colors.

I just kept on doing more w/w washes over the ears and head to darken and shape the calf.

 I glazed an almost-black over all, and painted some very gentle colors on the right to indicate the calf's body in the sunlight coming from behind her. I also painted a drop-in-the-paint type wash [using cobalt blue, a pink and some aureolin]  on the top and upper left to define her shape, and show off her sunlit ears and top of head. Did you notice the little drop of milk at the corner of her mouth?

UH ... MOO??
10 x 10 in.
25.5 x 25.5 cm.

Lastly, I gave her some long eyelashes, and painted some detail around her eyes.
I may do a bit of dry brush on her face to define the shadows and hair, but  I am quite pleased with her as she is!

Thank you so much for dropping by!! I hope you enjoyed the visit!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stealth Dog and the Tunnels of Doom ... or ... Maggie Is an Escape Artist!

This is one of the barricades I put up. The entire property is fenced, with chicken wire along the bottom, but the wire is quite old and flexible.

Here's another hole she has started, leading to the next-door neighbor [who I am sure would skin Maggie alive if she caught her].

Another tunnel-to-freedom I found yesterday, going from the backyard into the riding ring, which is NOT fenced with chicken wire. So if Maggie gets in the ring, she is FREE!!!

What's a little Stealth Dog to do???

puzzled ... perplexed ... frustrated

... meanwhile Bruno munches away
We rode despite the steady drizzle, and had a great time!

Maggie back inside, re-arranging my bedroom rug.

For weeks now, I have noticed, while from the vantage point of Bruno's back while riding,  that Maggie is somehow escaping from the property. She likes to explore and hunt all over the neighborhood. There is nothing I can do till I finish my ride. But I keep eyes open to see where Maggie is making her return to the back yard. Along one area of the fence-line I have since placed several old flower tubs, filled with rocks so that a small but determined dog cannot move them. The tunnel I have filled with larger pieces of wood and more rocks.  For now, I do believe I have foiled her escape attempts!!!

Thank you so much for your visit!