Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What the ??? ... or ... Another Watercolor Mystery

Yesterday, I had been trying to do background washes without masking. It got to be just too awkward. So I let the painting dry, and applied masking to the flower and leaves, let it dry, and started applying washes of orange and green.The above photo is after at least four washes ...

... and this photo is after about ten washes. It really is a beautiful, glowing background. Unfortunately, when I was taking the masking off, I found it to feel like it had been mixed with honey, so sticky and tacky to the touch, and a real stinker to get off the paper. The masking did not come off well, and thin filmy bits remained as well as an overall sticky feel to the paper. I was hoping to be able to do more with the flower and leaves, but this is it. Thankfully, I have another one traced onto paper, and I've started painting the background.
I'm curious - has anyone else had this happen with masking fluid?

Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tempted by a Rose ...

I had done a drawing, sketched it onto watercolor paper, and left it on the board to demo in the watercolor class. The class will not be happening till the Fall, so I decided to work on it now. I couldn't resist!!! It seemed much less overwhelming than the Rio painting. Procrastination strikes again!!!
Here, I have done an all-over aureolin wash, and started the leaves with mixtures of quin. gold, phthalo blue and alizarin crimson.

I've darkened the leaves [too much on that bottom one],  and started on the petals using permanent rose and quin. sienna.

Much more glazing has been done on the petals. I have  done two washes for the background, and it looks like it will need many more.

So far this morning, I have painted another wet-in-wet glaze of quin. sienna over the lower petals , and started adding some shadows there as well with alizarin crimson. I think I'll do an hour or two here, and then tackle Bruno. He is going through a bit of a feisty stage - moving beautifully, listening well - and I have to be super-vigilant and disciplined with myself to keep him in that most excellent space.  In "rider-ese", it is said that you must ride every step! Proving once again, good riding is not about the horse, it's about the rider.

Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

FINALLY ... Some Work on the Rio Painting-to be ...

I have most of the foreground and mid-ground buildings in place.

Had to find some images as reference for boys playing soccer, and then create some decent sketches. It is quite a complicated drawing, getting all the figures, buildings and background put together in a plausible manner. I did the boys on a separate sheet, then cut them out to see where to place them. Then I traced them onto the main drawing. 

The boys are in place.

I don't think I have ever spent so much time preparing for a watercolor, but I know I need a GOOD drawing first.
I have a bit more to do on the shop-fronts and the lower street level, then I CAN START PAINTING!!!

Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are welcome.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter with Bruno ... or ... Horse 101

Bruno, in his shed, having a quick munch.

I wonder what we are doing today?

Blanket coming off, fastenings undone from back to front of horse.

Ready for a good grooming.

I use a small, soft brush for his face and ears.

For a great massage and to remove excess hair, I use a round, rubber grooming pad. I go all over his neck and body, carefully over the bony and sensitive spots. You can see it is most effective at removing loose hair. 

Then I go over Bruno with a short-bristle brush, to remove the loosened hair and dander. The metal comb is used to clean the brush, and sometimes for really heavy muddy patches.

I remove his boots to groom the legs and clean the feet. The boots are to protect his front feet - he has a long stride, sometimes over-reaching and hitting his front feet with his hind feet. This causes trauma, and can twist or remove the front shoe.

Tools for cleaning his legs and feet.

Before picking his feet ...

... and after.

Now, we are getting tacked up.

He is wearing a green saddle pad and a sheep's wool pad under the saddle. The saddle pad basically just keeps the saddle a bit cleaner. The woolen pad I use because this saddle was not bought specifically for Bruno. I had it for my last horse, and she was much more round in the back than Bruno. So to make it absolutely comfortable for him, I bought the woolen pad. Saddle fitting is a whole other story ...
This is an English saddle, specifically for dressage.

Here, I have buckled the girth on one side. I gradually tighten it over several minutes. A snug girth is a MUST - I have had a saddle swing around the horse's belly with me in it [not for long].

Here we are - starting to lunge. Lunging is done for several reasons. In Bruno's case, I do it to let him warm up, and for me to see what his frame of mind is that day.

Here he is, at a lovely trot!

After lunging, I take off the side-reins, check the girth to ensure its snugness, and get on.
We had a fantastic ride today!!! I think he liked having his picture taken!!!
You will notice that his mouth is all frothy. That is an indication that the horse is relaxed and comfortable in his work. Also, he has a very soft and gentle look to his eye  - he is a happy boy.

The frothy bit - I use a light French double-linked snaffle. Again, as with saddles, the fitting and use of different bits is a LONG story.

Finally, after the tack [saddle and bridle] are off, Bruno gets LOTS of healthy goodies. Then he is allowed out onto the back lawn for some grass.

Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Kind of a wild-in-the-wind sort of look.

Here he is - trimmed up.

Mr. Przewalski needed a mane and tail, so, courtesy of Bruno, he got them. I used a glue gun to attach the hair to the mane and tail areas, and then trimmed the mane to get the standing-up look for which this breed is known. I think he's adorable, and am giggling away to myself [not in madness] at how he came out.

Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome.

PS - Bruno does not miss the hair at all. His tail was so long he was almost stepping on it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Owl, not yet varnished. I had to make one eye closed, as it was lower than the other ...  improvising all the time.

Awesome Possum has had one glaze of varnish. It really brings out the color and texture nicely.

Froggy needs varnishing.

... started out from humble origins ...

Mr. P. will be getting a mane and tail made of real horse-hair, courtesy of Bruno.

Mr. Przewalski's beginning.

... and the Basset hound.

Finally, I am almost done. They are all painted, and some of them have had a first spray of varnish.  I hope to have them delivered this weekend.
The next project like this will be a goose, but I will try a different finish - something called "cloth mache". You can read about it on Dan Reeder's web site  http://www.papermachemonsters.com Dan makes fantastic monsters in cloth mache, and also has a wonderfully warped sense of humor.

Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome!