Monday, June 30, 2014

Practice Run for a Larger Painting

Since I have recently done two paintings with which I am not pleased, I thought it would be wise to do a practice  run  on this one - doing the bottom half of the image.
I began with an aureolin w/w wash over all except the flowers. Then I started the buds and leaves. I had originally mixed quin. gold with phthalo green[yellow shade], but found that the blue shade of phthalo green really gave a much more vibrant green. So far, I have just laid in shapes with light w/w washes, the form and cast shadows will have to be done using complementary colors, I believe.

Although this does nothing for me as a composition, I did learn a good technique. I wet the entire painting from mountains on down [including the robes, but not the heads] and did a graded wash with quin. burnt orange. The pigments on the robes moved minimally - I was surprised at that. It just gave a nice softness to the orange shapes.

And this ... should have left it as a vignette. I tried to put a body on the calf's head and neck, and then tried to give the impression of a stall shape around the calf. Ummm ... NO! I did learn how to better add intense, dark pigments in a soft manner though, so not a complete loss ...  

These are the latest nesters!!! The barn swallow nest is built right over the door into the tack room, so I am in an out several times a day. And the little darlings are peeping and chirping every time. I honestly didn't think mom and dad would have a family here, as it is busy [relatively speaking] compared to the rest of the barn. But they did, and I love them - so cheerful!!!

I didn't want any accidents with babes falling out of the nest, so today I strung an old towel across the top of the doorway, about 6 - 8 inches below the nest.

And His Highness and I are getting along wonderfully ...

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pushing Myself ... and Bruno ... and the Monks and the Calf ... well painting in general

I could have left this as a vignette [it would certainly have been easier] , but I find I am pushing myself HARD to improve in my painting,  and my riding, too, to Bruno's chagrin. We had a most interesting session yesterday [after a perfect ride the day before]. At one of his favorite spots to act up, he started bouncing up and down on his hind legs - not really rearing, just thinking about it. Then he tried to escape by cantering away [he has almost never cantered under saddle yet - too unbalanced] The upshot was a lovely almost- collected canter, and some very good listening on his part for the rest of the ride. Sometimes I feel guilty pushing him through the difficult parts of his training, but he likes it. He always comes out of the field when he sees me coming to get him for a ride, and he shows no signs of horsey grumpiness or anger. I believe the acting up is a horse's way of testing the limits ... testing the rider. I could go on forever about this and wax philosophically on the subject of training horses, but not right now ...

Anyway ... back to the calf
I did a very w/w loose wash with aureolin and quin. burnt orange to suggest a warm, comfy stall ...

... and then realized the calf looked ridiculous, floating in mid-air with no lower body. So again, I did a very loose and wet wash with the dark chocolate color I am using. Needs some fixing around the neck and back area yet, and probably some more work on the face, and some cropping. We shall see.

I had darkened the robes, in a tentative manner, then went back in again and put much more of a violet-orange mix in the shadow areas.  Earlier today, I was looking at some of Caravaggio's paintings - absolutely adore his chiaroscuro within figures. I realized [well I saw it before, but was a bit timid to go so much darker] the figures needed much more darkness in the shadows if they were to appear backlit. My main areas of work were the robes and the feet, with less contrast of the head shadows. Looking at it now, I may have to do more. I also put a "ground" at the lower level of the painting. The white of the paper was too stark, and not suggestive of a hot, desert-type trek at all. I wet the paper around the monks, and dropped in fairly thin applications of aureolin, and a pink-orange mixture. I had some blue ready to add, but am very glad I didn't add it.

This photo is of my sister's hollyhock, and is one of two images I will be drawing on watercolor paper, to take with me when I do some demo's at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island, in Vancouver. You must know how much I hate to go into the city, but I think it will be fun, once I am there, and set up and painting. Granville Island was, at one time, more of a port, ship-building, fishing area but has now become quite an interesting market spot - restaurants, fresh food markets, book stores, and tons of galleries. In the summer especially, it is quite a popular spot. So if you're in Vancouver, you are most welcome to visit and watch me do my painting. Sorry, NO BRUNO!!! I will be there this Saturday, June 28, from about 10 AM till 3 PM, and am scheduled for July 19 and August 16.

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

PS - Blogger has thrown a monkey wrench into my computer. I am not seeing ANY of your blogs that I love to follow. So, if I do not comment on your posts, that is why.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chocolate Milk Coming Along ... Calf Painting in Progress

She is starting to look like something ...

Ahhh ... this is better. So far, I have done all the work wet-in-wet, using my favorite colors for animals, with a touch of aureolin and alizarin for the inside of the ear.

Now I've come to the nitty-gritty bits ... getting the darks as dark as possible to achieve a backlit effect.  I am doing this by moistening the area I want to paint, and then touching in a thinner version of the mixture, softening the edges, and going back in with a very dense version of the pigments. This way, I am able to keep the edges a bit soft while getting some real darks in the center of the darkest areas. It's fussy and precise, but it seems that's the way I like to paint.
This is the second wash of the paper experiment, which blogger decided to place before the first photo. GRRRR! And I can't figure out how to easily move them around into proper order.

I tried to get a bit loose with this quick, small experiment. I had a cute photo of the cat, sitting in the evening sun, with a  gorgeous backlit effect and some very strong shadows. So I thought I would play with the idea on some paper sent for trial by the Garzapapel company in Spain. I used a 90-pound sheet, not my usual 140-pound. But I must say I am very impressed with the paper so far. It has a beautiful, bright white color, and so far, stands up extremely well to wet work. I'll have to try some small flower images I have on the 140-pound paper, and really put it through the proverbial paces.
Speaking of paces ... right ... Bruno. Wow, is he FINALLY moving well! It's taken 4+ years, but he is now [sometimes reluctantly, but doing it] using all four legs through his back. When a horse uses his back and legs properly, in a balanced and fluid manner, the back becomes a dream on which to sit. I can feel everything he is doing with his body [even pick up on some of his thoughts about the workout] OK, enough - nothing to do with painting, other than it thrills me like nothing else to be able to communicate with him like this, to have him move so beautifully.

That's it for today in the land of horse and watercolor. Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Painted ALLLLL Day ... to Bruno's Relief

I left the monks/geese at this point last night ...

... then today I painted all day, save for breaks to feed beasties, and to vent my frustrations with 2 hours of guerilla weed-whacking in the back yard. When I looked at this in the morning, the background looked too anemic, so I wet the sky and added more color, then when dry, also wet the mountains and forest and ruins in front and added more color again. I did the monks robes both all over wet-in-wet, and with some dry bush detail. And gave them legs and heads - good to have!

This photo and the one above look very different as to background - I think if you can imagine a blending of the two of them, that will be close as far as color and value.
I did more all-over washes of their robes and satchels with quin. sienna, darkened their legs and heads, and now I am undecided. I do like the orange, but am wondering if it gives enough of an impression of their being back-lit by an early morning sunrise? I'd like to keep the focus toward their feet, because for me the painting is about a pilgrimage, and I see that as walking. Would darkening the bodies a lot take away from that idea? Anyway, I'll put this aside for now, and work on the calf ...

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Two New Paintings Off and Running ...

This is one of the photos I took while visiting the dairy farm - one of the very young calves. He or she [I didn't check] was very photogenic!!!

My drawing

A barely-there beginning ...

Sketch for the second painting

I've done several w/w washes for the soft and distant background - may still need more. And I have laid in some aureolin to start the robes.

Looking a bit livelier after dipping into the quin. sienna. I have a feeling many more glazes will be needed ...

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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Knight Is Done - He's Off to the Lists

"A Hard Day's Knight" ???
9.5 x 8 in.
24 x 20.5 cm.

I am reasonably satisfied with this. I accomplished what I intended. Painting large pieces of metal was part of the challenge.  Not getting tempted to paint every detail was another - that was hard with the horse. And painting wet-in-wet washes over a largely completed part of the image was the most important technique I tried. The focus of this painting was to be the armor, especially the face-plate on the horse, and I believe I was able to keep the focus there. So ... experiment done. Now onto some calves, flowers .... ????

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

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Addendum to the Knight ...

Somehow I managed to do a fair bit today - must be because I didn't feel the need to have a huge nap after my session with Bruno today. Here, I have darkened the entire background, and given it a rougher look ...

... and have  done some work on the armor. It needs to look more battered, and I may darken the entire knight as well.
Boy, do I need something light and fluffy to paint - getting somewhat morbid here.

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

A Day with a Knight [work in progress] ... also a Bad Pun

My sketch

First washes - so far, all I have used are variations with quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

More glazing - w/w, wet on dry, dry-brush, scrumble - anything that works to give me the look of slightly battered armor.
I also did an application of aureolin, orange and alizarin, then let it dry and went over all the background with the black mixture, to give a semblance of a foul and dusty battle-field. At this stage, I might be about 1/3 to 1/2 way done. It's actually turning out better than I had hoped.

Meanwhile, Maggie sits outside. She is a very interesting dog, and I can now understand why she had been difficult to foster out. She is quite the guard dog, possessive of me [already], and has a lot of street dog behaviours. Whether she can be gradually "domesticated" more, we shall see - must be done sensitively and tactfully. 

And now there is Scruffy! One of my sisters adopted Scruff, and she has gone to Arizona for a month. She asked if I could take care of Scruffy while she was away. At the time, I had no idea I'd have a dog of my own, so now, there is quite a house full! But Scruff is no problem, other than she is 14 years old, and I think a bit blind. But she is spry, loves her walks, and digs into her food, so I think she'll be fine here. She makes me smile - reminds me of an old gnome, with those big ears and the long tufts of hair coming out of them.

And then there is Bruno, who right now at this level of his education, is demanding much from me, in the way of intestinal fortitude, discipline, balance and strength. Yup - he's a handful to ride. I must be calm, strong, believe in myself and what I am doing, and do it all with a good sense of humor.

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lot of Glazing Going On ...

Family Outing
11 x 13.5 in.
28 x 35 cm.
Available for purchase via paypal
Leave me a note if you are interested.

I think I am finished, but knowing how I work, I could continue nit-picking on this forever!
Since the last post, I have done a lot of glazing on the shadows on the geese - both dry and wet-in-wet, alternating between pure pigments and a grey mixture. It seems to have given a nice depth to the geese, while maintaining some lovely, soft colors. I also darkened the shadows on the goslings.

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

A MOO-ving Experience ... or ... a Short Morning Visit to the Dairy Farm

This is one of the younger calves - just a few days old.

These are a bit older. They are kept in such clean, well-maintained stalls - I was impressed.

Up close and personal - I think this is a shot of the calf licking my camera.

Another close-up. You can see just a bit of her tongue at the center bottom. She was licking my hand. 

This one is a couple of weeks old - getting solid food [grain] and lots of beautiful green hay.

Can you touch the top of your nose with your tongue???

This is another part of the barn, where the adult cows live. This particular cow is a Jersey/Holstein cross. I had no idea, but the Jersey is not the preferred breed of dairy cow - somewhat grumpy and aggressive, compared to the Holstein.

Here are some of the Holstein girls outside.

The gate to the field has been opened, and they are heading off for a day of pasture. You can just catch a bit of the beautiful rolling countryside of Langley.

Tara, on the left, and Mackenzie - they both work part-time at the farm.
A few days ago, a horsey friend of mine [Tara] posted some photos of calves on the farm where she works, and asked if I would like to come and take some photos. OK, that was like waving a red flag at a bull. I could hardly wait!!! So this morning, I was over there by 9:00 AM, camera at the ready. What a wonderful visit! All the animals are so very well cared for, the farm is immaculate, all the workers love the cattle, and the farmer is a sweetheart. I had a great time, and was welcomed to visit again - if I get there around 7:30,  they'll teach me how to milk cows. OH ... HEAVEN!!!
Thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Honeymoon with Maggie Is Over

Ol' Kath is BORING ...

I'd rather play with my great new friend - we tussle, we dig holes, we swim, we chase things ....

Kath plays with BIG, scary animals, and they don't like me around too much when they play together.

Kath plays with noisy machines. This is her, after a long weed-whacking session.

But enough of Maggie's perspective,
I discovered the beauty of cropping. I think this iris looks so much better tightly cropped.

And I have slowly been moving along with this painting ...

I added a dark shadow - too dark, so toned it down ...

... and laid in a soft burnt orange wash on the foreground to alleviate some of the starkness of the white. I also masked an outline of the geese, and did some wet-in-wet applications of burnt orange and a dark brown to give the impression of long grass for the background. The next step will be to add some thin glazes of pink, orange and blue on the shadowed areas of the geese.

Started the knight, and I am not sure what to make of it yet. We'll see.

It's been rather hectic with the new dog. I find myself running around  making sure she is not in trouble, that Bruno has not stepped on her, that the two dogs are not chasing Bruno [though I think they all enjoy the romp], that Maggie has not found a hole in the fence through which to disappear [she's done that twice] Seems we are all going through a little period of adjustment!

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