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.


  1. THe calves are beauitful. Such a pretty color!
    And the munks are perfect!
    I think Bruno likes to be rode- thats what we think

  2. The robes look like they're fabric and they're such a rich color! It's just beautiful!
    The Hollyhocks are so pretty.

  3. Hi Kathryn, great and fresh paintings! I noticed a lot of air feeling in your watercolors: a skill that is hard to achieve in this medium. Congratulations on the Gallery; and, no worries about the followers on Blogger; I can see it seems to be fixed now.. Cheers! Irina

  4. I do like how you completed the body of the calf giving him more of a presence. And the monks are beautiful - the deepening of the shadows added dimension and the overall feeling is of a hot, dry trek across the desert. And I wish you wonderful success with your Vancouver watercolor class - those lucky students! I wish I could attend. I have been in Vancouver many times and just love the city. We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel one time and all I can remember is the fabulous dessert bar they had!

  5. It's amazing how subtle changes can make such a dramatic change! They are all looking gorgeous and vibrant! Love that cow!!! :0)

  6. I love seeing your progress with the calf and reading your thoughts about it! And the shadows of the monks are fabulous! Good luck and success with your demo's, wish I could be there! Hollyhocks here everywhere, in my urban surroundings.