Thursday, July 31, 2014

There Is No "Easy Way" ... or ... Round 2 with the Portrait

I started this portrait again this morning.

I apologize for the color quality. The oranges - quin. sienna - are not coming through well at all.

This technique, essentially dry-brushing, is very time-consuming, but there is nothing like it to get clean colors, and depth in a very delicate subject. I am far from finished, probably several days or weeks of work, but I really like how it is coming along. The dry-brushing allows you to better maintain the clarity of the sensitive colors. I am glazing with pure colors - started with a thin wash of yellow ocher over everything, and am now using permanent rose, alizarin crimson, quin. sienna, quin. burnt orange and cobalt blue. I read about this technique several years ago. If you would like to see some work by a master of dry-brushing, I highly recommend you google Ottorino de Lucchi - brilliant!

And besides painting, His Imperial Highness is doing well in his training.  I must say, the same goes for training horses as for creating a painting. There are short cuts, but they just do not come to fruition in the end. With horses, "tricks" and short-cuts will take you to a point in the process where the horse is ill, lame, or just completely unwilling to work with you any more. It's sad. I am pleased to see Bruno willingly come in off the field in the morning when he sees me come out, dressed for riding.

Here's Scruffy, almost totally blind, but game to be out there -  playing, walking, and being a barn helper. 

And then there's Maggie - what a character! That's her best friend, Flossy, behind her.

Thank you dropping in to the Farm! Your comments are always welcome. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Portrait in Progress ... or ... What Happens When You Cross Chuckie with Pris ...

This is my free-hand drawing - rather pleased with it.
This is Isla, my inspiration. I was visiting one of my sisters a week ago, and her neighbors' children caught my eye. They all have gorgeous, carrot-red hair. So I asked the dad if I could take some photos. He agreed, so here I am, playing with Isla's portrait.
These are the first washes, all done one color at a time. I am using quin. coral, phthalo blue, aureolin and alizarin crimson.
More pure pigment glazing ...
This morning, before heading out to ride, I did a w/w application of a shadow color for the skin, using the same three colors  mentioned earlier. The hair is painted using aureolin and quin. sienna, with a touch of phthalo blue for the shadows. At this stage ... OK ... it's the really UGLY stage. When I look at it, I keep seeing Chuckie, of the horror movie fame, and Pris, from Blade Runner. I love the movie "Blade Runner", but have never watched any of the Chuckie slasher movies. I prefer more subtle movies.

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Another Drama Queen Is Done ... and This ... That ... and the Other ...

Yes, it really is finished. I painted this to give to a dentist friend of mine - a sweet, gentle lady who lets me bring my family in to the office twice a year for the recall appointments. She does like dramatic paintings, and she loves purples, so I hope she loves the painting. 

I was here Saturday for a few hours, giving a demo and promoting the art courses offered.   

Sitting beside me for much of the time was Sam. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and we discovered we both love H. P. Lovecraft stories [that's the book she is holding up] and "popular" books on quantum physics and cosmology. Who'd have known??? Quantum physics is so very unbelievably weird and beautiful!

And here I have my painting propped up in an eye-catching position. And it did. I think I recruited 3 people for the course I will teach in September.

Summer is in full swing here, hot and gorgeous! It's hard to stay inside to paint, and I am such a studio painter.
Bruno is going very well, though hard work for both of us. We are working on getting and increasing suppleness through his body. His past life as a pacer did nothing but make him stiff and resistant. I think I will have to spend some time in the evenings working on his neck, giving him a massage. WHAT a life he has!
I think Scruffy has fallen in love with the lad, and thankfully he is very tolerant of her. Today, she followed me into his paddock when I went to feed him dinner. She is almost totally blind, and has never been around horses, and she stood right under his body. He gently lifted a hind leg to nudge her out of that very dangerous position. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. I think I was holding my breath. With any other dog, he would have used that leg and hoof as a most effective weapon, and sent the dog flying. But to be safe, I think old Scruff will have to stay out of his domain.
Maggie is quite the character. She has turned out to be a rug chewer, and a shoe thief. But it hard to be angry with her - she is sensitive and seems to over-react to scolding. Hopefully she will outgrow most of her vices ...

That's about it for now. I thank you for dropping by! And your comments are always welcome. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Asking Myself "Why" ... Why Do I Tackle Such Complicated Subjects??? Iris Update

Since the past post, I have tweaked the foliage, added a w/w wash of quin. violet to the fall, and started working on the teeny, tiny shadows on the uprights. Right about now, when I am cross-eyed from trying to paint detail, I ask myself WHY I choose complicated subjects. But ... here it is, almost done ...

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

When in Doubt, Paint a Flower ... or ... Look, Ma - No Masking Fluid ...

I've started off with some quin. violet and indanthrone for the shadows on the petals, with a touch of pink in a few spots. The leaves are phthalo green - blue shade - and quin. gold.

Intensifying the violets ...

I want to get the dark background painted to allow me to see how dark I will go with the subtle shadows of the petals of the flower. I am using a mixture of phthalo green [BS] and quin. violet. The background is all being done without using masking fluid.

Here, I am doing another w/w application to the background and the leaves in shadow, again using the green and violet, and adding quin. burnt orange. I think the background will need one or two more glazes to get the depth of darkness I want.

Last week was gloriously sunny and hot - the low 30's, which is very warm for the west coast of Canada. Did NOT feel like painting at all - spent most of my time outside with Bruno and the girls. Today is much cooler - very comfortable, so I will play with this painting, and hopefully get some drawings done of a beautiful little red-headed girl. I visited one of my sisters on the weekend, and was captivated by her neighbor's daughter - she has the most exquisite coloring. I'd like to be able to do her coloring justice in a painting.

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just a Lovely, Quiet Summer Day at the Farm ... Well ... Mostly ...

Bruno, enjoying a quiet munch while I clean and re-fill his water bucket.  We had "issues" today, understandably, as he had 2 days off. Thursday we had a lesson, and I got my trainer to ride him so she could feel what we are going through. They both had a bit of a workout, but Rhonda won out [she's a pro - rides several horses a day, as well as training other horses and riders]. The issue is getting the lad to start becoming more flexible through his poll, neck and body - just generally more flexible. Because of his background, he has never had to do this, and it's difficult for him, but also necessary. You just cannot have a riding horse that is not flexible - it's asking for rough unpleasant, and possibly dangerous, rides for both horse and rider. So I think this will be our project for the next few months. He rebelled a bit this morning when I was lunging him. As a result, I am icing some rope burns on my right hand, but aside from that we were good. [Note to self - WEAR GLOVES WHEN LUNGING] He understands, just is not 100% convinced that it is something he wants to do. He's stubborn and tests me, and I wouldn't have him and other way!!
I took this photo to show the nest right over the tack room door.

I stretched up to take some photos inside. Just after I took this shot, a baby came zipping out of the nest. It's FLIGHT DAY!!! They are all over the barn, with mom and dad watching, as they learn to fly. It is so beautiful to see, and to hear them chattering to each other. 

Here's Maggie, out by the vegetable garden.

Scruffy and Bruno, as I clean and re-fill the Big Guy's water bucket.

I managed to get a few shots of one of the babies, as he/she was resting from his exertions.

And another one ...

I have some plans for paintings this week, but it's just too darn beautiful outside.

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Not Jules, but Interesting ...

Overall, I believe it was a good experiment. My focus was on the samurai scalp-lock, and that certainly is the focus in the painting. When I saw that it was going to look nothing like Jules, I felt free to do all sorts of nasty, un-watercolor-painter-like things to it. I would like to do more of him, but definitely will get some decent reference photos, and, if I'm lucky, he'll even sit still for 1/2 an hour so I can do some drawing. 

This was the reference - over-exposed, and he chose to stand under a trellis which cast strange shadows.

Well, thank you for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Well, I Like the Background ... or ... Portrait-painting 101

It always amazes me how different it all looks with a background. So far, I like the ground, but the face needs much work. Thankfully, with the darkness behind, I have a fair bit of leeway to play with darks in the face.

I posted this just for comparison - showing how dark the face and hair looks here, as compared to the above photo.

As for the woodland scene, I feel it got too heavy too soon. it's looking over-worked. I think I will flip the sheet over and try something else.

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hitting the UGLY Stage with a Vengeance!!! ... or ... Two Works in Progress

This is a lovely spot on one of my favorite trails in the park.

First w/w washes with phthalo green - blue shade and quin. violet.

Covered the bottom, and did some spattering.

Masked off some trees, and did some more spattering and direct painting on the wet paper.
This is one ugly ...

My handsome nephew, shaved with a scalplock, doing his samurai imitation.

First washes for shadows

Some color in the hair

I had earlier put some skin colors and shadows down, but it looked so anemic. I took the good old proverbial bull by the horns, and did a wet, runny application of a dark. We shall see what comes of it ...  Yes, this is the second "ugly". Seem to really need to be doing more experimentation right now.

Got to go ... farrier arrived to do Bruno's feet - finally!

Thank you for visiting! Your comments are always welcome. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nit-Picker's Delight ... or ... I Have GOT to Leave This for Tonight ...

Since the last post, I added several glazes of a very dark green/violet mixture for a dark background. I also dragged some of that dark color over the leaves in shadow. Just playing around - trying different things ...
I wet the area and dropped in pigment for the cast shadows within the petals, using an aureolin, quin. pink, indanthrone mix.

Then I started on the detail work within the main bloom, and its side-kick - the partially furled bud to the right.

This is where I'm leaving it for tonight.

And the saga of the baby sparrows continues. One fell out if the nest today. He had feathers, and seemed all right. I wasn't sure about bird protocol, so I bundled him in an old fluffy towel, and proceeded to start hand-feeding him. My landlady feeds her dogs some wet food, and I'd read that the babies do very well with that diet. So there I was, using two tiny paint brushes - one to tease his beak open, the other to dip food down his gullet. He was one hungry bird!!! I did this several times over a few hours, and then did a bit more reading about birds falling out of nests. Apparently they can safely be returned, and are accepted by the parents. So back he carefully went, tucked into the nest with his sibbies.

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