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.