Friday, August 28, 2015

The Contented Cow and Other Stories

I started with a lot of w/w washes, with the cow masked. Above, I did one of aureolin, more intense at top and bottom, then one of pink, darker in the middle.

Some orange ...

... and some indanthrone

I removed the mask [it left the paper surface a bit rough - must get new bottle of masking fluid] Then I started the shadows with a violet made of quin. violet and indanthrone. I added a thin line of indanthrone to suggest a treeline in the distance. 

I did several w/w washes with a black [quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone] ...

... and also some direct painting with thin black paint. Looks like she needs her front end and eye area a bit darker, and some shadows painted on her white patches. And I think I'll add some friends for her out in the distance.
 I had started painting background washes like this about ten years ago, after I came across a book by Catherine Anderson, a California painter. Her work is exquisite, and well worth a look if you like this type of work.

My contented model

I started this as a class demo, with thin washes of aureolin and indanthrone.  [Can you see them - I can't!]

Then I did some spattering [using yellow, orange and blue] and spraying, after covering the area on the left with  watercolor paper and tape.

Some glazing with quin. violet ...

... some detail in the background ...

I removed the masking, toned down the fence with violet, and added some branches. It doesn't look quite as ethereal as I would have liked, but it's not bad.

This was another demo I did in class. I used aureolin, a pink, and cobalt and indanthrone blue.  The background was done w/w, and the grasses were painted directly. The grass shadow/reflections were done by painting vertical lines below the grass, and then dragging a wet flat brush though the paint. It always amazes me how something so simple could look so effective and attractive. [Must remember that - I seem to tend to the very complicated]. 

This is a quick thumbnail sketch for a painting my aunt requested. One of her friends is moving back to Toronto, and she would like to give her something that reminds her of British Columbia, hence the tugs in the mist with the forested shoreline.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful summer, and are enjoying these last weeks of warm weather.
Thank you so much for dropping by!


  1. All that masking and magic stuff you do,, is not easy!! Your just amazing,, how you can make it all work!
    Oh yes,, more cows,,,, friends are always a good thing.

  2. I googled Catherine Anderson and admired her work. Your background washes are as good as hers! I love the soft look of both demo paintings. And can't wait to see how you proceed with the cow. Enjoy summer!

  3. WOW, what a show today! Loved them all - the cow is looking great and the misty landscapes are lovely but my favorite is the reeds in the water - so serene and delicate. I don't have the patience to do glazing like this but have an old video of Catherine Anderson's work - she sometimes did 30 glazes!! You don't see her work anymore and I wonder what she's doing now...

  4. Nice works! I love reflection on the water...Arianna

  5. lots of wonderful work to see today :D really like the colours of the foliage (I can't say that word lol)

  6. It's amazing how you start your water colors Kathryn! I would love to see you paint since I don't understand how you get such a beautiful result!! I love the beautiful landscape and look forward to your next post!

  7. Like a little busy bumble bee you have so many beautiful works in progress, looking forward to seeing the final result. Hope you had a great summer. xx

  8. So much to look at! Your contented cow is coming along beautifully - you have a gift for painting animals and capturing their moods. I love seeing your process as the finished works appear almost as if by magic!

  9. The cow is looking gorgeous! Great work and looks like you have been very busy! :0)

  10. Oh Kathryn - your contented cow is wonderful. Your darks are always so amazing. I am familiar with Catherine Anderson. You are right her work is exquisite. Her thin glazes like yours makes the backgrounds really glow. Thank you as always for sharing. Love the spattering affect too. Hugs!