Sunday, January 31, 2016

Metamorphosis of a Mushroom ... or ... Process of Painting a Red Russula

A photo I took last Fall was my inspiration.

Sketches and value idea for background.
I wanted to create a vignette, which,  as I understand,  is more focussed, and three areas of the painting run onto the edge of the work leaving a fair bit of white.

I masked the mushrooms, and did a thin wet-in-wet application of   dark brown, then dropped in some green .

I needed help figuring out how to paint the grasses - who better than Albrecht Durer? He created so many exquisite watercolors of animals, landscapes, and intimate little scenes like this one.

I thinly applied some green around the mushrooms, then while wet, used a rigger to drag and flick some of the green outward.

Masking off

I then started [one by one] darkening the blades of grass with varying shades of green. I painted the large fungi  [fungus?], and dabbed drops of blue in the smaller ones. I also started on the underside of Big Guy.
I took this photo with AV mode, and it is quite bleached out.

Here they are right now. It is quite a detailed work, but I must admit I love working on all the  intricate bits - it's somehow soothing for me right now. There is still much more to be done, but the basics are here.
The colors I am using are leaf green, indanthrone and quin. burnt orange for the grass, and for the rest - aureolin, cobalt blue, quin. red, quin. sienna and alizarin crimson.

I apologize to all of you whose blogs I follow - haven't been following very well. Life is more hectic than I like right now. I am one of the executors of my aunt's will, and that means a lot of sorting, digging for information, talking with lawyers ... UGH! I find that at least one of the things I love doing has to be left out daily - today it was walking Maggie, my dog. But she did get out with my friend. Bruno was ignored for a few days, other than feeding and watering and making sure he was OK. Today he had a good grooming session and some TLC. Planning for classes takes a lot of time, too; I am teaching a watercolor course and a drawing course. The drawing class is harder for me to teach - drawing comes so easily to me [been doing it for decades] that I don't really have to think/plan as much as for painting. So appreciating and understanding a student's difficulty with drawing takes more effort and time.  And of course there's the part-time work as a dental hygienist. But I have made a decision to retire very soon, and I feel very good about that.

Anyway ... that it for now. I will try to post once a week, and keep up with all you bloggers.

Thank you for dropping by!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

EXPERIMENTING ... It's a Good Thing

This photo of my neighbor's sunflowers was my inspiration - taken several weeks ago, during a cold snap.  

My drawing

First washes. I wet the entire sheet [15 x 22 inches] and stroked on some quin. burnt orange.

I did some detail work on the old flower and leaves, using quin. gold, the orange and indanthrone blue for muted greens.

I masked the flower, wet  the paper all over again,  and stroked in some green, mixed from gold, orange and blue.

I added more detail and shadowing using orange, quin. violet and blue. The techniques were a combination of wet-in-wet and wet-on-dry [softening the strokes].

With the masking off

I felt there was not enough strength/support for the sunflower. So I wet the left side and stroked in some of the dark brown mixture.

This was the experiment. I saw the painting as lacking integration, no sense of wholeness. So I wondered .... ??? Could I get away with wetting the entire thing and not loose what had been so far painted?
YES!!! After letting it dry overnight, I wet it all, and applied gold, orange and brown in a circle shapes with the center around the flower. I then sprayed a bit to encourage the colors to move and blend. I am very pleased with the result! If you plan to try this technique, I encourage you to read Nita Engle's book, How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself. I could get away with this because I had used staining colors; anything else would turn to mud. 

This was the same stage as the above painting, but taken on "auto" mode. The previous one was with AV mode.  I find it works better in winter under an artificial light.

And this is the next project.

For a while now, I have been wanting to push my paintings further, using shapes, values, colors, design to convey some emotion. One way I plan to do this is to religiously prepare several value sketches to work out kinks before painting. And I want to be able to skillfully use more of the lost-and-found techniques for edges.

Hmmm ... I guess that's it for today. Thank you very much for dropping by!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wishing All of You the Best of New Years!!!

Gorgeous double daylily for a reference

I masked the flower, and did a w/w wash with burnt orange and indanthrone.

Re-masked the stamen and pistils, and started playing with the petals w/w, using aureolin and quin. sienna. 

Trying to take consistent photos is impossible at this time of year.
More w/w glazing with the orange for the flower, and quin. gold and indanthrone for the greenery.

I took this last summer at a neighbor's - I was taking care of her animals for a week. I don't think I'd seen hanging begonias before this.

The colors used so far were indanthrone, gold and brown madder. I masked the flowers, then wet everything and daubed on the three colors, then when dry, went back to work on the leaves and stem.

More detail on the leaves.

This gives a better idea of the actual colors, though I find with  multi-colored washes and glazing that the color is  very difficult to re-produce with photo and computer.

Just another example of how varies the colors appear.

Started to add more color to the flowers - alizarin crimson and quin. sienna - and glazed the fallen petals with alizarin.

This is where it stands now - almost done! I did want to create a moodier piece, focussing more on overall atmosphere rather than the plant. 

I finished up the chickadee, too, but somehow he looks like a stuffed bird to me.

It has been a difficult time for me. My aunt passed away Dec. 20. She helped bring me up - was around a lot. And for the past number of years, she was a strong supporter of my art. She had a good - no, great - eye, so was invaluable as a critic. She was my mentor and patron. I do, and will, miss her immensely.
Slowly, I am getting back to painting, pushing myself, because my heart is not really in it.

Thank you all for dropping by, and I wish you all the best in 2016!