Friday, July 31, 2009

Portrait of Casey #2

Here is Portrait of Casey #2. This time I did the same pose on cold-press watercolor paper. Portrait #1 was on YUPO. I think I might need to lighten up the eyelashes a bit since it is such a high-key painting. I'm happy to have finished it in time for visit with my sister (Casey's mom) this Sunday. She decided to surprise us by driving down from Idaho.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mural Mock-Up #1

I'm starting to get comments about why I haven't done any work on my mural project, so I decided I better get working on a color "mock-up". Unfortunately, I found that several of my acrylic paints are almost empty or are dried up, so mixing colors was a bit challenging. This study is done on a piece of "practice" canvas that comes in a pad. The colors aren't quite right so I need to look up some of my reference photos from Tahoe. The water on the right side should extend all the way to the edge (instead of sand), but I somehow missed that when painting it. The reflection of the rocks was an afterthought.

If you have any suggestions that might help me out, please send them my way. For example, I know I should have painted the background tree on left first and a little paler.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Plein Air - Sly Park

We just spent 4 days camping at Sly Park, on Jenkins Lake. I was enjoying the shade of all the beautiful trees and too lazy to move to a new location in the sun so I just painted my view from our campsite picnic table. Two of the children in our group came alongside and started to draw with me. They were so sweet. I tried to do minimal drawing and wanted to just try something loose. I ended up using pen and ink to pull it together (one of my favorite techniques).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Casey on Yupo

A couple artist friends and I got together yesterday to play with YUPO, the synthetic (plastic) watercolor paper alternative. The paint doesn't react the way you expect which is frustrating and exciting. I am working on a portrait of my niece, Casey, on traditional cold-press paper but decided to try it on YUPO, just for fun. At first I couldn't get the paint to "stick" where I put it. For some reason it wouldn't "stay" on her nose! Very strange. I must have gotten a little oil from my hands on the YUPO and it was causing a sort of resist. Well, here is my final (maybe) project. I might need to add some more darks after I look at it for a while. Unfortunately I couldn't get it to photograph very well, the background is actually white.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Winter Tree Studies

Here are some winter tree studies I've been working on. I'm using a book called Drawing Towards Watercolor by Peter Woolley, with the hope that it will help me improve my pleine air technique, as well as, my regular paintings. My challenge is learning to simplify, simplify, simplify!

In the collaged picture above the idea was to practice sketching basic bare trees, looking at their structure and finally adding watercolor. A couple of the samples play with the idea of creating depth by painting the pale branches over a damp background and then adding the darker foreground branches when the paper has dried. The top right corner shows graduating from dark colors to light, warm colors as the branch gets thinner and thinner to give the effect that light is hitting the tiny ends.

The final painting was done on watercolor canvas. This was the first time I've used this product and I found it a bit difficult to control. My sky was the hardest, I couldn't seem to get a nice soft blended look. Also, when you try to put down subsequent layers the previous layer tries to lift off. It is really easy to get back to a crisp, hard-edged white.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This month the assignment was to paint our version of a Maxfield Parrish painting, I chose Violetta. I saved the face for last knowing I would have trouble with it. It tried to just keep it really minimal. Also, I didn't realize at first that I did the tile floor different from the original - call it artistic license!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Another "Study"

Since I had just finished my Yosemite River painting the night before, I needed something to work on the next morning when I went to paint with my friends so I did this quick little study from a book. I'm hoping this type of thing will help me when I'm painting en plein air. Now, to find my next subject!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Finally! The painting is finished!

It seemed like it took quite a bit of tweaking to finally finish this piece. I had trouble with the water, was a bit hesitant with my strokes, but I am pretty satisfied with my first attempt at running water.


Then I started working on defining the clumps of trees and brush in the background.

Next are the rocks

Next I laid in the first wash on the rocks.

Yosemite Painting in Progress

Here are some of the differents steps I went through while working out this painting. Here I've just laid in a wet-in-wet wash of blue and yellow for the sky and foliage.

Yosemite River Sketch and Planning

During our trip to Yosemite our group decided to hike to the bridge at the base of Vernal Falls. When two of the group decided to continue on to the top I took the opportunity to start planning a painting of the river, where the water from Vernal Falls meets the Merced River. I've always been interested in how artists are able to capture moving water.

I started with a VERY loose thumbnail sketch which I later developed further at home, trying to work out my values. Here is my sketch and set-up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Practice Study

This is just a little practice study (from a book) that I did on vacation.