Friday, February 22, 2013

The Bluebird: God Inspired

13 7/8" x 11 1/8" - watercolor
The bluebirds have been a delight at our feeders this winter. I was able to capture this male waiting to indulge. I loved working on this scene. It takes a little figuring out to have both a foreground and a background show in a 2-dimensional "contrast". I achieved that by putting the bg "wet on wet".  But first I blocked out the bird and the foreground branches. When the wet on wet was totally dry, I removed the mask-it and painted the details of the resting bluebird and the branches. I love this result.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Two Sails at Sunset"

"Two Sails at Sunset"
 Even though this looks simple, it wasn't. Half way through I almost gave up because this had some really hard parts, but then told myself that if I didn't press on, I would never finish anything.
I'm so happy with it now.
Tina is the new owner.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Two Friends - Melded Shadow"

Another (the limit is 3) in the series for Romania, for the February Virtual Paintout. I loved the flippy skirt, the "purses", the beautiful hair styles, the shadow, the movement in this scene on Strada Talazului, in Costinesti. If you'd want to see this on Google go here. It may take a few seconds to bring up the Google map, so be patient. You can see how I adapted the actual scene to this composition.
This is 10 3/8" x 14 1/4".
Technique Tip: This is all about shadows and shading. Shadows are cast by some sort of light source. These have hard edges when one paints or draws. Shading is the "shadow/dark" on a form, be it a leg, a pear, a nose, a body that gives form to the object. These are blended.
That is a major consideration when rendering.
On this piece, there are quite a few shadows. First the major one CAST by the girls. Also more cast shadows are CAST by the flippy skirt across the legs-these have hard edges.
The legs themselves to have form and shape have BLENDED shadows so they look rounded-no hard edges within the shape from dark to light. There are quite a few more instances in this, but this gives you the idea.
"A single rose can be my garden... a single friend, my world." ~Leo Buscaglia
Beginning stage as I started to lay in the flesh tones. I used salt to get the texture in the roadway. Grassy/dirt area running alongside roadway, I used wet color in wet to make the blends and free patterns.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Sand Cakes"

Another striped hat.
Learned a lot about how to make the beach look rolling and full of sea stuff. Also learned more about making tubular shapes just that by using darks and lights. Employed the technique of adding "sand" color under  the water at the front edge of it, to make the water clear and transparent. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Ipanema-And When She Goes Walking...She Takes Her Dog and Water Bottle, too"

Can you get the song out of your head, now? A scene from Google Street View for the November Virtual Paintout challenge. I found these three on the beaches of Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. The wide sidewalks, neat and clean, are eyecatching not only because they are wide, but patterned intriguingly. Imagine walking on these. When my husband first saw this, his comment was, "Muscle Beach", from his seeing this design in CA, USA. Will have to see if Google gets this close to Muscle Beach, just south of Los Angeles.
I was attracted to the girl walking her dog when suddenly I spied the dog carrying the water bottle. That clinched it for one of my selections. (Click on pic to enlarge it to see what I mean, really funny.) On another stretch, I was attracted to this buff young man. So, I put them into one composition. I liked the contrast of dark against light.
Technique Tip: I put the wastebaskets in this comp because they are representative of the placing of these all along this mile after mile stretch of public beach area (which makes for the tidy beach), and they were red. I wanted to use them to make a third red area along with the red leash and the itty-bitty red swim suit. One good color technique/composition-wise: always have an odd number of places for any color used (other than 1, that is). Also another tech.tip, odd number of objects/things: i.e.: man, woman, dog, bird, wastebaskets (considered one unit).
"If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them." ~Phil Pastoret

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Body Language" San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is the Virtual Paintout location for the month of October. Some of the features of this city which is a magnet for artists of all persuasions are the cobblestoned streets, the many textured and colored buildings lining skinny streets, the abundant draping climbing plants, and the plethora of steeples of the many churches thruout the city.
I chose this scene because I thought the language of each of the bodies told a story. This is a friendly group, all interested in the conversation going on between the worker and the woman in pink and black. Obviously, whatever he has to offer about the pile of dirt he is working with will impact each of them.
With the diagonal line across the scene, all the textures are made known to the viewer as the eyes travel along the sidewalk into the middle of the discussion. I love the play of the light and shadows thruout as it comes across the wall. Adds to the interest of the scene. Therein lies the techniques used.
~ "Never fear shadows.... that always means there is a light shining somewhere."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

EYE MAGNET-"Dots, Stripes, and Baby" in "The Artist's Magazine". If you scroll down, see the magazine article at the end.

This October issue of "The Artist's Magazine" contained this critique under the feature, Art Clinic, critiqued by artist, Greg Albert, who "saw" so many pertinent and positive things. And, his suggestions for improvement were right on the money.
When reading Greg A.'s critiques, one learns the fine points of HOW to critique, (describing all good artistic techniques first, then following up with suggestions for improvement.) There's a lot to learn by paying attention to this kind of critique. 
(Click on the page below to enlarge to read. Then, if needed, do, Ctrl+) Very astute critique.
Now, did I learn anything from this critique? Actually, quite a bit and a very important technique. What Greg Albert zeroed in on is important to the painting. I enjoyed reading his verbalization of what I was portraying. Very intensive and comprehensive critique. I love the way he uses an actual painting to "teach". I especially learned that when reviewing and analyzing one's painting one last time, to look for places and edges of confusion as one scans over all. I totally missed the areas he pointed out and will rectify those areas in the near future. Like he said they are easily fixed in this painting. Just should be done to carry it to the next level. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Sun-kissed and Wind-blown Lupines and Laundry, PEI"

One surprising phenomenon on PEI is the surprising red red earth. After the spring plowing for potatoes (one of their largest exports to such fast-food restaurants as Wendys, BurgerKing, etc.-mucho French fries), the fields are exposed in red. This is such an impact that the souvenir stores sell T-shirts with the red earth emblem on them. Also you can buy a bag of Red Earth there, too. On PEI there are many potato fields and farms. This scene is just before spring plowing when the multi-colored lupines that grow along the roadsides in profusion are at their most brilliant. They grow stalwart and soldier-like in bunches of color. A wild delight for the eyes as one travels the country side of PEI. Check out Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney for a cute story about perpetuating lupines....
And, look at that! Clothes hung outside on the line. Don't see that too often in our current fast-paced age.
Technique Tip: I underglazed the green field with a warm (Gam.) and a cool (AY) yellow. Warm in foreground field; cool in back half. This is an artist's technique that helps to create more visual depth in 2-dimensional (flat sheet) art since cool recedes and warm colors bring forward.
When I first "finished" this, I had too much empty middle ground. Not happy with the empty middle space, I added some more foliage behind the lupines and design that casually points to the center of interest as well as cutting down on too much middle space and giving the lupines more anchor in the foreground. Another technique used in composition.
The beginning project without the above changes can be seen on Virtual Paintout. Go there and you can compare what happens when the artist reevaluates a piece.
Each artist submitting to this challenge chooses a Google street scene that appeals to them. It's a great challenge and fun to see what the participant's "discover" and make into a finished project..
"Drinking nature is an unquenchable thirst." ~Berri Clove

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The gray mare with some spots. Horses are so fun to paint. They just look like they want to talk to you. Their eyes are what make them so sensitively expressive.
Technique Tip: Using a darker background gives the values needed to make the horse the center of attention. And using complementary colors as in the gray of the horse and the yellow brown of the mane finishes the contrast. In the background color are all the colors of the mare, but in deeper color and different amounts of each color. This makes for cohesiveness overall.
"The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire." ~Sharon Ralls Lemon