Friday, January 27, 2006

Watercolor Painting - Shady Cat

Sometimes when an artist comes up with a new idea it can be a disaster! I have been thinking about a painting that indicates an abstract pattern while reflecting reality. It requires looking at it in terms of light and dark values which from a distance will reflect the reality of the scene. Early sketches failed to give me what I was looking for in this new concept, at least new for me! A restless night, milk and cookies, and old photo references, can do wonders! I found a picture of cat resting in the sun at my Mothers house. With several modifications it was exactly what I was looking for in this Painting.

My early sketch looked very good, and I was getting excited about the painting. There are times when you just know a painting will work. It was sketched on 300lb Arches CP paper. Next, to save the whites, I laid down large flows of mask. In retrospect, I should have used masking tape and mask. The abstract pattern was completed.

After all that work, it was time to drop in the darks. I mixed several test patches of color to get the luminous grays and browns I wanted. I ended up using only three colors, Ultramarine Blue, Aureolin Yellow and Red Rose Deep for my palette. As I began to place the darks in the painting, out of nowhere I decided to drop in some mid-values. Sometimes a painting will lead you where it wants to go, or is it the right side of your brain? At any rate, the painting lived up to my expectations. I hope you like it. An artist friend from Australia said it was purrrfect (if you will pardon the pun)!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Painting Outdoors - Plein Air

As an artist, each day I see scenes all around me that I would like to paint, and impart my special vision. My latest adventures into painting outdoors (plein-air) have been difficult. Sketching, that is a whole different story! I can carry my sketch pad and camera with me everywhere I go. Sketching and taking reference pictures can be a lot of fun. Artists that can haul all their painting stuff to the great outdoors and set up to paint have always held my respect. Many who are accomplished at this form of outdoor painting refer to the other artists who do not paint in the outdoors as “studio” artist. Yep, that is me! I have been a studio artist for years. Frankly, it is not half bad, because you have all your art stuff around you in your studio. You are not limited in what you can do by not having all your stuff!

Plein-air painting in watercolor is something I intend to conquer. I have decided not to let this style of painting beat me! Culling my art stuff down to a manageable lot that I can carry has been a trying experience. I’m always thinking what if I need this, or that, and by time I’m finished packing, I can hardly carry all this stuff! This is a painting that I sketched on location at Longwood, Florida, and finished in my studio. So, it is one-half plein-air painting and one-half a studio painting.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Watercolor Portrait

Painting a portrait in watercolor is a difficult process. If certain features of the face are off slightly, the person portrayed does not reflect reality. With other media adjustments are facilitated in a manner that does not make the painting look overworked. Transparent watercolor allows for some adjustments, but the transparent look will fade as more pigment is driven into the fibers of the paper when adjustments are made. The artist must plan well ahead to avoid that scrubbed overworked look. The following portrait was painted in November 2005, and completed and framed in early December 2005.