THE INCEPTION OF A PAINTING

•November 18, 2013 • 2 Comments

Many artists struggle when starting a new painting. We question what subject do we want to paint. How to start the painting. What colors should we choose to use. There are many more questions such as how large or small should the painting be. The list goes on & on.

I keep folders filled with photos I’ve taken of various subjects including sunrises, flowers, shadows, clouds, animals and anything that interests me. I paint exclusively from my own photos or I will paint what I see outside.

I will Photoshop my photos using an assortment of filters to help guide me & allow me to better ‘see’ or understand the drawing needed for the image I desire to paint.

This is my starting point to help familiarize myself with the subject I want to paint.

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GARDEN statue2

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Images have been changed using Photoshop.

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GARDEN statue3

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I draw using ink pens of various sizes. This lets me establish my values.

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GARDEN statue4

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I negative paint a wet in wet wash creating the background behind & around my flowers & statue.

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GARDEN statue5

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 I finally add some color to the flowers and using a violet gray I add definition to the figure of the girl. This is not a completed painting but a small rendering of the painting I’d like to do. I can see the areas I would change or where I’d like to add some extreme darks. I will do several studies of this photo and then take out a full sheet of watercolor paper and enjoy making my brush & pigment dance with vibrant colors across the surface of the paper.

I like the preliminary trials because they give me the freedom to play & explore the joy of painting with watercolor.

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Paint with Me

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Faces in Watercolor

•October 22, 2013 • 2 Comments

In my search to find new images to attempt to paint I came across a photo I took several years ago of a young girl. What attracted me to this image was the wind-blown pieces of hair.

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Emma1___________________________________________________

To help guide me and help me see the lines to draw this image I applied several filters to the original picture using Photoshop.

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Emma2

Emma3

Emma4

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Each picture allows me to clearly see the shapes within the picture.

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Faces_____________________________________________________________________

My drawing of the face. All I’m trying to capture are the shapes that make up the face. I softly use an eraser to lighten the dark pencil lines.

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Using watercolor I paint the shapes not worrying about creating the actual face. (If I paint the shapes a face should appear) This turns into a fun project and I paint fearless of the outcome.

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faces3______________________________________________________________________

In the finished painting I feel the face came out looking older than the age of the girl in the photo. I like the strands of hair blowing across her face. I will return to this picture and do a practice series of paintings to see how different colors and techniques alter the finished results. Time spent painting is always time spent learning and today I had a wonderful lesson in painting a face.

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Paint with Me

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I Painted a Dog in Watercolor!

•September 10, 2013 • 4 Comments

When the reality of life distracts me and I find it hard to concentrate on painting I go to my studio and organize my supplies, rearrange my space, & clean. I enjoy reviewing the large collection of photographs I’ve taken, mentally planning my next painting . As I relax my mind and stop worrying about what I should be painting something always grabs my attention and this time it was a photo of my friend’s dog named Jasmine. She is a 200 lb English Mastiff that lives with my friends Sal & Alan on 250+ acres in VT.

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Jasmine a

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Working from these 2 photos I lightly sketched an outline of her face and started by painting the eyes. I couldn’t tell you why I start with the eyes but I feel if I can create lifelike eyes then I’ll have a chance of bringing a little personality or life into the painting.

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Jasmine b____________________________________________________________________________________________________

A close up of the eye & the detail of shadowing the area into a droopy shape.

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Jasmine c______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I continued painting the face making sure not to add too much color. This was challenging because I love COLOR but I resisted the urge to take the painting another direction by adding a variety of fun colors. My goal was to have a  realistic portrait yet not try to replicate the photo.  It was exciting to see her face take shape!

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Jasmine d

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Adding the ears helped to define the outline of her head but the most fun was creating the background or illusion of her body. Here is where my watercolor paints were allowed to run and merge and flow down the paper.

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 Her face she has so much expression because of the droop & sag of her loose skin. I’m quite happy I kept the color subdue and allowed her character & demeanor to shine through. My finished painting shows what a great animal she truly is.

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Paint with Me

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Excited to Paint Ducklings

•June 22, 2013 • 2 Comments

As I pursue, with enthusiasm, my desire to paint a select group of animals I turn my attention to the cute little duckling. I did a pencil sketch first to give myself an outline of what I was going to paint.

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Baby Chicks2___________________________________________________________________________

The fun began as I filled the paper with luscious & juicy watercolor pigments. This is one of my studies. It’s extremely soft and the focus is on their dark eyes.

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Baby Chicks1 ____________________________________________________________________________

I am trying to acquire the skills needed to allow me to paint these animals loose & colorful.

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Baby Chick1_____________________________________________________________________

Baby Chick2________________________________________________________________________

I do not want to paint a photographic image of a duckling. Instead I want to give the viewer the energy & spirit of the animal in a unique way.

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Here I continue, with determination, my desire to paint these ducklings.

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EYES duck #3 5-2013_____________________________________________________________________

EYES duck #2 5-2013__________________________________________________________________________

EYES duck#5 5-2013_________________________________________________________________________

EYES duck #6 5-2013________________________________________________________________________

Learning + Practicing = Improving

Pick a subject you would love to paint

Discipline yourself to play with your paints daily even if it’s only for a limited amount of time.

You will see how fast you hone, polish & sharpen your skills

MOST OF ALL…HAVE FUN

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PAINT WITH ME

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Animal Eyes……continued

•May 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I have continued doing small studies of how to paint eyes. These are my latest exercises of dog eyes in watercolor.

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Eyes aa 2

 

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Bringing the eyes to life is quite a challenge.

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Eyes aa 3_______________________________________________________________________________

Here I explored not only the eyes but the entire shape of the dogs head.

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Eyes aa 4 Eyes aa 6

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The time I spent was fun & fruitful. With each study I felt myself growing towards a successful painting…BUT I’m not there yet. There will be many more sketches & lessons for me to learn before I’m comfortable painting the likeness of an animal.

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Paint with me

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Animal Eyes in Watercolor

•May 13, 2013 • 9 Comments

Today I put aside my fear of drawing eyes and started a study of painting eyes from my photo reference collection. I enlarged photos of my dogs faces so I could see the detail & shape of their eyes clearly.

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EYES #3 5-2013

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I  started by drawing an elongated oval shape with pointed ends & added a circle in the center, that was the extent of my drawing. I used a very controlled amount of water & pigment allowing the paint to mingle & flow outside the drawn lines.

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EYES #1 5-2013

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I focused on the shape of the eye and the importance of having a white highlight within the iris to show the reflection of light in the subject’s eye.

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EYES #2 5-2013

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EYES #6 5-13

EYES #6 5-13a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What an enjoyable way to spend a rainy afternoon in the studio

playing with the colors & shapes of eyes.

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EYES # 5 5-13

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Using a variety of cool & warm colors I attempted a portrait of my friend Moose. I’m not trying to paint a replica of him but I’m happy I captured the likeness of my departed companion.

Doing these studies of assorted eyes validated my belief that I could achieve positive results using my watercolor paints and not rely on drawing skills alone.

Trying something unfamiliar, like painting eyes, helps me to refocus & expand my ideas on what I want to paint as an artist. It felt good to be concentrating on the newness of the subject and gave me freedom to explore & probe the unknown. Tomorrow I might go back to a subject that I’m more comfortable with but I learned so much from today’s painting that I think I’ll fill another day with the challenges of painting animal faces.

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Paint with Me

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Sharing My Favorite Watercolor Paints

•April 9, 2013 • 2 Comments

Recently my artist friend, Carol, asked me how I achieve such vibrancy in my paintings. I believe it’s the fact that I use lots of fresh pigment when I paint & I use very good paint. I offered to share some of my paints with her so she could try them and then decide if she’d like to purchase some for herself. I made up this sample strip to give her.

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Paint Samples1

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Paint Samples2

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I placed a small blob of paint on a strip of watercolor paper, wrote the name & brand of the paint and added a small color sample so she could see each color. The brands I use the most are (H) Holbein (DS) Daniel Smith (MG) M Graham. I find these paints stay moist for a long time & re-wet beautifully. These brands have plenty of magnificent colors for me to choose from.

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Paint Samples3

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I have made these sample strips for when I plein air paint or if I want to take a tiny amount of my favorite colors with me as I travel or if I want to just  sit down on the beach.  I can choose whatever colors I want and make them ahead of time so they can harden. A wet brush will activate the blobs and I can competently & effortlessly paint in my journal or pad.

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I think Carol will enjoy these little jewels of color I made for her. Maybe she’ll find some new colors to add to her palette.

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Paint with Me

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