Monday, October 19, 2009

Footbridge in the Park with Watercolor


When our children were small another artist friend and I occasionally packed a picnic lunch, herded the kids into the car, and headed for an outing in the park with our painting gear. This small En Plein Air (painting in the open air) watercolor sketch was done all alone, by myself, after the kids had grown up. It was quiet and peaceful. I could concentrate without distractions. But I observed other mothers with their children off in the distance and almost wished my kids were that age again…almost.


This was done with a fine grey art marker followed by watercolor on top in a little 5 x 7 spiral-bound sketchbook. The paper wasn't made for watercolor so it ended up a bit warped and wavy. But that's okay. It took about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Little Graphite Shih Tsu Named Natalie


No other dog could replace my friend's little Shih Tsu named Buddy when he went to be with God in heaven. Then along came Natalie! No, she couldn't replace Buddy but she is loved just as much and is in a class all her own.

This little gal was a joy to draw. I used a #2 pencil with a touch of #5 here and there in the darkest areas. I used a kneaded eraser for highlights and mistakes!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Koi in Watercolor



I have always admired the beautiful Oriental paintings of Koi. And a real live Koi pond is even more beautiful. Like a sunset, God certainly put beautiful color in His creation!

This was fun to paint because it was a lot of loose wet-on-wet (wet paint onto wet paper) with a little sprinkling of non-iodized salt as it dried. I used a little more control in painting the fish and some scratching for the ripples on top of the water.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Margaritaville in Capitola


Painting En Plein Air watercolor once again on a recent trip to an area near Santa Cruz, California, a bar called Margaritaville near the beach in Capitola. This must be a landmark because it's been there a long time!

Painting solely in watercolor first, I later added the pen and ink.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Beyond the Sand Bar at Lake Hodges En Plein Air






Another En Plein Air (in the open air) Watercolor Painting outing at Lake Hodges. That French phrase makes all the bugs, sand, wind, and heat sound so romantic! One thing I know is that painting in the “elements” sure made me thirsty! Such fun!



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just a Little Lipstick!

What could be more exciting than a little girl, jewelry, clothes, shoes, purses and lipstick?


I did this watercolor portrait today using a different way of stretching paper onto an inexpensive prepared deep edge canvas instead of a piece of plywood. The stretched canvas adds a stable backing instead of just stretching the watercolor paper onto bare stretcher bars. Then, in place of glass for glazing, I sprayed the finished artwork with several coats of Krylon Workable Fixatif followed by Golden Archival Varnish, letting each coat thoroughly dry in between. This can be hung with glass (separated by matt board) and a frame, or without glass and a frame, whichever you prefer.


There is nothing more beautiful than wooden, enamel, or metal moulding and acid-free matt board to compliment your artwork and decor but sometimes with the high cost of framing or a more trendy contemporary look, you may want to go frameless.





Monday, September 28, 2009

En Plein Air Watercolor Painting of Lake Hodges


Painting Watercolor En Plein Air (in the Open Air) on this outing was very exhausting. It was soooo hot! We lugged out equipment to the lake edge, set up, fought flying and crawling insects and dry Santa Ana winds. We left sunburned even though we had umbrellas and sunscreen! What a great day!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Watercolor En Plein Air of Santa Rosa Plateau in Mid Summer

Although I'm never satisfied with my results painting Watercolor En Plein Air (in the outdoors), it's always a wonderful experience. This was no exception. This is Santa Rosa Plateau is near Temecula, CA. What a nice way to spend the day!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mr. Toots Watercolor Sketch

I painted this quick, 45 minute, watercolor sketch in Capitola, California just south of Santa Cruz. My daughter had to work on some artwork so we found this quaint coffee shop called Mr. Toots. We followed a narrow stairway up to the second floor where we were greeted by heavenly smells of coffee beans, sandwiches, and pastries. One end had a tiny balcony that overlooked the beach and restaurants below. We sat in a corner with our espresso and pumpkin pie from midday until dark. The seasonal tourists had left and it wasn’t crowded so we felt like 7 hours wasn’t too long to take up a table! And there was plenty of caffeine to keep us from nodding off (as if that’s a problem when you’re doing something you love…like art and spending time with your daughter!).


This painting is done on textured clay board (by Ampersand) instead of watercolor paper, and measures 6"x 6". I’ve always wanted to try it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Road From the Winery En Plein Air with Watercolor and Ink

En plein air is a French term that means painting “in the open air”.


Going outdoors away from my regular routine is so therapeutic! Fresh air and beautiful surroundings clears my mind of concerns, and Painting outdoors on location gives me a chance to use a different area of my brain. This area is in Southern California wine country where I frequently meet another artist friend En Plein Air to paint.



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Marlin fishing...Portrait of a Man and His Fish!



This is a little different way of painting a portrait.
I wanted to capture several stages of the Marlin fishing experience on just one sheet of watercolor paper. Yes, the two fishermen are the same person, my uncle.

Painting this brought back memories of another experience, my first deep sea fishing trip with him, and the delicious fresh Rock Cod we fried at his restaurant later that evening.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Portrait of an Uncle



Hello, I'm back! This summer we suddenly lost a beloved member of our family. I did this watercolor portrait of him back in 1983 as we sat talking in his office space that was set up as my studio-gallery. Through the years he encouraged me in my art and commissioned several paintings. This quick painting took about a half hour. And it was good practice because he did not sit still!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Summer Hiatus

Thank you for checking in with me during this summer of no blogging! I have been busy with unexpected family events that put my regular work schedule on hold. It seems this is a more frequent occurrence as we all age, and I had to adjust my priorities for a short time before getting back to my "normal" routine.

Some of you have inquired about the materials I use, and others about specific techniques such as blending to get my smooth skin tones. I haven't forgotten you!

I'll begin posting again starting September 1. Thank you so much for your patience!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Portrait of a Daughter-finished

It’s been a while since my last post. Summer is such a busy season, with many changes in our family! I can hardly keep up! I hope you haven’t forgotten me! This is the finished painting of Portrait of a Daughter. I intended this portrait to be somewhere between realistic and fantasy. The finished size is 30” x 22.5”


I have added lots of color and heightened the gold tones in her hair quite a bit.

Here are a few close-ups of Dumbo, Charlotte, and the owl from Bambie…

Cinderella, Laurel and Hardy…

Her shoes, and Bugs bunny... Ththth…that’s all folks! (only for now!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Watercolor of Mission San Luis Rey

This painting is of San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside, California. I painted it several years ago. It is a beautiful, popular spot for weddings.

I took an unexpected break from posting last week. And I have been doing a different kind of painting...our living room walls! My husband and I have been peeling off old wallpaper, sanding, spackling, and re-painting. We have both been working so hard that things around our house were getting neglected!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Portrait of a Daughter-A Little Work From Head to Toe

My favorite part of any portrait is the actual face. I like to start with it as soon as possible to establish the values (lights and darks) of the whole painting. After I establish the face, I move on to the torso, hands, and feet. But I don’t make it as dark as I intend, yet! I do a little background, a little sky, a little of the tree…and I’ll keep going back over the whole painting with layer after layer of color until I think it’s just right! At this stage of the painting everything looks a bit "chalky".


I have a lot of work to do on the hair to make it look “real”. And I’ll be better able to see how much more to add to the subject herself when I have more of the tree painted in.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Portrait of a Daughter-More Background Characters!

Continuing on with my watercolor portrait painting, I am adding more background characters. I am painting them very light and pale because I want attention to be on the subject herself instead of the dreamlike background characters.



Monday, June 1, 2009

Portrait of a Daughter-Beginning the Background Characters

This watercolor portrait painting I’m working on will be 22½” x 30”. And it has several little cartoon characters in the background measuring only and inch or two in size. I’m showing you just the beginning stages of five little characters here with the actual pencil drawing on the watercolor paper beside it. I keep a detailed picture of each character nearby, like a video cover or book, for reference as I paint.



In reality these are actually so small that they appear a little blurry because I tried to enlarge them for this post.

Watch how I develop them as the painting process moves along.

A word about copying copyrighted characters: Most of the characters were created by Walt Disney or other artists. I cannot paint these characters and sell them. But I can use them in a portrait background for the purpose of the portrait subject as props to show her personality.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Portrait of a Daughter-Planning the Background

The background of this portrait I'm working on needs some thought. The tree my subject is leaning on will be a Magnolia, since that is her favorite, and they grow in her area.


I’ve determined that this portrait will have a whimsical feeling to it, so I'll bring in some of the subject’s elements of childhood. I gathered pictures that represent some of her childhood memories, videos and pictures of characters in stories she enjoyed as a child.


Next I’ve been working on a few sketches on tracing paper to determine size and placement in the composition.

Come back next time to see more progress!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Portrait of a Daughter-a Beginning

One day as I was flipping through a fashion magazine I saw an article about the movie Beatrix Potter with a beautiful photo shoot of the movies’ star, Rene’e Zellweger by photagrapher, Mario Testino.

I thought, “My, wouldn’t that be a beautiful idea for a portrait painting?”


Well, I soon got a chance to use my idea! I had only one photograph to use for the portrait, and I thought it just might work, since I know the subject personally!

I did a detailed sketch on tracing paper, changing Rene’e Zellweger’s proportions by elongating the neck and legs, and adding the face from the subject’ photo.

I added a pet cat and a single stem rose as props to make it personal. I also changed details of the dress and shoes to a more generic representation from an old Sears catalogue, so as not to steal from the original designer.


Next I enlarged my sketch about 200% on a copy machine, several sections at a time. I taped all the sections together with clear tape and positioned the enlargement onto a prepared piece of watercolor paper with drafting tape at the top. Drafting tape looks like masking tape except that it’s not as sticky, so it won’t ruin your painting surface.

This is the enlarged copy of the drawing. I will next put a piece of homemade graphite carbon paper underneath my drawing and carefully trace the image onto the watercolor paper (See lesson #12-Perspective and Shading in Watercolor, where I show how to do this).

I’ll show you my progress on my next post!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Take Me To MY Friends, a Little Closer Look




Monday, May 18, 2009

Take Me To My Friends - A Finished Painting Series!

Side by Side


8 x 10..................................11 x 14


16 x 20..............................22 x 28


24 x 36

Now that I have finished this series of paintings called Take Me To My Friends, I hope you can see that it tells a simple story. It’s kind of hard, in this blog, to see the exact sizes represented here. But you can get a little idea.

I really enjoyed painting this clean, contemporary style with all the white negative space surrounding the elements.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Painting Series Progress by Adding More Fruit

Well, little by little I am making progress with this series! Here I have done a light under-painting for a bowl of fruit. I grabbed what I had in the refrigerator and had to make a run to the store for a fresh pineapple…and totally forgot some bananas!

I’ve slowly added more color. It was a little hard, by the way, to find a round ball of cheese. I found it at an Italian import market in our area. It’s really going to be aged by the time I’m finished using it as a prop.

This is still not finished. Notice that the strawberries have no seeds yet. And with all that fruit sitting on my drawing table I just had to take a break and find something to eat before continuing!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Progress on a Watercolor Series with Wine and Pineapple

As I continue painting, I think the wine glass is just a little bit too small. It needs to be bigger! But what can I do?

I took a firm bristled watercolor brush with clean water and painted over the outside edges of the class and the foot of the stem, and pressed over it with a paper towel. Then I wet it again, and pressed again, lifting up paint. Again and again…until the paint was almost gone. Then I let it dry.

Then I began painting again, expanding the sides and top with new paint. The new paint covered the areas I had lifted and you can’t even tell!

Then I propped a big old pineapple in front of me and began painting that in, layer by layer. And I have started to add just the slightest under-painting of a shadow for the wine glass.