Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nude Study in Colored Pencil

Lost through the years, was a nude study in colored pencil I did back in the 1970's.  I found a picture in a magazine of Charlton Heston and thought it would make a good figure subject.  Of coarse I changed his face but tried to render his body accurately. I used celebrity photos from magazines a lot in those years.  I didn’t pick up a paint brush until I was in my 30’s because rendering an image in color was very scary to me.  Graphite pencils or ink felt comfortable in my hands so colored pencils seemed like a safe controllable step towards color from black and white.
I recently uncovered the drawing in a drawer while cleaning. I think I'll frame it and hang it in our bathroom and see if my husband notices the change of decor!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rain Cycle - Watercolor of Bicycling in the Rain

Rain Cycle     7 1/4" x 20"

 This watercolor painting of a bicyclist in the rain reminds me of life, sometimes.  The rain can stop us from getting where we want to go or we can peddle through it and let it nourish us and become an adventure. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Horseback Riding in the Sicilian Countryside II - Watercolor

  Close up   

This is the last of a series of watercolor paintings of sisters, all done from photos of a trip to Sicily several years ago. They’ve grown up quite a bit by now and they are beautiful young ladies!
 I painted the background landscape pale in comparison to the horse and rider to emphasize the portrait itself. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Horseback Riding in the Sicilian Countryside – Watercolor

In a previous post featured a step-by-step watercolor painting of a girl on horseback with a white background.  I got a good comment about that and decided to go ahead and paint in a background.  (Thanks, Timothy!) 
Unlike oil, acrylic, gouache, or pastel, watercolor takes a bit more pre-planning.  The whites have to be painted around or left unpainted.   I rarely use maskit and never use gouache for highlights when I paint.  If a painted area needs to be lightened I actually scrub the spot with clear water and lift pigment off by blotting with a paper towel. – quite painstaking and time-consuming.  And the area can never be brought back to pure white.  That’s why planning ahead and lots of practice pay off!

There is a trick I have heard about but never dared to try.  Years ago I read an article by Steve Hanks where he told of dropping a little bleach on the paper in an area that needed to be whitened then quickly following it with baking soda to neutralize and deactivate the bleach.  Any of you watercolorists tried that? 

Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Make a Homemade Watercolor “Canvas”

I showed how I make a watercolor “canvas” in my post Watercolor Painting of a Sicilian Friendship.  Here is a side view of that finished painting

It is sprayed with about 4 coats of Golden Archival Matte Varnish on both the front and sides for protection. This is a Mineral Spirit Acrylic Aerosol product  so follow directions on the can and use in a well-ventilated area.

Once the varnish is dry it is ready to frame or just attach a hanger to the back and hang without a frame for a contemporary look. 

 Use a wire hanger or saw tooth hanger for wood frames & canvases. 
After wrapping the wire around itself I wrapped the sharp ends of wire with masking tape:

This is a large wall hook used for heavy pictures framed with matt and class (holds up to 300lbs.).  Smaller hooks may be used for framed paintings without matt or glass and unframed watercolor canvases such as the painting at the top of this page.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Horseback riding – in Watercolor

In this watercolor painting of horse and rider I once again got carried away with painting detail.  I enjoy detail!  And I‘m still trying to decide if I should leave the background white or paint in a landscape as I originally planned.  What do you think? 

Step One - Starting the under-painting

Starting to add darker glazes

Monday, June 4, 2012

Watercolor Painting of a Napoleon Pastry

Napoleon Pastry 6” x 6

This is another painting of a mouth-watering pastry, a Napoleon, from Heaven Sent Desserts.  This is my all time favorite!  We love going out to eat dessert.  That way we each buy only one and don’t have left overs to eat for a week!  I can only imagine how much I would weigh if I made this stuff myself! 

Here’s a peek at my painting progress.

It's also posted on Oil and Water We Paint, our small paintings blog! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Small Watercolor painting of a Blackberry Cupcake

Blackberry Cupcake -  watercolor - 6" x 6"

This watercolor painting of a Blackberry cupcake from Heaven Sent Desserts is my first post on Oil and Water We Paint, a new site I share with a couple artist friends, Lorraine Dawson and Jean Herrick!  I have known Lorraine, an oil painter, since our oldest children were in kindergarten and we've shared many adventures!  Jean is a new friend who became an oil painter after a long career as a watercolorist.  All paintings on our site will be small and for sale! 

I hope you enjoy this, our new adventure, as I get back into posting after several detoured starts! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Watercolor Painting of a Sicilian Friendship

Sicilian Friendship 12" x 16"
A watercolor painting from one of those rare memories actually captured by a camera while on a trip to Italy. This gentle horse is licking the soft little fingers of my husband’s niece!  

It’s been way too long since I have painted or posted!  Life demands interruptions from time to time, something I am very familiar with.  I’m happy to have finished this painting and I hope you enjoy it!

These are the two digital references on my computer.

I wet a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper, wrapped it around and stapled it on the back of an inexpensive prepared canvas, then let it dry.


In Photoshop I pieced the reference photo files together, converted it to black and white, and made a print to see the values (lights & darks) more easily.

As a shortcut I traced the image onto my “watercolor canvas”.

Layer upon layer, I began painting undertone color washes.

From light to dark.

 Adding the details last, I used my computer to enlarge the digital photo to reference the faces, then finished by painting the sides of the “canvas” with corresponding color. I sprayed the whole painting with Krylon Workable Fixatif and several coats of Golden Matte Archival Varnish, all acid-free. I do this to enable me to frame the painting without glass.