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Friday, January 29, 2010

"Roses Gone Wild" embroidery project done

Since I only have a drawing of my next painting in the works (and not very interesting to look at right now), I'll post my freestyle embroidery project that I completed today.  Now I will sew it into a handbag.  I call it "freestyle" because I made it up as I went along.  It was very hard to photograph - too much shine made my camera not focus.  I'm glad I don't have to do this for a living!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Autumn in the Mountains" ... Feels good to be satisfied with it!

I finished it, I signed it, I am satisifed with it!  This painting had many different stages.  It was a nice enough painting at different times in the process, but something wasn't right for me, so I kept plugging away, changing, changing.  Luckily, the surface allowed this.  This is done on Pastelbord.  This painting gave me the opportunity to work on clouds.  It wasn't easy, to say the least.  But it was a fun challenge and I'd like to do more cloudscapes. 

We've had a few weeks of dreary grey skies here - snow, rain, sleet.  Today the sun came out, and there is some blue skies and puffy clouds!  It is so uplifting!  Makes me so happy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Autumn in the Mountains" rethink, revisit, revise...

After looking at this partially done painting on my easle for weeks, thinking, thinking, thinking "what does it need?", I finally came to this conclusion:  I had to remember what drew me to this view, what was remarkable, what was the most important thing.  Art teachers ask you "what is the painting ABOUT?"  Well, for me, when I was there, it was the sky. 

So I have started to emphasize the sky and make it more dramatic with more contrast to make it more important than the rest of the painting.  So, that is what I'm working on here, and also working my way down in the painting.  Sometimes when you change one thing, you change the balance of lights and darks, so then you have to try to adjust in other places too!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pink Lily - Colored Pencil over Watercolor

Again, I did a watercolor painting first, then I went over it in colored pencil (Prismacolor).  This is great fun if you like to draw and love to do detail.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hawaiian Bouquet - colored pencils over watercolor

After doing the turtles, I decided to try another technique - doing a watercolor painting first, then doing colored pencils (again the wax based kind) over it.  This worked very, very nice and speeded up the process of the work.  Then I worked on burnishing (going over a penciled area with a clear or lighter color pencil to give a polished look).  This was a fun project.  I think I captured the shine of the Antheriums (the red heart shaped flower.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Two Turtles" - Working in Colored Pencil

I want very much to paint, I am inspired by my new art magazines that came in the mail, I'm inspired by the artist blogs I have been following, and I'm inspired by the folks that share their art on  But, alas,  life has been keeping me away from it.  My car was vandalized by a serious rock-thrower, and my Mom has needed help finding the elusive items that are somewhere in one of 50 or so boxes in storage ... so, I've decided, once again, to share old work in my sketchbook for now.

Since I've enjoyed seeing the Leatherback turtles recently, I remember doing Hawaiin Loggerhead Turtles in colored pencils.  These are Prismacolor Premium (wax based) color pencils.  Let me tell you, I TOTALLY ADMIRE the artists that do work totally in these pencils.  This drawing of the "Two Turtles" took FOREVER!  To get a certain color, like the dark almost black color on the turtle's scales, I must have used dark green, marroon, dark blue, dark purple, dark red - layer over layer. 

Sometimes I really enjoy detail (with a capital "D"!)  Colored pencils give me this opportunity.  If you'd like to see some really awesome colored pencil work - visit and visit the Colored Pencil section.  There is some amazing work in there.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back Home!

We got home from Costa Rica last night.  We only used carry-on luggage.  So, this is the tiny art kit I brought:  watercolor pencils, a little sketchbook, a water-filled brush, and a mechanical pencil.  We were on the coast, so enjoyed the ocean view.  Many days it was very windy, and blew the spray off the top of the waves.  It was so windy one day (maybe 80 mph winds) up in the mountains where we were supposed to have a canopy tour, and they had to close the park (after we drove 2-1/2 hours to get there!).  And according to other travelers, the rainforests near the volcanoes we had hoped to visit (but they turned out too far away to drive) were socked-in with rain and the butterflies, birds and monkeys were all hiding.  So, it was OK that we didn't try to go to that area.

But the highlight of our trip was to see the leatherback turtles nesting.  We got lucky there!  We made reservations at the marine preserve and went out at the scheduled time of 11pm.  After orientation from the park officials and guides, we were taken out to the beach at midnight (no moon and very dark) without flashlights (the rule).  The guide had a red-light flashlight to guide the group of only 60 people allowed - single-file.  At the beach I could make out a few turtles being protected by volunteers and researchers.  We were escorted to one turtle, digging a nest.  We got to view up close as he shown the red-light on the hole she was digging.  Then he escorted us to the beach to see her tracks in the sand, and he gave information about these endangered turtles.  Then we went back to her and got to see the eggs dropping into the nest. 

No one is allowed to use flash cameras.  So I had to take some pictures off the internet to share the experience here:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Work in Progress - Pastel over Watercolor

I have been putting pastel over the watercolor underpainting - lightly.  I'd like to try to leave some of the watercolor showing through.  Especially in the sky.  I am only trying to define the clouds a little more.  I am working from top to bottom.  So right now the bottom half is just started.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The first painting in 2010

Today I started my pastel painting - using a watercolor underpainting shown here.  I am using Ampersand PastelBord in white.   I used the waterbottle to spray water on, then tapped the sky colors in, let them spread and bleed.  Then I used a papertowel to dab out the  clouds, and a hairdryer to stop the spread.  Next I tilted my board and did mountains and foreground, so the moisture would bleed down instead of up into the sky.

Break time!  I hope to work this afternoon and tomorrow morning on this ... I have the easle up and ready to go ...

I have a lot of busy times ahead!  My Mom is moving up here tomorrow!  I'll be helping her unpack and get settled in her new home.  Then, this weekend my husband and I leave for a vacation in Costa Rica.  We are packing very, very light.  No computer.  So, I won't be posting to my blog.  But stay tuned, we will be back in a week and I'll tell you (and maybe paint) the beautiful butterflies and birds that are in that tropical country!