Search This Blog

Monday, August 31, 2009

Painting "the Adobe" makes me want Mexican food!

Another hour of work on this painting, I started thinking of enchiladas, refried beans, guacamole and sour cream, black olives on top. So that's what we are having for dinner!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How to fix an oops in pastel paintings

After finding my previous paintings with buildings had crooked or sloped edges, I knew I had to come up with a solution how to control that before I got too far along in the painting. So, I came up with something I'll share. I do a full-size sketch, and then trace the outlines of the building and important parts of the landscape on a writeable transparent sheet with a sharpie pen. As I go along with the painting I can "check" my work to make sure I don't get too far off the mark. I don't want hard edges in my pastel, so I feather the background into the edge of the wall, and feather the wall colors into the background. In so doing, I cover up my outline! So holding up the transparency keeps me on track.

The house roof line (the purplish wall in the back) went way too high. So I held a ruler at the right angle and then blew off the "oops" part with canned air. (The canned air idea was not mine - I learned that from Margot Schulzke!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Start of a new painting in pastel

After doing the watercolor sketch, my husband noted that the wall was a big empty space. Good point. I added a window in it here on my pastel paper. I just blocked in the darks and turpentined them. A couple of friends said they liked the original lay-out rather than flipping it the other direction. So, I'm going with that. After the turp dries, I will start with the pastel.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sketching in Watercolor - Adobe House

On our visit to New Mexico I photographed this house. I will probably do it in both watercolor, and also a version in pastel. I was in my outdoor "studio" (the pop-up canopy) enjoying doodling in my sketchbook, getting familiar with rendering the adobe, when I remembered a lesson in design and composition - and that is: people (in western cultures, that is), are comfortable reading from left to right. As I look at my drawing, the viewer enters from the right and travels to the left. Hmmm ... maybe if I flip it over.

I must be weird, because it makes no difference to me. If you would like to comment, I'd be happy to hear what you think!

I was going to paint more, but a neighbor started practising "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire ...", on a flat clarinet or sax. It is amazing how a listener tries to strain along with the musician to get the right note ... I just couldn't take it anymore. Think I'll go to the State Fair and join my Spinning and Weaving Club tent and spin for demonstrations!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Wine & Grapes" Watercolor Painting

I've been working on this for the last three days. Yee-haw! I'm finally DONE!!!! I saved it as a full-sheet, so you can click on it to enlarge it to see detail (and there is a LOT of detail....). I think I'll do something easy next! That is, after I go for a trail ride on Casey tomorrow!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The "Art" of Free-Form Embroidery

Yeah, I know, this is not painting. I'm bending the rules a little bit. I planned it that way - I called my blog an "art" blog, not a "painting" blog. This morning I met my stitching friends at the stitching shop for our weekly stitch and bitch (well, that IS what they call it!). Since I've been painting so much, I haven't been to stitching like I used to. This project I have pictured here (sorry, it is hard to photo satin material) is going to be a fancy handbag. I must have started it a year ago! It is completely free-form (I just make it up as I go) and used entirely with left-over beads and threads and ribbons from YEARS of doing whatever craft had left-overs. It is kinda wild and busy looking, but, hey! At least I'm making use of the stuff that has been in my closet forever.

Now, back to my wine and grapes painting....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wine & Grapes, continued

It may not look like I did much. Watercolor can be like that. I wanted the green bottle more green, so I did a yellowish/greenish glaze over it. I tried the softening technique on the highlights of the grapes and the glass of wine. I also blocked in the color of the last bottle. Finally, I worked on the corkscrew and the beginnings of the shadow.

Tomorrow I may not paint. They are going to jackhammer and re-cement our driveways to our townhouse building. Time to get out and go horseback riding for the next 3 days!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Updating My Favorites Lists

I'm dying to continue with my wine and bottles painting, but after three days of workshop, I really needed a catch-up the old home-front day. I finally sat down and looked up my favorite artists' blogs and websites and added them to my favorites list. Many of them are artists that I have taken classes from.

I went to the farmers market and took some photos of my produce. I went crazy with colors. Honestly, I wish I could paint a lot faster. There are so many photos I've taken to paint from! It can keep an artist awake at night!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Painting Wine Bottles and Wine in a Glass

This was day three and the last day of Karen Honaker's workshop. She did a lot of demonstrating for us, and many of us wanted to learn by watching, so we didn't get that far on our paintings. But we learned so much! Some things just should be watched first. Then we'd rush back and do as much as we could before the next demo. I probably should have left the grapes alone until I came home, because once I started, I couldn't stop because the mixed colors were on my palette and my next area was to be the green bottle and there was no room for me to mix that. So, I had to finish the grapes, so that set me back. So, I've almost got my bottles all done. I wanted to make sure the colors and values were right before I did the "very special method" of lifting out the highlights and reflections on the glass. But I know how to do it from the demos, so tomorrow at home, I can try it.

This was a great workshop. Everyone enjoyed it and learned so much. I had a blast.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Watercolor Workshop, Day 2

This workshop is so much fun. Karen Honaker is a wealth of knowledge - not only about painting, but also about marketing and other things. She is a fun gal and tells stories while demonstrating. The facility we have for this workshop is awesome! Complete with an overhead mirror so the large attendance can see what she is doing from our seats.

There was so many demonstrations and discussions that I didn't want to miss, so I didn't actually paint that much, but here it is - along with the photo I took.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tomorrow I will have a picture to post!

Today was the first day of the Karen Honaker workshop. She set up five still lifes with wine bottles, grapes, wine glasses, olive oil bottles, and other gourmet things. We took pictures from various angles, then she had us view them on our computers (or hers) and cropped them and determined which were the best composition. We were looking at shapes, negative spaces, darks and lights, and patterns that were pleasing to the eye. Then we printed our photo and either projected it on the wall and traced the shapes on our paper taped to the wall, or made a grid and enlarged it by hand-drawing.

Tomorrow we start painting. Should be fun. She has some new tricks of the trade to show us.

P.S. Pixie made it. It took two days of bunny intensive care, but she made it. She is still on a special greens diet for a week or so. It is so good to see her hopping around and playing again.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I made a pine needle basket!

Today I took a fun class - Pine Needle Basket Making. Living in our area of the country makes you appreciate woven basketry. It is great to have people around to teach it. Mine came out kinda lopsided, but I made it in one day, so I'm happy. I'm also showing a picture of the examples the teacher brought (mine is on the far right).

Unfortunately, this has also been a worrisome day for me as well. Pixie is very sick. I think she has a blockage like a hair ball. I came home during class to do what I could to help her. She's not out of the woods yet. But, if need be, I'll stay up tonight to keep her hydrated and hand feed her water and applesause. I hope I can help her pull out of it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Quick Sketches of Bottles

With this cooler weather, I've been playing hookie - riding my horse. Today I went on a fun ride on a new trail with fantastic views and old western movie-like terrain. When I finish the disposable camera, I'll post some pictures I took. For now, here is another quick sketch with watercolor wash I did this afternoon. I'm still practising bottles. This time I used some of my own in the house to paint from. This will actually post tomorrow, because I have to go out of town. I'm taking three pastel paintings to be in a show. (My first show out of town!).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Making a Color Chart

This watercolor class I will be taking had a supply list with specific tubes of paint. Since many are new to me, I thought it would be a good idea to get acquainted with them and do a color chart. These are all Daniel Smith brand. I can see how the artist likes certain mixtures since they look like wine bottle colors, and olive oil. From left to right they are: Quinachrodone Red, Quin. Magenta, Transparent Red Oxide, Moonglow, Indathrone Blue, Sap Green, Cobalt Blue, Nickel Azo Yellow, Transparent Yellow Oxide, Quin. Gold, Transparent Brown Oxide.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sketching bottles

I'm attending a watercolor workshop next week with Karen Honaker ( We will be learning how to paint glassware and bottles and the reflections and transparencies of them. This is very timely for me! Not only is the subject a challenge for me, I also would like to learn a little more about still life (like, what arrangements and shapes and sizes are good, and which are boring or don't work). Anyway, I need to assemble my materials and practise sketching bottles from photos, so I can concentrate on those complicated refracted light shapes.

We have cool temperatures today! (a high of 73). It is a very welcome change from the high 90's. I finished my socks the other day and blocked them. (I don't plan to wear wool yet, but I'm getting ready for winter!).

Hey, where did these guys come from? This is what I do with left-over yarn and fleece. I make funny little sheep ornaments.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Working with Rice Paper

I cut a piece of rice paper a little larger than my painting. Then I mixed equal parts of clear gesso and water, and brushed it over the rice paper. The gesso mixture soaks through and bonds the rice paper to the artwork. It also made some of my purple watercolor pencil lines bleed and become way too purple. I then let it dry completely.

Then I began to paint over it - to bring out the dark areas more, and liven up some of the rocks. I increased the contrast in the digital photo to show the texture of the rice paper more. But in person it is more subtle.

Not bad so far....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Experimenting with Watercolor Pencils

This watercolor of the granite cliffs is one that I want to experiment with. After laying in color in the second half of the picture, I next did some textural lines with different watercolor pencils. I also wanted to deepen the cracks and crevices. I stopped before I did every rock! (An old habit of mine).

And then touched or lightly brushed the pencil areas with a brush dipped in water. Some of the pencils when wet turn out to be a screaming color - way too wild. Either I have to dab it off with a paper towel or not wet it.

Next, I plan to do something with rice paper on top. Stay tuned...I have no idea how this will come out!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Snippets of Time to Paint

I don't usually paint this way - from one side of the paper to the other - but that is what it is turning out to be. I just got back from an over-night at our house in Truckee. I was there such a short time I left my painting in progress at home on the kitchen table. So, before dinner and later before dessert, I did a little more....
We've had wonderful thunder and lightning storms in both Truckee and Reno. Last night around 11pm I was awakened by the clap and rolling thunder and bright lightning lighting up our room. I couldn't see bolts - just flash through the tall forest. Then the pitter patter of rain. It went on for about 30 minutes.
Tonight, just as we were sitting down to dinner (in my outdoor studio canopy!) outside in my garden, we had a thunder cloud over us and some rolls of thunder, little pitter patters...then a downpour! The canopy is not water repellent! So we dashed inside with plates in hand.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Granite Cliffs Watercolor

I have a photo that I took from the gondola that climbs the snow-topped mountain at Palm Springs and Palm Desert area. So I thought I would paint it in watercolor. My sketch was to block in the dark, medium and light shapes, and to make sure it worked out. My patience didn't hold out to finish drawing on the watercolor paper. A very nice CD was playing and I just felt like doing wet on dry - just being interpretative and loose. Not much to look at right now.

Yesterday my husband and I drove up to the meadows at the top of Mount Rose Highway. We did a little hike. I took lots of photos - I'll share a few here. We enjoyed the cooler temperature (it has been in the high 90's for a while now). Then we drove along the North Shore of Lake Tahoe and had lunch on the deck of Garwoods, then took in the arts and crafts faire at Kings Beach, (where we bought some mugs from our favorite Potter, Sue Fox). Great day!!! What summer is all about.