Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Painting Daisies Workshop Study

Before many of my larger paintings and before a class, I will do a small painting (a study) to work out the composition, value, and color palette. This is a small 5X7 study in preparation for my February Painting Daisies watercolor workshop. Visit my website for details about the workshop.

The idea for this painting topic came from a lesson taught by Nancy Oleksa in Poway, CA, though adapted for a 4 day workshop using a variation of color. My inspiration; the daisies growing on the lawn outside the Dorothy Hart Community Center in Fredericksburg this fall. I chose a spring palette using my usual pigments of Aureolin Yellow, Quin Gold, and New Gamboge, Permanent Rose, and Rose Madder Genuine. I am facing my aversion to premixed greens and also used Viridian and Winsor Green and added a lovely purple, Winsor Violet (dioxazine violet). If you want to know more about these paints, go to http://www.handprint.com/ and follow the links to guide for watercolor pigment. I use this site whenever I am researching properties of new (and usual) pigments.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sunflower, Untitled

Sunflower, Untitled (for now)
Watercolor on Claybord

Sometimes a painting will just take on a life of it's own. I think that is what happened with this one. I had not really intended for this to be such a low-key, dark painting. But this flower seemed to have a different agenda, pulling in and holding onto dark, mysterious places.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein ~

Friday, December 26, 2008

Succulent, In Progress 2

I am taking a break from the holiday "bustle" to post the progress on my most recent sunflower. I am working on the painting in a spare bedroom that I have converted to a studio room at home. Even during busy days, I try to take a few minutes out of the day to paint. I leave the painting all set up ready to go in the "painting" room, and work on a few pedals at time; until the family calls. I cherish those too few moments to myself to become absorbed in creativity.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunflower on Claybord, in Progress

I have sketched the drawing for my next watercolor. I start with a detailed drawing on paper, where I consider the proportions and details that may be included in the final painting. I like to do the drawing on paper first, so I can work out all the drawing issues (which often means, erasing and redrawing sections) without damaging the surface of the painting paper. I will then transfer the drawing to my painting surface.
I started laying in color wet-into-wet, beginning with the background sections and the face of the flower. Once the painting is finished, you will only see hints of the diffuse underpainting color. When I plan a painting, I like to have a place for the viewer's eyes to rest in the painting, usually that place is a section of underpainting that I leave peeking through.

Next I paint each pedal wet-into-wet developing the form and turn of the pedals. With claybord, using wet-into-wet creates wonderful blossoms as the water dries. As much as you can control water, I try to plan these into the shape.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Public Collection at Stafford Hospital

This week I was given an amazing gift. The two paintings above were chosen to be part of the permanent public collection on display at the new Stafford Hospital Center. This opportunity is particularly personal for me, because this week I have also accepted a new position as a nurse in the hospital. Rare is the occasion when my two worlds meet; my life in art and my life as a nurse. Though one is always present and influences the other. I am thankful for this opportunity to share my art in such a special way and honored to be included with the other wonderful artists chosen from Liberty Town and the Fredericksburg area to exhibit at the hospital.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Landscape Workshop

This week I had the joy of teaching three winter landscape workshops. In the workshop, I demonstrated how to paint a "mini" frozen lake scene in watercolor in only 2 hours. Above are two of the paintings done in class measuring 4X6. We listened to Christmas music and ate cookies for inspiration. Attendees created some wonderful winter scenes, even a few who had never picked up a paintbrush. One of my favorite things about teaching is seeing how different each student's painting develops; though we may all be painting a similar subject and using the same palette. And often, I will see a new interpretation or method that I have not considered and will try it out for myself. Thank you to all who participated. I learn so much from each of you and greatly enjoy doing the classes. You can find my upcoming class schedule at LibertyTown.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Encore!! No1 and No2

Encore!! No1, No2
I have painted in metallic pigments for embellishment on the two paintings. I use a powdered pigment diluted with water and gum arabic. Now I will varnish the paintings using an aerosol acrylic varnish, altering layers of gloss and matte. I apply about 6 layers, letting each dry overnight.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fall Leaves, In Progress 3

I mounted the two paintings to Ampersand Clayboard. I first covered the sides of the wood cradle to protect it from the medium. Then I dampen the back of watercolor paper and apply a generous layer of soft gel medium to the clayboard. I lay the paper over the clayboard and press out any air bubbles. Because the paper and clay are absorbent, they soak up the medium and form a firm bond. I let the painting dry overnight, face down, keeping something heavy (in this case a brick) on the back.
Once the painting is dry, I remove the the tape around the edges and trim the excess paper using a razor blade. The edges are then sanded until smooth.
Now that the paintings are mounted on the clayboard, I will paint metallic embellishments and then varnish the two paintings.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Little Masterpiece

I don't usually blog about my life at home, but I can't help but share this.

On Saturday, my children were playing quietly upstairs (too quietly). My daughter, Rachel, comes running in to tell me that Mark, my 2 year old, is setting himself up to paint (I am sure she helped just a little). I find him in my studio room diligently painting his hand, already committed to yet another masterpiece. He was so involved in what he was doing, I just couldn't interrupt him. Both my children love to create.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fall Leaves, In Progress 2

I have added another few layers of leaves by darkening the leaf shapes behind the printed leaves. I have also added small washes to the forward leaves for detail and to further define them and pull them forward visually. For this painting, I really like how the variety of values creates the illusion of depth. Next I will mount both paintings on clayboard.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fall Leaves, In Progress

Ok, I am back at the leaves. This is where I left off in the last class of the workshop 2 weeks ago. I find that if I wait too long to work on a painting, I loose creative momentum. So much of a painting is enthusiasm; if I stop too long or think about it too hard, the excitement fades. Depending on the complexity of a painting and drawing, I will usually finish a painting in a week. However, I had another reason for my delay; supplies. I have decided to mount the 2 leaves paintings on clayboard and then add metallic pigment embellishments before varnishing. Now that my supplies are in, time to get back to painting.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Elizabeth's Pansies, In Progress

I must give credit to Elizabeth, elizabethcreates, who grew these beautiful pansies in her yard this last summer. These delicate little flowers were peeking up at me. The back pansy reminds me of a young child hiding behind it's older sibling, cautiously peeping around to look at the stranger visiting their home to take photos. Thank you, Elizabeth !

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Pansies in Progress

I am progressing with my pansies. I have started to put in some midtone pedal color and shadow. I also began lifting out some details. Usually, I wait until the end of a painting to begin detailing, but it seemed to call for it here. I am just amazed how this thin layer of plaster and clay can absorb so much water. The clay does dry differently than paper, and so when I paint wet-into-wet, I am often left with blossoms within that layer of paint. I like the loose blossom effect on the pedals and will use that as I continue to develop the pedal form.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pansies on Claybord, In Progress

After trying out smaller watercolor paintings on ampersand claybord, I have decided to begin a larger series of watercolors. The pebbly surface of the aquabord creates a wonderful organic texture and allows for layering multiple glazes without breaking down. Watercolor paint is amazingly workable and liftable on this surface. On clayboard, I begin by applying the yellow that will illuminate the finished painting, being sure to leave white areas. After the yellow layer is dry, I will glaze in the lighter tones of the maroon violet. For these first areas, I use a wet-into-wet technique.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Playing with Pebbles, adjustments

I added more "dimple" to his little cheeks and restated his mouth and lower lip.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Playing with Pebbles

Playing with Pebbles
Pastel on Clayboard
16x20 Framed

I have made a few adjustments to the shadowing around his cheeks and touch up on his teeth.

This painting was an absolute joy to do. So precious are the moments when a child is completely captivated with the world and small discoveries. As a mom, I think these are the quiet moments in life that are simply extraordinary.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First Friday at LibertyTown

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...at Liberty Town and in my studio. Join me at LibertyTown this First Friday, Dec5th 5-9PM. The artists and craftsman at LibertyTown are exhibiting Small Works in the Main Gallery. The gallery will be transformed into a Craft Emporium: Guest craftsman, New displays, New furniture, An All New Look. And Mirinda Reynolds and I will be hosting a Silent Auction in our Studio (No3).

Foraging, No2, Pastel, 5X7
This is one of my new works that will be on display and for sale in the Main Gallery at LibertyTown for the Small Works exhibit.