Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Painting Foliage, Demonstration 3

Southern Catalpa trees at Chatham in Stafford County. More about these trees later.
For this step, I have begun to push and pull foliage shapes in the tree and continued to work the shadow shapes of the tree trunk. I try to work with the shapes that have evolved during the underpainting, versus the reference I am using. When painting the trunks, I vary the warm and cool shadow shapes. I will continue to work through the midrange values in the grass and walkway. The masking will be removed after this step.
This painting of a paperbark tree was done using a similar "sponge" texture technique.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Painting Foliage, Demonstration 2

I have worked in the yellows of the trunk, began developing the grassy foreground areas and the shadow in the walkway.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hydrangea Study

Today I worked on a small 5X7 Watercolor study of a hydrangea I would like to begin on Clayboard 22X30. I worked out the color palette I will be using and which pigments I will use in each glazing step. I haven't quite decided yet... maybe too much blue.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Painting Foliage, Demonstration 1

Above are demonstrations from today's workshops, painting foliage. First we began by practicing a few thumbnail value and composition sketches. These will be used later in the session as we work through the paintings. After the images are sketched on watercolor paper we began creating the underpainting. The paper is dampened with a spray bottle. Then using a sea sponge, I applied paint starting with cool yellows, moving to warm yellows, Quin. red, and cobalt blue. I tilted the paper, pushed paint with the pump spray, splattered, and moved paint with a Viva to allow the paint to mix and mingle on paper. Areas that will be "forward" foliage are left lighter with more yellows, "behind" areas with more blues. I began painting in the light yellow to red tones in the tree trunks and glazed in some foreground.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Dreaded Apple, Pastel Sketch

Today I attended a workshop, "The Un-Still Life," taught by and amazing artist and instructor, Bobbi Pratte. I must admit I was more than a little intimidated by the idea of staging, drawing, and painting a "still life" in a class setting. Though I have drawn countless paintings, I usually labor over this part of the process alone at home where there is no judgement, except from my cats, husband, and children. But I believe growth comes from putting yourself in sometimes unsettling situations. And this class was just what I needed this week to get out of a rut.

During the class, Bobbi showed examples of the many avenues for a "still life" painting, including as a personal commentary. So, our assignment, choose a single item that is personal for you and sketch ideas of how to break up the space of the painting and incorporate compelling design elements. In the event we weren't able to come up with a personal item, we could use "the dreaded apple," an object that has been painted so many times throughout history, no one could ever paint it differently than it had been done before. Well, I love apples... so I chose to rest an apple on a cinder block outside against the purple wall at LibertyTown. My 10 minute design plan... have a balance of contrast in shape (organic round shape of the apple vs the geometric shape of the block), contrast in value, contrast in texture (smoothness of apple peel and rough texture of the block), and finally a contrast of secondary colors (purple, orange, and green), contrast in intensity and color saturation. We had about 1 1/2 hrs to work on our sketch; and some things worked, and some didn't. But it was a great day to be outside painting, I overcame my fear of judgement (at least for now) and I have new insight into constructing and recognizing "un-still life".

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Creation Declares!

Creation Declares!
Watercolor on Arches 300lb paper
Unframed (for now)

I must admit something... I was happier with the computer image more than the actual painting. Sometimes, when the image is condensed into a digital picture, the reds and magentas just seem to "pop". So I went back and restated the orange/ pink/ reds with more intense color (my favorites: Permanent Rose and Quin. Sienna). Painting "white," high key, delicate paintings just doesn't feel natural for me. I prefer high contrast, "punchy" color. For the background, I used the dark green to add direction to the painting and unify the flowers. I also included negative space painting stems to add another layer of dimension.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Painting "White" Demonstration 3

I have worked through the second layer of midtone values on the flowers and flower faces. I kept more "light" in the forward facing flowers and added glazes of violet to the background under lapping flowers. I added a few stems, painted a few of the buds, and next I will work the middle values in the background. For the background, I am adding Winsor Green to the palette. Winsor Green (Blue Shade) is a staining transparent pigment, very "cool" green. I will add Quin Gold and New Gamboge to neutralize and "warm" up the green in some places. The green should compliment the red-orange in the flower faces and the magenta in the pedals. It will also give weight and dimension to the background and contrast the flowers to make them appear "forward".

Monday, March 9, 2009

Painting "White", Workshop Demonstration 2

Today I began developing the midtone values in the flowers and working through the background. I glazed in a neutral violet (dilute Winsor Violet + Rose Madder Genuine) for the "behind" flowers, pulling the top flowers forward with negative space painting (painting behind the flowers). On the flower to be painted, I dampened the area on the pedals and then touched in the color, grading out the wash with clean water. Using a mix of Quin. Gold and New Gamboge, I added a layer to the flower centers developing the round shape. I varied the soft and hard edges. When working on the forward flowers, I used a warmer pink mix, leaving more white on the flower. I will continue this process of pushing and pulling flowers working around the painting. I also began to work the background, using a wet-into-wet wash of darker green (adding Winsor Green) and mingle of yellows (see right corner). I will continue this process through the background for unity.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

American Buffalo, In Progress 2

Before I began this painting, I really did not know much about the American buffalo other than the animal as a forgotten icon of the west. As the painting progresses, I have been studying the history of the buffalo and am finding a new respect for their struggle and resilience. One author [Rinella] sums up the complexity of the buffalo as icon: “At once it is a symbol of the tenacity of the wilderness and the destruction of the wilderness; it’s a symbol of North American culture and the death of North American culture; it’s a symbol of the strength and vitality of America and the pettiness and greed of America; it represents frontier both
forgotten and remembered: it stand for freedom and captivity, extinction and salvation.”
Did you know?
1. There are 18 states with a town or city named Buffalo, though the largest, in New York State, never had a population of wild buffalo living in its vicinity.
2. Animals from singer/songwriter Neil Young’s private herd populated Kevin Costner’s 1990 film, “Dances with Wolves.”
3. Estimated numbers in 1830 = 70 - 150 million
4. 1870-1875 estimated 2,500,000 were taken annually for use by the American fur companies, sport hunting, and to deprive the Native Americans of their livelihood.
5. Less than 300 wild animals remained in the U.S. and Canada by the turn of the century out of the millions that once lived there.
6. The word “buffalo” is connected to a garment worn by the early English settlers known as the “Buff Coat.”“When Englishmen arrived in the New World, they would often describe any animal that yielded such leather as a ‘buff’….” But the name “buffalo” had already been given to the water buffalo in Asia and the Cape buffalo of Africa. Since there was nothing genetically similar about these animals, later taxonomists labeled the North American beast “bison bison.” (“Bison” means “oxlike animal.”)
7. Many of today's highways follow roadways trampled out by migrating buffalo herd.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Buffalo, In Progress

Today being a snow day, I have decided to gain a little momentum on the buffalo painting. The background is developing into a cool white that will contrast the darker values of the animal's fur. And since there is about a foot of snow on the ground, a "snowy" background seemed the most appropriate for the day.