Crocus Plein Air

The previous post was photographs of the first crocus buds appearing 4.14.2019, following these are the first plein air paintings in a new sketchbook of these purple & white buds. A new 50 page 7″ x 5″ 130lb watercolor sketchbook inspires sketching to begin. 

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I have not done this kind of on-the-spot painting in a while and the blossoms seem a little rough. Next, here are some shots of the bright blossoms today. Check out the sleepy, little fuzzy guy in the blossom. Bzzzzz said the bee. He really is lethargic in the cool spring air but already covered with pollen. 

Aren’t the colors vibrant?

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crocus blossom with a bee
Crocus with a bee

Happy Easter…. from me to you, with crocus plein air sketches in the yard today.

Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02

First sketch seems a bit mushy but the second one is getting to be a style I could really come to love. Let me know what you think….

Plein Air painting at Riverfront Park

clock tower reference photo
clock tower

Spent the afternoon (Friday) plein air painting at Riverfront Park in Spokane WA.Painting outside in a beautiful park with friends. We were a group from the Spokane Watercolor Society who met near the clock tower at high noon. Sounds like the meet up at the OK corral doesn’t it?  It is amazing how many people use this park, it was full of people. They were a constant stream of people running, walking dogs, sitting and admiring the scenery.

Plein Air Off the Beaten Path

I was able to discover a great view of the tower a little off the beaten path, and overhead. It was truly sublime. Initially, trying to render that clock tower in an impressionistic manner proved impossible. Paintbrush sketches produced awkward, leaning towers. There are so many angles and doo-dads on that riverside brick tower with a clock. As a result, another tactic was required. Architectural subjects need accuracy, don’t they? Finally, resorting to using the old artist pencil measure trick with outstretched arm, got the job done.  It was worth it to take the time to do that sketch. The layout is in pencil now, and ready to work on in the studio. I took a ton of photos, to be able to finish it up.

clock tower above sketch
clock tower sketch

Second Painting Location

pavilion reference photo
pavilion willow photo
pavilion willow
pavilion with willow

I joined the gang from SWS at the ground level down by the river next. Next to Gay W., I found a great view of the pavilion cables over the ice rink, that had a willow tree getting orange branches in spring. What a vision. Hope it comes out, cause it was quite a cool view. Luckily, I was able to get some washes down before I had to pack up and leave.

Artist Thoughts…

Unfortunately, there was a man playing the bongos next to the river. I kept thinking, he needs to get some other musicians to sing and play instruments with him to break up the monotony. The “bong, bong, bong” started to get on my nerves later in the afternoon, so, I cut the outing short.

While spending the day in that beautiful riverside park I noticed a sad thing. There were couples and friends sitting or walking together, not looking at each other or the view, but instead looking at their phones.

What is with that?

Going to a beautiful park, to walk and sit next to the river with beautiful waterfalls cascading all around. Then choosing to enter into oblivion? Are we loosing our humanity by getting together, to ignore each other and nature’s beauty around us? 

As a society, are we so addicted to “blue screen” time that we miss important things?

In conclusion, this Friday painting day outside in the warm air was a beautiful nature wonderful “artist date”!

Muley Doe… a Deer a Female Deer

A muley doe pauses at the treeline in Glacier Lake National Park in Montana. This was one of my first encounters with wildlife. Moments like this are like gifts from God and nature.

A gift of pristine wildlife standing still for a portrait at very close range.

muleydoe1Initially, the portrait starts with a pencil sketch drawn from my photograph.

Apply Washes to Doe

muleydoe2Next I begin to wash-in large areas, reaching more for correct values than finished colors. I actually squint my eyes to see where the darks and lights are. The areas kind of blur together and show up better that way. I have been fortunate to have taken classes from talented artists, and one that I have been inspired by is Stan Miller who teaches watercolor and that it is the values that are more important than the colors and he is so right!

muleydoe3Adding sky background and foliage along with some of the dark values to the doe face and eyes starts to show the personality that I envision.

Muley Doe Details

muleydoe4Things slow a bit as I work on the details of the deer. Focus is on the doe features and her background and I am being careful to leave white limbs from the tree behind.

Muleydoe5Progress is gradual as I add shadows to show where the tree trunk and limbs are, along with a ground tone wash to bring in a base for her to stand on. It is not good to have her floating above the ground.
muleydoe6Finally, I am getting more done as I add more details. First, some lights followed by some darks. Using an Azo Yellow, I am careful applying the final wash. The whole painting is brightened up with the final wash and the greenery and her fur now have a much better glow.

Muley Doe C192019
Muley Doe C192019 – 9″w x 12″h watercolor

Here she is, je suis fini!

A watercolor painting of a Glacier Lake National Park Muley Doe posing for the artist with her camera in the summer of 1990. Check out the beauty in this park. The picture was taken in the park at the top of Logan pass.

 

Snow and fun landscapes

Snow and fun winter landscapes, is quite a normal sequence of terms for this skiier. We are a household of ski and snowboard bums that love that white stuff. We have fun! Winter is fun!

winter fencepost
Winter fencepost, done in Stan Miller’s workshop at Spokane Art Supply in Spokane Wa. 

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to attend a weekend workshop with Stan Miller. He is a phenomenal master painter, who I have had the privilege of knowing over the years. A wonderful artist and person. The subject was winter water, skies and snow in watercolor. As always, having an opportunity to spend some time with a small group learning from a “master” really brings things up a notch in a painters world. Above, is an unfinished exercise from the workshop. Unfinished, but still quite an inspiration to me.

Snow is something I have always loved. Unfortunately, it is a subject that has simply baffled me whenever I try to paint it. Fortunately, Stan Miller is an amazing teacher and has been able to open up a whole new world for me with what he showed during that weekend workshop at Spokane Art Supply . With this fencepost painting, I was able to get “what I see” in a snow scene… down on the paper. Success, is such an inspiration.

A person who paints a 1,000 paintings stands a better chance of producing more great masterpieces…

It is about time, I record the fun and the gorgeous sights we see all winter long. This artist is on a mission!

Sketch a Rose

sketch yellow rose

Sketching First

The sketch is the first step in any painting project for me. My photograph is cropped in real close to show only the petals on the yellow rose of friendship bloom. The way the light changes the yellow into gold is magnetic. However, it really doesn’t speak to me so I end up adding a long stem and another bud on the left to give your eyes a place to journey. I’m beginning to see some action in the layout with the addition of the foliage and bud, and am ready to proceed now.

 

Yellow Rose 2With this beautiful yellow rose sketch I carefully recreated the petals from the photograph, and then lay it out on the table right next to where I begin to paint. I also have the actual flower in front of me as I begin to paint so I can get the colors right but the first part is usually dark areas taken from the dark values in the B&W print. My goal is to get the soft light to yellow fading (wet on wet) on each petal surface first and then add in shadow.

Reference Setup

 

Yellow Rose 1I am not going to use resist or mastic to reserve the whites, and instead be careful to reserve these light areas of paper. These first three images show the desk setup with the reference materials, paint pallet with brushes. Working on the first three petals establishes which colors seem to work best. After wetting the petal area, I fill my brush with Aureolin Yellow and drag along the darker edge to the center leaving a puddle of color at the center, this one lets other colors wash over it. Using a darker orange yellow named, New Gamboge, to drop in color where more brilliance in the yellow is desired.Yellow Rose 3

Raising Art out of Your Artist

Surprise in progress
Progress children’s portrait expressing surprise

We got kudos for individual creativity in art, teaching ourselves, and entrepreneur type creative ideas always. If my folks had not been encouraging in these ways, I would never have been able to follow this direction in life. They noticed the signs of artist tendencies in me from the beginning and encouraged me to practice and explore. Thank God our family tends to encourage creativity and guide us to educate ourselves in an entrepreneur sort of way.

Artist traits

I was one of those kids that lay on the ground looking up into the sky, seeing images in the clouds. I still like to do this. My earliest memories are of loving fishing on weekends with beautiful mountain walks. Discovering wonderful panoramic views with warm sun and bright mountain skies. Evenings spent coloring on a fold-up card table at my Grandma and Grandpa’s home. Skiing with my family and seeing some of the most gorgeous views in the snow from a very young age.

Have always doodled, consequently, getting in trouble in school for drawing horses in the margin of the test papers. There are many many scrap pieces of paper with eyes drawn in every position in my wastepaper packages. Noticing beauty around me, shadows and shapes, coloring, drawing and painting has always been a large part of my life. A pen or brush has always felt natural in my hand. The other stuff in life squeezes in to fit around the edges.

ART categories

As you go through this blog, you will notice that the “art” articles are divided up into different categories (listed on the right), allowing you the ability to search for a specific category of blog articles that may interest you.

I hope that this division into categories will make it easier for you to find the art subjects that you are most interested in reading about. Additionally, if you want a complete picture of the art I do please feel free to visit my traditional website also.

There are also the categories covered in my Blog about things I like to do Outdoors and Needlework . Outside activities including hiking, sports and gardening. My inside needlework hobbies of sewing or embroidery fill my spare time.

 

Boxer, another dog face to finish

American Boxer Dog Breed
Boxer, American AKC

This is the boxer dog breed, rough sketch initially submitted. Isn’t it a trip to see how many wrinkles are in their foreheads and their lips hang over the jaw bone. They seem to have very expressive facial features as a breed.

Boxer Dog pencil
Pencil American Boxer Dog

The rough sketch is followed by the Boxer, in a  more finished state, in a B&W progressive shot. Working in b&w can be a very tricky thing. It was very difficult to choose an amount of black areas in a manner that showed the black parts of the snout and the less dark tan areas of the rest of the face and ears, then resort to extreme minimal marks to show the white chest area.

After I resubmit a corrected template for wood burning to my client I will have time to proceed with these drawings. I’ll be able to finish  rendering this in a more realistic vein, using pencil with gradual gray tones instead of just black and white areas. I have even felt pulled to pen and inking it. I will post the finished pencil portrait when completed next week.

dog sketch redo

I did rough sketches of a dozen dog breeds, and then started to finish them for a client and found out the finish I was providing was not what she needs for her wood burning templates. Ooooops. This kind of error in communication (by me) happens in an artist world, today I will redo it the way that she needs it, because, having a happy customer is always worth a rework to me.

Australian Shepherd dog breed Rough
Australian Shepherd Rough

Here is the Australian Shepherd rough sketch.

Australian Shepherd dog breed pencil
Australian Shepherd pencil

Here is what I thought would be the final for burning the image onto the wood. The dog breed, Australian Shepherd What is the result of all of this?

Pencil Drawings, images that I think are worth finishing are sitting on my desk. I glance at them and think of the time invested and energy showing in these dog faces…. I think, I could finish these into great pencil drawings.

The drawing speak to me, they are saying, “Finish me, finish me!” Consequently, another project after the project is created. My love of dogs comes out into more pencil drawings in the studio, anyone want to buy one? Another crazy artist  “finish it” desire in process.

Plein Air Painting Elk, WA

SWS Plein Air Painting

Saturday July 21st, 2018

We had an artist “fun time” at our house. Above is the invitation that I handed out at the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting a couple of months ago. I created a Facebook event for it and sent it to all the Watercolor Society Members emails. I also sent it to my friends on Facebook right before the weekend.

Out of all the invitations sent 4 wonderful artist’s showed up. What a great day, except for the bees. Wow there is sure a lot of them here this year. Aaaargh.

Who was there?

In the morning there was my neighbor Rose Coston with her 2-year-old daughter Allie. We painted on the kitchen table while Allie painted some pictures of her own, then she played with legos and log homes. Rose hasn’t painted in a long time but she was ready to try her hand at it and was surprised at the way watercolors work, she is a great person to paint beside.

SWS Member Sherrie Thies, arrived ready to paint, just as Rose and Allie were preparing to leave. Sherrie and I were able to get to know each other some before we decided to go walk through the garden and check out what we would like to paint. Sherrie is a high school art teacher and I bet her students just love her. I found out that I judged one of her student’s shows at ESD101 a few years back and we were able to share some changes we thought should be done in judging that venue. Wow, we really have great people in the group.

While we were checking things out in the garden, Allison Kromer Hsu, who is a longtime family friend arrived along with SWS member Kelly Burk. We went back up the hill and settled on the deck for a bit and decided to go ahead and eat our potluck, good cooks, Yay! Then back out on the deck we watched hummingbirds and began to setup and paint and visit.

What did we do?

Sherri got some great photographs with her phone of the hummingbirds and painted multiple images that looked great but I did not think to photograph them before she left. Am  hoping she will post them here for us to see. I’d like to paint the one I looked at closely.

Allison was working on a painting she had already started which was a seascape with shoreline foliage, she was interested in seeing the SWS member’s entries into our show coming up and said she’d like to attend one of our meetings. Allison, you can post your painting here too, if you would like.

Kelly did multiple paintings and sketches, please feel free to post your images here. Kelly did one watercolor pet portrait that she gave to me, and I just love it. It is of our dog named Max, he is a half Swiss Mountain dog (Swiss 3 color Rottweiller), half Pitbull 1-1/2 yr old puppy. What a great portrait and so fast. Thank you!

Max Woelk by Kelly Burk

I started a watercolor of hummingbirds in flight in the trees. Here  it is now but it is still in progress.

Hum Birds in Trees progress

Our Plein Air day was great!

I am so happy to have been able to spend some time really getting to know these artist friends. I realize I should have reminded everyone more often and maybe put a stricter time to start and end but still I’d love to do more of this painting with fellow artist this summer! It is really a great way to inspire true creativity and to spend time with others who love to paint as much as I do.

 

Don’t be Koi… #1

Don’t Play Koi With Me #01

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

 

This little watercolor was a challenge from the Spokane Watercolor Society (SWS), which is a club that I love being part of. It is great to be able to see fellow artists every month throughout the year and be able to learn from and inspire each other.

At these meetings each month we are asked to paint something and then bring it to the next meeting for show and tell. This challenge was to paint something “Fishy”.

When I thought of what to paint, I immediately thought “koi” because of the great techniques discovered while watching Vicki A. West for an evening as we both showed people how-to-paint at the SWS art show opening the month before. Vicki is quite a talented artist, and it was an eye opener to see her quick and decisive strokes blossom into beautiful koi images. My brain immediately took this koi idea to another kind of comical path envisioning a talking fish saying, “Don’t you play koi with me!”. The old time movie that I thought of was “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” where Don Knotts plays a mild-mannered bookkeeper who falls into the water and becomes a fish.

 

The painting begins with a quick pencil sketch showing a fish with mouth open and eyes wide-open, standing with its left fin pointing up and out and it’s right fin reaching down to it’s hip. The character I saw was a sassy woman putting her right hand on her hip and her left hand up in the air pointing as she declares her powerful statement to the world.

 

I reserved fin areas with transparent yellow and then proceeded with putting a real light wash of shadowed scale pattern on her body. My main goal was just being able to see the roundness of her form before putting her colors on.