Abstract Impression

abstract impression
10″w x 8″h sketchbook abstract impression

Here is an abstract impression of a painting that I admire. It is our monthly challenge for the April 2020 meeting in the Spokane Watercolor Society.

The Challenge is “Just an Impression” No clear reality here. Paint an impression and see if viewers get the ‘point’.

I did enjoy this challenge, as it did let me reach out and try something new.  When I was in high school I painted, using neon colors, lots of abstract posters to populate my bedroom. But at this stage in my artist life, I actually felt a little guilty, as though I may have wasted some supplies doing this. I am happy with the fun had anyhow. You can probably tell that abstract is not my favorite style of painting at this point in time though.

First, I thought of a painting I’d like to make an impression of. Then, I started with real loose pen work, then added strokes of color and dabs of different paint until it felt done.

Can you guess which painting I was looking at while doing this exercise?

It is a well known piece by a Dutch post impressionist painter.

Dahlia Closeup Watercolor

I am finishing this dahlia closeup watercolor this week. Here are 6 progressive shots of the painting’s progress. Dahlia Closeup Sketch B0820

12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.I establish the layout with a pencil sketch .

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

Starting with a background wash of alizaron crimson I begin to apply highlight color washes on the leaves, then progress to the light washes on the flowers.

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

Various shades of green and gray are applied to the leaves in the background.

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

The next step is, to bring up the intensity of the colors in the blossoms by applying bright layers.

Dahlia Closeup B0820
12″w x 13″h watercolor on 300lb Arches paper.

To complete this piece, there is very little work remaining to be done . The process becomes a back and forth balancing act from here. I apply the darks and  shadows. Followed by accentuating the lights until I get the look I want.

I will be sure to share the finished painting in the near future.

Dragonfly In Cosmos

Dragonfly in Cosmos
15″w x 11″h watercolor & ink on 140lb Arches cold press.

Just finished a fun watercolor of a dragonfly in cosmos blossoms. We have dragonflies in our garden every year and they are just so fascinating to watch. Their wings seem to glisten as they fly over all the blossoms with their transparent wings. An “eye candy” insect with great colors in their silent flight. They are also quite the benefit to have around, check out the info here. Dragonflies

I do dragonflies frequently because each one I find is always different in colors and shapes and they are usually admiring blooms as I do while I work in the garden.

Art That is Now Gone

Art Now Gone

Here are the paintings and drawings that sold at two recent community craft shows. These art pieces are newly adopted due to the Herculean efforts, of my dear friends who help me. I love it when art pieces find new homes! Not only does it help the pocketbook, it spreads love as it gives credibility to the endless hours spent throughout my artist life perfecting skills. Many, many, many hours.

Pen & Ink with Watercolor

Hummingbird Heaven J3019

Hummingbird Hovers Over A Sunflower J4019
9″h x 12″w watercolor on 80lb drawing paper.

Watercolors

Birch Autumn Passion J4119
10″w x 13″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper.

Birch Autumn Passion J4119 watercolor

Huckleberry Five Study I2619
5″w x 6″h watercolor on 300 lb wc paper

Huckleberry Five Study I2619 watercolor

Riverfront Park Clock Tower From Above D2219
9″w x 12″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper.

Riverfront Park Clock Tower D2219 watercolor

Yellow & Brown Sunflowers J3719
10″w x 14″h watercolor, on 140lb Fabriano paper.

Sunflowers Yellow & Brown J3719 watercolor

Pen & Ink

Hummingbird Heaven J3019
10″w x 14″h pen & ink on 300lb Arches wc paper.
Linx Pen & Ink_B0613
18″w x 24″h pen & ink on sketch paper.

Linx B0613 pen & ink

 

I remember seeing how a persons face transforms as they pick up a piece of my art, with their expression suddenly becoming full of awe and love.

Never doubt, how important art really is.

To me, witnessing this beautiful event is almost a magical experience. It makes the trials and tribulations with learning, practicing, and perfecting skills all throughout my life as an artist, seem totally worthwhile after all.

Larry and Linda Pointer are such wonderful blessings to me and many others. They included my art along with their own crafts, being sold to raise funds for their favorite tax deductible charity at these shows. People enjoying the art, and made comments along with their purchases. Linda saw the pleasure on the faces of the people, as they shopped at their table. Take a look at the charity they are supporting.

“HRC Ministries.”

Please feel free to donate, if you feel drawn to. Slavery – HRC Ministries is setup to assist with escape and rehabilitation of people trapped in Human Trafficking (Sex Slavery).

These pieces of art have been discovered, chosen, and adopted into new homes. I am feeling quite positive about having more space in the studio, which I will just keep filling back up with art if well enough.

If you’d like something similar to any of these let me know, I’d be glad to make one for you on commission.

Research Before Drawing

I routinely conduct research about whatever it is I plan to draw, to be able to correctly illustrate things. Searching for the general facts, like sizes, colors, friends & enemies and next finding good photography. First, I envision the character realistically. Next, heavily simplifying the lines. Next, the challenge becomes giving them some human capabilities while retaining realistically identifiable specie characteristics. Here are some sketch examples.

rhino research sketch 4 rhino research sketch 6 rhino research sketh 7

I had no idea!

When I did the research on rhinos I found that I was totally oblivious to their plight. I had no idea that they were so close to extinction. The White Rhino is one of 5 quickly disappearing species of Africa, and Eurasia. Rhinos live in tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannah, shrub lands, forests and deserts. Unfortunately, with numbers dropping so drastically, many remain only in wildlife reserves now. The main factors driving the rhino population to extinction:

  • increasing human population creating less and less habitat for them
  • wars and militia massacres
  • greedy poachers

rhino research sketch 5Poachers kill approximately 3 rhinos each day to sell their horns for highly inflated profits. Poachers are the worst threats, very much like drug smugglers or cartels. Honestly, money is most important thing to them. Insidious criminals with no conscience.

Research the Horns

rhino research sketch 8Poached rhino horns are purchased by two major markets in the world. The Chinese and Vietnamese mistakenly believe that magical medicinal properties exist in rhino horn. Not true. Rhino horns are made of “Keratin” which, is what human fingernails and hair are comprised of. If, Keratin is a magical medicine, we don’t have to kill the rhino’s for it. Honestly, anyone needing “keratin” can simply chew on their own fingernails or hair and get the same results.

This horrific act of killing rhinos and harvesting their horns, makes me ashamed to be a member of humanity. I wish it would stop.

Pen & Ink Characters

Pen & Ink is fun

Insects in pen & ink
insects with pen & ink pens

I was looking for an pen & ink character project to work on, flipping through a stack of unfinished or abandoned projects that I am gradually completing, as time allows. Suddenly, I found a old cute rhino character, a male baby on a mission. Looking at this sketch, my artist brain immediately kicked into high gear thinking random thoughts;

  • Maybe a female baby rhino would be better…
  • She could wear a ribbon in her hair or maybe even a ruffled skirt…
  • Hey, there is room for improvement with what she is doing here…
  • It is kind of boring, sweating in the heat all by herself…
  • I could add another character for her to talk to…
  • Hey, the environment needs to change here…
  • I know, I’ll add radical thorns on a cactus plane…
  • Maybe erase this over here.

Before I knew it, a whole new scene and character had emerged. Now, that is something worth inking and

I was ready to go.

Riva the Rhino is hot! She asks, “Where is the water?”

“Turn around, it is back that way,” says the caterpillar on the cactus.

Riva the Rhino
16″w x 10″h pen & ink on 140lb wc paper. A baby rhino is asking a caterpillar in a cactus plant where the water is at.

Next, I found myself looking for “R” names for a girl. She is a rhino so she needs a R name for sure.  I found a perfect name, “Riva” which means “regain strength” in Latin. Riva the Rhino. The rhino population needs to regain it’s strength in numbers really bad. Check out my next post to see what I learned from researching rhinos.

I think Riva the Rhino, could be a real interesting character for an ongoing comic strip or children’s book. What do you think?

 

Pen & Ink – Inktober ’19

I noticed a pen and ink challenge on the Dick Blick Art Supplies site, called InkTober 2019. The juror is Jake Parker, and after looking at a video of his on YouTube, I was ready. Inspired to dust off the cobwebs and do some pen & ink work, after all….

…it’s like riding a bike, isn’t it?

Hummingbird Heaven Attained J3019

The first drawing entered, Inktober 2019 Challenge.

Hummingbird Heaven Attained
10″w x 14″h pen & ink on 300lb Arches wc paper. A hummingbird frozen mid-flight just discovering the blossoms on the vine.

First Pen & Ink

Mrs. Dorinda Lum at Castle High School entered it into the “dip” pen & ink and wildlife rendering. It won the Windward Artist Guild scholarship in 1977.Here is the first pen & ink I did in high school using a simple dip pen and pictures from the classroom National Geographic magazine of elephants in Africa as a reference. It was a pen & ink drawing done on sketch paper, entitled, “Elephant”. Pen & ink has been a highly favored medium of mine since … long, long, ago!

Surprise, Surprise!

Discovering various dried out bottles of ink, fully hardened dip pen tips, rapidograph’s (both clean and dirty) in various stages of assembly and disassembly…. stashed all over the studio. Suddenly,  this little thought, became more-of-a-chore real quick.

What was I thinking? Oh, that’s right, I wasn’t!

Evidently, right now is time for me to clean-out, fix-up and reorganize my drawer of pen & ink drawing supplies. Just when I thought I’ve made good progress in cleaning up the studio, I discover another mess hiding somewhere. Uh huh, the pen & ink stuff is now all spiffy here in the studio.

Huckleberries love-at-first-bite

I love huckleberries

Living in the Inland Northwest has given me the privilege of loving huckleberries every year. I look forward to every summer being able to go pick them. Climb up the mountain and taste just one, and you will be hooked-for-life! They are a divine, sweet and tart taste that can only be understood by experiencing the flavor, yourself. There is no better berry on the planet, they taste so darn good! Literally, it is a shame that huckleberries are not able to be grown commercially.

privilege |ˈpriv(ə)lij|
noun

a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people: education is a right, not a privilege | he has been accustomed all his life to wealth and privilege.

Huckleberry Know How

Do you know your edible wild berries?

Lately, many thoughts of these berries have resulted in me doing a series of studies in the studio. I thought I’d share some recent watercolors of these magical fruit delicacies with you. Grabbing two small pieces of left-over 300lb Arches watercolor paper measuring 6″ x 5″. I draw close-ups of bunches of berries, showing how they look when I go to pick them. Then, using mastik to reserve light areas, I begin experimenting.

HuckBerryTrioStudyI2719_1
Initial study of a trio of huckleberries in watercolor
HuckBerryTrioStudyI2719
6″w x 5″h watercolor study of a trio of huckleberries

Huckleberries

These berries are dark smooth little guys with a gorgeous purple color that sometimes show as a magenta in the sun or almost black in shade. Noticeably, they have a very unique bottom that is a little dimple inward with a dot in the middle.

HuckBerryFiveStudyI2619_1
Initial 6″w x 5″h watercolor study of five huckleberries
HuckberryFiveStudyI2619
6″w x 5″h watercolor study of five huckleberries

Lighting and colors vary a lot for these bushes under the big trees of the forest. Consequently, I try backgrounds in different values and colors. Sometimes, we are in bright sunlit blue-sky areas where the green leaves almost look chartreuse in color. Here, the background is dark when the look of the brown ground kind of mixes into the leaf color.

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. 

""</p

""</p

""</p

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?

""</p

""</p

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”!