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.
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?
Happy Easter…. from me to you, with crocus plein air sketches in the yard today.
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….
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.
Initially, the portrait starts with a pencil sketch drawn from my photograph.
Apply Washes to Doe
Next 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!
Adding 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
Things 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.
Progress 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.
Finally, 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.
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.
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.
With 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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now you can see how my desk is arranged so that I can see my reference materials as I work on this painting.
The first task is to apply mastik or watercolor resist wherever I want to reserve white paper. Doing this allows me to paint wet on wet without worrying about avoiding where I will need clean white to be. It makes my hands much more sure of themselves. You probably notice how confusing the darker color where the resist is, but you easily get used to it and are able to know it will look way different soon.
Sketching layout. My first step is layout of a basic figure similar to the other figures that I illustrated in her healing book. It will soon be published then I can tell you more about it.
Here is the first part of the layout sketch locating all seven symbols on the figure.
My concept is to treat each location as an extension of the proper color of glow eminating from the symbol across the corresponding body part in a curve.
I have to alternated the placement of symbols on both sides of the figure to fit them so they will fit in the book layout and still be readable. The glow sections also alternated from side to side being separated by white dotted curves to help divide.
This mission, should I choose to accept it, is about “the 7 major chakras”. A subject that I know very very little about. “Mission Impossible”, in my artist world…. hurrying to proceed before the message self-destructs!
Here is what my client requested.
Please paint an image of the chakras – they need to be coloured correctly ( 2 specific colours for each) and numbered starting at the bottom. I am open to your creative suggestions always.
1 – red and rose red
2 – orange and rose orange (salmon like colour)
3 – yellow and rose yellow (peach like colour)
4 – Green and Rose Pink
5 – Sky blue and Violet (sky blue with a touch of rose)
6 – Indigo and Purple (indigo with a touch of rose)
7 – white and white hued with rose colour
My first step is to find out information about what chakras are, and what they look like. Thank goodness for Google. I was able to sort through a ton of information on the subject and was totally amazed at what is involved. Seven glowing points partnered with different body parts are focused on for healing, colors, scents, foods, and of course the healing yoga positions.
I print out the most helpful info and lay it where I can see it, to help me see things as I start to sketch ideas from the info. Here are two examples of information I found.
There is the;
Crown chakra, Third Eye chakra, Throat chakra, Heart chakra, Solar Plexus chakra, Sacral chakra, and the Root chakra. Whew! Here is one of the sketches submitted to the client that was approved to go ahead with the chakra watercolor painting mission. Step-aside Tom Cruise!
After the creation of these roughs for John Dini I was able to get to work doing a more final pencil drawing for each scene. See the YouTube video below. Storytelling with a pencil… story board images for author John Dini, and his book entitled “Hunters in a Farmers World”. These images were part of his author’s tour slide show presentation for his book.