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.
Chrome owned by Cornerstone Danes in Oroville WA. Absolutely beautiful dog. Please check out their website. I loved the position of one of the pictures used as a reference but got a lot of great detail in lighting from the seconde reference photo. Here is the beginning sketch with mastick (resist) applied to the paper to help reserve the important white areas.
I always start with a sketch of the layout background and my main subject. Beautiful Stella. Her eyes captivate with a great expression of curiosity. She lived in a beautiful part of the country, rural with rolling hills and great hills in the vista.
I received a project from my daughter’s friend Libby for a portrait of her dog Stella that has passed away. Libby runs Cornerstone Danes out of Oroville WA absolutely beautiful dogs. Unfortunately, Libby lost almost all of her photos of Stella when her phone crashed. You can imagine how horrible that is. What we had to work with are five shots. One is detailed and up close, the others are not so close up and in different positions definetely showing her personality.
Stella was deeply loved and greatly missed and I look forward to painting her. From my own personal experience I know how difficult it is to say goodbye to our best friends!
BTW. I still take photographs with a real digital Nikon D60 and love the ability to adjust for different lighting and detail.
Okay. It is simply finishing up for me now. Blossoms in front and behind with shadows to show them in 3D. Leaves here and there some with details, some very light behind.
I try to ensure enough variety of texture and tone to keep the eyes discovering different parts as you tour the painting. Hummingbirds just do that to me naturally.
This is a 22″w x 30″h watercolor on 300lb. watercolor paper work. It is entitled, “Hummingbirds, Seven J1516” and if you’d like to see it then head on down to the Kress Gallery on the third floor of Riverfront Park Shopping Center (behind and to the right of the food vendors). It will be there through Nov 28th. This painting is at the top of the ramp going up into the gallery on the left hand side. If you are interested in purchasing it, just let me know.