Portrait Amalia Fisch in Monochrome

Portrait Amalia Fisch A0320
11″w x 9″h watercolor monochrome (dioxine purple) on 140lb Fabriano wc paper.

Here is my portrait of Amalia Fisch (a fellow artist) done for the January challenge to do a painting in monochrome. What a challenge it is to do work using only one color. The single color chosen for this image was Dioxazine Purple by Blick Artist’s Watercolors. Below is the painting in process after a few light washes had established the figure.

Yesterday was our monthly meeting at Spokane Art supply at 10am. It was great to be able to see my artist friends again. Seeing their work is the highlight of the meeting for me. Being able to share and talk about methods is so valuable. I always learn from these meetings.

Bill Okamura Portrait in Monochrome

9″w x 11″h watercolor monochrome (paynes grey) on 140lb Fabriano wc paper.

Here is a portrait of a fellow artist, Bill Okamura. This month’s Spokane Watercolor Society meeting. The January challenge was to do a painting using only one color.

What was the result? A realization that “monochrome” changes how I approach a painting. Basically, the values become key, and other colors are not there to distract me as I paint. Using value to get depth and shape.

The chosen color used for this image was Payne’s Gray by Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors  economically available at Spokane Art Supply. Below is the painting in process after only a few light washes establish the figure.

portrait Bill Okamura

Our monthly meeting for the Spokane Watercolor Society was at Spokane Art supply at 10am yesterday. Seeing my artist friends and their work is the inspiring to me. Bill did a monochrome painting of an old car that was spectacular! Hope he shares with us.

Being able to share methods and techniques is so valuable to me.

Monochrome Painting Finished

portrait Diane Conkright A0220
portrait Diane Conkright

Monochrome

Here is the first of the monochrome portraits all finished. I am very happy with the look of this and hope it ranks well in the monthly challenge program at the next meeting. It is a veritiable challenge to get depth and shape in using only one color. I believe it was done using Ultramarine blue or cobalt, now I am not sure. Some day soon I have to go ahead and mark my watercolor wells on the pallet. The only sure fire way for me to keep the names straight. Honestly, I just dab into whatever color feels right to use rather than knowing which color should be used scientifically. It is the artist (lack of) logic in full force.

SWS Meeting

Can’t wait to go to the Spokane Watercolor Society meeting scheduled for January 18th (Saturday) at 10am at the Spokane Art Supply Classroom here in Spokane, Washington. Truly, a case of, “birds of a feather” hanging out together. It is so much fun to visit with other artists and compare methods. I haven’t been able to attend any meetings for quite a while. Health issues prevented me from doing much of anything for the past half year. It is great to be feeling better and I am hoping to be able to get out more now.

I’d be glad to have you come as my guest to explore your interest in watercolor painting. You’d probably like to come check out this meeting with me. It really is a great help to be able to hook up with others interested in art, as you are. Email me here if you are so inclined and we will work out the particulars about where to meet, driving or carpool etc.

Today is a happy painting and writing day for this person.

Monochrome Painting

portraite Diane Conkright
9″w x 11″h watercolor monochrome (blue) on 140lb Fabriano wc paper. SWS meeting challenge monochrome (blue) portrait Diane Conkright.

A monochrome painting, the start or beginning for a monochrome “monthly member challenge” of the Spokane Watercolor Society meeting scheduled for January 18th at 10am  at Spokane Art Supply. I love these different monthly challenges because they make me stretch my abilities and try new things. Being able to see and discuss the methods used with other members makes the lessons learned so much better.

Really, this is NOT something I “never” do. I actually love to do a a black and white rendering first for almost every painting done in color. It is the natural was for me to see things for lighting, you know…. where are the  shadows, and where does the light burn it white. Yep.

In fact, I took a Ron Stocke weekend workshop last year at Spokane Art Supply and absolutely loved it. Ron is a talented professional that I totally admire, and he does amazingly beautiful plein air work with a full understanding of architectural design. It was fun learning a different system of painting. Ron’s first step is, sketching, followed by a monochrome layout study to paint from. It was a great feeling to see a professional like him use monochrome studies the same way I start my projects.

Dale Latinen is another professional artist giving a great local weekend workshop through the Spokane Watercolor Society, Check it out here at Dale Latinen Workshop , April 2-5th, 2020. Places are filling up fast.

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.

Art at Chattaroy Church Craft Fair

desktop cosmos blossoms
5 x 8 watercolor cosmos studies

The Chattaroy Church Craft Fair is this Saturday from 9am-4pm. It is easy to find off of Hwy 2, a white single story church catty-corner across from the Chattaroy post office. I have attended this fair before and it was fun, chock full of wonderful hand-crafted items. Larry and Linda Pointer will have snow men that Larry made and there was some talk of Linda’s pine cone creations too. I am unable to attend this year, thank you so much for including my art you two!

desktop huckleberry paintings
huckleberry watercolors

These small community events are wonderful as they inspire me to complete things in the studio. I just finished matting and bagging 9 paintings and one ink drawing that were laying around here. It feels good.

desktop plein air paintings
plein air watercolor on desk

Purple Cosmos Watercolor

Cosmos Photograph 26
Photograph of Cosmos in garden.

The purple Cosmos was a vivid beauty in our garden this year. Inspiring this artist to try out her wings with a new subject. Here is a completed watercolor study of a single purple blossom.

Via “Wikipedia“, Cosmos is defined as the world or universe, regarded as orderly, harmonious… quoted from my print version of the Webster’s Universal College Dictionary in the studio. Yes, I still use printed books to look things up because the old references often cover subjects more fully. In my printed version there is an additional definition #4 that is relevant to what I am sharing today.

4. Any of a genus, Cosmos, of New World composite plants having open clusters of flowers with red or yellow disks and wide rays of white, pink or purple.

BTW, I only have the purple cosmos, anyone want to trade purple seed for white and pink? I have a lot of seed, because I save them after harvest and use them the following year. Let me know if you’d like to barter.

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Cosmos Closeup J3319
5.5″w x 6.5″h watercolor on 300lb Arches, Lavender Cosmos very closeup blossom.

This is a study of the Cosmos flower up close. I do studies before I do any larger paintings. Using an Arches paper scrap that is much smaller than I usually paint on, I practice and see how to paint something new. This is not the first time I have been inspired by this beautiful blossom, check this embroidered Cosmos tablecloth out. It was a fun project that took over a year to finish embroidering by hand.

Beginning with negative painting I put the background in, then warm it up with a wash of Azo Yellow. I then put in the yellow center and add shadows. Followed by, working my way out to the petal edges adding light and shadow.

Drops On Berry Wet Hucks!

Artistic Challenge

Very, berry, wet huckleberries! Drops of water are covering all the berry surfaces! The prior huckleberry study had a few drops on the berries and leaves? Another discovery of an artist challenge, “the rendering drops”. Drops aren’t easy, because each one is different. Due to, the surface that they rest upon and their location in the lighting scheme.

Berry Wet Hucks I2919 with drops
Very Berry Wet Hucks I2919 the beginning

I reserve the majority of the white areas needed with mastik to be able to render the droplets. First, finishing up the leaves in the background allowing better definition of the edges of my main subject, the berries.

Illustrating Roundness

Next, defining the lights and shadows, ultimately shows roundness of the three berries. While applying light washes of color, then allowing the color to spread. Similarly, removing any unwanted color with a dry brush before my mixture dries.

First, using a touch of white mixed with the purple makes the opaque highlight where the light first strikes the berry. Next, adding magenta as a light wash brings out the red tint that shows through the purple on the berries whenever you view them in the sunlight. Touching the body with purple bleeds into the wetness of the magenta wonderfully. Darkening the purple with a touch of ultramarine blue and burnt umber brings a rich shadow out on the lower surface. Adding a mixture of blue, brown and purple produces the darkest shadows that separate the front berry form from the huckleberries appearing behind. Lastly, I give a light reflective edge to the edge furthest from the light source.

Drops

Now, it is time for the final touches which are the drops. It gets much easier to render these drops if I remember drop is a round shiny object that I can see through. Drops allow what is behind it to peek through, while simultaneously exhibiting highlights and shadows on its round surface. These little shiny round guys are rendered with white watercolor applied very carefully. Simple touches of white bleeding into the background.

I made the details on the front huckleberry with sharp and distinct edges. Similarly, the rear berries have subdued edges to emphasize that they are further away in our depth of field.

Barry Wet Hucks I2919 finished drops
10″w x 7″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper

Huckleberry Watercolor

Next

First, here is another study of huckleberry watercolor paintings. Loose backgrounds paired with detailed treatments to the berries is what I am experimenting with. “Why is that?”, you may ask. Ultimately, it is the berries I am looking for, when I am up there. Blurred backgrounds and focus on the berries is my way of trying to produce that same reality. While hiking, my eyes constantly rove left and right searching for a particular shade of purple.

HuckBerryWetI2819
9″h x 12″w watercolor of five huckleberries that are wet

Hiking to Pick

Secondly, hiking I love, but berry-picking while hiking is like having your cake and eating it too! Add a camera into the mix and we start to use words like heaven to describe the outing.

These berries love steep ground, or ground that has seen a lot of abuse. We find them where a wildfire has cleared and left the rich ash on the ground for regrowth. Also, we tend to find them where select logging has cleared areas so the shrubs on ground level get more light. I always notice a lot of logs to step or climb over as we spend a day discovering these tasty little gems. Additionally, we use our nose to find huckleberries. These berries  have such a sweet smelling aroma that drifts on the breeze as you walk. Sometimes, we just follow our nose and find them. This is a short video of a place I picked some berries up at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort this year.

Today, I had been scheduled to be an artist vendor at the “Huckleberry Festival which is put on by the Roosevelt Inn” in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Unfortunately, stuff happens and I am unable to be there. The Inn is a great historical building (red brick school building) in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene just one block above the Hitching Post. If you are in the neighborhood please go check it out. After all, this show is my inspiration to do huckleberry image studies in the first place.

 

 

 

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.