First Friday SWS Show Opens

On First Friday, the SWS member show opens, want an invitation? The Show Opening Reception promises to be a lot of fun. Only then, we will have original small paintings and cards for sale at the Inland NW Land Conservancy Lobby .SWS Member Show Invitations

Would You Like to Come?

In the next day or two I have a dozen SWS Member Show invitation cards to send out. If you would like one just text or email me and I’ll be sure to send you one.

I’ve seen some of the work that is going to be there. We promise absolutely great art to enjoy by the talented watercolorists in Spokane WA! Believe me, we have an abundance of talent in our region of the United States! Check out the Spokane Watercolor Society website for any information you need on the show.

Come meet the artists! and enjoy a night out downtown in Spokane WA.

Dahlia Patch Done

Dahlia Patch C142019 finished
Dahlia Patch C142019, 30″w x 10″h watercolor on 300lb WC paper.

Just finished painting the flowers in Dahlia Patch C142019 watercolor. I am loving it and planning to paint more like her. I saved seeds from my 6-8′ blossoms last year and plant to well populate the garden with them again. So bright and beautiful to see when you work in the garden every day. Weeding and watering seem less tiresome when your eyes feast on beautiful combinations of color and fascinating insects and birds cruising around. There is only a few more weeks of skiing left, and I’m looking forward to spring and summer now.

Check out how many kinds of Dahlia’s there are, 42 species and it is native to Mexico. Did you know it was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963? Good old Wikipedia dahlia knowledge, interesting but hard to remember the scientific names sometimes.

What do you think of dahlia patch?

It took some time to get the details all in. It was funny but as I added details, I’d notice another missing detail in an area I thought I had already finished. Add a shadow here, oooh a highlight there and a half a leaf here. That petal looks weird, it needs a shadow under it too. You can see the progress in one day by looking back at yesterdays article about this painting.

Round and round she goes,
where she stops nobody knows!

Another unfinished is now in the finished pile and it feels great. At the meeting (Spokane Watercolor Society) the other night a fellow artist shared that she was going to either finish or throw away the paintings in her studio. Boing!!! That hit me square in the face. I have so many unfinished paintings laying around my studio, so I plan on making an effort to do that. No more unfinished stacks in my life.

Beautiful Flowers Blooming

dahliaPatch
Dahlia Patch 30″w x 10″h watercolor on 300lb WC paper

I was fortunate to have beautiful flowers blooming all summer in my garden this past year. I grabbed this painting from my “unfinished painting stack” tonight. This is not the first time to paint this Dahlia image. My previous attempt became all overworked and mucky, actually loosing itself in the background, until I simply gave it up to turn the paper over, and try it again. See previous posts about my first attempt here

I wonder how many two sided paintings have I sold in my life?

Doing bright colored flowers of any variety is so cool. This painting has a new type of background technique that is different and a little scary for me. Trying for a looser and softer background. One that will let us see the petals of the flowers without distraction. Blossoms with petals and all their curves, shadows… I am beginning to really like this one now.

Let me know what you think, so far.

This week was full of  stressful work like taxes, paperwork and illustration assignments. But, today was a great relaxing break to just paint. I worked on completing my painting for the Spokane Watercolor Society Member Show.  It feels good to paint things that I like all day. 

Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting

a vibrant landscapeArtist Date Night

Went to the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting last night and had a great “artist date” night. The SWS meeting is the second Wednesday in the month downtown at Spokane Art Supply on Monroe Street 6pm. This artist group is a truly worthwhile organization to join, with lots of information on the web and Facebook if you want to check it out. If you’d like to get some real inspiration, by coming to one of the meetings, let me know. I’d love to take you with me. This organization spurs me to keep improving my skills.

Monthly Challenges

Each month at the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting, we are asked to paint something in a specific theme of the month, or challenge. We bring it in and are able to show and tell with everyone, getting positive feedback and tips. I just love “hob nobbing” with fellow artists. Our challenge for this month was “Challenge”.

Hey, is there an “Echo” in the room? 

In line with my newly established goal of perfecting winter snow scenes in my painting *repertoire, I brought my First Snow Walk winter scene (image was shared yesterday).

Loving KindnessAlso, I brought-in the painting done for the previous month. Unfortunately, I was snowed-in and had to miss last month’s meeting. The challenge for the February meeting was “Love and Kindness” and that subject produced, a *plethora of ideas flooding my mind. I was trying to choose the best subject and it was impossible with so many ideas flowing through my brain. After a week of fiddling around, I noticed that one set of images kept populating the parade. Kids and dogs. Yep, that was my love and kindness entry. Always, I have always, felt the best of love from my woofie dogs! They want to be with you no matter what, loving you through the good, the bad and the ugly.

*2 NEW WORD USAGEs! Had to look them up to spell it right here. All that study is increasing my vocabulary.

Don’t forget our show coming up, on First Friday, April 2019, is the opening reception for our Member Show at the Inland Northwest Conservation Lobby, I posted info about it earlier. Please come down and see some really phenominal work! You have got to see Kelly Knouff-Burk’s wetland painting, it will take your breath away! There is so much talent in this group!

 

 

Walk in First Snow Through the Woods

first snow woods photograph

Almost every day, I get to see scenes like this as I walk outside the studio. My camera is a real happy camper. Luckily, I captured this picture during the first snow of the season. There was a small accumulation of snow and the day was warm. Sometimes, it feels like I live in paradise with the nature right around me.

There are tracks from our neighbors who had just ridden their ATV’s through it. There are a lot of Bambi tracks and Gobble Gobble turkey tracks too! Max and I are not the only ones enjoying this area.

We all love the outside up here in Elk, WA.  Our neighborhood is the one that started the, “You might be a redneck if……” craze. Checkout Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian here.

My goal right now is to conquer a fear of painting snow and get good at painting winter scenes. I figure the more I paint, the easier it will get. Hmmmm. We’ll see.

walk first snow WC washHere is the first study I painted of this view, as a horizontal presentation. After finishing the study, I am able to see areas to improve. Standing back a way gives me a good view to ponder how I want to proceed with the larger painting.  I’m not so sure I will go with horizontal, I think I like the vertical better.

Walk First Snow
Watercolor study complete for horizontal layout.

I will try a vertical layout next.

Snowy fenceposts watercolor

It is still snowing up here in Elk WA, and I finished this piece last night.

Snowy Field Fencposts E132019
Snowy Field Fencposts E132019 7×10 watercolor on 140lb paper

Snowy Field Fenceposts E132019, a chilly 7″w x 10″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper.

Painting this chilly scene is a new technique for this artist. The finishing touch was the foggy tree on the horizon. Isn’t it cool how the winter mists hides things in the distance? Let me know how this feels to you.

If you knew me you would really understand why snow scenery is so foreign to me in my watercolors. Winter scenery is my new mission and more images are on the studio surfaces as I type this out.

It is the first snowy scene I’ve painted and was satisfied with when finished. This is the result of attending a weekend workshop with master, Stan Miller at Spokane Art Supply. 

Plein air inspiration

Monroe St Bridge
Monroe St Bridge in process.

Inspired by a memory of a brilliant sunset recently.

 

I am working on completing a plein air watercolor painting of the Spokane river today. This started with a group outing at the Spokane library last month. The day waswa cold gray winterwday so I  exercising the artist perogatvepto improvise. AddingAthat gorgeousgsunset to the winter scene. It is a work in process will share more later.

Plein Air Watercolor Painting

Outdoor Painting, Indoors

I went to a Spokane Watercolor Society, Plein Air Group get together at the Spokane Main Library downtown this weekend. The view from the Library windows is looking north overlooking the river. 

SpokaneLibraryPleinAirView

Certainly, plein air painting the outdoor beauty of the Inland Northwest in the warm comfort of the main library downtown is heavenly.

Plien Air Post St Bridge Spokane Library

Post Street Bridge Crossing

Today, I finished up one of the pieces started at the Spokane Library this weekend, of the Post Street Bridge crossing. The place that the Bloomsday Race used to end, with metal figures running on the sidewalk by City Hall.

What a great view the third floor library windows have!

This cityscape is chock full of many interesting images. Unfortunately, this large variety makes it is hard to select a specific view. Probably made more intense when you are also looking at gorgeous river and waterfall views at the same time. Decisions, decisions.

Finally, significant fun was had while getting to know my plein air brush from the Derwent kit I just got. I has it’s own tank of water in the pen which is really convenient. There are reasonable (under $20) kits available on DickBlick.com.

plein air paint kit Derwent plain air paint kit

Seems, like happiness is getting the water to look like it is really falling. Hence, a waterfall. Yahoo! While learning to use the plein air paint kit well enough to try it “on location”, without taking my other brushes.

Even more plein air painting events, along the river, are scheduled for January at the Inlander offices and February at Anthony’s Restaurant in 2019. Please feel free to contact any one of us to attend a Spokane Watercolor Society monthly meeting and/or come have fun painting with other artists at the next plein air event.

Plumeria Watercolor

red plumeriaPlumeria Layout

Finishing a pencil layout for a plumeria watercolor of seven blossoms I am now able to begin painting the first red bloom. Painting this subject is therapeutic for my soul. I almost feel the soft smooth petals with their bends and curls as I imagine the intensely bright colors and intense perfume. Can’t say that I miss the sticky fingers from the sap. But, their heady perfume was always the most welcoming part of getting off the plane whenever I went back home. Isn’t it funny what things you miss the most about childhood memories?

The smell and feel of a bag of plumerias. Hmmmm.

red plumeria up closeThe Colors In Red?

Here is the red plumeria paint up-close as it dries. I love the way watercolor does half the work for me by moving of it’s own accord wherever there is water to blend with the other colors. It lets me add drops of bright magenta or yellow that completely changes it. I add light washes of darker shadow details after the wet parts dry. I re-wet the dark shadow areas putting a dark line “cast-shadow” where the petal curves up toward itself. To feather the inside edge of this cast shadow I carefully add a little more water for the paint to fade into.

Making the Center Hole

Later, re-wetting the center, I put a thick small drop of blue and paynes gray. A little dark dab expands perfectly making the hole in the center and, showing where you thread the lei needle through coming out the back stem ready to thread the next flower on.

red, white & yellow plumeriaThe next blossom starts out as a white with yellow center plumeria that is partially covered by other flower petals on both sides.

four plumeria colors

four plumerias up closeThe first four plumerias are painted on the top in a variety of colors. You can see that the top right blossom has changed to become a light pink & yellow and the blossom directly below it is now the white & yellow instead. A closer shot shows how I can go darker pretty easily, but not lighter. 

peach, white & yellow, red, pink plumeriayellow & white plumeriaAnother white & yellow center on the left side is followed by another dark red on the right. Here is a closeup to see how the watercolors are working, specifically where the hole in the middle bleeds so wonderfully. Now, the next trick is to decide what colors go where for the last three flowers. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Backgrounds

I am happy with the random placement of color for now but how about the background?

water background plumeriasI thought of another custom that used to be practiced by us, it was to put a lei in the surf when someone you love goes away or passes away. The flowers float on the water for quite a while. You can sit on the sand and think for quite a while.  I decided to paint water for these plumerias to float on. You can see how I use lots of water to drop different colors into. Fun!

plumerias final detailsThe last decision is to make the last central bloom a light pink up front and center. Our pink tree had a very sweet perfume. It took an hour or so to put light and dark shadows to help show shape with light and shadow.

plumerias finishedPlumeria Watercolor Finished

It is all pau! I am sending it to a friend I have known since 4th grade in Kahaluu, who used to make lei’s and ride the school bus among other things with me.

Betsy, Mele Kalikimaka!

 

 

 

 

Yellow Rose Watercolor Steps

yellow rose 07
Doing a rose watercolor involves many steps. Most of the time I can describe my steps simply as washes-on-top-of, washes-on-top-of, washes and so forth. I tend to pile up layers and layers of wash until I like what I see.

Do you know the meaning of the yellow rose?

yellow rose watercolor 08

I began with this yellow rose layout in a sketch. I put a real light wash in the body of the flower bloom first. Being carefully light with the paint I add the long stem and it’s leaves, along with the little bud peeking out on the left side. I am encouraged.

Changed Backgrounds

Lately, I have noticed that I have a habit of painting backgrounds with tons of detail going to the very edge of the paper. To change things up, I will work on getting a dramatic background without walking in those footsteps this time. The biggest realization I have is that this is not going to be good without some serious background to help it pop out. The challenge will be to make an appropriate background that pops but doesn’t take over the main image.

Rose Watercolors

A light yellow rose watercolor can very easily fade into a white background and become a ghost. The background is my beginning to remedying that. With violet wash as a background I add a mixture of Crimson with it on wet areas to the edges of my main character. A good change, don’t you think? 

Dropping vermillion or cadmium reds into these areas give a little more zing as it bleeds into the background violet and crimson.yellow rose 09yellow rose 12

Examining the watercolor rose procedure pictures I’ve taken makes another step that I take real apparent. The picture that I took of the blossom is the reference for the rose watercolor.

Never hesitate to get your old fashioned gear out. Improve by using “photography technique” along with that “real camera” (not a smart phone). Nothing, takes the place of good reference material. If you are trying to improve and learn about where the light hits and shadows extends to, use a well lit photograph. There are millions of amateur photographers out there flooding FaceBook and the image banks with junk, but very few “real skilled photographers” capturing memorable shots with enlightened essence anymore.

Dryly Enlightening

At this point we are looking at the dry version of this watercolor painting. Take note of the differences between the last two images and you will see a noticeable amount of fading occurs as the paints dry. While looking at a wet painting, there are many times that I am tempted to dab a bit of the pigment out of it because it seems so very bright when wet. If I can resist that urge, I am usually a lot happier with the result because the paints do fade so very much by the time they are dry.

yellow rose watercolor 13