Plein Air Painting Elk, WA

SWS Plein Air Painting

Saturday July 21st, 2018

We had an artist “fun time” at our house. Above is the invitation that I handed out at the Spokane Watercolor Society Meeting a couple of months ago. I created a Facebook event for it and sent it to all the Watercolor Society Members emails. I also sent it to my friends on Facebook right before the weekend.

Out of all the invitations sent 4 wonderful artist’s showed up. What a great day, except for the bees. Wow there is sure a lot of them here this year. Aaaargh.

Who was there?

In the morning there was my neighbor Rose Coston with her 2-year-old daughter Allie. We painted on the kitchen table while Allie painted some pictures of her own, then she played with legos and log homes. Rose hasn’t painted in a long time but she was ready to try her hand at it and was surprised at the way watercolors work, she is a great person to paint beside.

SWS Member Sherrie Thies, arrived ready to paint, just as Rose and Allie were preparing to leave. Sherrie and I were able to get to know each other some before we decided to go walk through the garden and check out what we would like to paint. Sherrie is a high school art teacher and I bet her students just love her. I found out that I judged one of her student’s shows at ESD101 a few years back and we were able to share some changes we thought should be done in judging that venue. Wow, we really have great people in the group.

While we were checking things out in the garden, Allison Kromer Hsu, who is a longtime family friend arrived along with SWS member Kelly Burk. We went back up the hill and settled on the deck for a bit and decided to go ahead and eat our potluck, good cooks, Yay! Then back out on the deck we watched hummingbirds and began to setup and paint and visit.

What did we do?

Sherri got some great photographs with her phone of the hummingbirds and painted multiple images that looked great but I did not think to photograph them before she left. Am  hoping she will post them here for us to see. I’d like to paint the one I looked at closely.

Allison was working on a painting she had already started which was a seascape with shoreline foliage, she was interested in seeing the SWS member’s entries into our show coming up and said she’d like to attend one of our meetings. Allison, you can post your painting here too, if you would like.

Kelly did multiple paintings and sketches, please feel free to post your images here. Kelly did one watercolor pet portrait that she gave to me, and I just love it. It is of our dog named Max, he is a half Swiss Mountain dog (Swiss 3 color Rottweiller), half Pitbull 1-1/2 yr old puppy. What a great portrait and so fast. Thank you!

Max Woelk by Kelly Burk

I started a watercolor of hummingbirds in flight in the trees. Here  it is now but it is still in progress.

Hum Birds in Trees progress

Our Plein Air day was great!

I am so happy to have been able to spend some time really getting to know these artist friends. I realize I should have reminded everyone more often and maybe put a stricter time to start and end but still I’d love to do more of this painting with fellow artist this summer! It is really a great way to inspire true creativity and to spend time with others who love to paint as much as I do.

 

Don’t be Koi… #7 finished

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

The final part of the water kingdom is done on her left side bringing the darker blues continuous behind her with a quick absence bleed of color at her back tail fin. This is how I give an impression of movement in the water there. The final touch I feel drawn to do is some darker splatters throughout the water for bubble impressions. I am pleased with her bright moving attitude! C’est fini!

Don’t be Koi… #6

#06

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

The underwater world keeps going as I proceed on her right side adding cobalt blue, Prussian blue, ultramarine along with violet. The trick for me is to not do too much. I don’t want it to be a solid background, instead wanting to see variance and depth. the other side of that is that I don’t want the water to compete with the main subject of the sassy koi. Hoping to get not too much and not too little. Slowly and carefully I proceed.

Don’t be Koi… #5

#05

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

Our lady koi is ready to enter into her world. How is she going to look underwater? This is my favorite thing about watercolor painting. Wet on wet! I absolutely love the way that the colors bleed pool and spread when you give them water to travel on. There is no better experience than carefully wetting where you want color to transform and then dropping color and watching the magic in front of your eyes. Beginning at the extreme curve of her body and working my way under her chin her underwater world appears.

Don’t be Koi… #4

#04

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

I continue to add color to her scale areas getting the majority of her done. The next area is her back tail where I am opting to give her a real colorful fin to stand on for her statement. The tricky part for me here it to give her an impression of standing on two legs without giving her legs at all. How do you make fins kind of sort of be legs? Well here is my best stab at it.

Don’t be Koi… #3

#03

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

At this point I begin to add the areas of different colors on my koi character taking turns between adding scale patterns and shadow shape. She is colorful with white, gold, orange, red and black patches. I add darkness in layers we are able to see the depth of her open mouth which makes her expression have much more impact. The darkness on her right chin makes her lips seem to jut out toward us. As I work with the eyes I darken where the shadows are along with her iris. Isn’t it great how watercolor allows you to carefully bleed the edges of the shadow to gently show a curving eyeball? I noticed her dorsal fin is not right and am able to correct that with darkening in the back that reduces it to the correct size.

Don’t be Koi… #2

#02

Don’t Play Koi With Me

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

You may notice that I was in the middle of doing a couple’s wedding portrait but I put it aside and did this real quick because the meeting was the next night. I have had to learn to be able to quit one project and hop onto-the-next whenever customers put a hold on something. It works well for when I tend to procrastinate too long too.

Don’t be Koi… #1

Don’t Play Koi With Me #01

11”w x 11”h watercolor on 140lb WC paper

 

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.

title…giving me a problem

Just finished this watercolor of a view straight out my studio window. I just can’t seem to pick a good name for it.  I was thinking,

“Look outside at what is looking inside!”

No. But I know that is just way to long… and just naming it deer isn’t cool so… Please. Do any of you have any suggestions? HELP!!!