Raising Art out of Your Artist

Surprise in progress
Progress children’s portrait expressing surprise

We got kudos for individual creativity in art, teaching ourselves, and entrepreneur type creative ideas always. If my folks had not been encouraging in these ways, I would never have been able to follow this direction in life. They noticed the signs of artist tendencies in me from the beginning and encouraged me to practice and explore. Thank God our family tends to encourage creativity and guide us to educate ourselves in an entrepreneur sort of way.

Artist traits

I was one of those kids that lay on the ground looking up into the sky, seeing images in the clouds. I still like to do this. My earliest memories are of loving fishing on weekends with beautiful mountain walks. Discovering wonderful panoramic views with warm sun and bright mountain skies. Evenings spent coloring on a fold-up card table at my Grandma and Grandpa’s home. Skiing with my family and seeing some of the most gorgeous views in the snow from a very young age.

Have always doodled, consequently, getting in trouble in school for drawing horses in the margin of the test papers. There are many many scrap pieces of paper with eyes drawn in every position in my wastepaper packages. Noticing beauty around me, shadows and shapes, coloring, drawing and painting has always been a large part of my life. A pen or brush has always felt natural in my hand. The other stuff in life squeezes in to fit around the edges.

ART categories

As you go through this blog, you will notice that the “art” articles are divided up into different categories (listed on the right), allowing you the ability to search for a specific category of blog articles that may interest you.

I hope that this division into categories will make it easier for you to find the art subjects that you are most interested in reading about. Additionally, if you want a complete picture of the art I do please feel free to visit my traditional website also.

There are also the categories covered in my Blog about things I like to do Outdoors and Needlework . Outside activities including hiking, sports and gardening. My inside needlework hobbies of sewing or embroidery fill my spare time.

 

Jazz progressive #1

A deja vu image that keeps coming back? I sure do. The third time around is a rendering in watercolor… step one.

Jazz01Using my reference images I sketch in the collage, changing what I want. Most of the change is the desire for movement in the collage. The way I’m approaching this is changing the singer’s face in a more Hispanic flavor, with  hair flowing up and twisting around. Another change is to make the piano keyboard dance in a curve around the guitar. I use resist on the piano keys and other white areas that I want to reserve. Then lightly wash in some of the shapes to see if I am happy with my layout.

Deja Vu “Jazz” reference mat’l

This image keeps showing up for another round? This is round three. I wanted to enter a Spokane Watercolor Society Show and couldn’t get this idea out of my head. So, I decided to give it my best to render this scene in an ultimate fashion then possibly it would not keep coming back.

I begin with finding great reference material to work from, showing  characters and instruments well, placing them in PhotoShop and printing it out. The print sits right next to me as I paint this musical collage in watercolor, my ipod singing in the background with all my favorite tunes.

reference images for jazz music collage

Recurring Inspirations

Have you ever had an image that kept coming back for another round? I sure have. I had a vision of music being played on various instruments by a singer, sax player, trumpeter and hearing piano going all at once. A very brightly colored dream set in Florida tones. The first time I painted this inspiration was with a quick sketch in watercolor.

medley of jazz musicians in watercolor

This  8×11 framed original is available for purchase.

Donkey watercolor

Steps to paint in watercolor?

This donkey watercolor painting made it into the juried charitable benefit for Lavender Dreams Farm & Donkey Rescue. These are truly wonderful people who rescue livestock, mainly donkeys in north eastern Washington. North of Newport WA. Please take a second to check them out.If this painting wins in the show, I get some and they get some.

Donkeys are quite important characters, and have been friends with some pretty significant people… really.  After I had heard about this benefit, I was thinking about what I would paint just before I went to sleep at night.

Dream Inspirations

A dream about a donkey appeared in my sleep, a talking donkey just like the old show I used to watch when I was real little. Did you ever see it? It was, “Mr. Ed the Talking Horse and it started with a Palamino horse looking over his stall gate saying…

Hello I’m Mr Ed…

A horse is a horse
of course, of course
and no one can talk to a horse
of course, that is of course
unless the horse
is the
famous Mr. Ed!

Donkey Story

I had a dream of this talkative donkey standing in a dirt road telling me about life as he chewed on some grass. He was telling me about the cool people he knew and the great things he had done.

Then he started to talk about a really neat guy that he gave a ride into a town once. He was brought to this guy that he didn’t know, who talked to him and patted his head, making all the nervous worry go away instantly. It was great to have a human pay some attention to him, instead of just ignore him expecting unquestioned perfect servitude.

This guy was on a mission and there were lots of people all around, so they headed out right away. This man did not hit him with a stick to get going but instead simply asked him to go as he sat comfortable on his back. There were crowds around and people lining the road yelling, it was a scene like he had never seen before or since, but the man on his back was calm.

The people were throwing palm fronds on the road in front of him, making the donkey afraid that he might trip so he had to look down and be careful with each step. They did finally arrive safely in the town and then this man named Jesus got off and came up to him saying, Thank you!

Isn’t that amazing?

The name of this painting, “Then Jesus Said”. I begin by drawing up a few sketches and arriving at one with the little donkey talking to me up close and personal, like in the dream.

pencil layout of donkey
pencil layout of donkey

The first part of the painting process for me is blocking in light washes showing where the background areas are. It is easier to see if my main character is positioned how I want then. With this donkey, it was important to see the sky, with desert background but I also wanted some palm fronds because that is a integral part of the story in my dream. Once the location of the main figure is in I can then start to add the darkest areas on him to see if the figure is still working when it starts to look 3D.

donkey watercolor light washes
donkey watercolor light washes

I almost always have reference photography on the desktop with me as I paint or draw. I don’t have to follow the references exactly, because I am not trying to make a photograph. I use the photography to check my sizes and where the light is casting.

different reference materials
different reference materials

I am adding darkness and detail at this point to the watercolor.

Donkey details left
Donkey details left

Here is the donkey finished, I am happy with him because it can almost hear him talking.

the donkey Je suis fini!
the donkey Je suis fini!