Thursday, January 31, 2013

Seeing Green

Seeing Green/ oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ gifted
Today is the last day of Leslie Saeta's Thirty Paintings in Thirty Day Challenge. It has been just that little extra "push" to get a painting completed to post each day.  I have been made aware of some new amazing almost daily painters who also participated in this challenge.
My theme has been color. Therefore, today I decided to prime my board with a color that I haven't used before and let that peek out or scrape out in places. Again, I scratched the wet paint to add texture but this effect is far better when the paint is scratched through wet layers.

I am also painting a couple of large watercolors for upcoming show deadlines, so this will be all that I can post tonight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Watercolor Wednesday: Clean Color and "Color Striped"

This is a block of "warm" and "cool" versions of the primaries. The top row is scarlet red, ultramarine blue and indian yellow. The bottom row is alizarin crimson permanent. cobalt blue and aureolin. But WAIT, cobalt blue is the  "warm" blue (it is closer to green which is closer to yellow which is one way to remember "warm") and ultramarine blue is closest to purple. To my eye, , however, cobalt "looks" cooler and I make this error repetitively. I think assigning warm and cool to blue is difficult because blue is "cool". I paint what I see, so the color temperature assignment is not so important with the unmixed colors.

However, understanding "warm" and "cool" colors will give us cleaner color mixing. For example, we know that if we put a mixing complimentary colors (red and green: blue and orange; yellow and purple) together, we will make greys. Therefore, if we mix a warm red (a red that has more yellow) with a cool blue (one that has more purple), we are mixing yellow with purple (which are mixing compliments and make grey), so we will grey this mixed  purple. This is explained really well in: "Blue and Yellow don't make Green" by Michael Wilcox.

Here are steps 2 and 3 of this little watercolor. Warmer, cooler and greyed down greens and warm and cool purples.
Colors were cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, permanent rose, aureolin, quinacridone gold, and sap green.

And painted again with a different background. Same colors were used here and then neutral tint was washed over a darker background of the colors listed above. Areas of white were lifted out in the background and left as white paper in the flower.

And today is day 29 of Leslie Saeta's Thirty in Thirty Challenge. My theme is color so I started with black and white...

Color Striped/ oil on board/ 5" x 7"/ $125

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Color Swirl

Color Swirl/ oil on board/ 7" x 5"/sold
This is day twenty-eight in the Thirty in Thirty Challenge. My theme is color.

This little dress is filled with the colors that painters need to see and express to show "white". I am also interested today in having the painted child dance. I think it is fascinating to think about using paint to show movement. I am using the edge irregularities, the differences in paint texture, the loss of the fingers  and the random brush directions in the background to attempt to "make her move".

I advanced the small watercolors for Watercolor Wednesday, but I got so caught up in them that I forgot to photograph process shots. That omission will be solved tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Color Frolic

Color Frolic/ oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ gifted
Today is day twenty-seven of Leslie Saeta's Thirty in Thirty Challenge. My theme is color.

This little painted horse kept needing more color as it progressed from a black and white to a purple, orange, and blue group of darks plus a variety of lighter colors. I wanted the little horse to be moving,   so I pulled the paint through the edges. This was fun to try.

I also worked on more of the under layers for the small watercolor   for Wednesday. I wanted to demonstrate the difference between warm and cool again.

The colors used were permanent rose, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue and indian yellow. Cobalt blue is a cooler blue and mixed with permanent rose makes a cooler purple. The use of the warm and cool already gives the beginning form.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rabbit Framed

Rabbit Framed/ oil on board/ 8" x 8"/NFS 
Today is day 26 in the Thirty in Thirty Challenge. My theme is color.

I have wanted to paint a trompe d'oeil and also wanted to try a larger format so this is the painting exploring both. I will definitely try this again.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Learning to Paint Silk: watercolor style

My accomplishment today is a list of questions to solve tomorrow. This is a good stopping point. I am trying to find a way to "hide" the resist lines. Then, a completed painting won't have white stencil-like outlines.  My technique to do this seemed to work, until it started to leak, and leak and leak. Then the  applicator bottle started to drip....and then all the vibrant reds were muted by the leaking grey......Tomorrow will be a better day...
This is day 25 of the Thirty in Thirty Challenge  and I am going to post this, cropped free of the pins.

All-in-all, still a great day, I got to paint!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rabbit Study and A Different Type of "Watercolor"

Rabbit Study/ oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ sold
Day 24 in the Thirty in Thirty Challenge. My theme for this challenge is color.

Today, in addition to looking at the warm and cool contrast in the rabbit's fur, I tried out a round brush. This brush seemed to smooth out the color jumps from the square strokes of the chiseled flat (most obvious in the ear). I changed back to the flat for the background and liked the texture that this gives.

Also, I started experimenting with silk dyes today. I paint silk with dyes in a manner similar to watercolor. This is a sampler of the basic colors before steaming (which intensifies the colors).These particular dyes must set for 24 hours before steaming so I will eventually show the difference in the dyes before and after steaming. I am considering "Silk Saturday or Sunday" as a goal, in addition to Watercolor Wednesday. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Exercise Using an Orange: Part One of Watercolor Wednesday

Exercise Using an Orange/ oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ NFS
Today is Day 23 of the Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link).
My theme has been color.
This colorful painting was accomplished by painting transparent colors in a random pattern as an underpainting. Then the orange was painted on top. This  dragged some of the under colors into the paint and made interesting mixes. Lastly, the painting was randomly scratched with the end of the paint brush which cause color mixing of the layers of paint. You will either love or hate this. I am loving it!

 I also started small watercolors for next Wednesday. The background in this first little painting was painted onto wet, prestretched Fabriano 140# paper. The colors included permanent magenta. ultramarine blue deep, sap green, and pthalo green and combinations of these colors.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Watercolor Wednesday: Flame Tulip and Pink and White Roses Completed

Flame Tulip/ watercolor/ 8" x 8"/ sold

This is day 22 of Leslie Saeta's Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link).

My theme has been color.
Today is also Watercolor Wednesday and here are the two completed small watercolors that have been worked on over the week (see post Friday, Jan 18- Monday, Jan 21)

I completed the tulip with thin glazes of aureolin, cobalt blue and scarlet red. I wanted the tulip to have more presence than the soft greens in the background allowed. Therefore, I darkened the the area beside the tulip with a thin wash of winsor purple.

The white rose was completed with thin glazes of all of the previous colors.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Color Bandit

Color Bandit/ oil on board/ 6" x 6"/ $125
Today is Day 20 of Leslie Saeta's Thirty Paintings in Thirty Day Challenge (link). My theme has been color.
I chose this wonderful dog today to paint "white".

Artist Note: My sister-in-law, who paints with me, remarked that she was having trouble understanding the difference between "dark" and "warm" colors. I have promised to write a post about "how to see color" but perhaps this little dog will help answer the first question about "warm"and "dark".
When asked about the color of the dog's fur, the immediate answer is "black and white" . The dark is black.  However, if this painting were painted in black and white, the dog would be without dimension: even with some shading of the greys, it would mostly appear "flat" on the board.
Easily in this painting, you can see that the black contains warm (browns, warm greens) and cool (blues). It is still dark. The white is made of warm (yellows) and cool (blues/purples) and a few areas of highlighted white. Go find a photograph of something with black or white fur and look at it carefully. Can you see the other colors in the white? In the black, usually a cool blue makes the shine.
Let me know, if this helps.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Flower Market and Second Layer to the Tulip Watercolor

Flower Market/oil on board/ 5" x 7"/SOLD
Today is Day 20 of Leslie Saeta's Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link).
My theme is color.
I wanted, in addition to finding a small painting with color for today, to continue experimenting with paint application.
I painted this wet into wet with the under layer of transparent colors. After I finished my painting, I scratched the surface and dragged colors into each other. It didn't add much. I used a fan brush and smoothed the scratched lines and melded the colors. Now, it was too "blurry". I added thick spots of color, some with a knife.
Finally, I broke up areas of massed color and added a few darks to carry through the painting. I enjoyed this process. This little painting is loose and colorful.

Watercolor Wednesdays Second Start:
I started to add the foreground tulip today. Glazes of aureolin, indian yellow and a hint of cobalt were used for the first layer. Once this was dry, an overlayer of scarlet red was added to add form. The red flames were applied once the yellows were dry and carmine was used for this.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Almost New and a New Watercolor Start

Almost New/oil on board/ 4" x 4"/gifted

Day 19 of the Thirty in Thirty Challenge by Leslie Saeta (link).
My theme is color.
In this little painting, I loved the warm browns against the shadowed (blue) whites and the fresh yellow green spring grass. The visual compliment of the yellow greens is purple, which you can see in the darkest darks, if you look closely.

I am also continuing to learn and making myself try new techniques. I wanted to alter the texture of the painting and I recently read about scratching through the smooth surface of paint which I did. I think it makes the painting "softer" and more like a newborn's fur.

I finished my previous small watercolor for "Watercolor Wednesday" so I decided to start another one. Here is step one: To create a "background" tulip, aureolin and indian yellow plus some permanent rose were painted into a prewet tulip area. Before this dried, the edges were softened. Then, the leaves and stems were painted with sap green, Skip's green and undersea green all mixed with cobalt blue, winsor purple or aureolin, onto prewet paper. The surface is 140# Fabriano paper presoaked and stretched .

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"This Is For You"

"This is for you"/ oil on board/ 6" x 6"/ sold

Day 18 of the Thirty in Thirty Challenge by Leslie Saeta (link). My theme has been color.

I love the "glow" in this painting. I think it happens because the warm greens travel through the painting. They are complimented by the red and the warm tones (reds and oranges) in the hair and floor.

Watching a child draw gives me a feeling of peace and warmth, which may be another reason I like this little painting.   Children don't fear the blank page. They love making marks, adding color, exploring. Adult artists need to remember to do the same: to be "in the moment". "This is for you".

I added some more color to my little watercolor today. The goal is to have at least one small watercolor posted on "Watercolor Wednesday". The foreground rose was painted with thin layers of color. Each layer was dried completely before the next layer was applied. To define form, I looked for the warm (yellow glow or undertones or orange pinks) and the cool (the light blues and the opera-type pinks) areas of color. The colors I used were indian yellow, cobalt blue, permanent rose, scarlet red and opera.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and Stage 1 of Watercolor Wednesday

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie/ oil on board/ 4" x 4"/SOLD
This is day 17 of the Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link). I thought this little sleeping dog would be another subject to continue to explore color.

I especially like the splash of the green on the dog's nose which is the compliment to the background red.

Recently, I have been working on some large watercolor paintings which are not suitable for my daily small painting posts. To be certain that I continue to have watercolor represented in small format, I am starting "Watercolor Wednesdays" where at least one completed small watercolor will be posted weekly.

This is the first stage of next Wednesday's post. The background has been painted with windsor purple, burnt sienna, indanthrone, indian yellow and sap, skip's and undersea greens  (tube greens are all mixed the preceding colors in varying combinations). The paper is Fabriano cold pressed 140 # that has been presoaked and stretched. Fabriano allows the colors to be easily lifted and gently blended.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

White Rose Study and Latest Mug Study

White Rose Study/ oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ gifted

This is day 16 of Leslie Saeta's Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link.)
My theme for this was color so I decided to paint a white rose and play up the warm and cools colors that would "form" the rose.

In addition,  I am behind in my "mug commitment". The Hilton Head Artists from Karin Jurick's (link) class (also check Karin's new blog) agreed to paint "mug shots" of each other weekly. We deliberately looked like we had been arrested: unhappy, guilty, etc to allow each of us to not feel like we had to produce a beautiful portrait.  I will post my latest below (Down one: three? to go?). It was promised that practice like this improves one's ability...

She looks pretty complacent about her "arrest", don't you think?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Color Backlit

Color Backlit/ oil on canvas board/ 8" x 6"/ SOLD
Day 15 in the Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link). My theme has been color so this little painting seemed apt.
The source is a photograph from a couple of years ago in my garden as the long rays of the spring sun  slipped into the evening. I was interested in the effect of the back lighting.

Note;  I found it needed the tiny sparkles of white as the last touches to "open it up".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Survivor/ oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ sold
I decided almost a two years ago that I wanted to paint glass and things in glass. I had a large bowl and thought that a fish would be interesting to paint, so I went to my local pet store. I fell in love with a large orange bug-eyed fish. I asked the "fish guy" to get him for me. The fish guy asked whether or not I had an aquarium (I thought it was away to increase sales).  I replied honestly that I had a bowl and that I wanted to paint the fish. He led me to the beta fish display and informed me that I could have a beta fish. "Beta fish live without aquariums".  The betas that day were all black and boring. I told him I wanted to paint an orange fish and pointed to the one I had picked out.  Instead, he then took me to a huge tank with minuscule, rapidly swimming flea-sized baby goldfishes (24 cents a piece) and told me to "pick one". "This fish might survive for a while without an aquarium. However,  you must rinse its bowl and freshen and  dechlorinate the water regularly and "for heaven's sake, do not overfeed it! The fish's stomach is the size of its eye". I sheepishly asked whether I should buy two to keep it company. The fish guy snorted as he hastened to bag my little fish, load me up with water treatment drops and fish food and send me to the cashier (who proceeded to exclaim "oh, he will be so lonely").

This fish is now gigantic and actually quite beautiful but without a name.  "He doesn't have a name, he is going to die".

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Attack" Dog

"attack' Dog/ oil on board/ 5" x 7"/ SOLD
Here is another challenge painting. Remember that my theme is "color" for the Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link). Today is day 13.
This happy dog couldn't find anyone who wasn't a friend!

I continue to be interested in defining what makes a good painting but I have stalled on my own larger painting at the shape plan and edges. This little painting does have lost, soft and hard edges and I like the contrast of the orange in its fur and the blue background.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunlit Iris

Sunlit Iris/ watercolor/ 5.25 x 5"/ $75

I am continuing to work on the large painting of the value studies from a couple of days ago. I am also completing some commission work, As a warm up, on a busy day, I painted this little iris from my garden last spring. It is 70 degrees here, and all the poppy seeds have germinated, so perhaps I am getting ahead of the season! This is day 12 of the Thirty in Thirty Challenge (remember my theme is "color".

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Summer Days: See What a Difference a Color Makes

Summer Days/ oil on board / 5" x 7"/ sold

I was asked about the colors I use in my paintings. As I work on a post of how I might be able to describe "how" to see more colors, I decided to post two versions of this painting that continue to illustrate mass or shape pattern.

Squint at them. The earlier version (lower) has a large dark mass (the tree) isolated from the smaller dark masses (the shorts and shoe) and a bright mid valued mass (the shirt). Then there is the isolated light of the water and the small whites of the shoe.

Now, squint at the improved top version. Here, the darks connect: tree, shoe, shadow, shorts, rod. The lights connect: top water, down the side of the trunk, shoe, highlight, shirt, face top of hair, water. The "before" version (lower) is too "jumpy" and there is no color harmony: just bright, shouting colors.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Second of the Boys

Second of the Boys/ oil on board/ 6" x 6"/ sold 
I loved all the colors in this beautiful cat's fur. Although this is a tiny painting and it is a portrait of a cat, this little painting still has a reasonable mass or shape plan. Can you find the lost and soft edges I was working to make? Hope you enjoy this as much as I did painting it!!

This is day #10 of the thirty in Thirty Challenge.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One of the Boys

One of the Boys/ oil on board/6" x 6"/ sold
This beautiful cat was a true pleasure to paint. He is also perfect to post while I continue to work on attempting to define, describe and most importantly to illustrate the elements of a good painting.
This little cat is a great example of  the use of shapes or "masses" in a painting. The dark areas are connected, as are the mid valued areas and the light areas. From far away, because of these interesting shapes, this painting has an "abstract" interest. This painting also  has a variety of edges: soft edges : seen mostly where the fur blends as the color changes: lost edges: as the fur continues into the background and hard edges: most easily seen defining the eye.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Let the Sunshine In: Edges in Planning a Painting

A painting is planned starting with its shapes or masses. In addition to the tonal pattern, edges will be important in pointing the viewer toward the main focal area and then guiding the viewer around the rest of the painting. There are three types of edges. Hard edges are what most(?) of us first paint, especially as we attempt to paint a likeness. Hard edges attract the eye.

The camera often records more hard edges than what we actually see. Look outside at  an object ( a bird feeder in the backyard). The bird feeder is hard-edged (it is in our central vision). While you continue to look at this feeder, however, the trees around it, the swing set behind it, the house in the far yard are all more soft-edged (in your peripheral vision). A photograph on "auto" presets will often show the entire backyard well defined, hard-edged.
In a painting, that is not photorealistic, there should be hard edges, soft edges and lost edges. Soft edges suggest shapes and lost edges connect the shapes together.  

This is where the painting study was left last night. Imagined full-size, there will be a lot of "empty" blue space. So, thinking of masses and edges, here are some alternatives:

I like the "truck", soft edged, darks setting off lights, soft lines leading around the painting or the lines connecting the figure to the edges of the painting. I'll need to look at this again tomorrow

Today's Thirty in Thirty challenge, now day eight.

Let the Sunshine In/ oil on board/ 6" x 6"/ gifted

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Venice from my Gondola: Shape Plan for a Painting

As the year begins, I reviewed recommendations about "Blogging".  Most authorities suggested that the interesting blogs contain content: best, if it is useful content. Therefore, I shall attempt to add content to my daily painting post.

One of my friends commented that she had been missing watercolors lately. That is because I have been working every day for weeks to create a watercolor painting worthy of submission to the very best watercolor associations. Perhaps because I want this so badly, I have many large, beautiful sheets of watercolor paper that have paint (not paintings) on the now "back" sides of my future paintings. So what would a "successful painting submission" look like? I have decided that I just need to paint and the deadline will come whether or not I have a worthy submission. However, what makes a "good" painting will be my first blog topic for this year.

1. A good painting has a good "shape" plan. The masses or shapes provide the structure of the painting composition. From far away, a viewer should first be interested in the large pattern of lights and dark.This pattern will be abstract but interesting enough to be drawn toward the painting to look more closely. Closer, the medium sized masses make the larger shapes more understandable. The  medium-sized masses vary in tone, value, color or precision. Lastly, the details or small masses must be observed from close-up and are achieved by further often maximal contrasts in value, color or definition. To have a good shape pattern, the darks in a painting will often be connected to darks, mid tones to mid tones and light values to light values. Isolated small shapes distract the viewer's eye.  

Here are color/value plans to illustrate this.

Value plan not well seen in pencil. There are three values: dark, medium and light: these areas connect (the dark coat runs into the bricks: the dog's white fur areas run into the sky, as does the light part of the hat: the tops of the knees will be lighter and also merge with the sky.)

Finally, today's challenge painting for the Thirty in Thirty Challenge:

Venice From my Gondola/ oil on board/ 5" x 7"/ SOLD

Monday, January 7, 2013

Backlit Poppies

Backlit Poppies/oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ SOLD
Another small painting for the Thirty in Thirty Day Challenge (link). I was experimenting with a background of different colors on this one. I used two greens, yellow and blue acrylic and then painted over it with oil.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Poppy Study

Poppy Study/ watercolor/ 8.5 " x 5.5"/ SOLD
Today's painting for the Thirty in Thirty Day Challenge was a warm up for a large watercolor painting I am struggling with.  My theme for the challenge is color, so I thought these lit poppies would fit. These are painted with  a lot of water.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sand Pies

Sand Pies/ oil onboard/ 4" x 4"/ SOLD
This is the next painting for the Thirty in Thirty Challenge (link).
My theme is color so I increased the saturation of the water in this little painting.

Friday, January 4, 2013

What is That?

What is That?/oil on board/ 4" x 4"/ SOLD

This is #3 in The Thirty Paintings in 30 day Challenge (link) from Leslie Saeta.

I am painting small format paintings with bright colors as my theme.
This little guy will be added to the 200 plus paintings posted today.