Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chessmen will be in Wilson


The travel portion of the North Carolina Watercolor Society National Exhibition opens in Wilson at Barton College. on November 6th. 2013. A reception is scheduled for Saturday, November 9th 5 PM to 7PM in the Case Art Building, Art Gallery Building on the Barton Campus. I would love to see you there! This exhibition closes December 16,  2013.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flamingo Study

Flamingo Study/ watercolor/  6 x 6/ Low Country Gallery
This is my series of birds continued.
My goal is to abstract more of the birds themselves (see how the back is the background?)

 Artist Note: The colors in this are scarlet red, yellow ochre, translucent orange, some cobalt violet and quin gold plus whatever was on my palette to make a black.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Calendar 2014

I put together some of my favorite images of 2013 for a calendar for 2014. If you are interested in having one, it is $23.95 while supplies last, with free shipping. A collage of the images follows.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oil Painting ONE

I've missed some posting days. It has not been because I have missed painting days. My painting days have been a little shorter lately and the paintings I am working on are larger and more complex.

This past week, my painting days were shorter because I gathered the materials necessary to teach this beginning oil painting workshop. Everyone had a private setup and an individual light. We learned beginning basics (palettes, mediums, brush types, cleaning...) and then after thinking about how to create and light a set up we began with value. After learning to see shapes and not objects, and decide whether things were "lighter or darker",  we explored the effect of cool or warm light sources on the same simple setup. There was a great amount of time where there was complete silence as everyone worked on their paintings. This group of students made remarkable progress. As the paintings were placed side by side, everyone had improved even over course of the day. In addition, everyone had successfully seen and painted the different temperatures of light.

For me, this was a great day. My hope is it was as fabulous for each class member as well.
We continue next month and may have some more intermediate painters join us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Watercolor: the challenge of too much pigment poorly applied

Presently, I am painting a three large watercolor paintings. I thought it might be interesting to illustrate with this one what it means to have  a watercolor be "overpainted" or "dull"or "dead" in color. These ladies are sitting on a stone bench. I chose granulating, sedimentary colors and applied them as a large mix onto prewet paper. After it dried, I knew that the colors I chose would work, but this painting will be recycled into the back of smaller paintings in the future. I lost the "white" of the paper

Here is the painting started over again. The same colors have been used but they are not premixed. Instead they are dropped onto prewet paper individually and floated to mix. This will be repeated once more to adjust the value after more of the painting is completed. I can only add one more layer of these colors though, or I will return to the lifeless thick wall above.

Artist note: The colors used included yellow ochre, cerulean blue, sepia, permanent rose and rose madder. The darker browns had some ultramarine dropped in as well.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Windy Cosmos

Windy Cosmos/ oil on canvas on board/ 7 x 13/ Low Country Gallery
A second "flying flower" painting. I had a great time playing with the texture on this one and experimenting with ways to make the flowers "dance" and "move".

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rose Study 1

Rose Study 1/ oil on board/ 4 x 4/ Suttons Gallery
Lit from the left, on a dark cloth, here is my rose after Qiang's workshop.

Artist Note: The background was transparent red oxide and ultramarine blue.  The green leaves used cad yellow green plus cad yellow and/or thalo or ultramaring blue. The rose was cad red light, alizarin crimson, cad yellow light, white plus some background grey mixed in for shadow areas. This is tiny so getting district brushstrokes without smearing is still a challenge.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Notes from Qiang Huang Workshop: part 2

Qiang Huang Workshop Notes cont'd
Stage 3: COLOR!!
Maybe, for me, the most important thing I learned in this workshop was that clean intense color is kept to a small part of the painting. Anyone who watches me paint knows that I love and misuse color (too much, too many places). That said, limiting a small area of color allows it to "pop" because of the beautiful supporting greyed color.
Qiang paints from dark to light. In the color stage he said that he asks himself ""where is it"(in the value stage, he asks "where are the darks and lights"). He first added the shadow areas of the orange gourd. His greyed the shadow area by mixing cad orange with ultramarine blue but then warmed it with some cad red. This was placed in thoughtful, careful strokes that defined the shadow forms. He remarked that to lighten a color without cooling it, he adds cad yellow. He then placed the highlights on the pot to be able to compare between dark and light. Next, he painted the grapes which he made by mixing thalo blue with some of the background greys. These were painted with a bristle brush in small defined strokes. He painted the reds in the grapes with a mixture of alizarin and cad red light plus some white to cool this.
The copper pot was painted with transparent red oxide plus an existing grey for the top. The highlight was made with cad yellow deep and white (?plus cad red light). Highlights are painted with a bristle brush to add texture. The base of the gourd has a line of alia crimson plus premixed dark grey which anchors the gourd. Some patches of color have color shifts painted in smaller strokes or areas between strokes.

Color Stage: Blocked in (not modelled)

The color stage slips easily into

Stage 4: Modelling
This stage takes the most time and makes some of the patchy color forms believable (some are left as impressionistic forms). In this stage, he uses more edges (soft, lost and hard). He models one shape at a time.

Stage 5: Consolidation
This stage considers the totality of the painting. Perhaps a linear element needs to be added here (a twig, wire, ribbon). Together there needs to be a clear center of interest and abstract elements.

Day 2
Qiang reinforced these painting stages by having each of us paint each stage after watching him demo the same stage using his own set up.

Day 3
Qiang gave an informative talk about his business experience especially using the internet.
He then completed his painting from the previous day, picking up at the consolidation stage. He started by adding a rose to this painting.  Qiang reminded us that flowers need CLEAN, PURE color. Therefore, he wanted to paint on a clean background. Because the paint was dry, it didn't scrape well. Instead, he needed to wipe a small area with gamsol soaked paper towel. He described the rose he was painting as a cylinder. He illustrated where the highlight, shadow and midvalue areas would exist on a cylinder (and therefore on the rose). He mixed alizarin, cad red and white. He also mixed some perm rose with white. He used a synthetic brush to form sharp thin edges because roses have sharp edges. To create the shadow color, he added some background grey to alizarin (ultramarine plus transparent red). He stroked in small shapes of small changes in value. To the lighter areas he used strokes of cad red plus white (the rose  is lightest on the outside). The top, he painted straight white. He then painted in small shadow lines using a tiny brush. He added abstract shapes of greens for leaves and some other abstract rose shapes. The stems were added for movement and design.

Qiang's painting with the rose added

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Workshop with Qiang Huang: My Notes: part 1

After a great learning experience, like the past 3 days with Qiang Huang (link), I usually transcribe my notes. In addition, I promised my friend and wonderful hostess Maria Hock Bennett (link) that I would take notes for her for the day that she missed. However, usually, months later, when I need to refer to these same notes, let's just say that I have issues with my filing system. Therefore, I decided to post my notes here, share them with you and be able to find them whenever.

First, if you have the opportunity to take a class with Qiang (pronounced "Chong"( like Cheece and..)), it will be worth whatever you need to do. Qiang is extremely well organized and has worked to breakdown his painting process into "teachable" stages. There is nothing better than to watch him paint these stages and then listen as he goes easel to easel and teaches from each person's struggles.

Day 1
Qiang describes the well planned agenda for the three day workshop.
On this first day, he describes how to create and light a setup. He likes his setups to be close to eye level. He suggests that the subject matter is not about what you are painting but about how the objects manipulate light. He chooses objects carefully: large and small, manmade and organic: complimentary colors to create vibrancy and tension: a light, midvalue and light object, a rough and a smooth textured object. Because we read left to right, he arranges the light shining from the left and creating interesting shadows falling to the right. Qiang also illustrated the effect of a blue gel placed over lights (He uses blue gels (that he sells) over lights that shine on his palette and his canvas to get a north cool light effect). Gels can also be used over the light shining on the setup to increase cool or warm effects.

When he starts painting, he shares a tip that a tiny amount of gamsol on either canvas or gesso board helps with the initial paint block in.

Now he starts to paint beginning at Stage 1: Placement
In this stage he decides where the objects will be placed and their sizes. He defines the table line and considers the proportions.

Stage 2 which flows from Stage 1 is a value study using transparent colors to make a dark, light and midvalue grey. He used synthetic brushes for this stage and used transparent red oxide and ultramarine blue for this painting. In this exercise, the background is the darkest value and he paints it with a large brush with carefully placed strokes. Later he remarks that even these strokes are placed to lead the eye toward the center of interest. He leaves the lights mostly untouched and paints in the midvalue greys. To recover lights, if needed, he either scrapes them off using a shaper or wipes them clean with a small piece of paper towel soaked in gambol.

He then mixes an opaque grey using cad orange and ultramarine blue with some naples light yellow and strokes this using bristle brushes into the area around the objects where there are mid value greats. This starts another dimension: transparent and opaques (thin or thick) passages of paint. He remarks that opacity adds a solidness. He puts touches of this grey onto the mid values of the objects.

(this photo shows the camera he uses to allow everyone in the class to see)
Tomorrow, Stage 3 is Color.
If you are impatient and want to see Qiang's finished painting click here

Glad to be home.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blink First

Blink First/ watercolor/ 6 x 6
Another of my 6 x 6 watercolors. This one was exploring how to get the glassiness of the eyes with the contrasting light.

I am off to a workshop with Qiang Huang. If you goggle him, you can see that he is reported to be a great teacher and is certainly a wonderful artist. I have learned so far from Dreama Tolle Perry and Karin Jurick who are both excellent teachers but paint in a very different style.

I had hoped to have paintings to describe while I am gone. However, last week was just not a great week for painting....That usually means that next week will be better. back soon. Have a great week!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

In or Out

In or Out/ watercolor/ 6 x 6

I loved the reflections of the fish. I am not sure which was the fish and which was the reflection. In addition,  this crop makes the fish look like it is escaping....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bee's Eye View

Bee's Eye View/ watercolor/ 6 x 6/SOLD
Working on a 6 x 6 format for the next few days. This is a watercolor with varying depths of color (value) to give the flower petals form.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chickadee Sketch

Chickadee Sketch/  watercolor/ 6.5 x 5/ SOLD
The birds are re-discovering the feeders as the days get shorter and cooler. Here is one of the returning visitors.
I am also reworking the tiny spots of color that define the mouth of my large commission portrait. What was most interesting was that as I carefully scrubbed out a little color "here" and added a little "there" , I began to see the family resemblance of the emerging reworked mouth. Still not ready to let you see it, but inching closer.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Market Sunflowers

Market Sunflowers /oil on board/ 6 x 6/ 
There is a time just after a painter finishes a painting, that the painter loses all objectivity about that particular painting. For me, that can be either that I am so "in love" with the painting that I miss all its faults. I can also be so burdened by a painting's challenges that I miss any of its positives. Therefore, I find that I have to "rest" a painting and look at it later with "fresh eyes".

 I spent most of my painting day completing a large commissioned portrait. Currently, I love it. However, it must now be put away to be reexamined later this week. Hopefully, I will be able to post it here then.

This small painting is a challenge to paint a 6 x 6 of market sunflowers. As much as I love sunflowers, I also find them challenging to paint, I have found that red somewhere in a sunflower painting is a plus. I also love to have some of the sun-struck petals use straight white. These sunflowers were stuck in a large white plastic container. I changed the container to make the painting more interesting.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gaillardia Freefall

Gaillardia Freefall/ oil on canvas/ 7 x 13/ Low Country Gallery
These beautiful fall gaillardias were blooming when I went to water my fall vegetables. I decided to present them from an ant's viewpoint against the Carolina fall sky.

Artist Note: I painted the sky and allowed it to be dry to touch before painting the flowers on top. The canvas was glued to a masonite panel prior to painting.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

End to a Busy Month

Hard to believe that September is over. What a great month! Adventures rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, Signature Status and an award at the National Show of the North Carolina Watercolor Society Show, interview with the Rocky Mount Telegram, fabulous artist demonstration event at Suttons Framing and Gallery's new courtyard, a fantastic new group of students at Saturday's watercolor workshop, and today a group of paintings were packed up for a brand new gallery in Hilton Head. I'll post details in a post soon!

For the next couple of days, I am working on large paintings and a large commission so I won't have a daily painting. Once I am caught up, I'll restart my daily paintings.....