Monday, January 31, 2011

Rose, Part Deux

This is my next step.  I'm sort of amazed at how fast this is going.  

I think I may even get finished this week.  That would be cool, because then I can start on my white one.  I'm having an internal debate:  I think I should do a third, so I can have a triptych, but I don't know what color.  Should it be another white, a red or a yellow?  

Any votes out there?  

 And here's my funny story.  We went to Tucson this last Thursday night for a basketball game and to babysit youngest grandson the next day.  We decided to take him to the botanical gardens to see the live butterfly exhibit.

Then he saw a rake and the day was made.  He thinks raking is one of the most fun things there is to do.  The groundskeepers walking by praised his skill, and grandma went with the flow.

Butterflies, who needs butterflies when you can rake?!!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pink Rose, Step 1

I decided to start with the pink rose, as it is the most dramatic.  Here is my first step.  Sometimes when I do something that's basically all one color, I paint the first color, then add, getting darker with each step.  But as with this one, sometimes I will paint each flower petal separately, so that my shading is exactly the color combination I want.  This is larger than I originally planned.  The paper is about 15" square.  It's a good start, I think. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

The whole picture

Gonna take another baby step here.  I have two pictures of roses that I want to paint in watercolor.  I want them to be companion pieces, even though they are different.  So I've been racking (wracking?) my brain to figure out how to do this.

One of the things I am learning is that you have to think ahead to see your piece finished, and possibly, even framed, before you begin.  Then you don't have that moment toward the end, of "Oh, I wish I'd done this or that."  Of course, by that time you're too late.  

So what I'm going to do is paint the roses in watercolor, then paint the backgrounds a dark color, then fade to black.  I'm going to dry brush the edge with black acrylic, so it looks sort of rough.  

 When I frame them I'll use the same frame size and shape, and place the piece on top of the mat, so that you have mat, rough white edge, then the dry brushed black, and then the rose.

Everybody confused?  That's OK, I think I've got this one.  I'll show them to you when I'm done.  

My table tiles should be out of the bisque kiln today.  I'm going to go over (after the dentist, ugh) and get them glazed so they can be fired with the next batch.  Can't wait to see them! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time out

As my buddies may know, I go to Tucson every couple of weeks to spend time with my youngest grandson.  

Tuesday was one of those days and I really enjoyed kicking back with the baby as everyone in the family calls him.  Although technically at 19 months he's not really a baby any more.

He loves to "stack".  His father, helping, now puts on two at a time.  Little one thinks he can too, and often succeeds.  

Back to work and making pottery at class.  We may be doing 4 more benches for the city, and will probably know by April if it's a go.

This week I'm repainting an acrylic for a client.  She had something she loved, but wasn't loving the color selection.  So I'm fixing it for her.  It's an interesting exercise. 

Circle of Fire, one of the ceramic groups I belong to, has decided to end it's existence.  In the last year every one's gone in a different direction, and it seems the wisest course.  It's been a great learning experience, and fun to get to know my art buddies on a deeper level.  I think we've all taken good things away from our time together.  At least I hope so.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Hi all.  I finished on Monday night before I left for Tucson to babysit.

I've added more dimensionality (is that a real word?) to the tomatoes and given them highlights, finished and corrected the dots, defined some cast shadows and done general cleanup.

I've re-purposed a failed canvas, had fun, learned some new things, and ended up with a pretty OK painting.

Not a bad lesson, right?  

Onward and upward.

Monday, January 17, 2011

3 Down, 1 to go.

So, in this step, I finished adding the tomatoes, started to bring them into rounded existence, corrected some of the colors in the colander, and generally attempted to give the painting some more depth.

One thing I'm finding that is an incredible tool to progress on a work is taking these pictures.  It's a way of stepping back to get an progress overview. It also more clearly illustrates what needs fixing,  like the "looking at it in the mirror" trick.  

I started on the holes, and then got tired.  Will try to finish today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year, New Methods

I had posted a picture of these cherry tomatoes as something I wanted to try and paint in acrylic.  I made it a challenge for myself in these ways:

1.  I'm painting over an old painting that I don't like - I've never done that before.
2.  I'm painting it in acrylic.  It's easier for me to do in watercolor - so I'm pushing my comfort envelope.
3.  I've decided to try and paint it in 4 sittings, using only two brushes.  One large to keep it loose, and one smaller for the fine details.  (face it, those holes can NOT be painted with a large brush).
  4.  I'm using a practically new tube of silver paint, that I'd bought for some accent work on a non-representational modern painting I'd done for a client a few years ago.  I've never actually painting with silver toned paint, but it seemed appropriate for this work.  I'm using silver instead of white. The bottom photo is after two sittings.  Two sittings down, two to go.  I'll show it to you when I'm done.

The easy thing to do is just go along with what you already know.  If you challenge yourself, you just might learn something new.  

I'm turning into a philosopher in my old age....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Small corrections

I finished this the other day, but was not totally happy with the result.  And I couldn't pinpoint the source of my unease.  

A comment made was that the chin was too long and the forehead too high.  So I did a tiny bit more shading and took a picture (see below) so you could see the difference.  

One thing that is difficult in drawing faces, children's in particular:  it's very easy to make them look much older than they are.  Correct proportions are critical.  And it's better to be able to add more later.  Subtracting on a drawing (especially one that you've already sprayed with a fixative) is much more difficult. 

See, now that I've lowered his forehead, and rounded his chin a bit, he's lost a year in age. I think I've added too much hair, but I haven't sprayed it again, so I may be able to lose a little without damaging the paper.  

Practice, practice, practice.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

By George, I think I got it!

So, this is the original old picture of my son, and below is the drawing that I completed on Friday.

I think I did OK.  The only thing I'm a little unhappy with is that his head seems too long or too thin, or too something.

I don't know that I'll draw it again.  I think it might be easier to draw someone you don't already know.  Then you don't have any point of reference.  You're drawing just what you see.  I think there's a lesson in there somewhere. 

And here's some really wonderful news:  that kiln load that we were all fretting about?  It came out PERFECT!  So the last bit of the job (the pedestal stands in downtown Chandler) will be installed next week, and we can move onward and upward. Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year, New Project

Hi all. Didja miss me?  Well, all that holiday nonsense is over and we can finally get back to work, right?  

Here's the deal.  About 30 years ago my little brother made drawings of all three of my children, when each was about 3 yrs. old.

Recently I did a drawing of my son's wife, when she was three, and gave them that, plus the old drawing of my son.  But I miss the drawing, so decided I could do one for myself.  This is the old picture that the drawing was made from, which has been glued by time into the pages of the albumImpossible to remove, difficult to work with.  

 Here's the drawing as I've started it.  The clothes are coming along fine, but I'm having trouble with the placement of the facial features.  Each time I've drawn them in, they've come out close.  But close, as you may well know in portraits, doesn't end up looking like the person you're trying to draw.  

So, here's what I've done.  I copied the picture as well as I could and drew black lines on the copy for placement of the features.  This will help with angles and spacing, so that  this week I can attempt again to draw in the face of my little boy.  I'll show you how it turns out when I'm all done.

Happy New Year to all of you, and I hope you have some new projects yourselves that you're excited about.