I have just returned from a weekend in Eugene, Oregon for the Watercolor Society of Oregon Convention in combination with the juried exhibitions of both the WSO and Western Federation of Watercolor Societies and their annual meeting. I am still feeling humbled this morning after seeing the exhibits all hung so beautifully with so many talented artists contributing to the show. I hope each person reading this will be able to see the Exhibition now through June 19th at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus. Our juror, Jeannie McGuire, selected paintings which truly make this one of the best shows with 200 pieces of watercolor media you can see anywhere. Thanks Jeannie for all your hard work over the past couple of weeks and for the wonderful insight you gave us into your art journey. You have made my journey much more exciting by what I have learned generally and specifically about my painting in the show and my painting from the critique. So stay tuned for what will follow.
The show at Art on Broadway for March, "A Way In: Windows and Doors" motivated me to pull out my photos from our two trips to France. I had wanted to paint the doors in Bayonne since we found the Nadal Ancestor who lived there in the 1800s and the specific apartments she had lived in still as they were when she was alive. I loved the colors of this door since it represents French colors. I loved the shadows on the doors and from the lamp. This is the first in the series. Check out my "News" tab for going to see the show and the two paintings that were juried in of mine.
In both of these paintings I wasn't satisfied with the texturing that I got from my usual techniques. The paintings were basically done but just lacked the color and pizazz I wanted to see. So I added "gesso juice" to the entire surfaces, except the doors. There is a lot of contrast in this second door which is very fancy and painted smaller than the first one. I think it improved them so I am happy. Both paintings are 15x11.
The first 4 are "starts" except the Lighthouse and Willamette Stone Path photos which are the images that I took my starts from -- no photos yet so I'll keep you in suspense. The lst three are tugging at my heartstrings to paint. It is easy to get scattered when you like to paint so many different subjects. I usually like to work on several paintings at a time. I'll keep you posted as I make some progress. Comments are welcome always if you have a favorite to help me choose........ I do respect your opinions.
I was truly excited to get going on this painting before the end of the year but it was a very complex painting. So much for my simplify goal for 2016. Also, I didn't want to rush it. As I painted the details on the left half, I realized that I was really wanting to paint the right half because of the strong design which the nets and sails provided. I tore the painting in half and was much happier and delighted with the right half. I don't recommend cutting paintings in half or cropping them significantly unless you really are unhappy with the overall painting. So I ended up with two paintings, one of which I really feel expresses my inner feelings about the sails and nets of the fishing industry.
I would love to hear comments from any of you who have experienced the same thing or what you think of the paintings. Did I do the right thing?
I have been wanting to paint this man for about 10 years. I've looked at the photo over and over until I finally got the brushes wet to do it. My creative juices were somewhat stifled by all the negative news surrounding the election but it was a good diversion for me because you have to be positive to create!
I started with different textural techniques and a couple of stencils using my gesso juice mixture (Gesso and Mat Medium with a little water). I let it dry and then focused on the man on the left and the dark shapes around the Chef. I decided to keep the colors simple and even though I consider him very masculine I chose varying hues of quin magenta. I found myself feeling very excited to get his face completed but took my time. The meat on the grill took a lot more effort than I expected. I had to subdue the people eating in the outdoor restaurant because they were taking away from him. I had to work on the squewers at the end. Thanks to my critique groups for the final suggestions.
I would love your comments....
I've been tweaking these two paintings for since I last posted them. Finally am finished and happy with the results. I submitted for jurying the cycling painting from this summer's Tour de France to the spring show of WSO. I'll find out in late December if it will be accepted or not. This was a significant moment I selected after viewing the Tour for 27 days when in Stage 11 Froome (leader of the Tour in the yellow jersey) and Sagan (leading the point count for the Green Jersey which is the sprinters jersey) each broke away from the Pelaton early and stayed away until the finish. They each had a teammate looking out for them. I guess it had never happened before. It was a surprise to see them both sprinting at the finish but of course Sagan took the win. I hope my excitement for this awesome sport and event comes through in this painting. I do like to paint action sports. UPDATE: It was accepted and please watch for exhibition details in April at the Museum of Art on the University of Oregon Campus beginning April 7th.
The wine cave painting is part of my latest series of wine related scenes and hopefully I can get these hung in some establishment soon. I'll keep you posted. I love how all five of our senses can be awakened in a wine cave. The smells of wine, limestone, dampness all add to the excitement of finding wines aging in barrels and bottles just waiting for someone to purchase them. Of course we always did make a purchase. The walls of the old caves are hard to see in the dim lights but this cave had really good lighting so I wanted to focus on that so the cave walls could be enjoyed as well.
These are two paintings I have started in the past couple of weeks. I always need to be working on several so I don't get in a hurry and mess up.
The first painting looks really spooky right now which is why I went ahead and posted it -- HAHA Halloween! I don't fill in the facial features until I have a little more of the background done but I am pretty excited about this one. I started by applying gesso/mat medium mixture using different rollers and stencils. When it was dry I could then start applying the watercolors. I wanted to put some of the darks in to see how much more will be needed to balance the painting. I am trying to stay in the purples/pinks/grays contrasted with the whites of the main character. It is nice to take it slower than I usually do.
My boat and nets painting is more complicated and I've tried to work on small sections at a time. All the details under the nets as they hang had to be painted first and there is still a lot of detail to be completed. Just wanted you to know I'm still here painting away.
Comments are always welcome as well as questions.
I took the 5 day WSO Workshop with Kathleen Conover several weeks ago in Silverton, Oregon at the beautiful setting of the Oregon Garden following the spring convention of the Watercolor Society of Oregon. I have primarily been a realistic painter and for the past several years was venturing out by creating abstract design in my backgrounds but still keeping a focal point that was realistic. I can share with you that from the minute I heard Kathleen speak about design and composition I knew that I had strayed from my basic foundations learned years ago. I guess I thought I didn't have to follow the steps on paper as long as I had a plan in my head. I was fooling myself. I will now have a plan before I venture to the paper with my brush, mostly because our brains can trick us away from following our plan. It was a very intense but worthwhile 5 days of learning -- often outside my comfort zone. We had "starts" in the workshop and three were close to being finished. There was a lot of lifting and adding paint but I am very happy with the results. It will be fun to see what comes out of my studio next--allowing myself six months to really work through all the information I have been given and see where it leads. Thanks you Kathleen for your outstanding teaching!
This painting started with covering the watercolor paper using a wallpaper design tool rolled across the surface with gesso juice mixture. Once dry, I applied the watercolors which gave an overall design in two tones. I knew immediately that I wanted to paint a 1925 shoe image which had been requested by a very dear friend (Thanks Kathy Gray). I didn't have all my paints with me but used a silver pen on the shoe. I loved that the background comes through in between the silver and black paint. I had thought of doing the other shoe in the background but it just didn't reflect what I wanted to say. I searched for period accessories and really anything from this time to add as a collage. I loved the headpiece of the lady in this painting which seemed like something that the woman would have worn as part of her outfit.
The next step was a first for me. I applied mat medium to the front of the female image and let each layer dry -- 6 coats in all. Waiting 72 hours to soak and lift off the acrylic tray I used and then scraping off the paper from the image. I let it dry but had to scrape a few more times. Finally I decided to put her in a period frame (which actually is a door in France). and added white watercolor inside the frame to create the mystery and aging to the photo. I used more mat medium top and bottom of the photo -- not sure that was totally correct but it worked.
Now I need your help in naming it. The person who comes up with the best title will get 5 fine art cards when I have them made in a couple of weeks. CONGRATULATIONS Dee Rommel for suggesting the title I thought expressed what I wanted to convey in this painting: LOOKING BACK, "THE DANCE."
COMMENTS are always welcomed!!
I still have a couple more paintings in the Peacock series. I took the time off from painting them to attend a workshop with Kathleen Conover -- paintings to be posted next post. I'm very interested in the detail of the head and the crown, particularly the eyes of the peacocks. The colors are always so beautiful that I can't resist painting. The first painting is done on Yupo and so the colors stay true from the first application. This one gave me the opportunity to add my vision to what I saw in many different photos we have taken as well as others.
Bird's Eye View
The second painting is one I've been waiting to paint. I really do like painting different shapes -- especially the long horizontal ones. When we were in Palos Verdes last Fall I saw this "dragon-like" bird flying across the sky while watching our Grandson's soccer game. In the B&B where we were staying they flocked to this giant tree. We came home each night too late to see them fly in but I got up early each morning and saw a few of them up in the tree and a few flew away but none were large males. I'm looking forward to our next visit because I'm determined to catch one in flight.
Modern Day Flying Dragon
Yeah -- I did start 3 days into the Challenge and reworked two of my paintings but I managed to get 27 completed. It was really fun painting them, fun getting likes and comments from people on Facebook that I know and new friends who were following me as well. I'm looking forward to viewing the artists who participated on the Challenge blog because when you put them altogether it is really fun to see.
All these paintings are 6x6 except the Ballerina Toe Shoes (20x16) and the Orange and Black Striped Pump is 12x12.
I like to paint on different surfaces so some are on
AquaBord 2" cradle
Marbled Paper I had done a couple of summers ago on different kinds of paper,
Old paintings were revived by cropping the part I liked for the painting
I love to paint on Fabriano 300 lb paper the best when using Dr. Ph. Martin Hydrus Watercolors.
Most of these will have to be sealed before mounting on a 2" or 3" cradle. The Yupo paintings actually look better under acrylic or glass. I could put any of the ones on watercolor paper under glass in a frame as well. We'll have to see if the potential buyers want something specific then I can accommodate their wishes. I do have three other shoe paintings done this past year which are also available and are mounted and sealed already.
I'm thinking of doing a poster print or some other way of reproducing a grouping of the shoes, not necessarily all 27. I might also do a calendar for 2017 if any of you are interested, please let me know.
Voila! Today is the final day of the Challenge and I'm sad and happy at the same time. My family will definitely be happier when there is not so much painting going on "under the gun," so to speak. This has been an awesome experience for me and I hope a fun one as you have followed me through the days with different shoes, "pumps" being posted. When I post the entire collection tomorrow in a collage I hope each of you will take the opportunity to look at them and it would really be fun for me to have a voting of which of the paintings were you top 2.
I started with a Valentine tribute and I wanted to end with a Valentine tribute because what a wonderful holiday to express your love to your family and friends in a special way. Hopefully it isn't the only day where we focus on those special people in our lives. I really loved how the marbled design radiates hearts from the shoe -- I used several pinks, reds, magentas and jeune brilliant for the inner sole.
I had one more piece of that original painting that I thought would do justice to this beautiful shoe. The colors aren't quite as bright as I wanted but I was running out of time today. I do have other things to get done today. I used phthalo blue, perinone orange, Hansa Yellow Lt, Skip's Green and a touch of black to outline.
There is something about this color on Yupo that makes any painting look good. I had to rewet the background at the end and actually it is still wet when I took the photo . I love the background and I really love how intricate the pattern on the shoe is considering they were dealing with the materials of the shoe. Love the open toe as well. Hmmmm another shoe I'd love to have in my closet and I already have a few outfits to go with it.
Today I've worked on two paintings that are painted on different surfaces and the the backgrounds were painted earlier.
The Aqua Leopard Pump 6x6 Watercolor on Yupo. I sprayed the background with several of the turquoise and aqua Dr. Ph. Martin Hydrus Watercolors -- even a little of the Payne's Gray which helped to darken parts of the background. I babysat my painting and swirled it as often as I could to get a difference in the color as it was drying. I even applied some additional Aqua after the shoe was completed to get a little different texture on the right side. The shoe was painted with Lamp Black, Burnt Umber and Blue Aqua. I do love "slings" so this shoe appealed to me from the beginning. With a love of Africa as you can see over time in my paintings there had to be some wild animal influence in the shoes as well.
Aqua Leopard Pump 6x6 Watercolor on Yupo
Being resourceful I cut up one of my painting's from last year's challenge that wasn't one I was totally happy with trying to make the design better. The background was perfect for this shoe when I was trying to match it. My Mom loved polka dots and as I was growing up she made me a little fur jacket with red polka dot lining and when I saw this shoe I knew it had to be painted. I also wore a one shoulder black and white polka dot with three tiers of lace short dress to one of our formals in high school -- so the polka dots bring back good memories.
I used Dr. Ph. Martin Hydrus Watercolors: Ultramarine and mixed a little black with it in the shadowing on the shoe. I used White Gouache to make the white stand out from the underpainting. I used Vermillion Hue for the red. It does take several layers of intense paint to cover when you have backgrounds like this one if you don't want it showing through.
Well I'm painting in the "groove" and can't seem to stop. I know I'm going to go through withdrawals at the end of this Challenge!! I'm going to post the three paintings I worked on yesterday and today. Since I started a few days late I might even catch up and get 30 paintings in the Challenge.
The first one is a more casual pump which attracted me to a different kind of fantasy setting on where you could wear such a shoe. I love the different leathers he used in the design of the shoe. I've always like purple and it was an intresting combination of brown, orange, gray and purple leathers on different parts of the shoe. I used the marbled paper because I thought it would show off the colors and textures better than other papers I could have used. I did have to highlight the paper to make it all happen and bring the shoe forward.
The marbled paper was almost like tissue paper and so wetting it again both on the background and in painting the shoe was a little more difficult but because the marbling is acrylic paints I think it held it together. I like this one a lot better than the one on Yupo. It speaks to what I wanted to portray. Summer will be coming and wouldn't it be fun to have a pair of shoes to wear to the first summer party! It was a little difficult to get the clear part of the shoe to appear with the busy background but watered down white gouache seemed to do the trick on both paintings. Gene Gill always said to use whatever tools you need to finish a painting and he used gouache a lot in his awesome paintings. Thanks Gene!!
The paint went crazy when I mixed these particular colors for the background -- obviously the characteristics of possibly Skip's Green didn't like the other pigments? The salt added to the texture which I think is a mistake on Yupo. There are two versions of this shoe because I really wasn't sure I could even pull this one off. Sure need to sign it again if I finish it behind glass or acrylic.
Well, here is a painting on Yupo (a plastic used by the printing industry) I mentioned several days ago. It is a very slick and nonporous surface so the paint sits on top. Most of the time I burnish the wet paint to set it before applying any other colors or layers. I just let these sit. The colors always remain exactly as they were applied. I did move the board around so the pools of color could flow in different directions. With the wet weather it took awhile to dry.
I was a little disappointed because I did masque the whites in the shoe but the masque didn't want to come off easily on this surface. I also applied some sea salt to the surface and that isn't what I would do in the future. Many layers were applied using white gouache and I added more black to the shoe itself. I really think this pump is outstanding but spending many hours painting it, I'll have to stand back and not look at it for a day -- hope you enjoy looking though. I still might create a dark shadow under the shoe before finishing and sealing this or putting it under glass -- whichever I decide. Yupo actually looks great under acrylic or glass.
Black and White Striped Pump 6x6 Watercolor and Gouache on Yupo
I actually painted ahead a day in the event since I was so motivated. This really is a fun and comfortable pump. I brought out the colors a little more than the original shoe. I don't think it is for sale any longer but I will check it out before going on my shoe shopping trip some day very soon. It reminds me of Oregon State colors -- for all you alumni!
This is one of the backgrounds I painted at the beginning of the Challenge using the webbing and spraying with Dr. Ph. Martin Hydrus Watercolors. I did enhance the background with a little of the Quin Coral from Daniel Smith. I also used about three different orange reds to make the shoe "pop": Quin Coral, Perinone Orange, and Cad Red Light--first wash. These colors were fairly transparent and needed many layers to paint over the background. Sometimes I like to leave it showing through but this time I was trying to paint over it.
Striped Orange and Black Platform 6x6 Watercolor on 300 lb Fabriano
This is one of the paintings where the background was from when I did marbling with Susie Cowan. It was really fun but I have never found a way to use what I did that day on paper in a new painting. I love the design that was formed with the combing techniques and I also thought the colors all complemented the black shoe with lace and stones. I could see myself wearing this shoe comfortably and that made it fun to paint today. I used gold, iresdescent and interference silver in addition to lamp black.
I was excited to paint this pump today because I personally like to wear a sling heel and have an open toe. Turquoise is one of my favorite colors on my palette as well. I decided to take a look in my old paintings to see if there were any good backgrounds to use the rest of the way in the Challenge. Yeah, I found quite a few to use. The problem with this background was I didn't realize that there was still fluid on the paper. It was this great grayish color and so I had to do a little maneuvering to get it to be similar. The heel was different from any other shoe I've seen and it certainly would keep me stable -- gosh, another shoe I think I need to own......
I used Quiller's turquoise and also Cobalt Teal Daniel Smith. I used Moonlight Interference and Silver Interferace by Daniel Smith to give the heel and background a little glow. Jeaune Brilliant for the sole.
I spent the morning getting the paintings lined up for the rest of the Challenge and worked on seeing if I could pull off a mostly white shoe on Yupo to my satisfaction -- stay tuned.
When I think of Turquoise I think of the SW desert and so it is named:
SW Desert Platform Pump 6x6 Watercolor on 300 lb rough watercolor paper
It was somewhat of a challenge to get the right shoe to work with this background because parts of the background I wanted to highlight the pump. I'm not sure where I would wear this pump but what a kick it would be to have a pair. There were several catchy phrases which popped into my mind but I thought I should reject them when it comes to flames and putting out the fire.....
Anyway, I had to really lay on the jeune brilliant to have it show up on the darker background -- many layers and then finding two colors to blend with it to delineate the shadows and darker colors on the insole. All in all it was a lot of detail work but I'm happy with the result. I think I'll resign it -- signature looks a little weak.
Hope you like it too.
Blazing Pump 6x6 Watercolor on 300 lb Fabriano
I spent several hours this morning matching the backgrounds I have painted over the Challenge with the shoes I had selected as potential prospects. It was a fun morning deciding if I could come up with the next 8 days of paintings and which backgrounds need to be painted.
This background had lots of potential to shine with several of the pumps but in the end I chose another shoe that I would love to own in my closet. I really like the combination of the red and black--no wonder since I am a Black Tornado! The shimmery cast of a silverish glow made it a little more difficult to paint but I learned a lot in the process.
I painted the entire shoe Brilliant Cad Red and then Carbon Black in the parts of the shoe that were black. I placed some netting over the shoe while it was still damp and lightly brushed over the areas to be cast in the shimmer with a broader brush. I weighted the netting down with another matboard and let it dry. I wanted it to be very subtle so I could build on it or lift depending on what needed to be done. I did decide that the red should be Quinacridone Coral and lightly brought out the background to match the more brilliant color.
I picked this shoe to paint last year as one I would love to really have in my closet to wear. I liked the darker reddish hue to the shoe's python leather and of course the trademark of the red inside heel and sole. It was a tougher color with all the shadows to paint than I thought earlier. I tried a number of reds, dark reds, red browns and used a number of them mixed to try and get the variety of colors in the shoe but remain homogenious(sp). I also decided to outline with darker watercolor pencils. In the end I also used interference red to give the color a little lift. The background reminded me of trees in a tropical jungle where the pythons might live--safe with this painting.
Red Python Pump 6x6 Watercolor on 300 lb watercolor paper
I loved this background from the first day of this challenge and rediscovered this shoe which not only fit with the color but it afforded me the opportunity to even "wow" it more with the faint sunburst behind the shoe. Too much fun. I used a little colored watercolor pencil to outline and add interest on the shoe itself. Really a quick one today because I needed some time to work on my other business. The sun wasn't shining today but it wasn't raining most of the day either so this subject is timely. Hoping to bring sunshine into your life.......
I had completed this background in the first week and decided to use it with a shoe rather than what I had originally planned since I'm on this shoe "kick" for this Challenge. Love the background and this shoe fits is perfectly. I might have to darken the background in a few places to bring the shoe forward -- but that will be before I put it on the website for sale. It is a very rainy day outside for day and many days to come so I needed to think about bright colors and spring coming soon. Hope you like the colors and the shoe too.
Spring in Your Step Pump Watercolor on 6x6 300 lb Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper. I used both Dr. Ph. Martin Hydrus Watercolors (Brilliant Cad Red , Hansa Yellow Light, Hansa Deep Yellow, Indian Red and Red Oxide) as well as Cadmium Yellow Pale for the final layer of yellow and Jeune brilliant for the sole of the shoe.
This is a painting I started about a month ago. There was light coming from two sources and I had to decide which source I was going to use to finish the painting. The aquabord surface often takes the paint differently when adding layers of watercolor washes. I did quite a few before I could get the floor dark enough to make the shoes shine. I might still have some tweaking to do in the shoes themselves but am happy with the floor and background. We will see what my critique group has to say tomorrow. I really do appreciate Lindsey Curry sharing this photo of her daughter's toe shoes for me to paint. She owns a Footnotes dance studio in Ceres CA. We have become friends through Visi and she also is a very good photographer..
I can either put it behind glass if it is going to an exhibition or will seal it so it can be framed without glass.
Little Ballerina Toe Shoes 20x16 Watercolor on AquaBord panel.
I didn't want anyone to think I haven't been in my studio today painting for Day 15. I've been preparing and modifying the pieces to be in this painting so not only the design will be good but the color pattern in the purses and clutches will be right. This shoe is a knockout and you don't get any clues from the sketch. You'll have to wait...... I'll be painting tonight but don't want to rush it. I'll post here tomorrow the finished result.
This painting isn't titled yet and is a 12 x 12 piece of Fabriano watercolor paper 300 lb.
Well it took me most of today to get the details and change a few things until I got this the way I wanted. This shoe is currently sold out of all the outlets around the world. Alana and I both think it is really an exciting and striking shoe even for the price of $1200+. This painting will be $120 -- what a deal, especially since you can't get this shoe anywhere else right now. Love the designer clutches and purses from the top designers as well to make this design exactly the way I wanted to promote the shoe. Hope you like it as much as I do. It is entitled, "Alana's Dream Pump" 12x12 Watercolor on Fabriano 300 lb paper.
I started working on two paintings late on the 14th. My sister-in-law took this underwater photo as part of the rescue project studying the destruction of the Coral Reef on the Big Island in Hawaii due to the change in the ocean's temperature. The coral is so beautiful and I wanted to pay tribute to the coral and hope that others will contribute in any they can to help reduce the number of coral which will not recover from this change in the ocean temperatures.
I started by masking the lightest part of the coral using a nib and Incredible White Mask. I then sprayed the yellow in the middle, the turquoise blue on the top and sides and then the blue aqua on the bottom. I used sepia and a little of the phalo blue to begin the darker structure underneath the coral. Tomorrow I will begin the process of both lifting and adding color to make the coral's structure come out. It could take me longer than one day tomorrow. I want to do this one justice. I needed a break from my shoe series as well.
The Big Island's rescue of the coral reef project 12x12 Watercolor on 300 lb.
Sharing my paintings with others is one of the joys in my life. Educating others about how I paint and the media I use is very important and why I wanted to reach out through this blog. Hope you will add a comment about what you see.