Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ellie #1

Making the leap from tight detail work to a much more 'loose' style has proven to be quite a journey for me. I've been particularily fascinated with the paintings of Jean Haines aka Aquarelle10 on WetCanvas. Her style is so removed from what I usually do that I felt challenged to give this a try. In July of this past year she did a wonderful tutorial in the Learning Zone on painting children and I've been studying it recently for this portrait. The subject is baby Ellie, my dear friend's first granddaughter experiencing her first Fall lying in the autumn leaves and obviously enjoying herself.

This painting is a dry run(a bit of a misleading statement as this style is done very wet) for the completed portrait. The paper I've used is not my favorite...a cheap store bought brand that loves to buckle the moment it gets wet and(I'm guessing here) is not good quality rag. It's good enough for trials and testing mixes, though. I did a quicky sketch without worrying too much about a likeness at this point.

One of the tricks to this style is selecting what's important and pertains to the subject and getting rid of unnecessary details. Cutting things down to the bare essentials, so to speak.

Secondly, keep washes light and very wet. I believe Jean uses the word 'whispery' a lot. After each wash has completely dried more washes can be added to build color and create contour and volume. She paints in suggestions of detail rather than actual D-E-T-A-I-L and isn't afraid of the dreaded backrun but instead uses them to her advantage. I call this style of painting controlled chaos but I'm sure Jean would disagree on the 'chaos' part. For me, it's still chaos but in a fun way.

Even though I wasn't really concerned with capturing a likeness at this point I was surprised how much this first attempt resembled my subject.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dazzling Dahlia Again

After posting my dahlia on WetCanvas and getting some sage advice from the skilled watercolorists there, I decided to tone the background down a few notches. It was competing too much with the flower. It still looks a bit bright in the image but is much more subtle IRL.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Ball and a Box

I'm getting into the Xmas mood finally. In tweaking my decorations last night I got the bright idea to take a couple framed botanicals I bought from a flea market and replace them with more Xmasy(?) themed paintings. I spent all of 15 minutes on each of these and had the time of my life. They'll be hanging in my diningroom for the Holidays.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dazzling Dahlia

I finally completed the background on my dahlia and brought in some of the blues and greens on the petals. I'm not completely sure on the crop yet. This is one I'll have to stare at for a few days to see if I like it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Garden in Winter

Looks like it's going to be a snowy year in northern Michigan. This is only a three day accumulation. The weatherman says the snow will continue until next weekend. I snapped this shot during a short break in the flurries. I'd be willing to bet we'll be having a white Xmas this year!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sherlock & Watson

Yup...more felines but these belong to and live with my youngest son and his girlfriend. Just three months old they are the cutest little balls of fluff. Sherlock is in smokey black and Watson is sporting the taffy coat. Looks like they have put their heads together to solve The Case of the Catnap.

Dahlia wip

I found a great reference and did a crop so I could complete this as a macro. The paper is Fabriano 140# CP bright white paper. I'm using a very limited palette...Daler/Rowney Alizarin Crimson, Indian Yellow and a bit of Burnt Umber on the flower. I'll work out the BG when the flower is finished. Working up with various light washes seems to be helping. I've found I have more control of the paint and am using less water. In retrospect I realize I've been overwetting my paper and then not allowing enough time for it to dry to the right stage of dampness. Patience is not one of my virtues unfortunately.