Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pomeranian~My First Dog in Watercolor

I used a gorgeous reference image of a pomeranian for this one that I found in the WC RIL, submitted by fancycat. I chose a pomeranian for my first w/c dog because I have a good friend that used to breed them and they're beautiful dogs. Very energetic and smart. I had never seen pups born before and was called to help out when one of my friend's females had her first litter. It was an amazing experience! Judging by the coloring in the photo, I'd say this one would be called a Wolf Sable in the pom world and by the looks of his high brushed 'mane' I'm thinking this must be a show dog.

IMO, dogs are much more difficult to paint than cats. Their noses are more complicated structurally and I found the eyes trickier to get right. I think I should practice just painting canine eyes for awhile before attempting another dog. I used a palette mainly of FUB and burnt sienna. The eyes were another story. They didn't show up well in the reference photo so I had to improvise. I made use of a tutorial on WC to help me make them believable. Getting the color correct was hard. There's even some magenta in them although you'd never know it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Catnapping III~Tired Tonkinese

Here's another in my latest series of sleeping cat paintings. I found the reference photo in the WC RIL courtesy of Crias. Tonkinese cats have beautiful but tricky coloring to duplicate with paint. I finally went with Warm sepia, DS Moonglow, cobalt blue deep and a very, very light under wash of quin gold. I did fiddle with this one more than I would've liked but I kept seeing things that had to be tweaked. My inner control freak was nagging me to distraction this time around and I gave in more than a few times. I think for that reason I'm not as happy with this one as I was with the first two. Constant tweaking and loose style painting don't even belong in the same sentence, much less the same painting.

The background has a more greenish cast to it than appears in the image. I was unable to recover it in my photo editor.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Catnapping II~ Tuckered Out Tabby

Transparent watercolor on Arches 140# HP w/c paper
Dimensions: 15" x 11"

I found another napping cat reference tucked away in my picture albums so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm not sure where I found the reference as I've had it for awhile now. I'm pretty sure it's from the WC RIL. Unfortunately, I neglected to make note of the photographer. I don't make that mistake anymore.

This kitty is snoozing on a stone bench but I decided to leave him hanging mid-air with only a suggestion of the bench seat beneath him. I used much more color this time, as you can see. I liked the angle this one was shot at, the paw being closer to the camera lense so it appears much larger in proportion to the rest of the cat. Some may not like it for the very same reason. I fear I overworked the face and the right(viewer's right) leg. I've found the trick to painting in this style is to get in and get out and DON'T keep going back in to fiddle. The temptation to add unnecessary detail is still pretty strong with me but only muddies up the final result.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Catnapping I~Digby Takes a Catnap

15" x 11" on 140# Arches HP w/c paper

Having gotten a little tired of painting frogs, I found myself wondering what to paint next. I was going through some of my older photos and found one I had taken of Digby, one of my own cats, taking a power nap on the sofa. I love it when cats feel safe enough around me to sleep belly up. It's a cat's way of demonstrating true trust.

After I decided to use this photo as a reference I was stuck for a palette. I had never painted a white cat before and had no idea what colors to use. Except for the nose, I wound up with mostly cobalt blue deep and DS Moonglow, an old favorite of mine. Actually a white cat could be approached colorwise just like any other white subject because white tends to be very 'colorful' if you really take the time to observe it.

I also tried out my new masque pen and wasn't impressed at all. It tended to blob and even blew bubbles at me out of the tip a few times. Very hard to control the application, too. Maybe there's a knack to it I don't know about.

I do plan to paint this again...maybe several times. I was inspired by Jean Haines's cats(see link to her website on my blog list)and her wet and loose approach complete with blooms and drips.

Note: I have a nice new bottle of acrylic gesso(!)so I'll be playing with that again soon.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Frog on Matboard~No Gesso

I'm out of gesso at the moment but I'm still on my frog 'kick' so I decided to try painting wet into wet directly on matboard. I sketched in the eye and the general shape, then just winged it. There were a few moments when I thought it got away from me but in the end I think it looks like a frog!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Frog Pond #2

New Photo, better color

Last time I over did it. This time I may have 'under did' it. I used a much softer palette with a not-so-heavy hand. This image is not the greatest as I took it in poor light but did the best I could to correct the colors. I will take another photo tomorrow in better light and replace this one.

I completely changed the format. This is 7" x 15", taller and narrower than the first, and I only gessoed the areas around the frog while protecting said frog with frisket film. I'm not sure I was able to integrate the two surfaces to my satisfaction. The jury is still out on that. I had much more control on the un-gessoed area but I really missed the effects I can achieve on gesso, particularily the mottled 'look' I can create by misting partially wet paint with clear water. IMO, my frog would've looked better had I been able to give that look to it's skin.

I went for a much simpler composition...maybe too simple. I may add some more tadpoles or something to better balance it out. I'm really happy with the river rock/pebbles at the bottom and I like the splash/water turbulence around the frog. That was done by creating the right texture with the gesso around the frog before I began painting. After I had finished painting I took a Q-tip and gently wiped away any paint to reveal the white gesso.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Frog Pond~Starting Again

My new comp thumbnail sketch. I will probably change the proportions of the various elements when I enlarge it.

This time I decided to focus on only one frog and take more care with the development of it. I want to include more detail too, so the frog will stand out more. I also came up with a different composition. I'm shooting for a more underwater atmosphere..kind of a frog's eye view of things beneath a pond. Zhen painted something similar and I quite liked it.

The quandary do I get a greater amount of detail on my frog and stay with a gessoed surface? My solution is to only partially coat my paper with the gesso while saving the frog itself under frisket film. It should work but time will tell.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Frog Pond~Watercolor on Gesso

This probably should be called Nightmare Frog Pond. I knew days ago this one had gone horribly wrong but I kept at it just the same. In the process I learned a few new tricks to use when working with w/c on gesso so it wasn't a total waste. For example...Q-tips are great for smoothing out the inevitable hard edges that form on a gessoed surface when applying transparent watercolor. I intend to try a second time, most likely with a new composition and maybe a few different colors. I won't be so heavy handed with the pouring either. That last bit will be hard. I love to pour paint and don't always know when to stop.

Awhile back I made a vow to post some of my failures along with the successes. For some strange reason I think it will make me feel more honest.