Monday, August 27, 2012

Red Hat Lady ~ color studies

So far I've done two trial runs on Arches #140 hotpress w/c paper. Wow, it's difficult to retain facial expressions and features while trying to duplicate skin tones, place shadows, etc. I also tried two different palettes and two separate styles. I'm now on to #90 coldpress to see what results I get on that substrate. I'm getting plenty of practice painting faces if nothing else. I'm going to feel like I know this woman personally by the time I'm done.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Red Hat Ladies ~ sketch

I found these lovely ladies on Paint My Photo. The individual photos were posted by photographer Judy Wright and they looked like they belonged together in a single painting. Aren't they adorable? They are obviously members of the Red Hat Society , an organization started in 1998 by Sue Ellen Cooper for women over the age of 50 years. The attire of the group is based on a quote from a poem:

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me."

I probably should have started this post by mentioning I am not a people portrait painter. With my sketch complete, I'm scratching my head as to how I plan to attack this project. There are so many styles that would lend themselves well to these subjects. Stay tuned for further developments....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012



As often happens with me, I've lost momentum again. Today I took out an old drawing pad and decided to try sketching another composition for my Wreck of the Rhino. Nothing came to me and my mind wandered to other things going on in my life. Ideas will come eventually. In the meantime I found a couple of silly little sketches I did a few years ago of a cat having a good stretch and thought I'd share.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Good Ship Rhino ~ color study

After looking at my composition for two days straight, I've decided I'm not happy with it. The left side looks like I simply ran out of paper and I may have to change the entire format. In the meantime I thought it wise to do a color study of my main subject, especially because I'm merging an animal with a manmade object. Will it 'read right' when contour and color are added? I've decided to submit this to a critique forum and get some feed back. I'll see what others have to say(if anything) and post any comments and suggestions on my blog. It should prove interesting and hopefully enlightening.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Good Ship Rhino ~ final sketch

After countless tweaks I believe I'm finally satisfied with this sketch but don't ask me tomorrow. I may change my mind again. The most difficult thing was to keep the focus on the main subject, the shipwreck. It was becoming more about those octopus tentacles. I hope by using those same tentacles to frame the shipwreck plus narrowing the format and bringing everything closer together I've solved that issue. I may run into trouble again when I add color so I will have to be mindful of that.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Good Ship Rhino ~ WIP 3

This looks a little rough because in some areas there are 2-3 layers of tracing paper overlapping.The vertical cut on the right was made to tighten the width of the format. I simply sliced the chosen area and slid it over to the left.

This will be the last update of my sketch before the final. There are still a few things I plan to adjust but I'm close to completion. Once I'm completely satisfied I will do a final tracing and post that before tranferring the drawing onto my working paper. As weird as this may look it is surrealism. I plan to post my thought process while working on this. I must say, it's a great deal of fun to let my imagination run wild and free. I love fantasy, cats, critters and who knows...before this is done there may be a few flowers that show up. Flowers are another love of mine. So fun to include it all in one painting.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Good Ship Rhino ~ WIP 2

This project has begun to turn into a monster, literally and figuratively. As the ideas increase, so has the size of the sketch and my teacup has sprouted tentacles. I now have this taped to my biggest mounting board on my tabletop easel on the kitchen table. I snapped these photos just now so I could post a quick update. I've made some changes to the original sketch and added an overlay of tracing paper showing some possible additions.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wreck of the Good Ship Rhino & a Shag ~ WIP

Inspired by the work of Yuri Laptev, I recently visited Paint My Photo (link) to gather some ideas. I haven't been on this site for ages and was amazed at the quantity and quality of photographs in their gallery. Over 1600 images, all copyright free. I found a wonderful image of a rhino, resting in a zoo enclosure, and saved it to my on-site 'favorites'. Later I stumbled onto another image of a beached fishing boat, falling into decay. The overall shape and angle of incline reminded me of the rhino. I did a tracing of the boat, then overlaid that onto the rhino image and they meshed perfectly. An idea was beginning to form. I added the cormorant later. Whenever I include a new 'critter' in my artwork I like to learn a little bit about it first. Googling revealed that the slang term for a cormorant is a shag. Cool!

I'm now in the process of creating what I like to call a storyboard. Whenever I create a piece from multiple images I like to work on tracing paper. Each element is drawn or traced onto separate scraps of paper so they can be moved/removed and adjusted into various compositions on a board. Because the tracing paper is transluscent every layer is always visible. An example of this process can be seen in the WIP Cawcus (link) , a painting I completed last year. I'm currently jotting down more ideas for this project in a small notebook as they come to me. It should be fun to see this evolve and what comes of it.

Monday, August 06, 2012

What's that sound?!

Another pair of alcohol ink cats on Yupo. I added some metallic copper this time. The metallic additives don't move and flow like the regular inks but can create some nice effects.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Yuri Laptev ~ artist

I recently discovered Yuri Laptev's work on Facebook and immediately fell in love with it. It's full of fantasy and surrealism which I truly enjoy, especially when it's done well. After much Googling, finding many sites that featured bits and pieces of his body of work, I finally located his website. Here is a brief bio (in my words):

Yuri Laptev was born in Petropavlosk (North Kazachstan). He moved to Crimea and studied at Simferopol Design School. After completing his studies, Yuri began working for the Artistic Foundation of Ukrainian Soviet Republic with the specialization in Interior and Application Design and found success and distinction as an artist/designer. He also developed an interest in self expression and worked in several mediums including mosaic and sculpture before finding he preferred working at the easel. In 1998 he discovered he enjoyed digital art as well. 

A more complete bio is available on this website:

Yuri Laptev

Friday, August 03, 2012

Soft Pastel on Yupo ~ lounging cats

I just completed this one and scanned it. Colors are a little off as usual but it's close. This was done with SMI soft pastel on Yupo. A coating of the blending solution or alcohol ink will accept and hold the pastel. Another fine spray of blending solution will seal the pastel to the surface. I had no reference and didn't bother with a pre-drawing. I used a small, inexpensive brush dipped in rubbing alcohol to push the pastel where I wanted it to go.

Why bother with this? Because I do enjoy working with pastel once in awhile but hate the prices for custom frames with real glass. My only other option would be to buy a pane of glass and pay to have it cut to order. Not going to happen. I'm going to watch this piece to see if the pastel does indeed stay sealed and doesn't flake off eventually. If it doesn't I will probably move ahead and any paintings I create in this way will be framed with Plexi.

8/4/12 ~ I tweaked this today to sort out the awkward position of the cat in the foreground. I'm not sure I completely accomplished my mission but I think overall it reads a little better. I also added whiskers on two of the cats with a white Ziggy pen. Cats need whiskers or they just look weird, IMO. I wanted to mention that misting soft pastel with the blending solution will alter the colors. I didn't mind the blue shifting hue but I was losing the yellow. It became muddy and greenish. This time I didn't spray the yellow and it seems to be hanging on just fine. It isn't sealed to the surface but is staying in place.    

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Wild Plum ~ alcohol ink


Wild Plum is one of the newer Tim Holtz colors and it is very potent and also, as I've discovered, extremely hard to scan or photograph. I've spent the last 1/2 hour working with this image in my photo editor, trying to tone down the Wild Plum background without losing the other colors. This is the best I could do although it looks much better me. I'm making a mental note to go easy with the Wild Plum next time. It's a gorgeous, vibrant color but a little goes a very long way.

I did add some pearl mixative with this color and made a sample swatch some time ago. The pearl seems to quiet it somewhat.