Monday, January 20, 2014

JUGGS ~ complete

It's finished! I fixed all the boo-boos and did a little clean up overall. The designs on the ladies' sweaters look more snowflake-y thanks to the Ranger alcohol mixatives and it's time to walk away. Put down my brushes and just walk-a-way. It is what it is and hopefully my client will like the results.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


This commission has taken over all my studio time. If I'm not tweaking it, I'm looking at it scanning for problems, adjusting values....the list goes on. After taking such care to not drop paint where it doesn't belong I still managed to put a red smudge on the BG. I can take care of that with a little white gouache fortunately. Last night I thought I finally had this where I wanted it but this morning I noticed a bit of black that has crept up onto the jawline of one of the women. Ok, it didn't creep. I accidentally put it there. And while this is going on, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking "This is a gift from a man to his wife. I know I'll never see her through his eyes. What if he hates this?!" I don't know how portrait artists do this sort of thing! Somehow I'm going to have to correct the jawline and then there are the snowflake details on the red sweaters to contend with and those I will deal with by using alcohol ink. I did a few test samples with the Ranger Pearl, gold and silver mixatives. I can add detail with the inks that pearlescent watercolors could never handle. They would disturb the red pigment and make quite a mess of things. BTW, sorry for the poor quality image. It's so gloomy here I can't get a decent photo, even with flash.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Update: I've completed the background and started on the clothing. I used DS Payne's Grey mixed with FUB for the BG. Then I sprinkled on some table salt to create 'snowflakes'. I wasn't sure how much soaking the illustration board could handle so it was a heart pounding moment but it held up very well. I had discussed changing the BG with my client over the phone. The photo showed a Christmas tree, a fireplace...the list goes on. Too busy. Because I had been told the women meet at Christmastime I suggested a simple wintery, snow effect and he thought that sounded good. As it turns out it was the right decision.

I'm using Neutral tint mixed with the BG colors for the black vests, Perylene Maroon mixed with Pyrrol Red for the sweaters. The red mixture makes a nice, rich crimson. For the shadows I'm using more Neutral tint, then glazing over with the red mixture. Watercolor can be moved and pushed around on the plate finish fairly easy which is making my job easier, too.

Friday, January 10, 2014


I finally started painting this two days ago. I had to make some sketch revisions because the scanned image I'm using as reference isn't the best and it prints out even worse. It's times like this I wish I had a laptop I could mount within view. I've completed the faces and feel I've achieved a fair likeness of each lady. One face gave me a few fits but some faces are more complicated than others. It's too late and too dark now to continue so I'll wait until tomorrow. I don't trust myself to mix colors in the evening even though I have a daylight lamp. That will give me a day to decide if I want to tackle the background next or start work on the clothing.

Friday, January 03, 2014

JUGGS ~ a commission

Just before Christmas I received a call from the gallery. Apparently a fella saw my Red Hat lady paintings and wants a portrait painted in the same style. His wife has three close girlfriends and they have formed a group called 'Just Us Gorgeous Gals' aka JUGGS. I love it! They usually meet at Christmastime every year (from what I understand) and he provided a few photos I could use as reference. Not the best images but I think I can work with one of them. I've just finished the drawing and my Strathmore 500 plate illustration board arrived today. It's not something I usually keep on hand but it's great for portraits. The colors stay vibrant, similar to watercolor on Yupo only you have much more control of the paint. It's also great for fine detail work.