Posts Tagged ‘paintings’

Katie 1

October 13, 2013

Took pictures of Katie (who has the most wonderful red hair) and painted the first of (I hope) many portraits of her.  Actually, I did one of her and her mother when she was a tiny baby, so this is the second, or maybe the third.  I tried to be loose, but it is hard to be loose.  Looked at Charles Reid’s Painting  Portraits in Watercolor for inspiration but I am just not able to let go!  I think the more you paint, the more able you are to let the pigment flow!  Wish I were able to paint more, but now is the time for architecture.

Katie copy

in the studio

September 28, 2013


I went to see the High Museum Exhibit in Atlanta that included Vermeer’s “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” last weekend and for the first time in forever, I wanted to paint in oils.  I took a phone photo of my son studying outside on our return home and am using it to paint.  I have never done a successful portrait of Taylor (I did do a watercolor of him sleeping at about age 4 but since the local art show rejected it I am not sure I can call it a success, although  I liked it enough to hang on my wall for several years) and I am hoping I will consider this one successful.  Truthfully, I am hoping I just finish it.

Taylor photo copy


First a charcoal sketch.

taylor 1 smallerDust off excess charcoal.taylor 2 smallerBegin with a grisaille underpainting using cadmium blue, raw sienna and flake white.  Cover the canvas fast!

taylor 3 smallerRefine.  Refine.  And refine some more.

taylor 4 smallerAmazed I remember!

Awww, the fresh smell of turpentine!  Wish me luck in remembering how to use color!


ostrich beauty

November 2, 2012

Imagine this face inspiring me to do a watercolor for the first time in several days.

It reminds me of  another “beautiful” bird, the turkey.  I was driving in the mountains recently and slowed for a small flock of turkeys in the road.  The turkeys were really interested in me or my car and, just like a country dog, chased me down the road, staying right at my side for 200 feet or so.  Is that typical behavior for a turkey?


October 9, 2012

A companion piece (although they are so totally different) to Ethan.  His beautiful little sister, Lily.

Her father, my nephew Daniel, sent me this photo with scarf around her head.  She looks like a tiny Jewish mother in the photo, not sure I captured that look!

What do you think, Daniel?

a week at the beach

September 16, 2012

I have some close friends who offered to let us stay at their house on Panama City Beach this past week.  It was nice to get away and while I have always found the Atlantic Coast more interesting because of the marshes, the beach and weather here were perfect.  I spent a lot of time watercoloring, avoided a rattlesnake in my path,  crossed a red river (Inlet really.  Deep, deep beautiful red) and survived biting flies (yes, it felt like living through the plagues of Egypt, but luckily, it stopped there).  Here are some quick sketches (done while son and husband were waiting on me).

Rosemary Beach green.  First time I had gone to Rosemary Beach.  Beautiful architecture, would love to design a house there, if you are thinking of building one.  It did feel a bit claustrophobic to me though.  Great bookstore.  Didn’t go to Watercolor.  Wonder if there are great spots to watercolor there???  Wonder who chose the name Watercolor for a development???

The Beach.  Would have like to have spent more time painting this, but those pesky flies kept biting my ankles.

Sitting on the porch of a house built in 1890 something (now a state park), looking at the fountain.  Nothing about this sketch is good, showing it to you anyway.  Wish I were a little better at quick landscapes and live oak trees.

Sitting on the deck at the house where we stayed.  Loved looking over the rooftops. Wires aren’t very straight.  I swear, they look straighter in he original.  Must be that rough paper….

Another rooftop view.  I spent longer working on this one.  Hope you can tell!  Left out about 9 high rises.  I think that is why I like the Atlantic Coast.  No high rises.   My husband worked for the firm that designed of few of these omitted buildings.  Still don’t like them.

Thank you, Blanch, Mike and Peggy!!!  Nice to have such generous friends!


September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day, the most ill-named holiday in America.  Labor HoliDay is alright.  Labor-less Day makes sense.  Labor Day Not!  And I am not laboring, I am watercoloring.  Here is today’s work  piece, done from a thru-the-fire cabinet card.  I had to improvise a lot on this piece due to the condition of the photograph.  I wonder if she would recognize herself.   I don’t doubt she was beautiful, even from this damaged photo, I can tell that.

I do not know who this woman is, hers is among the damaged photos surviving the fire that claimed the life of my Great Aunt Josephine.  I went through this box of photos with my mother a couple of years ago.  She told me the names of those she knew and I wrote them down on sticky notes and placed them on the back of the photographs.  This photo’s sticky note has “Josephine” written on it.  But this isn’t Josephine, the woman looks circa 1900, Josephine wasn’t born until the 1920’s.    I wish I had written more than just one word…maybe this is who Josephine was named for.

my day just got better

August 28, 2012

My husband paid me the best compliment tonight.  He told me the watercolor below looks like a Sargent.  Of course, I realize he is trying to make me feel better, I have been struggling lately with life in general  and painting specifically (and then I woke with a cold this morning!).  And he was standing a good distance from the screen.  BUT, if you ever want to get on my good side, compare my work to Sargent’s!!!

This one is also 8″x8″.   The contrast is perhaps a little stronger than it is on the original, at least on my screen.  Wondering how you are seeing it…

Working my way up to 100 faces… maybe.  I do get bored easily.


July 29, 2012

Here is a small watercolor of my brilliant great-nephew, Ethan.  He is modeling a “cow” hat his grandmother knitted for him.  The only problem with that wonderful hat is that it covers up his curls!

8″x8″ watercolor on paper

I had a request from an overseas college student to talk about my palette. The rest of you can totally ignore the following…

I did give some thought to  exactly how it is I paint and it can be hard to put that process into words.  I use tube watercolors, all professional grade.  Student grade colors won’t always have enough pigment in them to get richer colors.   I look at shade and shadow first and usually lay in an ultramarine mixture (and I say mixture because my palette is so messy with color, all colors become mixtures) in those areas.  I will then play with very warm (warm reds and yellows) but light colors for the warm areas of the face (cheeks, nose, chin, ears) and then do the same with cool colors (blues, lavenders) for the cooler areas like under the eyes, temples, upper lip.  I let some of the colors mix on the paper.

Step away from the paper and look at it for a distance.  The one thing that always surprises me is that although my colors look rich and deep up close under the table light, if I put them up and look at them 10 feet away, they are always washed out and too pale.  So I go back and deepen up everything and try to be bolder with the color.

To get drips, make the paint thin and flooded then stand the paper upright and tap (or pound) the edge on the table until the paint starts to drip.  You may have to add more thin paint to help the drips develop.  Practice this before you do it to a great piece!  Keep a paper-towel in your hand to pick up excess or too dark color immediately.  For fun, after your drawing is on the paper but before you have started actually painting it, wet your paper and float light-in-value colors on your paper.  Let that totally dry and then proceed like above.  This will add interest to the colors on the face and can be a fun technique.  Note that I did not do that to the piece above.  Since I know this sweet boy and was trying  to capture his likeness more than I wanted to paint for fun, I was rather tight with my drawing and painting.

This isn’t much of a tutorial but I hope it helps for what it’s worth.  I will think about how I could document and share the painting process.  Good luck with the studies!

Watercolor Portrait

April 29, 2012

To stare at nothing…one of my favorite past-times.  I am always a bit disappointed when called back to reality.

Another watercolor portrait done on my 7×10 arches rough watercolor block.  I love this paper.

a deviation in style…

April 25, 2012

I spend a lot of time looking at children’s crafts and doing children’s crafts with… children.  A whole lotta time.  I am inspired by what I see on the internet and then come up with a version I can do with materials on hand.  Someday I am going to write a how-to book and I practiced my cutesy technique this weekend in anticipation of Someday.  (I wish my calendar would tell me when Someday is!)

Cutesy is fun to do!