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Showing posts from January, 2017

Day 31 30 Day Challenge - Favorites Recap

Sheila, I hope you don't mind but I got this idea from your post.  I have been wanting to learn about some design programs so that I can use it on this site and also try to put together a newsletter.  After taking a look at what is out there I decided to go with  They offer a multitude of design options and guess what, it is free.  Since I am not the worlds most techie person I need something that is pretty intuitive and this fills that bill.

It always interests me as I am trying to figure out what subject people like, what I should paint, what my style is, all those tough questions.  I can make spreadsheets where I track views and comments, etc, but at the end of the day it just doesn't put it together in a way that makes sense to me.  Duh!!  We are artists, you know visual people.  So hoping this is a step on my way to figuring out what people like about what I or don't do.

Thanks much for stopping by and taking a look.

DAY 30 FINALLY Kitten pastel portrait

I didn't intend to do a lot of domestic cats this time, but ended up doing 7 and found them to be very interesting subjects.  I posted the first and the last days work of the challenge, maybe not fair to compare as they are two different media, but I think I did learn something about fur this go round.  I want to do the piece on the right in a larger format and will do it again in acrylic, so it will be interesting to see how much translates  and changes from the initial study.  Basically today's cat was done with pastel pencils which offer so much more control.
What did I learn the last 30 days?  
Interesting the things that bothered me the most in the first challenges aren't the issues any more, like inspiration, painting faster, working small, etc.
1)  Monoprint and dendritic print making - challenge now is how to incorporate it into my ongoing work as I really like the idea of texture and I can't seem to produce it myself. 2)  Let it rest before you call it done.  I pr…

Day 29 30 Day Challenge Berries dendritic print

Oh yeah, we are close, I can almost see the end in sight.  DAY 29  Just going to have to do one more day and then it is all over but the shouting and resuming normal things.  I think I might do the end collage this time as it may tell me something, especially if I overlay the views/reactions on top of it.  The house is jumping for joy as it will actually get cleaned - well, maybe, let's not get too excited.  I also have been working on a commission and am about half way completed.  The challenge actually has worked to an advantage as I haven't been stressing over it too much.  Fighting with it I have, but think I might be back under control somewhat now.  Since it is a gift I can't show it until April.

Actually I have learned so much during this challenge and somehow they always free me up to play and explore.  I have also found a new site for pastels and, since I am studying seriously with them again, I might actually sign up to take the video courses.  Not the same as …

DAY 30 Kitten pastel

Ok, I blew it, you will see this again as somehow it published without  me!!   Check out the real day 30 for my final recaps.

This is the last day and yes, I am doing the "happy dance".  I am glad I did the challenge, and did all 30 days this time and already it's like having a baby, I am thinking about the next one.  However, I am not sure I will actively participate, might just watch, or just do a couple of days.  Who knows, got months now to recover.  Off now to start my daily chore lists so I can get back to normalcy.

Day 28 30 Day Challenge Chinese Lantern Botanical Dendritic Print

Just 2 more days of the challenge and I am looking forward to having more time to spend on these prints and using different papers.  From what I can tell at this early stage it really is important to have a smoother paper, at least for the overpainting.  Here is a go at a botanical print of flowers I have tried to grow, unsuccessfully, the Chinese Lanterns.  You can see with the acrylics, applied as a watercolor-type wash, that the texture shows through.  I wanted more of the background to show through the lantern that is pretty decomposed, but it didn't some out as I wanted - it really needed darker under color, but you live and learn.

Just a note, I really didn't have a lot of spamming during this challenge until the other day.  Then I got hit with - according to google DON'T HIT THEM, as they truly are someone who is trying to get you to respond.  I am not really sure how all these things work - thankfully my blog isn't big enough to attract their a…

Day 27 30 Day Challenge Ah, You're Leaving Me dog pastel

Ah, You're Leaving Me
Just 3 more days - I'm not doing this again in September, I don't care how  much I think I should!!  I am going to sit back and enjoy all the art the other crazy people are making.

This is one of the photos I found when I was looking for references for yesterday's picture.  I saw him and knew just what he was thinking.   Sometimes you just connect and your hands begin to itch - you know what I'm talking about here.   Talk about laying on the guilt, can you really take him to a kennel after this?

This is mostly pan pastels on black Artagain paper.   He came out really fast as my hubby isn't even up - hmmm, maybe that is why because it is quiet and no interruptions.  I am such a morning person!!  I have found though that the…

Day 26 30 Day Challenge Child/Dog pastel study

Well usually I write down when I see photos that I want to use in future paintings, didn't in this case and it took me as long to find the references as it did to paint the study.  Good news is that I did find some really good additional photos that I want to do.  And yes, I did make sure that I put them into my spreadsheet for easy finding.

These subjects are from two wonderful photographers, at PMP, gemgirlwv and Laura Heineken.  I am not sure that it will stay a beach scene, but maybe.  

This is on Artagain paper and is a combo of pan, regular and pencil pastels for the details and small places.  This is only 6"x8".  

thanks much for stopping by to take a look

Day 25 30 Day Challenge Fishing Egret on dendritic print

Here is another picture using the hand-pulled print as the background and base coat.  I changed up the color, using sap green, and the paper, using a watercolor paper.  You can see a big difference in the type of print that I got.  This didn't nearly cover as much of the paper, or this might have been a ghost print.  (I think all prints that are pulled after the original print are called ghost prints.)

Since I saw water and foliage I thought a wading bird would be perfect, and there is a great nature photographer at PMP, Rodney Campbell who had this photo of a fishing egret.  We used to have these in our back yard in Florida and they are quite like cats who really stalk the fish.  Those great big feet stir up the water and the fish and…

Day 24 30 Day Challenge Just Stop

Todays picture is a continuation of one I posted a few days ago when I changed to the Artagain paper.  (I also have learned that the Artagain paper can hold a lot more layers than I ever imagined)  I have posted all three pictures here and what I wondered is how far is too far.  What do you think? For a while now I have felt that I have stopped too early and that I need to get more contrast between lights and darks into my pictures.  So I set  aside the second try for a day and then came back to it, primarily adding in more dark colors.  I still don't have the secret of the foliage, but it definitely gives a fuller feeling than the previous pictures did.  It also is a far far cry from the original one that really looks like a pale imitation, unless it was in the fog??
Thanks for stopping by and please leave your thoughts - should I go father?

Day 23 30 Day Challenge Coral Reef Print

Coral Reef
                                                           Acrylic/Dendritic Print

Ellen from PMP got me started on making hand-pulled prints.  So yesterday I did a new technique.  Ok, yes, this is yesterday's print that was done in Hookers Green but reads as black on the white paper.  This print was done on canvas paper so it has a coating on it which was great for the print part but really didn't help me put the acrylic fish on it.  This also ticks off the box where I had to do something with fins for the 30 day challenge.

I hand-pulled several of these prints, because once you get going you get hooked on continuing to print to see what you will get.    It is totally random depending on the color and thickness of the paint you put onto the glass.  Next I had to let them totally dry and then try to decide how …

Day 22 30 Day Challenge Coral Pulled Print

Yet another experiment.  This is another pulled print, this is in acrylic and you just never know what you are going to get.  It all depends on the thickness of the paint as to how the pattern developed.  Of course I think that as you change colors that is also going to affect the patterns.  While this looks black, it is actually Hookers Green.

So I did a few and then am going to try to think of something to put on them, although I guess they could stand on their own.  But this makes me think of coral reefs and something underwater.  Since my challenge was fur/feathers/fin, I guess it is time to do something fin.  So for one of the next days, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Thanks for stopping by.

Day 21 30 Day Challenge Creekside pastel

Ok, decided to try this again on the Artagain paper.  It takes more layers than the card stock and it was a blueish gray that I started with.  I used both pan pastels to start and then layered in using regular pastels, really no pencils in this piece.  Since what I was going from previously was out-of-my-head, which is my usual state, it isn't exactly the same, but pretty similar.  I still got to figure out how to do the foliage but I like the waterfall effect in this one better.

Thanks for stopping by.

Day 20 30 Day Challenge Flowers pan pastel

                                                                         Pan Pastel
2/3s of the way so got to celebrate!!  Such a dreary day outside today that I totally changed subjects.  Actually I got my Burpees catalog yesterday and got one for Paul too.  So we sat in 70+ degrees on the porch with our wine and drooled over the plants.  Looks like I have some marching orders to change up the garden this year.  Why, do I volunteer for this stuff, oh yeah, I like playing in the mud.

Well anyway I wanted to see how the pans did for flowers so pulled one of my botanical watercolor books and took a shot at it.  I added just a slight touch of color pencils and tried some of my iridescent pastels too.  They came out very velvety and soft, kind of like real petals.   I really have to say that this pans are probably o…

Day 19 30 Day Challenge Bulldog study color pastels

Ok, I like these days, as I did all the work on another day.  Doing this really helps me get my second wind and am hoping that I hit the wall and it will be downhill now.  Now it is just the frosting and most fun part to any picture, adding color.  As threatened, yep another experiment, I went ahead and tried to see what I would get if I used pan pastels over the grisaille of black/white/gray tones.  Because the pans are so transparent they did a good job of covering but not totally  obliterating the under painting and now it gives me nice soft grays in the white coat and wrinkles without hard edges.  
Don't think it should be a problem being over the acrylic, but would either have to seal with workable fixative or recommend it be framed behind glass.  Although anything I do on paper I recommend framing even if it is acrylic - and for acrylics, whether on paper or canvas I also spray varnish it just like you would an oil painting.  Why?? you might ask, well even though acrylic fo…

Day 18 30 Day Challenge Breakout mouse pastel

                                                                       Pan Pastel
I did this little guy, a super reference photo from Max Hemingway of PMP, back in 2014, but with his buddy and a cat that was asleep, or was he?  That was done in graphite and again I did a little of the tromp o'loeil effect.  Not sure but do you think I should put a little shadow under his feet to make it appear even more that he icon the outside of the mat?

This time he was done in pan pastels, but he is still trying to get away.  I kind of like these little guys as they have a bunch of personality and might try the larger painting again but all in color this time.  Boy I can think of all the things I have to do, want to do, can do and I just get tired.  But for now I am off to racking leaves off the yard.  Somehow I got blessed w…

Day 17 30 Day Challenge Creek pastel

Well unfortunately I think this is what people think they are going to get when they think pastel.  This painting is on a darker brown cardstock and pan pastels.  While they covered everything really shows up very light against that dark background.   The cardstock can't take that many layers so.....
Anyway it is sort of a semi-abstract landscape and kind of out of my imagination.    Again I am not talking about this taking an inordinate amount of time.

Since we have had big winds here I don't know how, but air flow I guess, has blessed me with everyone's leaves.  So out raking the yard and using my blower/vacuum to suck them up and put them in the garden for mulch and hoping that helps my poor grass breathe a little easier.  But for me I have to break it into several days work as the raking and sucking take their toll.  Yep, my old age is beginning to rear it's ugly head.

Anyway thanks much for taking a look and hope you are having a great day.

Day 16 30 Day Challenge Bulldog Black/White Study

As I said I have frittered away the lead that I had so am now down to trying to do some quick things to get caught up and try to get ahead a bit.  So the next days are hurried only a small amount of time each, maybe less than hour each on this one and tomorrow landscape.

I always learn something by doing black/white/gray studies.  Tonal or value paintings are pretty much what I use for one of my beginning steps.  Like the Old Masters I try to find the darkest darks, lightest lights and then the mid tones.  I might try to do him again but in color but just might try doing them in glazes over the top of the grisaille that I have done here.   Will be a bit difficult because the paper I am using will probably buckle but maybe if I keep it a drier wash it will work for me.  Yessss, then I might be able to get another free day!!

One of the things about the bull dogs is that they have lots of wrinkles and in the acrylics I find that harder to do, to get the softer edges.  You almost do hav…

Day 15 30 Day Challenge Monoprint Cat resurrected

Half way there!!   Yep Day 15 is upon us.

Well darn I got a little too efficient and erased what I started with off the camera before I uploaded it. Anyway suffice it to say this was my try with the acrylic mono print.  Ellen tells me that you can work over them.  So I started out with a very ghostly blob, you could barely see any lines to paint with - it all kind of smeared together.  Then I just tried to overwork it with more acrylic that was similar colors to what I had and where I wanted to go and this is what I ended up with.  I guess I have to say I am not sure it was with all the effort to do the mono print as most of it is covered up again.

I think if it would have transferred more paint on the print portion I could have added less paint.  So it is back to the drawing board.  But the good news is that I at least didn't totally waste the couple of days that I played with this.

Thanks much for stopping by and taking a look.  Oh yeah!!  I just looked at the day and we are…

Day 14 30 Day Challenge Kitten

Well here is another quick sketch with the idea coming from Lee Hammond's book Darwing Realistic Pets.  That of course is all done in graphite and I went ahead and gave it some color.  This is another little one and I like how he is about to spring on something that has caught his attention.  This again is on stock paper and done with pan pastels.

Thanks for stopping by.

Day 13 30 Day Challenge Walter Himalayan Cat

Well this hasn't happened in a while, Friday, the 13th, but no ladders or black cats for us today.....

Instead  we get Walter, I think.  My friend Laurie has two Himalayans (who knew there was such a breed?) and I think Walter has the darker face and weighs in at a heft 18 pounds.  They are both really big balls of rich luxurious fur, so just perfect for this challenge.  I did this again on the card stock, it is kind of an off white.  I used mostly pan pastels, just a couple of pencils for the really detailed parts, for this and boy do they just work great.  I never thought I would like to try to manipulate the applicators, but I don't really find it any harder than using a brush and there is so much less dust.  Actually th…

Day 12 30 Day Challenge Mouse

In the real world this little guy wouldn't make me happy, but in my world today he makes me smile.  I wanted to rest a little bit so decided to do this as an experiment - yep that's my byword I guess.  Je is another mini, only 3.5"x3.5".  It is on stock paper which is nice and smooth (I bought a package for another experiment that didn't work out).  So thought I'd try to utilize the colors behind some sketches and use some of it.  I put down the base coat with pan pastels as I wanted to see if I could put graphite over it, I already know that color pencil doesn't work.  I also wanted to see if you could layer a lighter color over a darker color and you can see it did work in the lighter areas.  You can see the applicator was still dirty from another picture, but doesn't matter because there is always a lot of color in shadows.  Then I went over the top of the pans with graphite and voila, in about 20 minutes I was done for today!!   My reward for a j…

Day 11 30 Day Challenge Cat Monoprint

Well I have clicked off a few days wasting time, where I was ahead, while I was fooling around trying to make some mono prints.  Also I think I got a little too complex so I am going to have a few days here where I do smaller projects.  I have to take exception with myself and give this definition of studies - Studies are footprints in the sand of the journey of an artist.   What a superb thought.

Ellen at PMP posted a mono print and a YouTube video of the process and it sure looked intriguing so I just had to try it.

This is painted all in one layer on glass with watercolors.  I then misted over the top of the watercolors to get them wet again and then pressed the damp paper on top to see what image you got.      I didn't have all the equipment so it was a pretty elementary process.  Hate to tell you this, but this is the best I got and it is still pretty ghostly.  Ellen tells me that I should work over it, and maybe I will.  I am sure there are a lot of factors and probably on…

Day 10 30 Day Challenge Molten Gold pastel landscape

Molten Gold
As you know I am trying to learn how to paint landscapes.  I thought that Sandie Bell's photo was just awesome and then she came up with the title, Molten Gold, and I knew it was a winner.  A winner for her, not for me.   I painted this in acrylic, didn't like what I did as I got the water muddy and didn't like the overhanging tree in the front foreground.   So painted over the canvas and now it awaits another picture but I had to give it another try, this time in pastel.   This however has been a several day picture.  I got this done a few days early and now am going to tweak and play with it a bit more as I don't like the lighting, hopefully before the final post.   I will show both so you can tell me if I improved it or not.

Day 9 30 Day Challenge Freedom horse acrylic

Well, this was fun.  It started with using the knife to do the background and I kind of like the mottled effect that I got.  Also I am really liking Phathlo Blue which I haven't used much of previously, usually Ultramarine Blue, but this seems to have lot of versitility and also like a lot how it blends down when you add white.

I also used a couple of other colors in this piece, Mauve Dust, Black Cherry and Blue Fog - these are the small acrylic bottles you get at the craft store.   The Black Cherry gave a nice rich dark to go with Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine blue.   I ended up using the Mauve as the highlight color - it came in light like whites but had color in it so it didn't look washed out.  The fog blue was …

Day 8 Burba's Wave semi-abstract seascape

Burba's Wave
Ok, ok, I have deviated from the theme, but scales do live in this.  Actually I haven't really been able to create abstracts and during one of my insomnia moments I saw this painting in my head and decided to try going into semi-abstract and see if I could sneak up on it.   Many thanks to John Warren at PMP for the use of his awesome shot to get things rolling (by the way he has some beauties if you want to paint water).   The title came from a friend who loves, or at least used to, teal, peach and creams/whites in her decor.    She also is a beach person so I thought of her when this was just a dream and she was with me while I painted it.  I am hoping she will be pleased with the result.

I decided to use the palette knife agai…

Day 7 30 Day Challenge Pastel Horse

Not exactly sure why, but this horse is tiny, 4"3.5".  So it was a bit of a challenge to get some of the features in - but boy this guy had some ears and I got all of them I guess.  Anyway the background is pan pastels - oh I just love them for the even backgrounds and smooth gradations.  It did take an additional layer though at the end to add a bit more depth to the color and also clean up the edges of the horse.  Most of the horse is done with pastel pencil and the bridle is done with color pencil so I could get a bit more control.

Since today is the day that we did all the parades (yes I was doing this on 1/2, I always try to be ahead any more then  I can miss and still post if needed)  I just wasn't in the mood to do anything this morning, but I persevered and so do have another day in the bag for when I want a break or to be lazy farther into the challenge.

Thanks much for stopping by and taking a look, much appreciated.

Day 6 30 Day Challenge Moonlight color pencil horse

                                                                    Color Pencil
This challenge is always a good time for experimentation.  Here I wanted to work on a black support, used black mat board, and only primarily white and gray color pencils.  There is a bit of orange and terra cotta in some parts of the face.  The way the shadows were it reminded me of moonlight.  I thought about putting in parts of his stall but thought I'd like to just keep it simple and I think your mind puts in the rest -  do you agree?

Because this was black I am not sure I really got the feeling of his hair, although I do like the body and think that came out pretty well.  I did struggle a bit because black doesn't show up much, usually came out shiny and then reflected the light.  So I must admit that I did put a little bl…

Day 5 30 Day Challenge - Watching

Watching 4"x5" Acrylic Yep am here again with another cat, but they make great subjects as they have so many moods.  I haven't painted many house cats, usually only the big boys.  There have been some articles recently that state cats now are causing issues in many parts of the world because they are hunters with no predators, and are destroying certain other species.
This cat certainly is intent on watching something.  Trying to get the multi-color fur was a bit of a challenge.  I still don't have the technique with the right brush together, but it is coming and am sure the answer is practice.  I keep experimenting trying to get the different layers, groupings, shadows and hair lengths.  I had a lot of fun trying to put in the different colors in the eyes, simply put in blotches and then did several layers of glazing of yellows and my green mixture.  The background is made with ochre, very little white and phathlo blue - surprising myself in that I really like that…

Day 4 30 Day Challenge - An Experiment Gone Awry!!

Red-Throated Conure
                                                              Color Pencil/Pastel
Well I am a firm believer that you just got to try it.  And conveniently that is what is great about doing the 30 paintings in 30 day challenge - you stretch, you can experiment and win or goof and not feel too bad about it.  When I write my memoirs, when I am 90, I want to say I tried it, did/didn't like it, but at least I tried it.  Well this is the case here.  If you are a bird person you know this is a far cry from what a Red-throated Conure looks like on a good day.

I wanted to do something in color pencil, been a while, and wow do you forget a lot when you don't do it.  Anyway I really like the pan pastels so put down the background and thought I would put a base coat red under the green head and green under the red/yellow …

Day 3 30 Day Challenge - Sigh!!

The title comes from the look I think he is giving us.  Yes, got to be purely male with that exasperated look - I think, since this is my story that I asked him to read the directions before assembly....   I think this is a Bernese Mountain Dog, not sure because the nose was the focus of this piece when I was working from the book.  I must admit that I didn't really pay that much attention to the specific colors and application of color pencils on this piece, just more or less winged it because I felt the colors were similar to what I had used in the last piece.  Probably is a bit more black starting in the chest area if I were to use another reference piece.  Still working on the pink-violet Artagain paper.

TIP:  Whenever working on lips, gums,…

Day 2 30 Day Challenge - Golden & True Confessions

Well I am working small again this challenge so these will take me about 1-2 hours.  For this dog I used the books example, working directions for colored pencil.  It does and doesn't translate all that well.  I have to change up the number of layers because of the support I am using (left a bit of the original paper color at the top, that pink/violet).  This is on Artagain paper - I like it as it is really smooth but I think because it is recycled paper does hold a decent amount of layers before you start to slip and slide.  I think I will try one where I actually will spray with fixative as I haven't used that in my process, but I know many do.  But I did try to use all of the colors (except the eye as mine are so small) and fo…

Day 1 30 Day Challenge - Special Delivery cat study

HAPPY NEW YEAR                   2017!!

Yes, it's HERE again, the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  I always debate now whether or not to do it, but usually end up going forward because there are always things I learn and the benefits of doing back to back paintings is usually huge.  It's a mini capsule to see your work improve before your eyes in 30 days.  I have learned to that if I don't do 30 the world doesn't end and I have taken pressure off of myself to just have more fun.

For this challenge I decided to work on animals and try to see if I can get a better fur/feather/scale technique as I am not sure what animal might appear as we go through the month.  I am also working out of a book (Anne DeMille Flood's Realistic Pet Portraits, I have that is about color pencil, but I want to try the color layering/receipes in color pencil in other media to see how it turns out, might come up with some new color receipts.  This cat is a study, 4.5"x4.5", of o…