I’ve been teaching myself watercolor and trying to do at least one a day. I’ve stuck to small pieces but trying a larger scale this week. Today I decided to rework an old piece.
Couple of years back I did a lovely pastel of a photo I took. Beautiful reds, browns and yellows. Today it became watercolours.
I wasn’t at all sure I could get those vibrant colours but it came out pretty good. I was happy with how the colors looked.
My goal is to get further commissions to do nature and wildlife and let’s not forget the pets. I’d like to offer both pastel and watercolour.
Sooo, I’ve been a bit absent on here of late. I would like to say the excuse I have is all consuming but there’s a bit of laziness in there as well. Okay okay a lot of laziness. This is the winter that just won’t quit and it’s tiring. That old couch just looks so comfy with the soft fuzzy blankie, but mostly I am outside in subzero temps shoveling and shoveling and shoveling!
The excuse, oh that’s right. Well I got into a mentorship with a wonderful artist Mike at Daarken Art. It’s a great revision on some of the things I learned in art school plus I’m learning lots about digital painting. I am trying to work on my skills, who knows maybe one day I will have an artist table at say ComicCon?
I have tried to do some other projects but between classes and digging snow, snow and more snow I have not done much. I did start a #GoTG guardian of the galaxy design of Nebula which will become a Tshirt design……..Eventually, in the meantime its back to homework, oh and more shoveling……
This is a commission I just finished, for my daughter. This is her cat Oliver. I used 8 x 10 Canson Paper with soft pastel sticks. I also used a lot of pastel pencils.
Once I got all the base colours in I used the pencils for details and hair.
The funniest part was every time I sat to paint Oliver would lay right next to me on the shelf unit watching me. I think he wanted to make sure I captured his likeness properly.
As you may or may not know I’ve been playing with sanded pastel paper. It started with Nell the horse and went on to Brown Eye Susan (one of my favourite paintings yet) and I really enjoyed the paper and it’s very rough texture and its ability to take punishment.
Well, I decided to try a portrait on this paper, from my past paintings I wasn’t sure portraits would work. The paper didn’t seem to lend itself to details. My daughters friend has a real cutie, Desmond. So after sorting through some photos I found one I liked. I started with the sanded paper and started to sketch.
However I really had a hard time blending the skin tones on this paper I kept walking away coming back making changes but ugh! I got to a point where I just had the base colours in and just could’nt get it to work.
So the photo is all that remains. It went out with the trash.
I have a hard time with throwing out art I figure if I keep it I can fix it. So this is a step forward for me, some might not, but it takes a lot to throw away a piece of art that you created.
So, back to the drawing board. This time I used Canson Pastel paper this had always been my go to paper for my pastel work before I started the sanded experiments.
Much better, although you can see the texture of the paper, which I don’t mind I like the extra depth it gives and the blending for hair (baby fluff) and skin tones was much better. I was very happy with the outcome. I think I captured Desmond and his cute little face.
I also did the marketing thing as well and posted it on my Facebook page and twitter hoping that I can get some commissions for portraits. Part of my ongoing plan is to try and market myself more.
I also do it because I love it! I do enjoy painting people and animals I get such pleasure from seeing the faces come alive on the paper not to mention the faces of the people I do the work for.
I am still playing with that #Pastel sanded paper that I bought. I bought 2 sheets, they were a medium brown colour. They actually look and feel just like sandpaper from the hardware store. I have always used the Basic paper that works for pastels, has a little tooth.
I am on my second painting, I cut the paper in half the first half I used for Nell
my painting of my sister’s horse, this time I decided to try something floral. My wonderful daughter takes breathtaking photos, I use some of these for my inspiration.
I did this painting with soft pastel sticks and used some soft pastel pencils for the finer details. This paper is great it takes so much punishment everything blends well and you can just keep adding more and more layers and you don’t need to fix it first (this means adding a solution so the pastel is no longer loose and chalky). What are the fall backs? Well, I have found it does wear down your pastels very quickly and the brush blending I had used before doesn’t really work well on this paper.
The usual Canson Mi-Teintes that most artists use covers well too. I can take brushes when doing hair and get a great sweep and texture that looks like hair, but I have found you can see the paper detail and you cannot add lots of layers without using fixative to seal each layer. But your pastels will last longer.
So here is the finished painting, Brown Eye Susan
So for me I think I rather prefer the Sanded paper for things like nature and landscape, but maybe for portraits maybe the Canson paper. I think a little more testing is needed 🙂
Last year my sister got a new horse, Nell. She is huge they have other Belgian draft horses but none are quite this big. I headed over for a visit and took some great photographs. But I took this one close up of her face, just one eye and piece of face I just love it. It’s been sitting in my ‘studio’ (bedroom) for awhile now, I really wanted to paint this it was such a great shot.
This weekend I moved my work area out of my bedroom to the kitchen. I got everything nicely set in front of the window, I feel more comfortable in this spot and I am close to everyone instead of far far away. The kids were gone and I had bought my very first piece of sanded pastel paper. Perfect time to paint.
I have never tried this sanded pastel paper before I had read an article on it and really wanted to test it. It was just like the fine sandpaper you get from the hardware store. The paper was a nice reddish colour and so is Nell…..perfect. Laying down the base colours was great this paper blends beautifully and takes far more punishment than regular paper.
I put a few layers of colour down building slowly. Once I was happy with it I started on the details, adding a bit at a time. I used both the soft pastel sticks and the harder pastel pencils which give me a finer detail for the smaller areas. The sanded paper does wear down your pastels quicker but I can put several layers down where as I cannot on regular paper.
It’s been a long cold snowy winter here in the northeast. But yesterday and today the sun shone brightly and the temps were above 40.
I do quite well when the sun shines. After months of being sick acute asthmatic bronchitis. I was feeling very energetic and decidedly creative. I decided to take on a much larger painting.
The living room.
Of course the fact they drilled holes in every wall and did a so so job spackling also pushed me to paint. I just couldn’t stand the white uneven blotches every where.
I started around 9am I moved all the furniture from one wall at a time. Using sand paper I started on each wall wiped them down, and swept the floor, there went my breathing again. With trusty angled brush in hand I gave the walls a quick brush for dust then painted all the edges, then I rolled the walls with touch ups here and there.
Figured while I was at it I would spring clean and move all the furniture. I finished the entire room by around 7:30 pm. Where I collapsed on the chair cuppa tea in hand. The colour is bright and cheery, well I think it is and it’s a lovely backdrop to the pastel I did (my version of a Mary Cassatt). Could be a touch too much for some. But I am finding it calming and I feel inspired to paint on a canvas now.
It’s now 2 days later, I don’t think there is a muscle in my body that isn’t screaming – what were you thinking spring clean, move furniture, sand and paint all in one day………