Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! May your holiday be filled with happiness, family, and friends......and time for a painting or two!!

Happy Painting!

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's almost Christmas---I don't have time to paint!!

It's almost Christmas and you think you don't have time to paint. Presents to buy and wrap? Cookies to bake? Cards to send?

I have a sneaky way to do one of these things and still do a little painting too! I paint my Christmas cards. There are several ways to accomplish this, depending on the time you have available.

Option 1
Cut watercolor paper into card size. Fold in half which ever direction you would like the card to open and paint a simple holiday scene on the front of the card and write you own personal holiday message inside. I have done this many times and have been flattered that the recipient framed the card to display as part of their Christmas decorations. Envelops can be purchased at office supply stores. If you have many people on your Christmas card list, this is the most time consuming option. However, a simple wreath or snowman can be painted quickly.

Option 2
Paint one holiday scene for your card. Take a photo and do one of the following:

  • Select and order printed Christmas cards, just like you would do for a family photo!

  • Print individual photos (4" x 6") size and use purchased cards to slide you photo in.

I selected Option 2 for the card displayed above. The picture is the photo I used to make my cards. I purchased cards with envelops and the slot ready to hold a 4" x 6" photo. I took a flash drive with the photo stored on it and went to a 1 hour photo kiosk to have to photos printed. (I grocery shopped while my photos were being printed.).

Either option you choose, you get to check a Christmas job off of your list and sneak in some fun painting time too!

Happy Painting and Merry Christmas!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

I Painted Leaves....What Do I Do With Them?

Now that you have painted all of these wonderful leaves, I guess you are wondering what to do with them.

They can be framed individually or grouped like my picture above. Or, leaf studies make excellent name cards for Thanksgiving dinner. The leaf studies can be mounted on heavy weight scrapbook paper folded into a place card. If you would like, color photo copies of the leaf study can be made and used to decorate the table.

Whatever you decide to do with your leaf studies, a leaf study is a wonderfully way to capture fall and give practice in color blending.

Happy Painting!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Leaf Study - Finishing Touches

Adding the veins and imperfections in the leaf will finish our leaf study. The photo above shows both of the leaves completed. I'll also show a close up photo of each leaf to provide additional detail.

All detail work will be done using wet on dry so that the lines will remain distinct. Prepare the paint using a darker shade of the predominate leaf color with just a small amount of burnt umber to deepen.

I like to lightly sketch in the veins, small holes and imperfections with a pencil first so that I can decide if I need more or less detail. If less, it is easy to erase the pencil marks...once you have painted you are basically stuck with it. Watercolors can not be covered up like acrylics can.

The photo below shows a leaf with the veins penciled in.

Once the desired amount of detail has been penciled in, use a liner brush and a light touch to paint in the veins. The imperfections, spots and holes can be added with a number 6 brush. Again, use the predominate color of the leaf and deepen the shade by adding burnt umber and sepia. The stem is not a solid color, but shades of burnt umber and sepia.

The photos below are closer shots of the finished paintings. A leaf study is quick and easy to paint and make excellent cards or place cards for a Thanksgiving table.

Grab that brush and get busy.....fall will soon give way to winter!

Happy Painting!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Leaf Study

It's fall here in the favorite time of year! And, a perfect time to do a leaf study. On a recent trip to the mountains, I collected a few leaves with interesting colors. Painting a single leaf (a leaf study) is a good way to practice blending colors.

The first step in a leaf study is to lightly sketch the shape of the leaf, leaving out the veins of the leaf until the color wash is applied.

Wet the entire surface of the leaf and apply (wet on wet) a light yellow base color. while the surface is still wet, drop in various colors to allow blending.

Don't forget to add the little imperfections in the leaf by dropping in browns. This adds character and makes the leaf interesting.

The photos above show this step. The photo below was taken while hiking in the Smoky Mountains.....which explains why my blog has been delayed recently. I have been hiking and enjoying the fall weather....and, of course, gathering inspiration for my upcoming paintings.

So, "take a hike" and gather some leaves......grab that paint brush and get started! My next blog will show how to finish the veins in the leaves.

Happy Painting!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Autumn Sunshine - Part 2

Fall started yesterday, so I figured it was time to finish up my sunflower table. Last blog I had the pattern drawn and transferred to the table using white chalk. This provided me with a great outline that can be dusted off and not become a permanent part of my painting. If more detail is needed for a pattern, chalk is not the method to use. This sunflower painting was not planned to be detailed, but a whimsical painting of a fun flower.

I used the following colors of acrylic paint:

- lemon yellow
- medium yellow
-yellow ochre
-raw sienna
-burnt sienna
-burnt umber

Using a flat 1/2 inch brush and lemon yellow, I painted the outline of the petals using large sweeping strokes. I added medium yellow in various places in the petals to show slight variations in color and used yellow ochre at the base of each petal - again using large sweeping strokes. I allowed some of the table color to show through giving a somewhat transparent look to add to the whimsical quality.

The photo below shows the table partially complete with the petals roughed in and a start on the center.

After I was satisfied with the color of the petals, I put a stroke or two of burnt sienna on a few of the petals for shadows.

The center of the sunflower was painted next. I used a large round stippling brush and tapped on the paint using a dry brush and several shades of paint...raw sienna, burnt sienna, and burnt umber. Use a light touch and add a few taps of black to deepen a few areas of the center.

After I was satisfied with the painting, I allowed the paint to dry at least 24 hours and applied a spray clean sealant to the top surface. Before sealing, brush off any bits of chalk left on the surface. This will set the paint and protect the surface from use. This sunny table will brighten up any room through the cold winter months ahead!

Happy Painting!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Autumn Sunshine

Fall is my favorite time of year and is also the season for late blooming flowers - like sunflowers. I have many pictures of sunflowers created in watercolor, acrylics, and pastels on canvas or paper. This time my surface for the painting will be a small table that I am repurposing for my art studio. I have an antique "half table" that I am not using and need a small table to keep my brushes within easy reach when painting.

Yes, I could use the table "as is," but I wanted something fun in my art studio.

I prepared a template the size of the table top and and drew the sunflower on my template. See the photo below of the table and template.

The next step is to transfer the template to the table. Since the table is already finished in a medium oak and I don't plan to base paint the table in a different color, I need to be able to transfer to this surface. One can purchase a transfer paper in light colors to transfer to darker surfaces, but I don't need a detailed copy of my design. Therefore, I rubbed the back of my template with white chalk. I then traced the design on the front of the template lightly to transfer the shape to the table surface. See the photo below of the transferred design.

The next step will be to paint the sunflower on the table top. I will be using acrylic paints and must decide whether or not I want a simplistic design or a more detailed sunflower.

I'll see you next time with the start of my painting. Until then, look around your garage or attic and see if you can find an old piece of furniture that needs a new use.

Happy Painting!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting Ready for Fall and Winter....How to Paint Logs!

Since today is Labor Day and the "unofficial" end of summer, I thought a painting to help usher in fall might be an appropriate blog entry.

In my watercolor painting above, Ben's Firewood, the emphasis is on the stacked firewood and the logs of the cabin; however, the eye is drawn to the lake and mountains beyond. The lake and mountains are not detailed to keep the logs and cabin as the main focus. Plus, the lantern and axe handle help keep the eye in the foreground and bring the painting together.

The background was painted first with a wash of color allowing each section of the background to dry before painting the next. However, the evergreen trees were painted in while the mountains were still damp to creat a slightly blurry effect.

The logs and firewood were each painted separately to keep each log distinct. If painted as a group, the logs would have little definition and look like a large blob. Use various shades of raw and burnt umber as well as sepia and Payne's gray. Use a wet on wet technique and drop in several colors for each log. Leave areas of white in the logs as well creating highlights.

The photo below shows a sample of the logs as they are being painted.

The trees are painted with very little foliage still remaining. The leaves are sponged on randomly using yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and burnt umber. Use a light touch - the leaves are not detailed and only hint at the season. The remaining foliage in the foreground is painted by dropping in various shades of the foliage colors and deepening the areas around leaf shades to add depth to the painting,

Watercolor Tip:
The sky, lake and mountains were painted across the trees, cabin post, and lantern without using any type of masking fluid. Because the trees and cabin post are darker than the background, they can be painted over the top without any background color showing through. The background needs to be seen through the lantern glass and this allows for an uninterrupted background. The metal parts of the lantern are darker than the background and be painted over the top of the background paint. This is a great time saver for those artists "like me" who are too impatient to wait for masking fluid to dry. See sample below.

Happy Painting!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Childhood Treasures

Who wouldn't enjoy a wagon and a Teddy bear?

These toys bring back memories for grown up kids and make memories for the little why not save them in a painting? I painted the one above for my cousin's great grandson. I enjoyed creating this painting and thought I would share the techniques with you.

Sketch the bear in lightly with little fur detail...adding the shape of the feet, eyes, nose, ears and bow. The wagon is mostly straight lines which are easier done using a ruler.

I painted the background first using a large flat brush and a wet on wet technique leaving much white, unpainted background and adding shadowing around the bear.

As the paper dries, lay on fur strokes using a fan brush. Vary the colors brushed in for the fur and using darker fur colors to create shadows. Paint the fur in the direction it would grow and leave plenty of white spaces. Paint in stages...paint one shade and allow to dry before adding additional fur.

Eyes are painted using black, but leaving a small white highlight....or scraping in a highlight when dry. The nose is also black leaving some areas unpainted and highlighted.

The bow is added last using a wet on wet technique deepening the shadows.

The wagon was painted in wet on wet technique, also deepening the shadow areas.

Personalize your bear using colors of your choice.

Happy Painting!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rust - Created in Hours not Years!

The latch and the lock were "rusted" in two different sittings so that both items would have completely different rust patterns. The painting above shows the rusted latch and the lock in the process of drying. The process of creating the rust was demonstrated in the previous blog.

The photo above shows the removal of the sand after the paint was completely dry. I use an old toothbrush to gently remove the sand without scratching the surface of the paper. It usually takes several hours for the paint to dry completely and may take overnight to create the texture from the grains of sand. If you are not satisfied with the texture or the color, paint can be applied agin to the area and the procedure repeated.

After the sand was completely removed, the texture can be seen. The photo below shows the texture created from the sand.

Now, it is time to add detail. Areas in the shadow were darkened using a wash of Indigo, but done with a light tough. Do not overwork, or you will lose the texture just created. Highlights were scratched in with a utility knife on the points of the screws on the lock. The key hole was darkened and a small highlight scratched in.

Finally, the wood was spattered with Sepia to further add some age to the wood. The painting below is the finished product.

Happy Painting!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rust and How to Paint It! A Special Texturizing Technique!

The old lock on my painting of a door at Fort Loudon is created with a special wash. In order to give the lock a rusty look, I am using a sand-impressed wash.

How to create a sand-impressed wash:

Step 1 - Apply the base color of the metal
The lock and clasp are first based painted with a wash of Indigo and Burnt Sienna. Apply this gray wash to the damp area and let it dry thoroughly. This will be the base color of the iron. The photo of the painting above shows the base coat.

Step 2 - Applying the rust
Over the dry base, drop in a varied mix of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, and Indigo. Use these in varying amounts to adjust the amount of "rust" desired. The rustier the object, the more Burnt Sienna, the "newer" the more Indigo. Deepen the color in any shaded areas.

Step 3 - Applying the texture
Sprinkle the wet paint surface with sand. See my photo below. I used a jar of decorative sand simply because I found it on sale and it is easy to keep handy in my art studio. Any clean sand will work--play sand or garden sand are easy to find and are inexpensive.

Now for the hardest part of this texturizing technique - let the paint and sand dry completely before brushing off!

Next blog.....the "reveal!" Until next time.......

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

Celebrate with family and friends and enjoy some ice cold watermelon!

Happy Painting!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Painting Old Wood

Old and weathered wood is the background for this painting and takes up the majority of the painting while acting as a subtle backdrop for the old lock.

Painting old wood is easy to do using a mix of different muted colors.

Here's how:

Wet the wood area with clean water and apply a place wash of yellow ochre, Payne's gray, and sepia. Drop in the colors in various locations. Some areas can even remain without color. Since the area was wet before the paint was applied, the color will run and blend.

Let this dry. Using a 1/2 inch flat brush with the bristles fanned out slight, dry brush in wavy grain lines with a wash of Sepia and Payne's gray.

Let this dry and use a fine liner brush or a watercolor pen and draw in a few lines to further indicate the wood grain.

Don't forget to deepen the color in the shadows under the lock.

The example above shows the first step in painting the weathered wood background showing one section left unpainted. Note in the painting at the beginning of the blog, the direction of the wood grain showing the door in the center and the siding on the left, which is running horizontal rather than vertical like the door.

Next time, the lock!! Until then...

Happy Painting!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Which View Do I Paint?

On a recent visit to Ft. Loudon Historic Area, I took my camera to snap a few photos for future paintings. Since we were at the area to hike and visit the fort, I did not bring my watercolor painting supplies with me, but I always travel with my camera. I found many great subjects for paintings and wounds up with around 50 photos...some of which I can discard, but some of interesting subjects to paint.

When taking photos for a painting, look at all sorts of subjects - including the weed growing along the trail as well as the "big" subject, which in this case was the fort itself. Above is a photo of the fort showing the line of soldiers' sleeping quarters.

Below is a close up of the barracks zeroing in on my subject for today's painting.

Look at things from a different perspective to find some interesting topics for paintings.

I'll cover how to paint weathered wood and rusty locks in this painting. But, to get started, below is my sketch.

Next time you are visiting interesting places, look for the unusual will have fun painting it!

Next blog, I'll start on the wood! Until then......

Happy Painting!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bright Sunset

The watercolor above was painted from a photo taken at sunset on a clear day at Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains. Clingman's Dome at 6,643 feet is the highest elevation in the Smokies and is often found shrouded in clouds. An observation dome offers a 360 degree panaroma of the park peaks in both Tennessee and North Carolina.

I love bright colors, so this landscape was fun for me to paint. It is not necessary to sketch in your painting; however, you might want to plan the horizon before you start. Be certain to keep the horizon uneven.

How to Paint the Sky
I started at the horizon and painted a wash up to the top of the painting. I used my darkest orange shade first and worked up dropping in yellow in the center. Before the sky completely dried, I dropped in Indigo as well as Payne's Grey. The sky area must dry before you start painting the mountains.

How to Paint the Mountains
Again, I started at the horizon, but this time I worked down to the bottom of the page. I first mixed all my paint using a mix of Indigo and Payne's Grey, but varying the intensity using the lightest at the horizon. I washed in the first range of mountains at the horizon and worked down. I let each wash dry before applying the next so that the mountains retained shape rather than blending together.

How to Paint the Foreground
There are faint outlines of spruce fir trees in the foreground. These were painted using the deepest color mix and adding a little Sap Green. Using the edge of a flat brush, the branches were painted in. Keep these light and uneven.

To finish the painting, I used a flat brush and some yellow paint to brush down from the clouds to give a sunny glow to the sunset. Use a light hand on this.

I painted this one in my small watercolor journal to get a feel for the colors. I like the results well enough to refine it for a larger painting! Dig out those paints and get started! Until next time.....

Happy Painting

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gallery at Main Street Exhibit

The exhibit was held on Friday and was a great way to meet some of the art community in the East Tennessee area. There were many talented artists showing their work in various media. The exhibit included oil and acrylic artists, as well as metal sculptors, wood carvers, textile artists and potters.

This was one of many exhibits planned for the first Friday of each month. This month the exhibit highlighted floral compositions and upcoming months will include landscapes, Tennessee themed work, and an exhibition of talented works created by some very gifted young artists.

Now, to get busy and create a new painting......

Happy Painting!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Gallery at Main Street

The Gallery at Main Street will be exhibiting art by local artisans on June 1, 2012 at the gallery located in First Baptist Church, Knoxville, TN which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The address is 510 West Main Street, Knoxville, TN.

This month's exhibit is titled "Graced with Floral.". Exhibition hours are 10:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m.

The painting above is one that I will have on display at the exhibition. The following is a link to the artists who will be exhibiting:

If you are in the area, stop and enjoy the exhibit!

Happy Painting!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Special Painting of a Special Building!

The watercolor painting above is First Baptist Church Fisherville. I have been planning this painting as a surprise for our pastor there since we moved from that area last summer. I was given a photo CD with various shots of the church building, but when packing the CD for safe keeping during the move, I did too good of a job of packing it and it took me awhile to "find" it.

Often painting a building can be difficult simply because it does not allow for "artistic" interpretation, but for an accurate representation of the structure. However, there are aspects of the painting that allow for an artist's personality and style to show through. For instance in the painting above, the photo selected was one that emphasized the angles of the roof as well as the steeple. The steeple itself points heavenward and the top of the steeple is not seen in the painting which implies that it goes infinitely to heaven. The stained glass windows allowed me to show my Impressionistic painting style by implying shape and design rather than photo like detail.

Working from a photo is a great way to try one's hand at painting buildings....take several different photos from different angles and let your creativity show through.

Happy Painting!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Amapolas Roja (Red Poppies) - finished at last!

The poppies are finally finished! As you can tell from the painting above, I finished this painting. I completed the second poppy using the same techniques as the first one and then added a little greenery. I put only a small amount of greenery in this painting allowing the focus to remain on the colorful poppies. After a final review, I decided against doing any additional painting on the brick/tiles. Again, for the same reason.....I wanted the focus to remain on the poppies, not on the background.

The stems and leaves were painted using several shades of paint. I used green mixed with brown, blue, and yellow to achieve a variety of shades of green to show shadow and light. I used the brown/green for the stems, the deep green/blue for the shaded areas and the yellow/green for the green areas reflecting light.

I found some interesting facts about poppies to share (in case you are a fan of Trivia Pursuit):

-The California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is the state flower of California.
-In Mexico, Grupo Modelo, the makers of Corona beer, used red poppy flowers in most of its advertising images until the 1960s.
-A poppy flower is depicted on the reverse of the Macedonian 500 denars banknote, issued in 1996 and 2003. The poppy is also part of the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia.
-Poppies (Amapolas in Spanish) are commonly featured as the central flower in Puerto Rican weddings.
-Artificial poppies (called "Buddy Poppies") are used in the veterans' aid campaign by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which provides money to the veterans who assemble the poppies and various aid programs to veterans and their families.
-Canada issued special quarters (25-cent coins) with a red poppy on the reverse in 2004, 2008 and 2010. The 2004 Canadian "poppy" quarter was the world's first coloured circulation coin.
-Poppies are often symbolic and can symbolize the sleep and peace. This symbolism was evoked in the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists sleep forever.

Enough facts....pick up that paint brush and finish your painting! I'll see you in my next blog with another fun painting to create!

Happy Painting!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back to the Poppies!

Back To the Poppies!

With a few interruptions in my work, I am finally back to working on my poppies. The background was completed first. After looking at the background, I have decided that I am satisfied with the results and will evaluate after my poppies are complete whether to do any additional work on the background brick/tiles.

Now for the poppies.......

First prepare your palette with all the colors you will need to blend to execute the painting. I used several colors of red as well as orange, yellow (both light and dark), burnt sienna, black and white.

There are two ways to paint the poppies:
-Paint the entire flower first with a base coat of color and then work in highlights and shadow or,
-Paint a few petals at a time, completing the petals as you work.

Both ways are good ways to paint, just find the one that works better for you.

-Using a paintbrush that is smaller than the area you are painting, dab the tip into your mixed paint and rub the excess off of the sides of your brush. Paint the petal or the entire flower this color, except for the stem and any pollen areas. You will want to add shadows to your flower as well as light sources. Figure out where you want the light to come from. Add a little bit of white to your base color for the highlights and a little bit of darker base color and/or burnt sienna for the shadows.

Layering the colors on the petals will give texture and a realistic look to your flowers.

The center of the flower was base coated in a yellow ochre. The surrounding stamens were dabbed in burnt sienna and black.

The painting above shows one of the poppies completed. During the next session, I will finish the one remaining poppy and give instructions on the leaves and stem.

Happy Painting!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Small Detour!

As you know, last weekend I took a hiking trip in the Smokies and photographed several wildflowers. And, I just had to try my hand at painting at least one of them. I'll get back to my acrylic painting that we have been working on for several weeks soon. Sometimes, one must take a detour along the way.....such as this. I usually have more than one painting in progress at the same time. The photo above is the flower I have chosen to paint. The photo of my painting is shown below.

I used watercolors for this painting and a small watercolor journal of 140 lb paper (5 x 7). Instead of my usual tube watercolor paints, I used a pan set of Windsor & Newton.

I lightly sketched my flowers first and then washed in my background. The background was painted by dropping in shades of green, Brunt Umber, and some of the lavender/blue shade I used in my flowers. I wanted a very blurred background so that my flowers would stand out.

After the background dried, I painted my flowers by wetting the petal and dropping in the color at the bottom of the petal and allowing the water to pull the paint up to the top. At the top of the petal, I dropped in a little lemon yellow. It takes a little time, but each petal has to be painted individually to keep the flower from looking like a large "blob"!

I painted the stems last using Sap Green and Raw Umber and dropped in Crimson at the top of the stem where it attaches to the flower.

Any details on the petals were added after the painting was dry.

Look in parks and in your yard for wildflowers...and try your hand at painting what you find - even weeds are fun to paint!

Happy Painting!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Well, sometimes...........

OK - where is my usual watercolor painting blog? Well, sometimes one needs to look for inspiration!

This is a perfect time of the year for wildflowers. Since my husband and I like to hike, we decided to hike of one the trails in the Smokies known for its wide variety of wildflowers in the spring. So, we took a day hike in the Greenbrier district of the Great Smoky Mountains. Of course, I took my camera so that I could bring back some ideas for future paintings.

Today's blog is going to be a little different than my usual blog. I decided to share some of my ideas for future paintings with you and give you a little info about hiking in the Greenbrier district

The out and back Porters Creek Trail is an 4 mile round trip which can be reached from a 6 mile drive (most of which is on a gravel road) from US 321 outside of Gatlinburg. The road and the trail runs along the Little Pigeon River.

We found several varieties of wildflowers blooming with beautiful display of Lady Slippers. Scattered throughout this blog are a few of the photos from yesterday's hike. These may give you an idea for a future painting. week.....I'll try again to work on my painting!

Happy Painting!