Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Painting with Kitty Wallis

Kitty Wallis
"Without" from reference photo by Brian Grimes

It was a gray day, sometimes raining and sometimes hailing. A good day to be in the studio. But, today, not in my studio, but in Kitty's studio. I always learn from watching her paint. Her subject was bold, upsetting, unusual and so was her painting!

I am fortunate to be the mentee to Kitty's mentor in this confusing journey of art. I feel like I have a little case of hero-worship and I am so honored to have her teach me. I have much to learn.

So, imagine this. In one part of the studio, Kitty painting this great, wild painting. And, what was I doing (when I wasn't watching her)? Well, I was painting one of those paintings that is a study in what can go wrong. It deserves it's own blog entry, so I'll do that next!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Trying out the splash

"Beach Man"
20 x 18, watercolor

I've seen watercolor paintings that are done in a splashy way and I've admired them. Charles Reid does it in his work, Eric Wiegardt also. So, I thought I might give it a try today. I'm not crazy about how I did it. Maybe I need to do it with a toothbrush instead of my soaking wet squirrel mop. I'll try it again.

As my dear friend Myrna says, "I'll do better next time!"

This painting is my first submission to Karin Jurick's challenge on her blog "Different Strokes from Different Folks." She posts a reference photo and many artists paint their interpretations of the subject and Karin posts them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lovely Kimberly in watercolor

18 X 24, watercolor

This is my third attempt at Kimberly's portrait, done in watercolor instead of pastel. I like the soft feel of this painting. Her fair hair and smooth skin seem perfectly suited to the wet into wet application of watercolor.

Kimberly is lovely and I hope that I have not only captured her likeness, but also her beauty.

Click here to see the previous portraits, and tell me what you think!

500 Paintings!

"Wyoming Winter"
18 X 19, watercolor on 140# Arches Rough

This painting, "Wyoming Winter," is the 500th painting I have done since I started painting about six years ago!

No fanfare. No confetti. No cheering crowd. No parade.

Just quiet contentment. And the satisfaction of seeing that this painting is much better than the ones I was doing when I first started.

In a culture that promotes instant success, overnight wonders, and fast food, it's no surprise that we hurry with everything and are impatient when things take longer than our short attention spans can manage.

I am not an overnight wonder. No idiot savant (no comments from the peanut gallery, please!). No "born artist."

But I am a hard worker. And it's great to celebrate painting #500 today. Life is good.

An Evening Sail

"Evening Sail, Marina del Rey"
18 X 24, watercolor on 140# Arches Rough

Monday, March 23, 2009

Graphite to watercolor

On the top are some of the sketches I did of my mother at shuffleboard when I visited her in January.

From graphite to watercolor.

She wore white pants, a white vest, and a dark shirt underneath. Her hair is white. Little wonder that I added the red line, right?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Try, try again!

Part of my struggle with the watercolor sketches is the lack of information from my charcoal drawings. But, something is happening here that I will pursue a little more.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Something new with figures

Last night's figure model was a dream! Kaj-Ann is a dancer and after he left our class, he was catching a red eye flight to New York to dance in an Off-Broadway show. His gestures were lovely, athletic, graceful, dynamic, gravity-defying!

I liked many of the drawings I did last night and wanted to try something new with them. I transferred a few of them to watercolor paper, pulled out my Charles Reid books and splashed a little paint. Not a big success yet, but the idea scratches an itch. I'm going to play with it more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Weighted Figure

Something new at figure drawing class last week: the weighted figure. Nicolaides explains (in his book The Natural Way to Draw) a technique for indicating volume of the figure. Start with a stick figure, or imagine a metal armature and draw the shape of the pose in simple lines. Then, using the side of the charcoal, add the volume of the shape over the line drawing. I liked the feeling of my drawing with this method. Too often, I feel like I've drawing a beautiful dimensional head that's attached to a paper doll body. This approach helped me see the roundness of the form.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

It Figures!

30 second gesture drawing
24 x 18, vine charcoal on newsprint

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Self Portrait Contour Drawing

Contoured Katherine
24 x 18, ink on Stonehenge paper

I'm off to drawing class tonight with Kitty Wallis. This class is a one year commitment and I have missed more than I have attended since it restarted in January. Tonight will be my time to get back into the drawing groove. There is so much to learn!

Today I practiced with a contour self-portrait. Contour drawings appeal to me, probably because of the coloring book look. Or, maybe it because of the simplicity.

Once, at Hipbone Studios, I watched an artist do an elegant contour drawing of the figure model. A single line in ink, done with a graceful sweep of the artist's shoulder and wrist and finally hand. It was magic!

Bosque del Apache NWR

Water at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
22 x 28, watercolor on Arches Rough

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bosque del Apache NWR

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
14 x 18, watercolor on Arches 140# Rough

It can be no secret, if you've read previous entries on this blog, that I love spending time in national wildlife refuges, and this one in New Mexico was especially beautiful. Huge fields are planted with corn and harvested at different times during the spring and summer only to provide food for the migrating birds. Wow!

I saw lots of ducks, turtles, snow geese, sandhill and whooping cranes, hawks and other raptors and many crows when I was there. And a big sky to hold all of the birds.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Random art from my trip

It seemed like my trip was mostly about soaking in the experiences, but as I look back through my sketches and watercolor paintings, I can see that I did more than soak. Hope you enjoy taking a peek at these!