Monthly Archives: February 2020

Window Bathing (Sold!)

“Window Bathing”

This little one flew off the brush in about 30 minutes (painting) and 8 minutes drawing. Painting #13 of my 14×28 Furry Friends of February challenge. I painted it with “Cactus Cat” from yesterday’s post, but I thought she deserved her own post. Click on the image for a larger view in a new browser tab.

This is a common pose for this kitty and I imagine kitties everywhere. She was lapping up the sun in front of the window, keeping us from making the bed.

I used the wet-to-dry method for the painting. After masking off a few white whiskers and hairs and letting the masking dry, I saturated the paper front and back. While the paper soaked, I mixed up three piles of paint; red, yellow, and blue; Indanthrone Blue, Pyrrol Red, and New Gamboge.

I dried the back of the paper off with Viva paper towels and dabbed up the light edges on the front. I painted the background first with all three colors, starting with blue, then caressing in red and yellow while the paper was really wet. I then painted the darks in the head with the same three colors, putting more red and yellow around the eyes.

After moving to the white fur, I decided to bring in a fourth color; Manganese blue, to capture the shadows in the white fur. I first put in some tea strength Pyrrol Red around the nose and chin, then added my grayed down Manganese blue and caressed out the shadow areas, painting around the whites in the face edge, chin, chest, and paws. For the forward paw, I started with a dirty orange of mostly Gamboge, a little red and a little Indanthrone Blue for the colored fur, then used the same dirty blue mix as the paw transitioned to white fur in shadow. I added a tiny bit of the dirty orange in the crease between the far paw and chest. I built up the core shadows with thick paint, using some dry brushing.

For the forward quilt, I used Manganese and Gamboge at tea-strength to paint the overall shape, then added the Indanthrone Blue for the shadow areas. While the quilt was really wet, I used the Indanthrone Blue to hint at some of the stitching patterns.

I removed the masking and cleaned up some of the white shapes. A quick little cutie pie painting. And she sold almost immediately. Kitties make me smile.

Next up will be my final furry friend of the February Challenge. It’s a good thing we have an extra day in February this year, or I would be one short!

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Cactus Cat

“Cactus Cat”

Painting #12 for my 14×28 Furry Friends of February challenge. “Cactus Cat” is 7.5″x11″ on 140lb Arches cold press watercolor paper. Click on the image for a larger view in a new browser tab.

I have attempted to paint from this same reference photo two or three times previously. This is the first time I like the outcome. I feel as if I have captured the moment in a pleasing but not too sickeningly sweet way… Maybe it is still too sweet, but.. ?

I used Indanthrone Blue, Quinacridone Rose, Manganese Blue Hue, and New Gamboge (all by Daniel Smith). I did mask off some highlights before painting, using my small diamond-shaped palette knife with Pebeo Drawing Gum. I masked the whiskers catching the light and some highlights on the flowers and leaves. I also masked the highlights in the eyes and on the ear.

After the masking dried, I wet the paper front and back and let it soak a bit. When ready to paint, I dried off the back, but left the painting surface really wet, except around the eyes which I dabbed off with a paper towel. I started with the leaves and flowers on the left, with all the colors at medium-strength.

I painted the cat’s face first with Indanthrone Blue only (leaving the eye shapes white), letting the paint bleed out to the edge at the back of the head. I mixed the blue and Quin Red in a mixing area to creamy-strength, then caressed in the dark purple on top of the Indanthrone. I then added some yellow to the purple to neutralize the dark. Keeping it really strong, I caressed in the darkest darks, leaving the blue and violet to show in the slightly lighter areas of black fur.  I carved around the flowers with the dark mix as well. The masked edges helped to keep the shapes of the cactus foliage and flowers.

I painted the shelf with New Gamboge, then added some red and blue to make a nice gold. I used the gold mixture to indicate the cast shadows under the cat, on and below the shelf. I added blue to the gold mix for the curtains to the right of the cat. I tried to keep some whites but minimized my strokes to keep the curtains really loose. I painted the far wall (right side of the composition) with the same dirty gold.

I used the gold for the first layer of the eyes. I worked some details on the plants while the eyes dried off. I used the Manganese Blue and Gamboge for the greens on the cactus (The Indanthrone was too dark and warm). Then I painted the highlights on the cat with the same Manganese, so it would not be isolated. After the gold eyes were dry (ish), I add the dark pupils then softened them with some red-gold and blended that out into the gold base. Remember, I had masked the highlights, so I did not have to be too careful.

The cat is a little bit crossed eyes, so I wanted to capture that. Did you know that a Seal Point Siamese is genetically a black cat? I have often found Siamese Cats to be a bit cross-eyed as well. Apparently, black cats also tend to be quite smart. We’ve certainly found that to be the case with our two black feline beasties. I wonder if our two have Siamese blood?

Well, that’s painting #12 of 14 done. Two more to go. My next posts will describe paintings #13 (already done), and #14. I’ve picked out the source photo for #14, but it still needs painting. What will it be a cat or a dog? Stayed tuned…

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If you would not mind subscribing using the new method, it would be nice to know who is “out there” <smile>.

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Golden Winter Berries

My two-step demonstration painting for the Thursday watercolor class, “Golden Winter Berries.”  I gave the class a choice of three images, chosen because of the variety of edges we needed to depict, whether lost, soft or hard. Most chose the photo with the berries. 

We began with a 7.5″x5.5″ piece of Arches140 lb cold press paper taped to a piece of gatorboard.

I wet the surface completely. While the water soaked in a bit, I prepared my colors. We used New Gamboge, Pyrrol Red (both by Daniel Smith), and Ultramarine Light (Holbein).

I created a pile of medium-strength golden yellow by using mostly Gamboge, a little red and a little blue.

I mixed another pile of medium-strength brownish-red by using mostly red, a little yellow and a little blue.

Finally, I mixed up a pile of just Ultramarine blue.

I re-wet the paper, then dropped in all three colors, leaving some areas white, but letting the paint swim together to leave a lost edge.

After drying off that layer, I moved all three colors to the mixing area, this time in thick strengths. I wiped the brush through the three pigments and painted the branches using calligraphy strokes. I painted the berries, with two short “C-strokes” reflecting each other, to create a berry with a highlight. I then added some dark shadows, especially between the berries.

I used my rigger brush to sign my painting. I decided I liked the branches growing up, rather than hanging down. I then used the rigger to add more “twiggy” branches, and few outline strokes around some of the berries, using all three colors.

The painting took about 25 minutes (It has taken me longer to prepare this blog post  <smile>).

Today, I have two more days left in February, but I have three more paintings to complete my goal. Which means, I must paint at least TWO furry critters today! Stay tuned…

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Brusho® is Back!

Thanks!!!

Exciting news! I have been asked to exhibit my art in the Western Nevada College art gallery from April 1st – May 15th, 2020, where I teach art as an adjunct faculty member.

In thinking about what I would want to exhibit, I have looked around my studio and home for large pieces that would “hang together” well for a show, whether old or new.

Rhapsody in Spring

My husband’s favorite piece of my artwork is “Rhapsody in Spring” (orange poppies) which I painted in 2013, along with three other full-sheet-sized (22″x30″) paintings using the same medium, Brusho®. The other three paintings in the series sold. I recently just reframed “Rhapsody in Spring” with a blue metallic frame, and she looks fabulous! I must say. I would really like to show her off in this exhibit. But… right now she is one-of-a-kind in my collection of Colleen Reynolds original works.

Then a Facebook memory showed up featuring some little calligraphy cards I painted in 2016 using Brusho. See “Tiger Lilies” and “Dancing Irises”. Cute or what? And a Facebook friend suggested he’d sure like a “lick mail” letter with one of those designs.

Long story short, the “forces” are telling me to play with Brusho® again, right?

I have fiddled with them a bit over the last few years, but I have not embarked on any serious artwork with them for over five years.

That was a big lead-in to explain why I have diverted from my Furry Friends challenge for the last two days. I have been re-discovering my Brusho® Pots.

Brusho® is a watercolour pigment made in England. All the colors are extremely intense (bright). Each color comes in a pot of pigment that has been crystallized into a fine powder. When the crystals are sprinkled on to paper and water is added, the pigment explodes into wonderful random bursts of color, looking much like fireworks. It is a very exciting medium to work with.

It does have its challenges though. 1) The pigment stains the paper almost immediately, so I have to work fast to achieve a variety of edges. 2) It also goes really dark (low value) really fast if I use too much pigment. And, 3) as I mentioned, all the pigments are extremely intense (bright), which means they all compete for attention on the page.

To combat the intensity and value issues, I like to dissolve and dilute the crystals with water and paint with them as I would regular watercolor.

 

But practice is needed. I painted the little original card  “Thanks!!!” (see first image above) as a warm-up. I did send it off to that hinting friend. I have also begun another Full Sheet painting so “Rhapsody in Spring” may have at least one partner at the College Gallery show in April. It needs to be painted and framed in less than a month. Yikes! Will I make it?

Or maybe I will just not hang any Big Brusho paintings in the upcoming exhibit?

 

 

These are the other three (sold) large Brusho® paintings in the “Big Brusho” Series from 2013-15. Click on the images to see larger views in new browser tabs.

Rhapsody in Summer

Rhapsody in Fall

Rhapsody in Blue

Jonesy Boy Too

“Jonesy Boy Too” – Final

Painting #11 for my Furry Friends of February Challenge. “Jonesy Too” is a 5.5″x7.5″ transparent watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the images for larger views in new browser tabs.

“Jonesy Boy Too” – Stage 1

“Jonesy Too” is a demonstration painting for my community education Silver Watercolor Class with Truckee Meadows Community College. This was the final painting demo of our 4-week class, which met on four Saturdays this month.

I used my wet-to-dry method, which meant saturating the paper, mixing up my three pigments, then drying back the paper to damp where I wanted to hold an edge. See stage 1 for a view of where the demo ended in class.

I used Pyrrol Red, Phthalo Blue (GS) and New Gamboge (all by Daniel Smith) throughout the painting. We first called out the outline of the kitty by painting the background around him, letting the colors blend and mix on the paper.

We then used the same three colors to paint the biggest shadow side of the interior kitty. After the first value layer had dried back some, we worked some mid-level darks, concentrating on the cat’s features. After the class was completely frustrated, I went around and helped students individually with their paintings. I did not remember to take photos of some of their efforts, but they did really well, I thought.

“Jonesy Boy Too” Stage 2

After returning to my studio, I added the final dark tones, working slowly and deliberately which my big pointy brush. I really just concentrated on shadow and light. After Stage 2 (see image), I thought I was done. After seeing the image on my computer, though, I realized the shadows around the mouth were wrong, making the kitty look almost cartoonish. So I fiddled with it some more; lifting off some pigment, and adding more.

I used a sharp snap knife to scratch back the whiskers and highlights on the fur and in the eyes.

I have painted another version from this same source photo. See earlier blog post for “Light Catcher” (Click link)

Which version do you prefer? This painting is half the size of the previous one.

The painting is for sale. $95 plus $7 shipping to destinations in the continental U.S. It will be delivered unframed in a white mat with a black core, outside dimensions to fit a standard size 8″x10″ frame.

 

 

 

Gemstones & Garth

“Garth is a Gem”

Portrait #10 for my 14×28 Furry Friends of February challenge. “Gemstones & Garth” is a 7.5″x11″ watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the image to bring up a larger view in a new browser tab.

Garth just popped out on the paper with speed and pleasantry. I had gone to his home earlier in the day for a photoshoot. Garth is of the Corgi breed. My Little (from Big Brothers Big Sisters) had previously indicated this is her favorite dog type. Since my good friend Betty lives with Garth, I asked permission to photograph her pup. Later in the day, I had fun-time scheduled with Little, so I was prepared with oodles of Corgi shots.

To my surprise, Little wanted to watch me do the painting. I set her up with a “Little Table” in front of my studio projection screen, so she could watch the process. I told her I wanted to record the painting process, did she mind? Not only did she not mind, but we also set her up with her own mike so she could be the “studio audience” for my “Puppy Painting, Live!” video adventure.

Her favorite watercolor pigment is Lapis Lazuli (it’s a gemstone character in her Steven Universe series). It is a beautifully soft, Daniel Smith warm blue pigment (very expensive) that is also transparent and granulating with tiny sparkles of light when dry. I thought it would be perfect for the shadow whites of the dog’s fur. I also used New Gamboge, Pyrrol Red (both by Daniel Smith) and Ultramarine Light (Holbein).

I had previously drawn the contour lines of the subject off-camera, with Little as my witness. That is when she informed me she would like to watch me paint him. I had taken the photos with my iPad for the photoshoot (which eliminated the laborious need of transferring the photo reference from another camera to the iPad. whew!). I enjoy using the iPad photo as my reference when painting because I can zoom in and out on the image as needed.

I saturated the paper, then dried some spots back to damp. I started with milky pigment strength because the paper was really wet. I caressed in the first layer of value, while everything was really glossy, except at the damp spots I had created at the top of the nose, back of the head, ear, and under the nose and chin. Drying those spots back to damp kept those edges soft, rather than lost. I called out the overall “dog shape” by painting around. I used all four pigments in the background, letting them blend and mix on the paper.

I did use the blow drier on the nose, eyes, ear, and back of the head; to speed the process. Once dry (ish), I added the darks on the features and behind the head.

I quite like the painting. It flew off the brush in about 30-40 minutes (I’ll have to check the timing on the video clips). I credit my “Little Muse” for providing the perfect environment for creativity <smile>.

Now to edit the audio and video for the collaborative creation, between my Little and me. We were both all smiles in the end.

Oranges

“Oranges” – Final

My class quick painting demo, definitely not part of the Furry Friend challenge. Though, the oranges were starting to grow a little furr. Ha!

My hubby brought home a bag of organic oranges. Yummy! However, we couldn’t eat them fast enough at home. So I took them in as edible “props” for the painting lesson. Of course, I tossed the furry ones first.

I wanted to illustrate about painting the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. My overabundance of oranges provided the perfect round shape for a subject.

I used just three primary colors throughout. We chose the yellow and red to make the brightest orange; so a warm yellow, New Gamboge, and a warm red, Pyrrol Red (both by Daniel Smith). Then a bit of Ultramarine Light (Holbein) to neutralize the orange in the shadows, table surface, and backdrop.

I added the dark backdrop with thick paint (same three colors) afterward to frame the subject.

Just a quick, simple demo that solved two previously unrelated problems.

Ferocious

Ferocious

Portrait #9 of my 14×28 Furry Friends of February Challenge. “Ferocious” is an 11″x7.5″ watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the image to view larger in a new browser tab.

I loved the perspective of this fellow. I believe the photo was provided by my great friend, LD. It has been a few years, though, and the image file did not have any identifying information. I could have taken it when visiting?

I started with a 12-minute drawing. The perspective made for a challenge, so I wanted to spend some time on the drawing to make the painting go my freely.

I saturated the paper back and front, then mixed up my paint. I used just three primary pigments, Cobalt Blue by QoR, as well as New Gamboge and Pyrrol Red by Daniel Smith.

I soaked up the extra water from the back of the paper, but left the front really wet, except around the eye, where I lifted off the area to damp. I started with the nose and eyes and worked outward, using the red and blue for the dark tones at first. I started with pigment that was “milky-strength” because of all the water on the paper surface.

For the chest area, I used yellow, red and a tiny bit of blue to create the golden color. I used the same mix a little stronger for the gold around the eyes. After the chest area dried a little, I strengthened the pigment and added more blue and red for a brownish shadow color.

I used a tea-strength mix of blue, red and a little yellow to make a gray tone for the “beard” and scruff. I painted around some of the white tufts of hair.

After the paper had dried back to a damp state, I painted the background to call out the hair edges.

As the paper dried, I mixed all three colors together for a rich dark, now creamy strength, and painted in the darker values in the nose, eyes, and hair. I lifted off the “white” of the dog’s eye with a damp brush. I painted around the highlight in the eye but lifted off the larger secondary highlight that gives the dog that somewhat crazed and ferocious look <smile>.

When the paper was still damp but almost dry,  I painted in some thin calligraphy strokes for the hairs around the muzzle and eyes.

I have no idea how long the painting took to paint, I suspect about 90 minutes (including the drawing). I did record the process, so I’ll have to go back and look at the video clips to know for sure. I think I’m calling this one done. Even after overnight “staring time” I can’t see much to change. I love it.

The painting is for sale. $185 plus tax/shipping where applicable. Deliverable in a custom white mat with a black core, outside dimensions of the mat fit into a standard 11″x14″ frame opening.

$185

Atta Girl

“Atta Girl” – Portrait #8 of my 14×28 Furry Friends of February Challenge. Watercolor 7.5″x11″ on 140 lb Arches cold press.

This cute “little” gal was painted wet into wet, using some of my “sexy” colors. Sometimes I like to let myself diverge from the basic red, yellow and blue. Ha!

I used Indanthrone Blue, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Raw Sienna Light, and Pyrrol Red for most of the painting. on the “dark side”

I added some Phthalo blue for the Light side of the face. When I added the cute little pink heart tag with Quinacridone Rose, I had to dot in some pinks around the face and background as well. All tubes of paint by Daniel Smith.

I’ll have to check the video clips, but I think she took about 45 minutes from start to finish. I started with a vertical format when drawing, but couldn’t fit the floppy ears, which was one of the cutest things about this gal. Then I was frustrated with the drawing part, so I almost had no drawing, just a basic outer contour. Scar-ee!

She looks a little younger than she does in the source photo, but that just makes her cuter. After looking at her from across the room overnight, I think I may pull out some white highlights in the eyes. Stay tuned!

Once fixed, the painting is for sale; $185 plus shipping and/or taxes, where applicable. Watercolor painting 7.5″x11″ with a custom white mat with a black core to fit in standard 11″x14″ frame opening.

Snackie?

“Snackie” – First Draft

“Snackie?” – Final

Painting 7 of 14 for my Furry Friends of February Challenge. “Snackie?” is a 7.5″x11″ watercolor on 140lb Arches Cold Press. Click on the image for a larger view in a new browser tab.

This is a little dog who belongs to the granddaughter of one of my watercolor students (I think). Thank you for the source photo, Vikki!

I videotaped the process, so this may be one of my demonstration paintings for my upcoming March workshop. Attendees of the workshop will receive four video tutorials complementarily with the workshop fee. What a deal?!

I am also selling the four video tutorials separately. If you think you might be interested, click here for the details.

I have a few adjustments to make to this painting; to the nose and the top of the head. Right now, the whole video clocks in at 64 minutes. I’m trying to keep each tutorial to 90 minutes or less. 

I painted “Snackie?” using my wet-to-dry method and just four watercolor pigments; Pyrrol Red, Manganese Blue Hue, New Gamboge, and Phthalo Blue (GS), all by Daniel Smith.

Stay tuned for the updates.

Update 2/17/20: I made a few changes. Can you tell? Is it better?

Painting is for sale $185 plus shipping and/or taxes, where applicable. Watercolor painting 7.5″x11″ with a custom white mat with a black core to fit in standard 11″x14″ frame opening.