Category Archives: Still Life

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

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.

Peaches!

Peaches!

Another day away from my furry friends of February challenge. I taught two classes in my studio today, back-to-back. “Peaches!” watercolor 7.5″x5.5″ on 140 lb Arches cold press. Click on the image to bring up a larger view in a new browser tab.

This is an impromptu demo painting of some peaches. Photo by Jackie Estes of her very own juicy peach tree from last summer. “How would I approach this painting?” She asked. So I showed her. 

We used New Gamboge, Quinacridone Rose (by Daniel Smith), and Ultramarine Blue (by Holbein). I started wet and swimmy by dropping in areas of color on the really wet surface, letting the colors mix on the paper. After it was dry, I then called out the hard edges on the peaches and around the leaves. Fun. I like the variation of in-focus out-of-focus and the contrast at the focal point.

Sometimes it is good not to have enough time to “finish” a painting <smile>.

The painting is for sale, $95 (plus shipping $7 and taxes where applicable). Price includes a white mat with a black core, backing board, and a cellophane bag covering. The outside edge of the mat is 10″x8″ to fit in a standard-sized frame.

$95