Category Archives: Watercolor

Curious Finch

“Curious Finch”

I may be back online with this bloggin’ thing?

Where were we? Oh yes, painting birds for the Big Bird March challenge, that went in to April because of the covid-19 worldwide catastrophe.

This is painting #11 (15 was the goal), “Curious Finch” is 11″x7.5″ on Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper, painted wet-in-wet. I magically collaged (in my mind) several photos of one little finch who varied his pose for me on a fence for a whole 30 seconds (maybe more)? The early morning light just made his little yellow belly glow. At least I think he is a male? The little birds move so fast. When they are out of the sun, they are somewhat green-ish in tone. Click on images for a larger view in new browser tabs.

I really cannot remember what pigments I used for sure. I think three different yellows, Hansa Yellow Light & Medium (cool & warmer), plus New Gamboge (warm). I probably used Ultramarine Light by Holbein mixed with Pyrrol Scarlet and Transparent Pyrrol Orange (Daniel Smith) to make the brown tones? But I may have used Phthalo Blue instead of Ultramarine. I will check the video clip. Maybe I will post a Youtube preview of the video soon too?

In other news, after much time, money, and fussing…it appears my MacBook laptop and blog are operational again. I am still working on getting the upgrade to the failed video capture device working (No audio! Why? Why? Why?). I also still need to sort out which streaming application and virtual meeting platform I will use to deliver my online watercolor classes for June and beyond.

AND so I can GO LIVE on my Facebook business page for the next Virtual Wine Walk, scheduled for Saturday, June 6th, 1-4pm. Save the date/time!

Zentangle Mandalas

With all this computer fiddling, I have had no time to paint. I do have lots of projects waiting in the wings of my mind; more birds (I have become quite the birdwatcher) and farm animals. It is a good thing my friend Dee has been inspiring me to Zentangle. So soothing… and a little bit of painting too. You can see some mandala tiles I have tangled and painted.

“Curious Finch” is for sale, with mat $150 or without $99. Specify which “variant” you prefer during checkout on my Sellfy product site. Click the green Buy now button for a longer description. 

 

Baby Ducks

Painting #10 of my Big Bird March (continuing in to April) Challenge, “Baby Ducks.”

This painting is based on some photos I took in my Utah days at Fairmont park in Salt Lake City. Momma had a lot more children, but I focused on just these three. The painting is on Arches 140lb cold press, 7.5″x11″ (or 1/8 of a full sheet). Click on images to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

I drew the value study while communing with my kitties the night before. I like to do the drawing the same size as the painting, so I can trace up my drawing outlines to the watercolor paper. I feel I do better on the painting when I have done a drawing beforehand. It helps me to know my subject when I’m in the middle of flowing paper.

This time, I painted while hanging with my Little on Google Hangouts, so it may be a “little” incomplete. Mainly I need to retrieve a highlight in Momma’s eye, so she doesn’t look blind.

Stay tuned for a video preview and other updates. I am typing this now to to test my blog software capabilities, which has been acting “fussy” – grrr.

Bachelor Party

“Bachelor Party”

Painting #8 in my Big Bird March (but continuing in April) challenge. This is my “Bachelor Party” painting, collaged from a selection of photos of some house sparrows who hang outside my kitchen window. The female sparrows visit also, but they are more camera shy. I think the males may actually consider me a threat when they “pose” and glare at me through the window. This is a 7.5″x11″ watercolor painting on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on each image to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

“Bachelor Party” Drawing

I have skipped blogging about a couple of bird paintings. The paintings are nothing I want to brag about. I have quit counting the number of total birds, since this one alone means 10 separate birds!

Rather than give you a long written explanation of the painting process, I will just include an accelerated video of selected clips in the painting process. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how many words is a video worth, I wonder?

Anyway, I used just four pigments throughout the painting; in order of their appearance in the video, Pyrrol Transparent Orange, New Gamboge (both by Daniel Smith), Ultramarine Light (Holbein), and Quinacridone Rose (Also by Daniel Smith).

I quite like the somewhat abstract nature of the painting and drawing. These guys will probably end up on a note card some day, or as a packet of bird cards. My usual rule is I don’t make prints of paintings unless I no longer have access to the original painting. So I may wait to see if this little guy sells? Or I may make a coronavirus exception to the rule? I’m not sure yet.

Enjoy the video of the painting process. There are no words, just moving pictures (worth thousands and thousands of words).

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, it is available via my Self Shop https://Self.com/CRME-Exploring-Watercolor. For details, you can click the convenient button below.

As always, I hope you will consider subscribing to this GREAT blog. See sign up option to the right (on a computer), or below (on a personal device). Thanks for stopping by.

Flamingos

Flamingos

Continuing with my Big Bird March Challenge…This is the 6th painting (but 9th & 10th in terms of bird numbers). The painting is 7.5″x11″ on Arches 140lb cold press. Click on images for larger views in new browser tabs.

I took a break from painting the bird challenge to teach a last workshop before the great economic shutdown; then took another three weeks or so, to create seven video tutorials.

Some time in the video editing immersion period, I did this quick direct painting of these flamingos. I used Pyroll Scarlet, Manganese blue, Phthalo blue, and Raw Sienna Light; all by Daniel Smith.

The painting was quite a challenge. I was distracted (and probably frustrated) with video editing. I couldn’t seem to achieve the effect I wanted, when I wanted it. In the end, I pulled out the palette knife (a tip from a Bev Jozwiak workshop) and started moving the paint around in the bird feathers, background, and water. I put the painting away in my take-home bag and went back to video editing.

I pulled it out again to show the home critics, and I thought, “Hmmm, tha’s not so bad!” hahaha. Especially for going in without any drawing to start. One home critic said, “Ooh, cool. Flamingos.”

This experience did make me realize that I much prefer to begin with a drawing. I really like the drawing process. It helps me to understand my subject and allows me to paint with more abandon.

In an effort to promote my new Sellfy Product Platform, I’m offering this painting for whatever price you want to pay. Well, sort of… I’m starting the pricing at $10, just to cover the shipping and handling.

My Sellfy Shop is called CRME Exploring Watercolor. Click the link or the image to go to the site. Thank you in advance.

“Flamingos” – Pay what you want (over shipping charges).

All video downloads in my Sellfy Shop are 20% off through April 30th. Use the code PREMIER during checkout.

Stay tuned for the next Big Bird March blog post, featuring a redheaded tweeter.

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Quarantines and Video Editing

Prelude: Perhaps you have noticed the absence of blogging on my part? Perhaps we do not notice that which is not, only that which is? At any rate, if you have been waiting with bated breath for my next bird painting… I apologize… the Big Bird March challenge had a coronavirus-related setback. It has taken me two days just to finish this blog post.

I have mostly been working on Workshop Video editing in my social-distancing time. See the images above. Click the images for larger views (then use your browser back arrow to return to this blog post).

3/28/20: You would think I would have much more time to paint and blog with all this social distancing and self-isolating?

I have actually found myself with quite a lot on my plate. First, there were all the cancellations of classes, and emails to announce said cancellations, and then the responses from and to all the hosts, and students, and then there were all the refund checks, and then the rescheduling of classes, and the updates of websites and social media accounts, etcetera, etcetera. Sigh.

Oh and book club? A great book, but it is was the fourth in a series, and of course, I wanted to read the first three, so I would have all the “back story.” I’m big on the back story. I only managed to read two in the series, then skipped to the fourth, so I could speak about it during our “virtual” book club via Google Hangouts. Now I still have one more book!  Which is wonderful. I don’t have to give up my new imaginary friends just yet (The Cormoran Strike detective series by Robert Galbraith, a.k.a. J.K. Rowling, for those interested).

In between all that, I thought it would be a marvelous time to get ahead on editing the videos for my video portraits workshop. I have actually spent most of my working-day hours on editing. I have two done. One is now “crunching” through the rendering and upload process (I’m told I must wait another hour and 30 minutes for the rendering to complete tonight).

3/29/30: I am now working on the third painting in the workshop series, “Little Cutie.” I actually was going to do a different painting, but… ah…. I had missing source video and audio. So I started from scratch and did a whole other painting. Which is actually good because this is the version of the portrait we actually did in the workshop.

“Little Cutie” is the most complex painting/video in the series. I thought I would break it into three video tutorials because the file size gets so massive. The drawing is about 40 minutes. The painting took an hour and 40 minutes (and after “staring time,” I still think I have a few corrections to make). The first stage of the painting is in the “video hopper” (aka Adobe Premier) as we speak.

The drawing video tutorial is up and ready. See Youtube preview.

In case you want to help out a… not-quite-starving-but-a-little-nervous-about-paying-the-studio-rent-artist in social…uh… isolation? (I was going to say purgatory – but that implies I’ve been a bad, bad artist)… All the full-length videos are for sale, either individually or as a package (the package purchase is the better deal, for sure). If you are interested, you can read the specifics under the “Colleen Teaches” menu of my very own website, www.colleenreynolds.com/art-classes (just click this link). The full descriptions of each product are located in my Sellfy Shop CRME Exploring Watercolor.

I created the Sellfy shop as a way to provide a video download product. I would be most celebratory if you happened to want to dance your fingers through the shop and give me some feedback? To pre-order the whole package, you can click the purdy green button below.

 

 

 

“Western Tanagers”

“Western Tanagers”

Birds 6, 7, and 8 for my 15×30 Big Bird March (I did not blog about bird #5 as I did not like it). Is it fair to count three birds in one painting as three? My challenge, my rules, right? Ha! I have a workshop to teach and host this weekend, so I need to surge ahead of schedule. Click on the image to see a larger view in your browser. I painted on 140lb Saunders Waterford cold press paper.

We love seeing these beautiful Western Tanagers flashing past us in the Spring and Summer months. We managed to catch some photos of them in some evergreens. I often cannot distinguish the Tanager from the Oriole at a distance, the female especially. When we returned home, we compared the photos against “The Bird Book” and “The Google.” These guys (and gal) were definitely Western Tanagers. Real birders probably would not need to consult The Google?

I combined four photos to come up with the composition; one of the blurry tanager in the background, two for the female, and one for the main male in the foreground.

I painted wet-into-wet, using Pyrrol Scarlet, Hansa Yellow Medium, Phthalo Blue (GS) and Quinacridone Rose (all by Daniel Smith). I’m going to let the Youtube video of the painting stages suffice for the process description this time.

The painting is 7.5″x11″ in a custom white mat with a black core to fit a standard 11″x14″ frame opening. Shipping $7 (if the painting does not need to be shipped, the shipping charge will be refunded). $185

Sun Conures Talkin’ Smack

“Sun Conures”

Painting #4 of my 15×30 Big Bird March challenge. “Sun Conures” is a 5.5″x7.5″ watercolor on 140lb Saunders Waterford cold press paper. Click on the image to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

I have had this photograph for about 10 years and have always wanted to paint it. I took the photo at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. The birds were behind a cage, and the photo had lots of cast shadows from the fence. Challenge! I wanted them to appear to be in the wild.

I painted wet-into-wet directly (no pre-drawing) using Hansa Yellow Medium, New Gamboge, Perinone Orange, by Daniel Smith as well as Sap Green by Schminke and Ultramarine light by Holbein.

See the Youtube still-shot video below for visuals of painting stages as described.

I saturated the paper front and back, then used Viva paper towels to dab up most of the loose water. I began with the Hansa Yellow Medium and New Gamboge, painting the breasts and heads of the birds, leaving the eye and beak area on the left bird untouched. I added Perinone Orange to the heads and tails. Then added the Sap Green for the wings and tails. I lifted off the light side of the branch, then painted the dark under-shadows with blue and orange, letting all the colors mix on the paper. I used the same dark tone (with Ultramarine and orange) to paint the eyes and beaks.

After the paper had dried back enough to hold an edge, I used tea- to coffee-strength pigment to hint at background foliage and branches. I tried to just hint at the talons. I had to make up an additional branch for the right bird to hold (in the photo he was holding on to a metal bar with both its talon and beak).

I love the resulting colors and gestures of the birds. I feel like they are talking smack about me?

Only $95 for this original watercolor painting! The painting is 5.5″x7.5″ in a custom white mat with a black core to fit a standard 8″x10″ frame opening. Shipping $7 (if the painting does not need to be shipped, the shipping charge will be refunded).

 

 

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Baby Robin – Sold!

“Baby Robin”

Just in time for Spring. Painting #3 of my 15×30 Big Bird March challenge. Click on the image to see a larger view in a new browser tab.

This little robin had just left the nest. I had been watching the robin family grow in our front honey locust tree over the previous month or so. Momma and poppa Robin were raising three babies. This baby Robin was the first to spread his (her?) wings. Baby Robin still had trouble with flight. He/she took a respite in our Impatiens pot right in front of me. I felt badly for scaring the poor little soul, but I am not sorry I was able to capture the scene.

I used the wet-in-wet method again. This time, though, I went in DIRECT – without a preliminary drawing. Doing a painting directly surely does make one pay attention to shapes not things.

I used New Gamboge, Transparent Pyrrol Orange and Quinacridone Rose by Daniel Smith, and Ultramarine Light by Holbein throughout the painting.  For the darks, I combined the Orange and Blue. I had a dilemma on which yellow to choose. Should I have used a cooler yellow to achieve some brighter greens?  Or do you like the warmer yellows that are more analogous to the orange in the bird’s breast? I went with the warmer yellow. Maybe I’ll paint this scene again and go the other way, just to do the test?

I quite like the little painting. I wonder whatever happened to Baby Robin? Robin families continued to build nests from year to year. Some years, the nests were built on precarious limbs, and the robin babies did not survive the winds. Or the neighborhood cats. This year, though, I witnessed all three babies fly away, once they found their wings. It made me extraordinarily happy.

This painting is for sale. $95 (Original Watercolor Painting 5.5″x7.5″ in a custom white mat with a black core to fit a standard 8″x10″ frame opening). Shipping $7 if applicable (Shipping payment will be refunded if not required).

 

Flight Silhouette

“Flight Silhouette”

Painting #2 of my 15×30 Big Bird March challenge. “Flight Silhouette” is a 5.5″x7.5″ watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press paper. Click on the image for a larger view in a new browser tab.

I snapped a photo of a red-winged blackbird taking off from the branches of a Russian Olive tree while on my walk around the Empire Ranch golf course and the Carson River. My walk is a veritable bird sanctuary. I often see (and hear) yellow-headed blackbirds, geese galore, many feathers of ducks, red-wing blackbirds, robins, finches, wrens, swallows, starlings, hawks, magpies. It’s so fun to take the “big-guy” camera out and try to capture their activities.

This was a quick wet-into-wet painting. I used Hansa Yellow Light and Medium and Pyrrol Red by Daniel Smith and Ultramarine Light by Holbein.

I first did a light outline drawing of the main shapes, then saturated the paper front and back.

I hinted at the golf greens behind the tree and bird with yellow and blue in quick long strokes on a really wet surface with my large Lowe-Cornell #14 round brush. I added a tiny bit of red at the bottom of the painting as well, again with light, long side strokes of the brush. I left a little area above and to the right of the bird white and let the paint swim in gently. I added a few strokes of a dark blue/red/yellow mixture to give a sense of distant hazy branches.

I painted the silhouette of the bird and tree trunks with the same dark mix while still really wet, so I could get fuzzy edges (to imply movement).

After the paper had dried off to a damp state, I used short pull-push calligraphy strokes for the leaves, and light, pull calligraphy strokes for the thin branches. I changed the color composition for the leaves, skewing it sometimes red, sometimes, blue, sometimes green.

I thickened the paint and painted darks into the big branches and the bird, sometimes softening the edges.

Does it remind you of Halloween? Maybe it will be October in my theoretical bird calendar for 2021?

The painting is for sale, $95 (Original Watercolor Painting 5.5″x7.5″ in a custom white mat with a black core to fit a standard 8″x10″ frame opening). Shipping $7 if applicable (Shipping payment will be refunded if not required).

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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