Category Archives: Watercolor

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

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.