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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).

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

Cosmos

Cosmos Too

For my class at the Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) in Reno, we painted a simple flower painting, using my “Dot & Pull” method. I adapted my little painting style from creationsceecee on Youtube. I’ve adapted it a bit to include a soft background and based my creations on flowers in my garden, rather than imaginary ones. In this case, I used the cosmos flower as my inspiration.

Sunflowers Three

Last year, I also adapted the same method to paint sunflowers.

All the paintings are on 140 lb Arches cold press watercolor paper, sized down to 5.5″x7.5″. In a 5″x7″ black core mat that fits into an 8″x10″ frame opening quite nicely. I am hoping to have a number of them to offer for sale during future Carson City Wine Walks. My Carson City studio, Exploring Watercolor, will be on the walk map, beginning in April.

Anyway, it was a day away from February Furry Friends challenge. I will need to get back to them soon.

I did have to take another day away to prepare for another college class. You will be able to read all about that in my next post (I still need to take photos).

Light Catcher

Light Chaser – Final

Painting #1 for my 14/28 February Furry Friends challenge. “Light Catcher” watercolor 7.5″x11″ on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the image for a larger view in a new browser tab.

I painted this “wet-to-dry,” meaning I first saturated the paper completely, then dried it back to damp and painted “alla prima” until the paper was completely dry.

I used three primary pigments; Phthalo Blue (GS), Pyrrol Red, and Hansa Yellow Light throughout.

I first drew an outline of the figure and shadow edges directly on the watercolor paper, using a 2B graphite pencil. While the paper was quite wet, I painted the background with all three colors, letting them mix on the paper and painting around the whites. I moved into the figure with the top right ear, then to the right side shadows, keeping the paint at milk strength. I like to put the paint down, then “S-caress” it out to leave soft edges. I then just painted the gray shadows by mixing the red with the blue to get a rich gray. I started the left ear with a tea-strength red, then added some of the gray mix for shadow areas.

I painted the eyes last. I started with the yellow and blue, then added some of the red to create a more neutral green for the far eye. I used the same colors for the near eye (in shadow), painting around a sidewise T-shaped highlight. While the eye was still wet, I dropped in some of the gray mix for the pupil and the darker ring around the middle. I let it dry, then carved around the edges with a thick almost black mix of red and blue. After drying off the eye again, I decided the near eye had to be more in shadow, so I glazed over everything except the highlight with a darker green. I let that dry, then glazed over that with an orange, mixed with the red and yellow. I let it dry again, then painted over the highlight with a tea-strength phthalo blue (except for a tiny spot of pure white).

I did not use any masking or white paint. I did, however, use Magic Eraser to lift out a critical highlight in the far eye, just at the bottom edge of the eye.

I painted the edge of the gray shadow shapes with a toned-down orange (mixed with the red and yellow and a bit of blue) to give the fur a glow. I called out a few hints of hair and fur with some calligraphy strokes. Done. I think it took about an hour and a half. I will have to check the video clips for sure.

I quite like it… Personality abounds.

Available for purchase. $185 (plus tax or shipping). Includes a custom mat without outside edge dimensions to fit a standard 11″X14″ frame. Please include the title of the painting in the comments during purchase.

Update 2/7/20! I made a change. Can you tell where?

 

Walking Down the Street, Pretty Woman – Update

Walking Down the Street, Pretty Woman – Final

This was the 30th painting for my 30×30 Portrait Challenge for January 2020. “Walking Down the Street, Pretty Woman” watercolor 11″x7.5″ on 140 lb Arches cold press. Click on images to see a larger view in new browser tabs.

I painted it on January 30th. I have been staring at it since. The neck was originally too wide. This is the fix. I also made some minor adjustments to the shoulder, hand, and arm. It’s WAY better now, me thinks. 

Stage 1

Compare to the earlier version.

Available for purchase. $185 (plus tax or shipping). Includes a custom mat without outside edge dimensions to fit a standard 11″X14″ frame.

Buy Now $185

 

Walking Down the Street, Pretty Woman

Walking Down the Street, Pretty Woman

Portrait #30 for my 30×30 Portrait challenge. “Walking Down the Street, Pretty Woman” watercolor 11″x7.5″ on 140lb Arches Cold Press. Portrait #30 on the 30th! Whew! Click on the images for a larger view in new browser tabs.

I dashed off the sketch in the morning, then had to finish up two paintings after my watercolor class to meet the 30×30 goal, but I did it! Yay!

I saturated the paper front and back. While the paper soaked, I mixed up five “piles” of paint to a milky strength; Rose of Ultramarine, Raw Sienna Light, Pyrrol Red, Cascade Green (by Daniel Smith), and Ultramarine Blue (by Holbein). I then dried the paper back to damp.

Sketch

I started with the background, painting around the whites, letting the colors mix on the paper (rather than in the palette). I used the blue, RoU, and Cascade Green and a bit of Raw Sienna for the background colors.

For the hair, I painted the first layer with Raw Sienna Light, then moved to the skin tones, adding some Pyrrol Red to the mix. I used my S-Caress stroke to keep all the edges soft and indistinct. I fixed the shoulder width between the drawing and painting, bringing the shoulder and arm shadows in closer to the body.

I used a light layer of Cascade Green for the blouse base, then added some Ultramarine Blue and let the paint swim around to create the impression of a fabric pattern. The hardest part around the torso was the hand. Keeping it indistinct but accurate (I hope).

I mixed all the colors together to create a dark for the shadows in the hair. I used an Ultramarine base for the eye sockets and irises of the eye,  but painted the eyelashes and brows with the same murky dark. I used the Ultramarine Blue and Cascade green with some Rose of Ultramarine for the soft shadows in the face and neck. I could probably still fix some things, but I like the freshness of it as it is.

If you are interested in purchasing this painting for $185 unframed (plus tax and or shipping, where applicable). It comes with a custom mat, sized to fit in a standard 14″x11″ frame.

Just click the Buy Now button below. Easy Peasy.

Buy Now $185

 

Man in Crowd – Painting

Man in a Crowd – Painting

Portrait #29 for my 30×30 Portrait Challenge. Watercolor 7.5″x11″ on 140lb Aches Cold Press paper. Click on images for a larger view in new browser tabs.

I wanted to keep this one unrealized, like the on/off drawing sketch. I used Rose of Ultramarine, Cascade Green, Cobalt Blue Violet, Raw Sienna Light, and Transparent Pyrrol Orange all by Daniel Smith. I saturated the paper, then dried it back to damp, so I could hold an edge. I painting around the light shapes with milky strength pigment, letting the colors mix on the paper. I like the soft diagonal effect of the paint strokes in the background.

I used RoU, CBV, and Cascade Green in the background and for the grays of the hair. I used the TPO and RSL for the skin tones, adding RoU for the shadows. For the shadows in the shirt, I used the RoU and Cascade Green, then some CBV for the darker shadows.

Man in a crowd – Sketch

For ONCE, I stopped before I put in too much detail. I quite like the sketchiness of the painting. Sometimes working on a deadline makes me focus.