Tag Archives: daniel smith

Mother Dear for Mother’s Day

Mother Dear, watercolor, 12″x9″

My father began an obsession with black and white photography in the mid-to-late 1970s. He had a lot of “hobbies,” and he never did anything halfway. If he was going to do a thing, he was going to do it right. His obsessions may have been short-lived, but when he was in the enthrall of one, he was “all in.” He had a bunch of 35-millimeter cameras and all sorts of lenses and filters. This was well before digital photography was possible. He loved the darkroom.

All in the family acted as his models from time-to-time, under the heat of his tin-can spotlights and make-shift photo studio. The black and white photograph of my mother that served as the starting point for this portrait really captured the personality of our mother (but I can’t seem to find my digital copy of it right now, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Ha!)

I started the painting as a demo during a portrait workshop, therefore, I do not have the first stage of the painting on video. After the workshop concluded, I saw my mother looking out at me and felt quite happy with the portrait, and posted it on social media. One of my brothers said something wasn’t quite right. Everyone’s a critic, right? After staring at it for a few days, though, I agreed. Back to the studio. I only recorded video on the second stage of the painting.

After a few weeks of looking at it some more, I decided it still needed something. The last stage I did not record, but I added the darks on the right of her face (See first image).

I’ve excerpted a 3-minute section of the second stage of the painting process.

Supplies questions answered before you ask for this tutorial:

Paper: 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, sized to 12″x9″
Paint: Sap Green, Manganese Blue Hue (in this segment)
Brush: #18 Round by KingArt 9020 Series.

Click the image below to watch the clip.

Resist, Wet or Dry? – Watercolor How-to Art Tip (WHAT?)

I am going to create a series of short posts on painting in watercolor. My goal is to post something at least once a week. I hope you will join me as I learn and experiment in watercolor.

The tips will be sometimes basic, sometimes investigative, sometimes just for fun. I hope to keep the tips short and informative. They may have accompanying video, as in this post, but may also be just text and images.

Without further ado then, let’s dive in to today’s topic; working with watercolor resist. “Resist” refers to a method of preserving the white of the paper before paint application.

In this test, I have used two methods, wax resist crayon and masking fluid. My wax resist is a clear wax resist crayon, Susan Scheewe or Dick Blick brand. My crayons came in a 4-pack, but there are many options out there (especially around Easter-Egg-painting-season). My masking fluid brand of choice is Pebeo Drawing Gum. I like this fluid because of its mid-tone gray and “inky” consistency.

For this “test,” I am applying the wax resist and masking fluid both on dry and wet paper. Check out the video below to see the results of the test.

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Tree Swallows

“Tree Swallows”

“Tree Swallows” drawing

Painting #12  of 15 for my Big Bird March (extending in to April) Challenge.  These lovely tree swallows landed on a fence just for me. The females are brownish gray, the fellas are shimmery black, but both have white bellies. Aren’t they adorable? They are overlooking the Empire Ranch Golf Course in Carson City, Nevada.

The painting is 7.5″x11″ on Arches 140lb cold press. I used Phthalo blue, Pyrrol Red and New Gamboge all by Daniel Smith. I have video. This may turn into an online class.

I drew up a value study beforehand, the same size as the eventual painting. I then traced up a contour drawing to my watercolor paper.

The painting is for sale, for either $99 (no mat), or $150 (with mat with black core). Select your “variant” at checkout on my Sellfy site. Click the Buy now button below.

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.

If you have not already done so, I hope you will consider subscribing to this blog

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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.

 

 

 

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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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!

I hope you will consider subscribing to this blog. It’s easy. No pressure. Lots of good tips on watercolor painting. And you don’t even have to buy the book!

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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…

Speaking of… I hope you will consider subscribing to this blog. See sign up form in the blog sidebar or just below. I recently had to change my subscription method (long boring story as to why). If you had already subscribed using the previous “FeedBurner” method, you are probably still receiving the email notifications? I have no way to know who might have subscribed before.

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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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.