Hi all! Phew, I apologize that my posts have been so few and far in between! This year of working on our adoption has been just a bit crazy. If you've adopted before, you can understand the amount of paperwork and time that's involved...
I was just scrolling through a friend's adoption page and I came upon this ADORABLE photo of her little one blissfully scarfing up watermelon on a sunny, summer's day. I just couldn't resist it. There was so much personality, life, and joy, I just had to try my hand at it.
After getting my sketch correct, I worked section by section with a wet-on-wet wash. I did the face first, then the lower body beneath the watermelon. Here are the steps:
Mask the highlights in the eyes with masking fluid.
1. Wet the whole face and lay on a quick, light wash of Lemon Yellow, followed quickly by Opera Rose. VERY LIGHT. While the page is still wet, dot in some cerulean blue and turquoise in your shadow areas around the eyes, nose, under the chin and hairline. Soften your wash into the hairline and the watermelon using just water and the brush. Repeat with the lower half of the body. After laying on the Lemon Yellow and Opera Rose , I used a mixture of Cerulean Blue and Alizarin Crimson in the shadow areas.
Now, don't be frightened. This is what is called the "scary" stage of a portrait. I'm lining the eyes, nostrils and any other shadowed areas with a heavier mixture of the Lemon Yellow and Opera Rose, followed by the purple mixture of the aforementioned blue and red. The sides of the face where they receded away also get a wash of these colors. I will alternate back and forth a few times until I've achieved the desired color depth.
***Make sure each wash is completely dry before you move on to the next wash or else you'll have quite a mess on your hands!***
3. I always like to start on the eyes as soon as possible for two reasons. Firstly, the eyes are the window to the soul and so correct eyes will not only capture the spirit of your subject, but will draw your viewer in. Secondly, if I mess up the eyes, then the painting will be scrapped, so I like to start them early to make sure they're correct before I do all of the hard work on the rest of the painting. :)
I also started laying a light under wash of purples and browns in the hair. Any wash you do needs to be completely dry to the touch before you paint any more. Most paintings are ruined by artists becoming impatient and "messing" with the paint while it's drying. Use a hair dryer if you can't wait. (I do!)
4. I've added another layer of washes on the lower body, face and hair, simply repeating the steps above. The watermelon, at this point, has two washes on it. One light layer was laid wet on wet and then after it was dry, I allowed my brush to "skip" around to created the texture of the watermelon. Practice this on a separate piece of paper sometime.
Use the side of your brush and allow the bristles to lightly skip on the paper pattern. Make sure there's not too much water in the brush for this technique.
For the crevices in the arms and fingers, I repeated the crevice pattern of the face. Lay on a heavier mixture of the Lemon Yellow and Opera Rose (it looks very orange), then lay on the purple mixture.
At this stage, I'm paying close attention to small shadows, shapes and colors on the face and body to get the correct details. There's another wash on the hair, too, using Payne's Gray, your purple mixture, and Burnt Umber (brown)
Adjust your skin tones with light washes of the skin tone mixture, adding Opera Rose on the cheekbones, nose and forehead as needed.
5. Here, I've decided to paint the background before I complete the hair so there's some softer edges.
Background can be tricky. I'm working entirely wet on wet. Wet the entire page around the child, keeping your edges as clean as possible. Then start on one side and work your way around. I used a #12 brush, switching to a #4 when I needed to get into finer edges. Work quickly and don't let your page dry before you've completed this wash. Lay on your lighter colors first and work towards the darker colors.
Colors used Hooker's Green, Indian Yellow, Burnt Umber, Payne's Gray, Cerulean Blue, Veridian Green.
6. Now, you an lay deeper colors on the hair AFTER THE BACKGROUND IS DRY. Don't forget! It's by far, the biggest mistake people make with watercolors. The painting should be completely dry and flat before continuing with more painting.
Here's a closer look at the face. At the end, I might take a white Gelly roll pen to establish some more white reflections in the eyes for depth after I've removed the masking fluid.
Down to the details now. I've added alternate washes of Lemon Yellow glaze and Opera Rose, adjusting the skin tones deeper on cheeks and highlight areas. I spent a considerable amount of time on her hands to get the finger angles correct.
The watermelon juice drops are deeper skin tones mixtures.
At the end I might clean up my edges with clean water and a brush, softening lines and edges. I deepen crevices just a bit more for more depth and light.
At the very end, I glaze very watered down washes of color on the background, deepening and brightening where needed with the greens, blues and yellows.
I hope you've enjoyed this little lesson! Please leave comments or questions below.
I haven't blogged here for a bit b/c I've been blogging for Craftsy for a while, but I'm back now!
I've really been on a bunny kick lately, seeing that it's spring, Easter is coming and all. I pulled a photo from the WONDERFUL Facebook page called Photos For Artists of this fun jackrabbit. The photo reference was taken by Peter Winshaw.
I thought you might be interested in the process!
1. After I sketched out the bunny, I masked parts of the reflections in the eye with masking fluid. I used a bent paper clip to mask the whiskers and some random hairs here and there. Just use your judgement for balance with the fur masking.
2. Your first wash will be entirely wet on wet! Prep your colors on your palette before wetting your page. I'm using Violet, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Payne's Gray, Opera Rose (in the ears, French Ultramarine Blue, and an Indian Yellow glaze at the end.
3. Working quickly with a number twelve round and switching to a number 8 round, I lay on the first wash of colors loosely. Your pigment to water ratio will determine how much or how little your pigment will move in this wash. You can see that around the ears, I used a heavier pigment for less movement. Experiment with this before you do the wash to get the feel of the look that you are going for.
After letting the first wash completely dry (use a hairdryer if you're impatient like I am), you're ready for the second wash.
4. Typically for my second wash, I like to start the details of the eyes. I love eyes since it's the first thing that your viewer will see. I love to make eyes detailed and full of expression, so I take a lot of time with the eyes. I wet the whole eye area and start dropping in Indian Yellow first, followed by Hooker's Green and Payne's Gray. The eye is edged with Burnt Sienna. You can see where I've masked the highlights in the eye.
Here's a closer look at the first wash on the eye for you.
I worked on the eye quite a bit before started on a wet-on-dry wash for the fur and other details. Using a smaller 6 or 8 round, I painted little bits of fur, softening the edges with water. I don't want for there to be a ton of detail in the fur, but just enough to give the bunny a look of furriness. I'm not going for realism here.
After I finished the eye, I took off the masking fluid by rubbing my finger on it and I softened the shapes by agitating the page with a brush, water and dabbing it with a tissue.
In the photo below, you can see the few places that I masked the fur. I didn't do a whole lot, just enough to outline a few places in the lower abdomen.
For the rest of the bunny, I simply darkened spots here and there as needed with the browns, blues and purples. After the painting is completely dry, I glazed a bit of Indian Yellow over spots to warm him up a bit.
Make sure your painting is completely dry before removing the masking fluid on the whiskers and hair.
I'd love to hear from you if this has been helpful to you! If you're interested in purchasing the painting, please email me!
Want to clear your head, feel like you've accomplished something and fly away to another place? Yes? Try the lovely art of tangling. Seriously, my peeps. Try it.
You'll lose track of time. You'll emerge from your hideout feeling refreshed (or slightly miffed if things don't go as planned, but that's OK) and uniquely physically and mentally challenged.
Think you can draw a circle? Try it. Try again. Try it again until you've drawn a reasonably well proportioned and even circle. How about a flower. It's harder than it seems. Try the same flower five times. Do you see improvement by the fifth flower? Is it well balanced with evenly spaced petals? Try a 6 petaled flower. How about one with 5 petals? Do you have to turn the page or can you draw the lower petals upside down? Practice it until your brain allows you to do the entire flower without turning the page. No pencils. No pre-drawing. Let it flow....(aaaand there goes that Frozen song in my head now..argh)
You see, for those of you who don't draw or create art on a regular basis, jumping into tangling is initially a surprisingly difficult endeavor, but amazingly one in which our brains adapt to rather quickly. We humans in the modern world rarely even pick up a pen anymore and if we do, it's to digitally scrawl our name on a check or payment screen. This side of our brain is getting to be vastly underutilized in this modern era of computers and tablets.
To force yourself to slow down with a pen and require that overstimulated brain to direct that lazy hand to carefully craft something on that neglected paper is extremely wonderful in a myriad of ways.
I find it very fascinating when I teach an ink class. I recently taught a class with the elephant as the form to work within. People are so very unique in how they approach their projects. Some are afraid to even start, some dive right in (usually it's the younger people or children who are the freest) some start with all of the "safe" parts first and some work all over the place without any rhyme or reason. Most people are afraid of "failing", but really, what is failure? Turning out a project that didn't look like the teacher's?
Is failure having to start over? Is it "messing up"? Guess what, friends, "failure" is NONE of those things. You see, every time you put your pen to the paper, your brain is gleaning something. It's discarding the things that didn't work for you, reminding you of what did work, taking in important information as you go and correcting what needs to be corrected the second, third or tenth time that you do it. Every time you "mess up", you have grasped extremely valuable lessons that you couldn't have learned any other way other than messing up.
Ultimately, it's just a piece of paper, worth a few cents at most. That piece of paper that you want to rip up and throw away is the cheapest class and teacher you'll ever have. It's your closest friend as it hits the trash can, because it has directed your brain in a way that nothing else ever could. In fact, keep those mess ups....they are valuable so that you can see where you've come from and the growth through the journey.
I just would like to really, really encourage people to not be afraid to try something new, something hard, something that you can and will fail at a few times before you succeed. My pens have drawn miles and miles before I finally produced something that I could be proud of to display and sell. Your pens will have to put in the same mileage as well.
Art isn't something that we just "pick up" and do well with in the very beginning. It's a LOT like ballet or gymnastics. You really have to do it for a LONG time before you start becoming successful at it.
You can do it. I can help you.
Hey all! It's been a bit since I've blogged about watercolor instruction. I've been crazy with homeschooling my offspring, getting Birds For Babies going and just life in general.
I DID paint a peony recently, so I thought you'd like to see some step pics and hear about the process.
So, I shot a photo of this peony in my garden, a nice, clear close-up. After sketching it out large, I started with an entire wet on wet wash over the whole page with Indian Yellow and Permanent Rose. I tried to stay out of the areas that were white where the sun was the strongest. This wash should be loose and quick.
Allow your first wash to dry completely, possibly overnight or with a hair dryer. Now, I'm going to be working petal by petal, jumping around. I wet an entire petal shape and wash on Ultramarine blue with Violet and Permanent Rose. On some petals, I only barely touch the edges with color.
I'll post a few pics of me just continuing to work petal by petal. Make sure that when you start one petal, that the petals adjacent to it are completely dry or else you will have a mess of bleeding colors. Keep your edges neat by not wetting all the way to the edge and then painting to the edge with your brush loaded with color.
I'm generally using the same mix of all of those colors, varying the color intensity as I interpret it from the photo. The shadows all have the same colors as well. I love the process of seeing it being carved out of the page, almost 3-D -ish...if that's a word.
So, I need to make the decision as to whether or not I'm going to put a dark background on in the corners. I decided to put a dark background on, but afterwards, I regretted it. I think if I ever paint this again, I will leave the corners white b/c the impact is more delicate.
Towards the very end, I glazed on a wash of Indian Yellow to warm things up...but looking back at the pics, I'm undecided if it improved it or not. It was definitely a learning experience!
Here it is framed!
Happy painting, my fellow artists!
Once upon a time, there was a Mum who lived in a sweet, green valley in a little, white house on the side of a hill. The Mum lived there with her three growing children and her kind husband. Quiet and dreamy, the Mum was content to spend her days with simple things. She sang to her children as she baked fragrant cookies, picked the ruby tomatoes and painted vibrantly with her water and colors. The Mum especially loved her majestic green trees with the flitting birds that dwelt within them. Many times, the Mum found herself dreamily drawing and painting those birds, whose freedom was so alluring.
Life was ordinary, happy and busy and yet......once in a while, the Mum would wander outside where the towering trees reached their fingers to God and gazing heavenward, she would close her eyes, listen to the flutter of wings and wonder deeply...she wondered if, perhaps, there was a fourth child who could join the family and fill the empty seat at the table that seats six.
She wondered and prayed, but it was not to be.
The years danced by and sprinkled silver in the Mum's hair. The children thrived and grew rapidly and the Mum would hum as she painted, taught and picked the ruby tomatoes....and yet....when the wind would whisper softly through the towering trees and the birds would prosaically sing, the Mum would find herself, once again, outside gazing heavenward, wondering if there mightn't be another little one for her arms to welcome.
But it was not to be.
One day, quite unexpectedly, the Mum and the kind Father received amazing news that it WAS meant to be! The Mum's heart was so full of joy that it spilled out through her eyes and ran down her face. She ran outside and looked up to the God that the trees wanted to touch and the bright birds who were so poetic and thanked Him many times over Rejoicing with her children, friends and family, they began the preparations for the day when the little one from far away would join the family, completing the table that seated six.
And the Mum would smile and sing and dream and plan, because it was finally meant to be.
The Mum and the kind Father had, in the past, traveled to a Faraway Kingdom that had little ones who needed loving Mums and kind Fathers. A message was sent in the swiftest way possible to the Faraway Kingdom, but the returning missive sternly stated, "Wait."
The Mum had never known that the word "wait" could be such a difficult word! Such a small word, this word called "wait", but it stretched out longer and longer, until you could unwind it like a silky rope all the way to the distant Kingdom and back again, still not pulling the little one safely home....yet...most days, the Mum could already feel the Little One's soft hand in hers......her heart so completely ready to give equally of itself as it had already done thrice before.
So the family in the valley hung onto the endless, silky rope of "wait" and they waited. Now and again, when the rain would fall, the boughs would bend, twisting in their desire to touch God. The trees' elegant companions would trill their rain songs and the Mum would wander once again outside. Feeling the cool, sweet drops upon her face, she would close her eyes and whisper in time with the whispering trees, "Is it meant to be?"
After endless waiting, grasping hopefully onto the rope of "wait", the Faraway Kingdom decided to firmly slam shut their foreboding, foreign gates and sternly bind them shut with red, red tape.
And it was not to be.
When it became not to be, a piece of the Mum's heart died within her and her eyes wept endlessly. The trees no longer beckoned to God. The Mum no longer heard the birds' airy trills and God was deafeningly quiet. In the silence, the Mum could only hear the sound of her heart breaking. When her tears were all used up, the Mum became angry, sadly allowing the crafty thief named Bitterness to creep in, capture her daily song, steal her pens and brushes and sneak stealthily out again.
The Mum's children were sad because her song was stolen and she no longer painted her dreams. The kind Father was sad because the Mum was sad...... because it was not meant to be and it never would be.
For a time, there was only a vast and quiet sadness in the house in the valley on the side of the green hill.
It was not meant to be.
One day, while the Mum was elegiacally busy with her day, she heard the creak of the gate, a gentle knock at the door. The Mum rushed out....surprised to welcome the Wise One, who dwelt on the hilltop, into her home. At the table that seated six, she hastily brought out tea and cookies, nervously wondering why the Wise One would visit her humble abode.
Sitting creakily down, a stretch of silence reigned for just a few, vivid moments. The Wise One observed her keenly with his blue, blue eyes that shone gently with the reflected love of God and the Mum suddenly felt like no secrets were safe from him. Without speaking, he observed the Mum's introverted bitterness, anger and sadness towards God. The Wise One knew that no songs had left the Mum's lips nor had any art been created for quite a space of time. Breaking the pregnant silence, Wise One started speaking in the gentlest of ways. His kind voice resonated with sweet healing Scripture and instruction, while the Mum wept tears of repentance.......regret for allowing the stealthy thief named Bitterness to sneak in, steal her precious joy, pens and brushes.
As the Wise One got up to leave, he pressed a small object into the Mum's hand. His blue eyes twinkled as if they would overflow with all of God's secrets and he was gone.
The Mum slowly opened her hand. In it was a note written on a smooth river stone in an ancient hand. Wonderingly, the Mum read:
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
What did it mean? The Mum's heart hummed with the question. Somewhere inside of her, a spark was lit. She felt it when she read the note.
Pondering, the Mum plonked herself down in her blue art studio....grabbing a pen, she started dreaming as she drew...what would come of this? She drew, drew and drew some more...She couldn't stop!
As she drew, she pondered and dreamt....when her hands grew stiff or the cookies needed baking, she would rest and she would think and pray.
For eight months, the Mum took her drawings everywhere she went. She drew in the busy market, carefully avoiding bumping elbows and clattering carts. She drew when she traveled, choosing empty corners in bustling areas. She drew whilst she waited for her children to get done with their activities.....late at night, during lunch...she drew and dreamt and drew. Some days her hands were stiff, sore and her third finger developed a funny little dent, but still, she drew on.
The Mum felt her faith and her joy slowly returning, for when fair spring arrived, the Mum set down her pens, stepped out her door...closing her eyes, she breathed in the fragrant day...and she knew that her birds could help other families fly their little ones home.
The name came to her....Birds For Babies.....that's what her designs would be called. She would sell them and help little ones fly safely home.
With an overflowing heart, the Mum rejoiced in God's mercy and grace upon her life. For even through keen disappointment and grief can He build something beautiful.
Once again, in the green valley on the side of the hill, the little, white house thrums with activity. The children grow and learn, the Mum bakes cookies for the kind Father and the birds fly off the pages, helping the little ones soar home to their forever families.
The Mum now knew rest of the timeless lesson that the Wise One so graciously bestowed:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart....He carefully, patiently changes your desires into a beautiful, perfect blend of His own.
I am very, VERY excited to announce a NEW line of my work...I'm calling it Birds For Babies. My heart has always desperately yearned to adopt a child, especially from Asia. Since this isn't possible for us right now, I have been really desiring to start a portion of my business that is solely dedicated to raising funds for orphans and infants in need.
There is a non-profit organization that I have supported for a while now in China. It's called Chumaio Little Flower. The reason why I love this organization is that 100% of donated money goes to the medical costs of these infants that are abandoned, mainly b/c of medical issues. They take in many infants who are extremely premature with complex medical problems and nurse them back to health, giving them a chance that they might never have otherwise had in life. Their work includes special care for infants, hospice orphan care, group educational foster care, long term care in homes and early education.
I believe strongly that God gives each of us talents and abilities that we are to use to help others and to glorify God. Art is a talent that was given to me and I sincerely desire for this project to be used to assist others.
About 7 months ago, I became interested in tangling (which is really just glorified doodling...ha ha). The idea came to me that with the popularity of birds, people might be interested in a fresh, new art form...modern, intricate, delicate and extremely versatile....black and white tangled birds that can basically be matted and framed in any color and/or style to suit anyone and everyone's decorating tastes. The birds can be hung in groups or alone in a variety of sizes. The possibilities were endless when it came to styles in framing, matting, printing on canvas, etc...
If you go to the Birds for Babies page, you will find out more information about how to order a print.
What I would eventually like to incorporate into this line of artwork is specific, local families who are fund raising for their adoptions. I'd like to create a piece of art that they can then make available for their friends, family and church members to purchase and assist them in bringing their baby or child home. I would have an small application process. I won't have the time to do this for every family that applies, unfortunately, b/c my availability can be limited throughout the year, but we will see where the Lord leads us with every family who is interested. Your bird or design could even be named for the child that you are adopting. It doesn't even have to be a bird, it could be an elephant or a puppy...or whatever image you associate with your adopted child.
If you purchase an original Birds For Babies piece of art, the price is $600.00 per piece and 90% of the profit will be donated to adoption causes. If you purchase a print online, 90% of my print royalty will be donated. The remaining 10% will be used for supplies, advertising flyers, framing originals, purchasing prints, etc.
I am opening up a Birds For Babies Facebook page so that you can keep up with the latest designs, donations, etc. Birds For Babies is NOT a non-profit and cannot accept donations. Purchasing art is not tax-deductible and legal sales taxes are applicable for all purchases.
So, what I need is your help. I need to be able to get the word out there. If you could share the Facebook page, website link, blog...anything and everything helps. This has been a long time in the making, but I'm praying that God will really use this in a great way to help supply orphans with care, families and the love that God wants and desires them to have.
James 1:27 beautifully states that, "Pure and undefiled worship in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
Why is this considered to be "pure" worship in God's eyes? Because orphans cannot give anything back to you. They are truly 100% dependent on a love that gives wholly.....sacrificially, expecting nothing in return. This is a pure, undefiled love...an unconditional, truly exquisitely beautiful love...and it's the love the Jesus showed to us in dying for us even when we were still sinners.
This is why it's pure worship.
Thank you for joining me in this journey and for assisting me in getting the word out. There have been so many answers to prayers and so many people who have helped along the way. Thank you! I appreciate it with all my heart.
Let's make a difference for these little ones.....one bird at a time!
Hey again....I've been SUPER bad about updating this blog. My sincerest apologies. (if you say that with an English accent, it sounds even more sincere)
Life has been so incredibly crazy that I simply haven't had the time to update or really even paint something decent other than the classes I've been teaching. I was traveling and volunteering for a fund raiser and chaperoning ballerinas out of state and then spring hit, and it's gardening time (and I have a LOT of gardens)....too busy, in my opinion.
So, here's a little bit about a "glass" class I taught to one of my private students. Hope you enjoy it.
I staged this on my kitchen table in the sunshine. I really wanted to stage it with limes...b/c you know the commercial "you put the lime in the Coke, you nut, and shake it alllllll up"...but I was fresh out of limes...hence the title, "Fresh Out Of Limes", so I used lemons instead. I was really drawn to the shadows in this one.
So, I masked the highlights and the Coca-Cola words. Anywhere the light hit, I masked. This doesn't take long.
I started out with a Viridian Green and Payne's Gray with a bit of Prussian Blue mixed in. I wet one whole section at a time to get the general first wash colors. The top section first and then the bottom section.
Control your pigment with a thirsty brush.
After that dried, I'm starting to layer on some of the shapes and shadows. For the bottle and lemon shadow, I wet that whole area and then put some salt on it.
Here are another few layers of color. I'm using Alizarin Crimson and Lemon Yellow on the label and for the lemons. I like my colors to be vibrant. At this stage, I'm thinking about the background....a lot. I decided to put corresponding shapes alongside the bottle and lemon shadows. I don't know why I decided this, it just seemed like a good idea.
There's really not rhyme or reason for the things that I do. I have no art training, I just trust my instincts, really.
The first wash on the lemons. You always have to be careful using purple over yellow b/c you might end up with brown...but you won't if you're super careful. :) Wet the whole lemon first and lightly lay on the colors. I used the same viridian green with the yellow for the underside.
Here's the first wash on the background for you. It was Prussian Blue wet on wet. The background lemon only has one wash on it. I like the contrast of the white paper against the blue, don't you?
So, here's the end result. I've laid on another wash on the background...taken off the masking fluid and "softened" up all the edges and corners of things to get a nice "glow". It has a certain appeal with the lights and the darks of the painting. These were taken with my camera phone, so the "white" of the paper came out pink in the photo, but that's the white of the paper there in that middle stripe. Also, the background color is more blue in real life, but I'm really too lazy to take a photo with a real camera right now since I have to be OUT THE DOOR to piano lessons in 15 minutes...oh and the painting isn't even here...it's in the gallery now. ha ha.
I hope this was informative! I'd love to hear back from you! Feel free to try this project, if you'd like.
Happy Friday, y'all...and yes, I said y'all....I'm a northerner turned southerner, so when in Rome...
So, the elusive and difficult watercolor trick of painting reflections within reflections. Nothing pushes you ahead in your watercolor journey like painting marbles, my friends...and marbles within a glass jar...that'll REALLY challenge you.
I'll do my best to break things down and give you some tips in this post. If you're new to marbles, start out small. Place a couple of marbles in the sun and study them. Take some pics, choose one that you like and have at it!
I decided to paint this one b/c number one, it was challenging and I knew it would stretch and yes, frustrate me to no end, and number two, I wanted to enter something hard into the FALC juried show this month and this was as hard as I could get...haha.
So, after sketching out all of the little circles and some of the patterns, I had to stop b/c I was so cross-eyed that I couldn't sketch another marble...ha ha...I decided to work marble by marble. I sketched the general shapes and just some of the inside shapes first. After masking all of the little points of light and reflections, I would go back in and do more of a detailed sketch of the inside of the marble. Marbles are complicated! The solid ones are the easiest....
For the blue marble, I just wet the whole inside of the marble and laid the colors on, working from the outside edge in. The outside edge is darker and recedes from the eye. I painted the marble and the shadow separately. For the shadow, I wet the whole area and then with a number 2 round, painted on the reflected colors.
You can really paint the details in each marble forever and never be done. Pick out the most interesting details and concentrate on those. It's really just noticing all of the small shapes.
So, for the marbles that have all of the inside patterns, I paint those patterns first. Then after they dry, I'll VERY LIGHTLY wet the whole marble and drop a really watered down mixture of the green around the edges....Your inside pattern will bleed a little, but let that dry and then go back in and darken your inside pattern again so that it "pops". At the very end of the marble, add your darkest darks around the edges of the marble and soften inwards. I used a mixture of Viridian Green and Payne's Grey.
For a few of the shadows, I did two washes for brighter colors and greater contrast. This can be very time consuming with each marble taking up to 2-3 hours, so take a lot of breaks and don't rush.
I'm working left to right so that my arm doesn't smear the sketch and erase what I worked on. Below, I've finished the marbles in the forefront and I'm starting on the jar. I'm actually pretty nervous at this point b/c the jar looks very intimidating to me, but, just like in my mural days when faced with a huge empty wall, you have to just dive in and start and it'll come to you. :)
I did take the masking fluid highlights off of the front marbles and finish those up by softening the light spots with a clean brush, clean water and a tissue.
For the jar, you are really going to be exercising your powers of observation big time. Little shapes and shadows, how they move, how the marbles on the edge bend and refract with the glass.
Always take a minute to study where your light (white of the paper) is and be sure to preserve or paint around that area. You don't want to lose that.
I've added the jar shadow on the right. I'm working wet on wet for that and I did add some salt, but I ended up not liking that and toning it down in a second wash on that shadow. I'm still working through the marbles.
The "mason" letters proved to be a bit tricky, but again, you're just painting the shapes within the letters. I probably didn't paint half of the shapes that were there in reality! ha ha
Here's the first background wash. The background will carry through the jar, but I realized that I needed to treat the upper inside of the jar like a marble and sketch some more and mask some more to get it correct, or at least believable, so I decided to save that until last.
Working wet on wet....And I'm using pretty pure colors to capture the vividness of the marbles. I love bright colors.
It's been weeks at this point with this painting...just to give you an idea of the amount of work. Some days, I'd only get one marble done...then it snowed, so I was distracted by....you know, snow and hot chocolate and marshmallows, sledding and mainly wiping up huge globs of muddy snow that my kids and their friends and my husband and our critters tracked into the house....and laundry, and more wet mittens laying about than you could imagine...
And my feet were cold, which always hampers the artistic creativity from flowing...cold feet.
And I spent a good amount of time just gazing at the snow....us Southerners don't get much snow..Oh, and we hiked and I found an old metal bucket in the woods and also a jar of some cancer inducing bug killer...the jar was pretty, but I was concerned that I'd gotten it on my skin and my days were numbered...ha ha.
Focus! Back to marbles!
I did another wash to the outside and a wash on the inside of the jar and boy, if this picture isn't terribly blurry....I do apologize.
Can you tell I'm dreading the marble with the "M" in the middle....I'm thinking that if I mess that marble up, it'll be terrible...ha ha
Last details, another background wash, paint your darkest darks to make things stand out! Brighten up anything you can at this point. Paint on any light reflections on the outside of the glass to make it look like the marbles are inside the jar...(next pic)
Here's the finished product! Entitled "Cat's Eye Candy"
So, don't skip your details and softening at the end of your painting. Go back and brighten colors, soften edges so that they recede, paint your darkest darks so that your marbles really pop for the viewer!
I hope you'll try a marbles and reflections painting sometime! I think you'll enjoy it, if you like painting details...
Almost the entire painting was done with a number 2 round, except the background.
List of colors:
Happy Painting! Please comment and share if you've enjoyed it and if you have questions, just ask!
Goood morning! I know, I'm terrible at updating my blog....I have a TON on my plate right now with kiddos, school, work, art, etc.....That's ok, though!
Anyhow, quick morning post on the daisies that I recently painted. I had a really great time painting all of the intricacies and shadows, so I thought I'd post some pics with some tips and such.
First, take several close up photos of a cluster of daisies...preferably in the sun so that you have strong light and shadow shapes. These daisies were in my mom's garden and they aren't real summer daisies, they are a fall blooming mum, I think, BUT close enough...
Anyhow, determine what colors you'd like to use to show the shadowed parts of the daisies. I think that violet and cerulean blue make interesting and vivid shadow colors on white, so I decided to go with that.
I started painting the shadowed petals and laying on sections of the background so that the white flowers popped forward.
When painting the background color, I wet an entire area or shape until there's a natural stopping place. Don't wet your paper all the way up into the corners and edges or your corners will be messy. Lay on the colors in your large area quickly and then switch to a smaller round brush, like a #3. Use that smaller brush to paint in the crevices between the petals.
Background colors are Hooker's Green, Viridian Green, New Gamboge, Burnt Sienna and Payne's Gray.
I forgot to mention that I did mask a few of the sunlight shapes on the bottom petals. It makes it easier to paint a continuous color for each petal area.
For the centers, I'm working wet on wet. Paint on your lightest color first and then charge in the greens and browns on top.
As I'm painting, I'm endlessly studying my reference photo. Ask yourself, where do the shapes begin and end? Where are your color values the strongest? What is distracting and what do I want to include or enhance for the viewer?
Ultimately, you are painting something that you want the viewer to enjoy for many years to come. Use your darkest darks against your lightest lights to create contrast and visual interest. Layer your colors to make the flowers pop off the page towards you.
Deepening colors, adding more shapes and shadows, working my way around the page.
Here, I'm resolving all of the corner shapes and shadows. I've taken off the masking fluid and at the end, I'll deepen colors even more and "soften" petal edges and sun spots using a clean brush, tissue and clean water. The finishing touches on your painting will really set your art apart, so don't skip those steps.
I, personally, like my art to "glow", so I spend a LOT of time softening edges and creating an ethereal kind of look.
Below is the final product! I did darken the background again in some spots. I added shadows to the stems to create a strong sense of light. I deepened some of the cracks and shadows on the flowers so that the white really "popped" and I glazed areas with a cool Lemon Yellow to warm up the tone and give a strong sunlight look to the piece.
Tip: I often glaze a really thin, watered down yellow to my paintings at the end. The yellow tends to make the underpainting more vibrant.
So, that's that! I hope this has inspired you to paint daisies!
If you'd like some reference photos, just say so in the comments and I'll email you some.
Happy Painting, my friends!
So, this post is for the eyes of any and all artists who are followers of Christ...meaning people who believe in the Bible and strive to follow it, Christians..... etc. If you're not a believer, then this has nothing to do with you and may I sweetly recommend that you find a different post to occupy your lunch break? :)
I'm in the art world and I've come to know many, many talented and wonderful artists throughout the years at galleries and art events. I've so enjoyed getting to know people and I've learned so much. There is one issue that has concerned me, though, especially with believers in the art world and that is the practice of painting, sketching, and attending figure drawing/painting classes that have live nude models.
I must challenge this practice among both Christian men and women in the art world. My thoughts are this, if God commands women to dress modestly, then why is it ok for a Christian man to pay a woman to disrobe in front of him so that he can sketch or paint her? The same goes for women, but I am mostly speaking to the men in this post since it seems like the prevalence in art is for men to artistically portray nude women in suggestive poses.
I can honestly see no caveat in the command for a man not to look upon a woman with lust (Matthew 5:28) and for a woman to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Those verses are not accompanied with an asterisk and with fine print elaborating that "it's ok if it's art, though".
Why is this acceptable? You are paying a woman to view her body unclothed. There is no excuse for this and it greatly disappoints me to see Christian men engaging in this activity in the art world. Where is your sense of decency? When you are sketching that model's breasts to be unrealistically perky, are you thinking of her as a person with an eternal soul, worthy of dignity and respect?
I sincerely doubt it.
It is demeaning a person who was made in the image of God. A person that you could have possibly reached out to in love. It is degrading a person that you could have possibly shared the gospel with, but how awkward it is now that you've seen her in an intimate situation that should only be reserved for the eyes of her husband. And you, sir, should be guarding your eyes and reserving your naked perusals only for your wife.....the one you have committed yourself to.
It is what God requires of us...both men and women....and it does not matter what popular culture does. You can be a light.
Christian men....I challenge you to hold women in such high regard that you would never dream of paying a model to disrobe in front of you. Would you be ok if your wife, sister, mother or daughter volunteered to be that disrobed woman in a room full of men? I challenge you to be a bastion of honor when it comes to how you think about, treat or portray women in your art. I challenge you to go against the popular opinion that it's perfectly acceptable....if it's ART....to view a woman naked. How is a naked woman lying in a seductive pose any different than pornography?
It is no different, sir. There is no difference at all.
Now...all that being said, this post is NOT addressed to unbelievers. It is solely for men and women who claim to be followers of Christ and of the Bible.
There is a higher standard that God has called you to, talented artist who just happens to be a man. A women can be portrayed in art in ways that accentuates her femininity and exalts her beauty without having to always rely on the sexual/naked side of the drawing board.
This is a challenge to come up higher.
1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.
You are not your own, if you are a follower of Christ. Be a man of honor.
P.S. All comments are moderated. If you have something ugly to say, please don't expend the typing effort. It won't be read or posted as a valid and intelligently thought through observation on this blog. Thanks! :)
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane