Friday, July 30, 2010

Background blues

Well, it was around this point that I decided I just wasn't happy with how the background was turning out. In my highly manipulated photo reference, I really liked this idea, but in the painting, I found that it was highly distracting.

I kept trying to darken the iris falls to to move the eye back to the foreground, but, as you can see it's just not working. I think this was a faulty concept. Sometimes I have to remind myself that keeping things simple is often the best design framework.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lunchtime painting lingers

Oh, the dog days of summer, when everything moves so slowly.....

This lunchtime painting certainly falls into that pattern. I've been carrying it around with me since May, I think, and it's still not finished. Someday, I keep saying.

This is a little larger than the other minis have been. It's about 5 inches square, and I heavily modified the source photo in Photoshop to create the effect I wanted . . . sharp foreground with a particularly washed out background, but with some supporting diagonal lines to hold the composition in place (the diagonals are some background stems and the shadows from the siding on my house).

I really liked the tension the background created. I also like the slanted angle and the offset focal point.

I applied most of my preliminary washes very wet-into-wet to achieve the soft, out of focus effect for the background. I'll continue to glaze in the iris to build up its definition.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Return to Pinnacle

I don't know the details yet, but I've been asked to return to the women's retreat at Camp Pinnacle this fall as an instructor!

The retreat is organized by the West Virginia University Extension Service office in Hardy County, led by the Community Educational Outreach Service (CEOS). I had a good time teaching a beginner watercolor class there last fall, despite the injury I sustained to my ankle (and my pride).

To read about the class experience last year, check the "Class" label in the list to the left.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A big difference!

Well, Kadie 2.o is finished, and when you place her next to Kadie's an amazing comparison!

The original Kadie (which can be seen through this blog . . . click on the "Kadie" label in the list to the left) was a more traditional head and shoulders portrait, but I've cropped this image to match the current Kadie's dimensions.

I was feeling a little unhappy with some aspects of the new Kadie, especially in her hair, but I readily admit that all that unhappiness is washing away as I stare at these two paintings side by side. It's so much better than the first portrait, particularly in the ruddiness of her complexion.

The palette of Jane Paul Angelhart is so much more flexible and so much more vibrant. In the first portrait I was struggling with Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue and a mixed red called Dragon's Blood. In the new version, it's Quin Coral, Perinone Orange, Quin Red, Cobalt Violet, Quin Gold, Cobalt Blue, Quin Burnt Orange, Quin Violet and more! And somehow, despite the numerous pigments in play, they all work together beautifully!

To see Jane's full palette, visit this page on her website:

I'm going to take a break from portraits for a bit, but I'm so excited about the possibilities!