If you would like to receive encouraging comments on
your artwork, leave encouraging comments for others!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Painting #30 - Cowboy Sam

The rodeo and cowboy parade were in town this last week so I decided to paint a cowboy whose image I found on Wet Canvas.

I enjoy painting interesting-looking people and am always on the lookout.

I am actually working up the nerve to tackle the painting of my granddaughter again but I'm not there yet.

100 Paintings Challenge - Milestone

I don't know if anyone else noticed ... but we just hit the 100 painting (blog post) mark collectively with the last blog entry from Elva!! While I know that we're each working towards a personal goal of 100 for the year.... I find it significant that even before the end of February that we have collectively posted 100 blog entries!! That's a milestone!  We're off to a great start and we're going to create and share quite a bit of art through this blog this year.  Just wanted everyone to take notice....    (now back to my art...)

Friday, February 26, 2010

#012 Yellowstone Dogs – no. 40 Wolf

Our daughter, Lita Judge, is a children’s book illustrator and writer. Cheering elephants, hatching dinosaurs, dancing sage grouse, and more flow from her brush and pencil. She actually orders pencils by the gross. When I explained my goal to sketch at least 100 wolves, coyotes and foxes in about 10 weeks, Lita suggested I try some in pencil and with a technique I haven’t used. When she finds the form of an animal, she holds the pencil quite differently. My best description of the technique is to hold the pencil as if I have a dainty Chihuahua on a leash, a leash that doesn’t have a loop for a handle, but rather just a little ball on my end. This position means I am holding my knuckles down and thumb up; and I hold the pencil fairly far back. It encourages me to draw loosely and find the line.

For more information go to my blog link at the upper left of this page.

Painting #29 Rose

I found a site that offers the challenge of doing a painting in 20 minutes so I did it.  I love challenges, gets me moving.

I had a rose in a vase to work with.  This first one is watercolor and I realized that 20 minutes is enough time to do a quick and easy painting.  

I used watercolor pencils on this one.  Although I have watercolor pencils I don't care for them unless I am trying to get a small area.

Gouache on black paper.  I keep practicing with gouache just to get used to it.

By the time I got done with those three quick paintings I thought I could just whip out this 'nicer' rose for this challenge painting.  Wrong!  I found that painting a yellow rose is very difficult to achieve any kind of depth (and yellow is my fav color).  Then I tried a darker background to bring the rose forward.  After I had overworked the whole thing I quit.

My Fiddler Crab - Claire 18

I chuckled as I started a recent assignment for my Trip to the Beach class. We were to sketch some "Beach Bugs" and the assignment introduced us to Fiddler Crabs. Sketching this crab sure was a different experience for me ... it was not an image I would have chosen myself. As such, I felt a little out of my comfort zone. But, sometimes it is good to get out of my comfort zone and try something different. The experience taught me about Fiddler Crabs and gave me a chance to think about beach bugs in new ways.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

#011 Nene

No, I haven’t been to Hawaii lately, or ever for that matter. But this is a sleeping Nene, the world’s rarest goose and a resident of Hawaii. My photo was taken at wildlife Safari.

I’m trying to loosen up a little. It is harder for me to be loose than to handle detail. … This is still pretty detailed by most watercolor standards.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Resting by the bay - Claire 17

I remember walking by the water. I was fascinated by these two Pelicans guarding the shore. They looked at me with suspicion as if they were wondering how long I would stay. They seemed to be very protective about their private area at the edge of the rocks. It was fun to stop and watch them for a bit. 

A day at the beach - Claire 16

I think I've had enough of the cold winter days and nights for this season. I'm now craving a trip to the beach. In the meantime I'm dreaming of the beach as I take Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Visit to the Beach class. It is lots of fun. This starfish page was my first assignment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

#010 Yellowstone dogs – Coyotes

Sometimes I think coyotes are the hardest to draw. They have so many characteristics of both the fox and the wolf … sort of half way in-between. I’ll probably have the most opportunity to draw coyotes when we are in Yellowstone, and then wolves. Foxes are the hardest to find.

Both drawings are done with a Pelican fountain pen. I wish its point was finer, but I love how the ink flows … and I love the soft wash I get when I come back with a wet brush.

I can already see that drawing, drawing, drawing is paying off. I’m doing a mix of sometimes penciling first, and sometimes just going for it with the ink. Robert Bateman is the person who convinced me to just go for it with ink. Actually he likes ball point pen because you have some control over value. I like working with a variety of drawing tools.

Mama coyote doesn’t make nursing easy does she! This coyote had four pups, a hubby and at least one other ‘beta’ adult who brought food in and allowed itself to be mauled by the puppies. I spent a fantastic two hours watching this family. They were visible for several days and well attended by several photographers. I keep seeing photos from this den pop up in a variety of places. I pinch myself that I am one of the people who got to enjoy them. ….. and even more exciting is the thought that next time Dale can do the photographing and I’ll be free to sketch. This den was too far a hike in for him…. But not now.

This challenge is good for me! …. Thank you, again, to Laure!

Painting #28 Plein Air Sketch

Last Sunday we went to a Fiddler's Contest in an open air park so it gave me a chance to do some plein air sketching.
We go to this every year and I always do some sketching.  The difference this year is, I did not use ink lines first but rather pencil to lay things out.  As I look at this I wish I would have used ink first.
I was intrigued with all the things this boy had laying around him and it became quite a challenge to get it all in.

Late morning brunch - Claire 15

I met my imaginary travel buddies at a warm cafe along the river in Paris. It was a nice leisurely beginning to a lovely day .....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Painting #27 Orchid and Sketch

I used a friend's photo as a reference for this painting of an orchid.  
A few weeks ago I did the lower sketch in ball-point pen in preparation for the painting.

I really love painting flowers.

Kelly - Painting #16 - Mingo

Painting #16 - Mingo

I had fun painting this lovely Pink Flamingo, but now I'm really longing for the warm beaches of Florida! :-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Painting #26 Potted Cactus

This potted cactus sits outside the new Ritz Carlton near Tucson with Dove Mountain in the background.  We went to their open house several weeks ago and I took this photo and used it as an inspiration for the painting.  This is the same place where a golf tournament took place this weekend.  

I am trying to do more landscapes and each one seems to get just a tad easier and now I am thinking 'background' for each painting whether it is a landscape or not.  Before taking on this challenge I rarely gave the background a thought.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dinner together in Paris - Claire 11

Another event on my latest trip to Paris with Laure. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

#009 Kingfisher

Here is another one I drew in my journal (the one with the rotten paper), scanned and this time I printed it out on Aquabee SuperDeluxe Sketchbook paper. Thank you Laura, for the Aquabee suggestion. It is pretty decent paper for a sketchbook. It takes a much nicer wash than my journal and even seems to hold printer’s ink better than the Aquarius watercolor paper did when I put miskit over the printer ink. Now I just have to remember to keep both journal and Aquabee within reach.

For more about my encounter with this fascinating bird, go to my blog link at the left.

Painting #25 Daisy Bee

I have painted this daisy before but the background was blue and there was no bee.  This time i wanted to try a different background, add the bee and have a line of light with a disappearing petal.
The background color was yellow ochre and yellow using wet-in-wet and while it didn't pop the daisy I like the softer look.  It isn't quite what I had in mind but it works.
Putting a bee on a flower head is always fun.

Here I am one-quarter of the way to 100 and I have really stepped out of my comfort zone, tried new things and have really taken the time to really 'look' at what I am doing.  I am doing more thumbnails also and find that very helpful.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Painting #24 Flower Box

This is from a photo that I took in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on a day outing.
The window box was outside a restaurant and I was fascinated with the sky reflection.  I've been wanting to paint it for a long time.  After all the skies I did as part of this challenge I can definitely say this sky just fell into place.  Practice, practice, practice!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

#008 Dewy Morning

Heavy fog had just lifted and morning dew twinkled like jewels on every needle. My photo sings. I dared try to do it in paint. Nothing ventured, nothing gained …… but I will admit I didn’t achieve my goal. I think it needs a much more delicate touch. It might work if I spent three hours putting little tiny droplets of miskit on instead of blobs. Or maybe I should just admit that sometimes a photo works better than art .... and often art is better than the photo.

Model A Pick-Up Truck - Krista #16

Painting #16 of 100 Paintings in a Year
Graphite, 9x9” Aquabee Deluxe sketchbook

This is obviously not a painting, but part of my focus in the 100 Paintings Challenge is to hone my skill regarding values.  Although there were some underlying graphite washes, I don’t particularly like watercolor pencils because all the water does is push the color or graphite around.

This is definitely going to be a full watercolor painting later in the year.

Kelly - Painting #15 - A Happy St. Valentine's Day Sandhill Crane...

A Sandhill Crane walks around with a Valentine's heart on his face every day! He's the perfect bird to wish you a Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

#007 Smiling Tiger

I have been unusually busy for the past several days. I no longer try to sell my art, but I do donate some. Here I was asked to design a logo for a wildlife veterinary clinic in India. We met a young vet when he came to Roseburg to train at Wildlife Safari, a large non-profit drive through animal park near here. Now Satya is back in India and working hard to see to it that there is some treatment available for wild animals. He wanted a logo of an injured tiger and for the tiger to be smiling … big challenge!

Dale and I are docents for Wildlife Safari. During the past several days I also drew thumbnails for Wildlife Safari of white-nosed coatis, waterbuck, white-cheeked gibbons, alligator, blue and gold macaw, bobcat, cougar, maned wolf, and Indian crested porcupine. I still need to do a cheetah and a walking stick! Give me a good eraser and good reference material and I’ll tackle most any animal. Since we do a lot of Wildlife Safari’s photography, I had all the reference material …. Except for the walking stick. I’ll get that Monday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Painting #23 Landscape

This painting would be the reason why I want to learn to do good landscapes!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Painting #22 Frog

When my daughter was in Germany she took this photo and I have been saving it to paint someday.  Someday is here.  The shadows in the photo were great and good practice for me.  Plus I have never painted water on a lily pad and I love how wet it looks.  It really amazes me that I did it.

#006 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

I did this technique once before and I rather like it …. But I doubt it meets archival standards. No matter, I painted it for my enjoyment and as a learning tool.

I photographed the kinglet last Friday, and then drew it in my journal, using the photo as reference. It turned out better than I expected so then I was in a fuss because it was on my crappy journal paper. I then scanned the drawing out of the journal and printed it on 80# Aquarius (Strathmore) watercolor paper using my black and white laser printer. I even put miskit on the bird and on a few pine needles. The miskit lifts some of the printer’s ink …. But I rather like how it softened the pen and ink lines. You can always go back and touch up an ink line that gets too weak. ….. then paint.

Kelly - Painting #14 - Brown Pelicans Resting by the Bay

Painting #14, Brown Pelicans Resting by the Bay

Painting #14 is from an online class I'm taking by Laure Ferlita called "An Imaginary Trip to the Beach." Laure's Imaginary Trips are designed to help you learn how to sketch on site and create illustrated journals. What a nice break today's assignment was. It snowed all day and is still snowing. While inch after inch of snow piled up outside, in my studio I was at the beach. I love this class. Brown Pelicans are among my favorite water birds, so I was happy they were part of today's assignment.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#005 Yellowstone Dogs – Wolves no. 12, 20, 21

Wolves are big, long legged and blocky compared to foxes. It helps me a lot to go back and forth between the three ‘Yellowstone Dogs.’ Years ago I realized if a drawing kept looking too much like an animal that was a similar species, but different, I could learn a lot by drawing both species. It helps me focus on the differences.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kelly - Painting #13 - February, the Month of Backyard Birding

Painting #13 - February, the Month of Backyard Birding

Painting #13 is a journal entry. Since February is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Great Backyard Bird Count, I decided it was the perfect subject for a journal entry. This is a small tree in our side yard, just outside the kitchen window.

Painting #21 - Singer

I have had this image from Wet Canvas for at least a year and finally felt I could tackle it.  He is such an interesting-looking character and my haiku challenge made him perfect for 'hymn'.
I am putting my first session below because it shows me how important a background is.  After I put the background in I darkened everything else up and like it much better.
I saw Krista do this 'before and after' on her house and found it so interesting that I had to do it also.
Here is the haiku I wrote for the image:

Look at him singing
Putting heart and soul in it
A hymn of beauty

Saturday, February 6, 2010

#004 Sapsucker Holes in Birch

We went to the Coast yesterday. I sketched this birch on location, and added color after I got home. The small holes were drilled by a sapsucker (a type of woodpecker). I don’t know what caused the large bruise on the right side.

My goal is to experiment … and this experiment reminds me why I basically quit painting in my journal – note klutzy brush strokes and wrinkled paper. All my journals are hardbound, 8 ½ x 11”. Even if I just go to the dump, I throw the journal in the van. My old journals had grey backs and a much better quality of paper. They took watercolor reasonably well. But several years ago I couldn’t find them and switched to a black one – 90# paper. I even think the old ones of those are better than my new ones. The last few years I’ve been writing and sketching in them so it really didn’t matter. They take a ‘dry’ watercolor reasonably well.

But now that I’m painting again, I thought I’d try something with some loose paint in my current journal. Big disappointment. The paper just soaks paint and wrinkles. I’ll have to remember to do my field sketching on better paper. I’ve read there are Moleskeine watercolor books, but I really don’t want to spend that much money when I fill 75% of my paper with mad scribbling (writing). I’ll just have to remember to keep decent paper in the car – unless someone knows of a wonderful 8 ½ x 12 hardbound sketchbook. Spiral bound never survive the abuse I give them.

Friday, February 5, 2010

#004-Twilight at the Sink-Kathy

This painting is from a series of sketches I did while still living in my Belgian house. I spent many hours prepping food and washing dishes at this very sink ; ). I was trying to go for a dream-like effect with this---I wanted it to convey a memory and a feeling more than an actual scene. After I painted the scene, I went over the whole picture with a glaze of raw sienna. Lots of fun! More on my blog.....

Painting #20 - Daisy In Gouache

As in my usual MO, I started painting this daisy in watercolor on hot press paper and discovered I do not like hot press paper at all.  Watercolor just doesn't blend the way I want it to.  (The more I learn the fussier I am getting. lol)

Then I decided to try it with gouache on black paper.  I have discovered Larry Seiler who does a lot of painting in watercolor and gouache.  He recently used gouache  on black paper so after the hot press disaster I decided to try gouache on black paper also.

I keep trying new things and this exercise was great for illustrating tones and is really helping me achieve that with watercolor.

Having a great time in Paris..... - Claire 10

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My House - Krista

 Painting #15 of 100 Paintings in a Year
Watercolor, 8½  x 11”, 140 lb Arches Hot Press paper
Working on hot press paper was a lot different.  It was harder to do a wash as it sets very quickly.  However, I could get really fine detail when painting.  That’s the main reason I went for the hot press – I wanted my underlying drawing to be pretty accurate and not draw on bumpy cold press paper.

I did not change much from the reference photo other than to edit out the cars in the driveway.

You can see my first draft below.  I actually thought at this stage that I was done.  However, after coming back with fresh eyes, I decided that the shadows needed to be darkened further, and the trees needed to be lightened up and faded in detail.  I also put a sunny glaze on the house and snow to reflect the photograph.

Draft WIP

Also blogged about on my personal blog, describing a more personal point of view.  Click on my blog link at left, then my 100 Paintings Gallery. 

Lauren and Jami - Krista

 Painting #14 of 100 Paintings
Watercolor, 5 x 7”, 140 lb Arches Cold Press

A gift for a friend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Painting #19 Koi - Mixed Media

While I was looking through my Maui photos for the Angel Trumpet Bloom I saw one of these Koi at the same park so I decided to paint them.
I did the first one in the sketchbook I took with me to Maui (a Moleskine!) and really kind of ruined it so I did it again on 140# WC paper.
This time I did the fish in colored pencil and washed watercolor over the top and love the washy look about it.

I have been looking through my photos and other pictures that I have saved to paint 'someday' and 'someday' has finally come with this challenge.  Now I need to live to be 100 to paint all that I have saved!  lol

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

#003 Yellowstone Dogs: Running Fox -- no. 4 and 5

“Yellowstone dogs’ will probably hit you as an odd term, but for regular wildlife watchers in Yellowstone, it is shorthand for ‘wolves, coyotes and foxes.’ A three dog day is a great day, a fairly rare day.

For the past several years Dale and I have spent several weeks in Yellowstone during the off season. Sometimes one of my ‘Yellowstone dog’ sketches meets my expectations, but all too often I’m busy photographing and when I sketch I’m disappointed. Each year I tell myself I am going to practice, practice, practice so that some of their anatomy is stored in my head. I always get a few drawn, but just a few. By making a commitment here, I hope to do better. Nudge me if I fail.

Now is the time to start practicing. I have almost ten weeks before we arrive in Yellowstone. Laure’s guidelines include the possibility of some sketches. …. So my immediate goal is sketch at least ten ‘dogs’ each week until we go (100 sketches) , but I’ll only count one in ten towards my overall challenge. I’ll post ‘dogs’ every so often so you’ll know where I’m at. I’ll be drawing from a variety of sources, but will only post those drawn from my own photographs so that I won’t be infringing on anyone’s copyright. (We can practice draw from anything. We just can’t sell or publish someone else’s work).

My first ‘Yellowstone Dogs’ post is of a red fox running for his dear life – a little bit the way I feel right now about telling you about this commitment. I’ve scanned the original (fuzzy) photo, a sketch I noodled over for at least 20 minutes, and then one I did the next day as a very rapid sketch. I see some good things happening in that rapid sketch.

Kelly - Painting #12 - American Goldfinches on a Thistle Feeder

American Goldfinches eating thistle seeds
on the feeder outside our kitchen window.

Even in their dull winter plumage enough yellow remains in our goldfinches' feathers to brighten the greyest of Cincinnati days. This small flock of goldfinches didn't mind the snowflakes as they meticulously pulled one tiny seed after another from the mesh screening of the thistle feeder.

Painting #17 and 18 - Angel Trumpet

Two years ago we went to Maui and discovered Angel Trumpet Blooms with their wonderful fragrance and huge size.  Perhaps because we are all from Wisconsin we were totally amazed at the size of these flowers, nothing grows that big there.
I used a photo reference of my grand smelling this huge bloom.
I thought I knew how to paint hair.
The peachy color of this flower was so difficult for me to get.
Since I wasn't thrilled with this painting I decided to try just a flower (below).

I have discovered when I am disappointed in a painting I need to do it again from a different viewpoint and that's what I did here.
Gosh, I even used that rigger again.  It's so great for those small areas.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Painting #16 Baby Barrel Cactus

I painted this for Cactus Monday because it lives in front of our house and is just a baby barrel cactus about 1.5 inches in diameter.  When I almost stepped on it I decided small is good for close observation and a painting.
The surrounding stones are also very small and I decided to de-emphasize them in the painting leaving just a hint so the cactus was the main focus.

Next year this baby will be twice the size.

*** Updated *** Along the River Seine - Claire 9

*** Updated image ***

*** Original image ***
GoogleMaps photo image reference: