Thursday, May 31, 2007

Flowers and more flowers!

I had a photograph of poppies taken at a friend's house and another friend brought some Japanese iris and peonies for our painting morning today. I first worked in my sketchbook (first picture) with a fine black pen and watercolors then moved to "proper" watercolor paper for the second painting. Now I like the first one better because the poppies in the second look almost like zinnias. In the sketchbook, I drew the poppies with the pen, then just kept adding stuff to make it more interesting. After lunch I did a peony not quite out with some of the irises. None of these was any attempt to paint the arrangement; I used the photo and flowers for reference only.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Another Iris

Our friend Dorothy brought even more irises over on Thursday, our painting day. I took a bunch of pictures of this peach one before she took it home again. This is the result, painted yesterday. It's hard to paint something this abstract. I draw enough outlines to (try to) find my way, then paint the colors and shapes within those outlines while I study my reference very closely. It's easy to get lost! As I paint, it doesn't look like much but a stroke of paint here and there. I have to get back from the painting---way back---to have it look like anything. I usually strive to paint the final color and value on the first stroke, but this time, because of the glow in the flower I painted glazes. That requires the patience to let one layer dry completely before I paint another, not often easy for me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


We had beautiful white iris in our studio today, courtesy of one of the painters. There were also some rhododendron blooms and some Japanese iris (I think they are called). I drew individual blooms. I painted the purple irises without drawing, first in my sketchbook and then on watercolor paper. I painted the white irises. Then I drew again. It was fun.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Scraping the Bottom

Boats accumulate all manner of stuff on the part of their hulls that are under water which has to be scraped off periodically. I caught the light on this man just right, I think.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Backyard Gardens II

The other day when I painted this scene, all I had with me for the line was a charcoal pencil. The whole painting seemed too cold for a scene from Tuscany, so I did it again. This time when I did the initial wash, I put a warm light over the building facades. Then I used a Conté pencil for the drawing. That didn't put in enough dark, so I got out a brown Sharpie pen for the very darks. I like this one a lot better although I like the way the buildings sort of float above the foliage in the first one.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Backyard Gardens

Another painting where I splashed paint on the paper then waited for it to dry before I did any more. We're back in Italy, folks, where I took a photo of backyard gardens. When the paint was dry, I drew in the buildings with a super-fine Sharpie pen. I couldn't get that quite dark enough, so I added charcoal and smeared it around in places. I hope it gives you the feel of sunlight on flowers and buildings.

Pears and Cherries

It's been a while since I've been inspired by subject material to paint and hence I haven't painted anything I was particularly pleased with. Today I went back to splashing paint on paper, then making something out of it when it had dried. When I don't know what else to paint, or when I'm trying out a new technique, I often paint pears. So that's what I did today in our painting studio.