Monday, June 29, 2009

The Horse's Ass

This is a recent watercolor commission painted on 140lb cold press watercolor paper. I rarely (never) stretch my paper. This entire image was painted wet (sometimes VERY WET) on dry (meaning the dry watercolor paper). I started by laying down a medium toned color of cool blue, a touch of green and brown. I used a large round sable brush. Every time, before I dip my brush into color, I dip it into clean water and shake off the excess so that it is saturated but not dripping flooded. After the preliminary cool colors dried, I laid down another glaze of dark- toned horse colors letting them all intermingle wet-on-wet. I also tilted my drafting board about forty five degree, so that after I applied the paint, the washes would RUN (see the horse's ass). Now this is what watercolor painting is all about! This is taking advantage of the transparent fluid nature of the medium. Note in the third photo (click on it to enlarge) how the color I applied around the hoof is running down into the STILL WET cast shadow area on the ground. In the forth image, you can see how I was still working on the rider after having applied some energetic splatter work on the ground. The last photo is the watercolor completed. Notice the minimal amount of hard edges and dry looking's WET! For me, a watercolor painting must have a modicum of wet looking passages (a condition where the different color pigments can freely move about and intermingle). Isn't that why we define watercolor painting as CONTROLLING THE FLOOD?!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tippy Canoe and Tyler too!

"Tippy Canoe and Tyler Too!" If you are within shouting distance of my age and was awake during your US history classes in high school, you would know that this was the campaign slogan for the 19th century presidential candidate John Tyler (tenth president of the United States - see top 19th century illustration) whilst he was on the campaign trail. The very first US president to go on a campaign trail was who? Wake up! By the way, this is an acrylic on 16"X20" stretched canvas of a ranch in the farming area west of Sacramento, California. I just finished it. answer: Andrew Jackson "In 1814 we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Missipp. We took a little bacon, and we took a little beans, and we fought the bloody British in the town of New Orleans." What is the title of the hit song that had these did these lyrics? What year was the song a hit?

Friday, June 19, 2009

California State Capitol Building

Here is where the shit happens. Our legislature and governor pass laws to increase state spending, lower car registration fees, double the unemployment insurance pay out rate etc.etc. without the least concern that sometimes shit happens (like a severe recession/depression) Surprise!!!... not enough money in the coffers...the state ain't got enough bread for shit! In fact, the state is in deep doo doo (i.e. shit). Silver lining? The capitol bldg. looks real purty in the soft morning light.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ahoy!... A New Blog

I have opened up a second blog to display the self portraits coming in from all my fellow artists across the globe. The grand opening of this blog, going by the appellation of "Self Portrait Global Love In", will be next month! The deadline to get in your self portrait is the end of June, so it's not too late...send me your best shot where ever you are!! Click on "View My Complete Profile" and scroll down to: " My Blogs" and click. Whatever you do, don't clack!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why Can't I Paint Colors Like that Colin Page Dude?!

We all need someone to look up to, to emulate to a certain extent...or...maybe not. I love seeing bright, rich, and a deft use of color in paintings and artists like Collin Page, Karen Jurick, and Carol Marine (they are all on my blog roll). I want to use color like them. Some artists out there, and maybe you dear reader, are already dialed in in this regard, but I, am still dialing and especially with my acrylic work. Hey, look at my history! TRUE STORY: When I was in the first or second grade, the school nurse called my parents and suggested that I might need some psychological help. Why?...because unlike the other tikes, I did all of my art in black pencil and colors! To my parent's great credit, they blew off the nurse's advice. And by golly, how right they were, because at that young and tender age, I already knew that paintings are built upon a foundation of values, and an artist needs to know how to manipulate value! Color follows value and way, way, waaay back when I was in first (or second) grade, I instinctively knew that! So here is another semi-sorry attempt at using color. I worked from a ref. photo I took at the Monterey Boat Works next door to the Monterey Aquarium. My colors are a hybrid of the colors I saw in the photo and some I made up. It's the making up part that I struggle with. Hmmm...maybe that school nurse was being my crystal ball into the future...I would later need counseling and training in color!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mark's Gift

Mark, a lawyer in San Francisco with a major client here in the capital, commissioned me to paint his wife and baby daughter from a photo he had taken. He just picked up the completed piece this morning from my studio. It is an acrylic on stretched canvas (about 36"X 48"). On June 12 he will present it to his wife for her 40th birthday. There's got to be from 16 to 30 hours of painting time into this. Oh how I wish I could paint faster! Mark was here in my studio two weeks ago with an associate to evaluate and make suggestions on the likenesses of Mom and child. I made small changes on both figures while they watched! Praise be to the muse of art, they were happy with the tweaks! I now await his wife's reaction to her surprise birthday present. That's Mark standing next to his purchase. He is about 6 foot 5 inches and has a full head of hair, whereas the artist is five foot seven and a half inches with most of his hair on the back of his head...but with a most excellent beard!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

H2o's of a waterfall

Every time I conduct one of my many art workshops, I do the painting first so that I can include it in my email newsletter to announce the workshop and so that I have a total command over that which I am teaching. In this case, I decided to do three half sheet (15"X20") studies. I learned about Mr. Clean Sponges from Mike Bailey and wanted to try them for pulling out cloud vapor and the waterfall. I figured that doing three studies would give me plenty of practice. Mr. Clean sponges have a very fine type of grit that pulls off dried paint like crazy! You dip the sponge in water, squeeze out the water throughly, and apply a gentle abrasive motion to pull off the paint. Drying the paper with kleenex between pull offs is important. If you do all this with a deft hand, the watercolor paper is in no way damaged. This project was a good way to teach the painting of very delicate, light colored values and contrasting them with the final dark foreground of pine trees. I also showed my workshop watercolorists how to render pine trees with the minimum of fuss. I used the Mr. Clean Sponge and some art tape to bring out and mask off the waterfall. The entire watercolor was painted wet-on-dry on 140lb cold press. I do not pre wet the paper nor do I stretch or tape it down on anything. This holds true for all my watercolor painting.