Thursday, September 26, 2013

Doing Obama

This is my first portrait on a 5 inch by 7 inch dinky winky canvas board. I spent as much time on this as I would have on a 24 by 28 inch canvas! I need more acrylic practice!! Mostly painted with flat brushes with a limited palette of colors.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Watercoloring the king of the African savannah in watercolor

A typical watercolor where you go from light to dark, paying very close attention to keeping your darks and lights in proper balance. In the first photo, you can see how my background was painted in wet-on-wet with no fussy detail. The king is the star of this show and the background is a supporting actor. Yes, I painted in some dark areas in the tree trunk and the lion's rear, but I knew these were areas where I did not have to slowly build up various areas of light, middle, and dark values. The first close up of the head is where I had to build various values from light to dark. In the fifth photo, you can see how I started working on the foreground grass wet-on-dry. The foreground is usually where you want some texture, so . . . background is wet-on-wet and soft looking and the foreground is dry-on-dry, textural, and in sharp focus (along with the lion). In the seventh photo, I painted in my final dark values into the lion's head. Notice how the log in my finished watercolor got lighter. I pulled off paint to lighten it. The log was overwhelming the lion and was not playing a supporting role. In the end, this was a challenging watercolor!

Monday, September 9, 2013

King of the African Savannah in Acrylic

Next weekend I teach a two day acrylic and watercolor workshop on how to go about painting this pussycat. This is the start and roaring end of said pussy cat in acrylic. NEVER EVER take out a small brush and diddle around with fussy details to start any kind of painting. Lay down the big color/value shapes to build the proper foundation. Once that is done, you can begin refining, working on ever more smaller value, color shapes. It is only as you see the light at the end of the tunnel that you may have to use a smaller brush for the final details like the eyes and whiskers on this big boy. At least 90% of this acrylic painting was done with flat brushes ranging from 1/4 inch across to 1 inch across. Be patient with the building progress, and have faith that after the initial big value/color shapes are laid down for a good foundation, the rest of the painting process (refining) will yield a successful painting! I will be posting my watercolor of this guy towards the end of the week.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Play that funky music, white girl.

An eleven inch by twenty two inch watercolor on 140lb. Arches cold press rough paper. One of my ex-talented students at Sacramento City College. This is now part of my "California-Vibe Portraits" series. Next year, I have several "California-Vibe Watercolor Portraiture" workshops scheduled across the country, and am in the process of scheduling one or two more. It's going to be a wild pedal-to-the-metal, brush-to-the-paper workshop! I have already taught one this year for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society in San Jose, California.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


This is a further progression of the watercolor portrait of my previous post. The trouble, or should I say the challenge, of water color painting is determining when said painting is finished. Work on it beyond the finish line and you end up with a steaming pile of you-know-what! Unlike opaque mediums, there is no fixing, so . . . I shall let this sit for awhile before I determine if it is indeed finished. What do you think, dear reader? I'm all ears.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another "California-Vibe" portrait

I'm in the process of painting one of my "California-Vibe" watercolor portraits (go to my website to see more). These portraits are super colorful with exciting and playful brush work. This painting captures the vibrant, any thing goes culture that my home state is known for. This rather imposing gentleman, who was in one of my studio art classes that I teach at Sacramento City College, is quite the artistic talent and a very approachable, intelligent, four-square family man. When I asked if I could snap a photo of him for a potential watercolor study, he struck his tough guy pose that reflects upon what I will politely describe as his misspent youth. I started with the drawing using a soft pencil with variable pencil pressure and lots of contour line character. After that came the fun part . . . lots of color variation washes with wild and spontaneous, almost sumi-e brush work. On top of this layer, I careful rendered facial feature but still with variable and expressionistic colors. This painting is not yet completed, and it will sit for awhile until I am ready to pick up my brushes again to finish it with a bit more "California-Vibe".