Thursday, December 18, 2008

Make a Winter Christmas watercolour card

Step l: To prepare for the card, I took a 1/8 piece of watercolour paper (140lb Winsor & Newton CP) and folded it in half so that the front bottom was just a bit shorter than the back of the card so that I could put a nice border on it -see last step. I taped the folded paper carefully to my board with masking tape, so that the borders were even and the bottom of the card was at the bottom of my painting. It is embarassing, to say the least, when you make your card and it opens the wrong way!
I drew this scene from my imagination -to show my students that once they know a subject, you can make up scenes and paint strictly from their imaginations -what fun! I drew the scene and began by placing some of the branches of the foremost tree in first in a yellow-green mix of ultramarine blue (UB) and gamboge hue (GH). The branches painted represent those that would be sticking out from underneath a fresh snowfall (which we have had a TON of this week!)
Step 2: When step 2 was dry, using ultramarine blue, toned down just a touch with a bit of burnt sienna (BS -sorry!), I painted the bottom shadows of the clumps of snow on the branches and softened the top edge with a damp brush. This models the roundness of each snow clump.
Step 3: I painted the branches of the distant tree with a bluer mix of the UB/GH mix to push the tree back -also the branches were painted more simply to further suggest distance. I left the snow unpainted at this point.
Step 4: I painted in the first wash for the road with BS & UB, letting it get cooler as it receeds -distance again. I added the cast shadow from the foreground tree with UB and just a touch of BS. I modelled the clump of snow behind the foreground tree the same way the snow clumps were made -this gives me a tone to show off the bright white snow on the tree.
Step 5: I painted in the sky BEHIND the white snow clumps with a mixture of UB and Thalo Blue (TB), with more TB at the bottom and more UB near the top to suggest the receeding canopy of the sky. I lifted out some whispy cloud shapes with a thirsty brush while the sky was still damp. I also added some darker branches (blueish mix of UB & GH again, with a bit of BS to gray it a bit) to the shadow side of the tree, filling out the tree and suggesting the direction of the sunlight (which is on the right). I also put some snow shadows loosely on the distant tree, and modelled the snow bank on the right side of the road.
Step 6: I put another glaze of BS over the road and painted the distant fence with a dark brown mix of UB and BS, leaving the tops of the rails unpainted to suggest snow on them. I added the cast shadow from the distant tree, and darkend some of the shadows on the right bank. I put some BS brightened a bit with GH and Scarlet Lake to represent the tree trunk, and dropped the darker mix from the fence into the shadow side.
Step 7: To finish the painting I put some of the warmer tree trunk mixture into the front of the road, and modelled the snow bank under the foreground tree -the road is supposed to be going behind that bank -don't know how well that reads... I also went back into the sky and painted the sky a bit more on top of the fence rails so that the initial light blue reads as snow, then cast some shadows from the fence onto the snow. Make sure that the cast shadows follow the lay of the land! Then I added the shadows onto the left side of the tree to make sure that it read as being round. I added some cast shadows from some of the branches on the lower left snow clumps on the tree. I also added some more branches sticking out of the snow.
Step 8: To finish the card, I painted an UB stripe on the back page of the card so that when it was folded the lovely deckle edge of the paper showed. I wrote my holiday message on the inside and made an envelope for the card out of a piece of blue paper.
I hope you will try this easy card -you will learn about softening edges and negative painting as well as glazing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Solo Show Opens

My new solo show, "En Plein Air" opened last night at Arts on Atlantic Gallery here in Calgary. It was a wonderful evening with lots of friends and wine, not to mention quite a few sales. Having a solo show is a great opportunity for the artist to see the fruits of their labour, all framed and hung together, a whole body of work where each piece speaks to each other. The differences in feeling that the various paintings have is due to the level of excitement that was felt that day, the degree of connection I felt with my surroundings, and the weather! It was an incredible 6 months of painting -I can't wait for spring!
If you are in the Calgary area, please be sure to drop by the gallery and see the show. It will be up until Christmas, with extended holiday hours.

More Mixed Media

"Marie Louise", mixed media, 15 x 21"
This work was done as a tribute to my grandmother Louise Martin, who died just before her 100th birthday. She was a wonderful woman who shared with me her love of gardening and lovingly making beautiful things with her hands. It was done on a monoprinted base and then collage, various types of image transfers, stamps and ink were added. I am not sure if it is finished yet, but thought I would post it anyway.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Waterfall demo #2

This is the photo reference for the next painting demonstration. I can't remember where I took this picture!
Step 1: Paint a rich mixture of dark colours and paint the rock area. While damp scape the rock forms with a credit card. Above this paint a richly coloured dark for the trees in the forest, scrape trunks. Puddle in other colours to add spark.
Step 2: Paint the water as in the demo yesterday. Add the side banks using warmer colours than in the background to project it in front. Add warmer greens for the trees above it. Keep a crackled edge at the bottom of the rock edge so it will read as being in the water.

Step 3: Paint the water at the bottom of the falls using dry brush and softening some edges. Make this colour brighter than the falls as it is a flat plane. Paint around the area where the rocks will be. Soften the bottom edge of this as we will pick it up later, you need to use your time while the paint is wet to soften edges.

Step 4: Paint a mid value warm combination of colour for where the rocks in the water will be. Don't overmix these colours! Scrape in small rock shapes. Paint the water surrounding the rocks. Soften some of the bottom edges of the foremost rocks where they meet the water so they look like they are sitting in the water and reflecting a bit. Paint the rest of the river run out using a combination of dry brush and softening edges. Puddle some darker colour at the bottom and edges to force the viewers eye into the painting.
Last step: If needed lift some colour from the falls and the back of the river in front of the background rocks. Make sure this line is flat! Add some more detail to the large rock masses beside the falls and the trees on it.

Finished painting: "Spring Falls", watercolour, 7 x 10.25"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Watercolour steps

Step one -dry brush technique for the waterby holding brush flat to the page and using the texture of the paper to create the sparkle (Ultra blue with a bit of Burnt Sienna to take the colour down a bit) (wet some of the edges of this-note soft and hard edges are the key to making the water look wet), wet-in-wet puddling for the trees using Gamboge as the mother colour, scrape trunks and flick water for foliage texture. Paint some indication of rocks in the falls while blue is still damp so get soft edges. Stream painted in horizontal strokes so will read as flat water. Note direction of water in falls very important.

Step 2- More rocks added inside falls, falls are hitting rocks at the bottom left which creates ledges. Increase depth of shading in falls, add soft rock edges at right side so that water appears to be going over them. Add turnbulance at the bottom of the falls -have some hard and some soft edges here. Wet bottom edge so no hard lines are formed, we will continue this part in a bit.

Step 3- add a mixture of pure colour in a dark mix, but don't stir it around as you want the colour to be interesting rather than homogeneous. While damp, scrape with a credit card to get the texture of the rock ledges. Do one side at a time and play with it until you are happy with it before you move on to the other side. Add more blue in the right side as this side is in shadow. Add the rest of the river runout using some dry brush and softening some of the edges. Paint in some darker notes in the deep water at bottom while wet.
Step 4- Add cast shadow onto falls with a mixture of phalo blue and ultramarine, softening some edges and leaving some hard. Add some dark U shaped marks in the water at the bottom to indicate lessening turbulance.
Adjust values, add a bit more detail into rocks. Strengthen left shore bank.

Finished painting "Lundreck Falls", watercolour, 7 x 10.25"

Waterfall demo in steps

This is a photo I took of Lundbreck Falls in the Crowsnest Pass. It will be the photo reference for my Tues night class demonstration painting of how to paint a waterfall in watercolour. Painting steps to follow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Along The Oesa Trail" , oil painting

"Along The Oesa Trail" , oil painting on canvas, 24 x 30"
This is the first large studio painting that I did from the photos that I took on our trip to Lake O'Hara in September. I had a hard time getting a good colour photograph of the painting as the sun is so low in the sky these days, that the colour of the light really influenced the photograph. This is the closest I could get to the real thing in Photoshop.

Friday, November 21, 2008

more class demo's

"Along the River", watercolour, 5 x 7"
This is the mini demo from Wednesday mornings class. I played with an effect that just happened in the painting -the feeling of light streaming in from the upper right across the distant tree bank. I did this by dampening the 'rays' a bit and gently lifting them with a thirsty brush and kleenex.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

photo from demonstration

Forgot to post the photo that I did that demonstration from!

demonstration watercolour

"Above Elbow Falls", watercolour, 5 x 7"
This is the first 'moving water' demonstration for my Tuesday night class. We were practicing scraping in damp watercolour washes with a credit card to make rock textures and distant tree trunks. Also attention was paid to soft edges to capture the feeling of water going over some rocks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Demonstration painting

Untitled, 16x16", mixed media
This is a demonstration painting that I began as a demo for the Calgary Community Painters, and then finished off as a demo at the Federation of Canadian Artists Calgary Chapter show. It is here in two very different colours -the bright orangy photo was taken under the halogen shop lights that were illuminating my work space, and the second was taken in full shade outside. The truth of the colour is somewhere between these two. I find the best colour comes through when you shoot in full, high sunlight (as in at noon) with the painting at a 45 degree angle to the light source (horizontal axis), and 90 degrees perpendicular to the ground (vertical axis). The colour is truest and the textures are most evident. As I donated this painting to the FCA I was not able to bring it home to photograph myself.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Opabin Plateau", watercolour

"Opabin Plateau", watercolour, 14 x 11"
This is the second watercolour demo that I did for my new class of students. It is done from a photo that I took while hiking at Lake O'Hara this summer. Painting it sure brought back good memories. What a difference between oils and watercolours...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Consolation Lakes", watercolour

"Consolation Lakes", 15 x 11", watercolour
This painting was done from a photo I took when we hiked from Moraine Lake into Consolation Lakes last summer. We tried the hike in June but it was still snowed in, so we went back in July. It is an easy hike and well worth it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

ink and watercolour sketches continued

"Gallardia", ink and watercolour, 6 x 4"
Third out of 4 demo sketches for Sedgewick. This is also from a photograph, very quick and very loose.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sedgewick demo continued

"Elbow River", ink and watercolour sketch, 6 x 4"
This was another demo from the quick sketching workshop, done from a photo in about 20 minutes. We would have loved to go outside to sketch, but the wind that day was about 80km/hr! I have never seen anything like it before -should have taken some photos of the fall leaves blowing horizontally in front of trees straining to remain erect. Glad I wasn't on the highway driving that day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sedgewick workshop demos

"Rocky Slope", ink and watercolour, 6 x 4"
I haven't posted for a while because I have been 'up to my ears in alligators', with several shows, workshops and my teaching year has begun and that is always very time intensive. I did a pen and ink and watercolour workshop in Sedgewick, AB on my way home from my Edmonton show opening. This is the first demo from that workshop, done from a photo I took on one of my many hiking trips. More to come...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The last plein air of the season??

"Back Road", plein air oil painting, 8 x 8"
I know I haven't posted in a while, but I have been very busy. First there was the Foothills Orchid Show that I was in charge of and then I had to frame a ton of paintings (over 30 framed and matted pieces) for the big show I am in on Saturday. (In case you live in Calgary, please come by to the Calyx Distinctive Arts Show at the Crescent Heights Community Hall from 10 to 4pm on Saturday.)
This will perhaps be the last plein air painting of the season (heavy sigh). It has been a terrific 4 1/2 months, and I have done so many paintings, and have learnt so much. Nature and experience are great teachers. If I do get a chance to go out again, I will definitely post the results. Otherwise I need to force myself to spend some quality time in my new studio. Who knows where that will lead??

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly -Facelift!

"Spring -Moose Mountain Road", plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"
Remember June 6th's entry, the first plein air oil of the season, and how I hated it? Well, after a season of painting, I knew what to do with it. So here it is finished! That is one nice thing about oils, it is infinitely fixable.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Now for something completely different....

"Returning Home", mixed media painting, 12 x 12"
This is the demonstration painting that I did for my "Paint Creatively with Mixed Media" workshop that I did for Leading Edge Art Workshops the weekend before this one. It's title derives from the fact that it seems like forever since I have done any studio work in abstraction, and it felt really good to return to it after plein air painting exclusively for the last 4 months.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The end of the trip!

" Sargents' Point -Lake O'Hara:, oil painting, 10 x 8"
This painting was begun in the pouring rain, but I couldn't finish it because it was just too darn cold. I went into my photos that I took while there and changed the lighting (ie: added some!). This is part of the view that was made famous by John Singer Sargent ('Hara.htm), so I just had to give it a go.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Lake McArthur" -plein air oil painting

"Lake McArthur" -plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"
This is the first painting of day 5. We woke up to fresh snow high in the mountains and significant cloud cover. Half way through this painting I was huddled under my umbrella in a downpour. I stayed and finished it -I can attest that oil and water don't mix, which is a good thing on days like this...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Victoria Falls", plein air watercolour and ink sketch

"Victoria Falls", plein air watercolour and ink sketch, 6 x 4"
Just for variety I did a pen and watercolour sketch. There was really no place to set up to paint in oils, and it was getting late -just enough time for a quick sketch. So ends day 3.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Cathedral Mountain from Opabin", plein air oil painting

"Cathedral Mountain from Opabin", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"
This is the last painting from day 3, before the weather started to roll in. I haven't been able to paint in oils since I have been back (just taught a 3 day mixed media/collage workshop -quite a switch) but hope to do some more plein air this week, with this spell of Indian Summer. What I really would love to do is to return to gorgeous Lake O'Hara...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Lake O'Hara and Elizabeth Parker Hut

This is the sleeping area of the Elizabeth Parker Hut. Two 'shelves' with long mattresses on them, each shelf sleeping 8 people. Kind of 'concentration style' sleeping arrangements. I didn't know my neighbor to my right, but at least had my hubby to my left! Climbing that ladder constantly was a real pain, and the light was always very dim inside.
This is the fireplace for the hut -the fire box mounted in front of the original stone fireplace kind of ruins the effect, but really keeps the place toasty. At the end of each day we would put our masterpieces on the mantle and all around on the window ledges for all to admire...or not.
The evenings were spent eating! We had a wonderful chef from the famous Banff Springs Hotel on our trip and he volunteered to head up the kitchen teams (we all took turns dicing and chopping under the master's supervision). So dinners included such lush fare as filet mignon (done in a propane oven unfortunately), salmon and arctic char. That made the rough living conditions seem strange by comparison. The environment seemed to call more for Mac and Cheese! The night was capped off with singing, led by an incredible voice with a penchant for music from the 30's and 40's -couldn't believe I knew the words to "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"....
This is my wonderful hubby (and sherpa) Dave taking his turn doing the dishes. No running water, remember?
"Odaray Glacier", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"
This is number five for the trip. This is the view of Odaray Mtn from the hike up to Lake Oesa. There were these great huge rocks left from various rockfalls that were covered with this lovely gray-green lichen -quite a contrast to the warmer rock ledge behind. Another amazingly beautiful day, no clouds in the sky at this time, which made painting the mountains SO much easier that if there had been shadows cast from clouds.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Opabin's Glory", plein air oil painting

"Opabin's Glory", plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"
This is the second painting from the second incredible day at Lake O"Hara. This is painted from Victoria Lake which is a small lake just before you get to Opabin Lake -you can see the snow on Hungabee Mtn. at the back of Opabin Lake in this painting. This is my absolute favorite painting from this trip. I just love the backlighting on these larches and the distant snow sits back where it should. God just smiled on me that day...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hike to Opabin Lake

"Cascade Lakes", plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"
Our second day at Lake O'Hara, and a steep hike up to Opabin Lake via the east trail. We had a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky and summer temperatures. I really like this painting! I was in total awe when I saw this site -the colours of the lake a nice cool temperature addition to the violets and greens in the painting, making the larch and the moss along the brook even more vivid. I might have to do this one LARGE.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Wiwaxy Peaks", plein air oil painting

"Wiwaxy Peaks", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"

This is the second painting I did on our first day at Lake O'Hara. The afternoon light was lighting up the warm colours of Wiwaxy Peaks, and fading the cooler colours of Mt Huber behind it. This one was also painted from Schaffer Lake. I think it is so cool to see a plein air painting and know where it was painted from, and that's why I am telling you! The sunshine was so glorious and was just electrifying the golden larches, as well as picking up the cool greens of the evergreens.

The first photo is of the Elizabeth Parker Hut and the Wiwaxy Hut, where 25 members and friends of the Canmore Artists Guild stayed during the 5 days of our trip. You can see our water source from the brook which someone ingeniously connected to a hose (attached to the little bridge). Water had to be boiled for 5 minutes before drinking -no running water in the cabins. It was all very cozy, I will post more photos of it in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wonderful Lake O'Hara!

Cathedral Mountain, plein air oil painting, 8 x 10"
This is the first painting that I did on my Lake O'Hara hiking/painting trip. This view of Cathedral Mountain was painted from the shores of Schaffer Lake. I should have continued on to McArthur Lake as the day was incredible, but I was too wimpy to do the additional climb. By the end of the trip, I saw that this hike was the easiest one of the lot! The larches were turning to gold, the perfect foil for the violet shadows on the mountain.
Enjoy... stay tuned for more!