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Thursday, September 25, 2014

September's magic ....

Last Monday I took my camera on our walk and snapped a few photos of some colorful signs of autumn I am seeing here in the Northwest.

One lone maple leaf laying in the street.  Beautiful colors on a wet street.  Signs that it rained last night while I was sleeping.


A small maple in amongst the dry grasses with all the leaves turning beautiful gold, yellow and orange.  

Looking into the green trees and huckleberry bushes you notice the gold leaves as the start their journey for the winter months.


My last photo was one I took while we were off on our boat this last week.  Plenty of seals were sunbathing on the beach as we went by.  A beautiful array of colors as the morning sun warmed the seals and the trees.


I love how my surroundings are changing slowly to fall.  How about you?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The hiatus is over ….

I have to admit I never thought I'd take such a long break from my blog.  I've noticed a number of my favorite bloggers have also taken some time off this summer.  Hmmm, wonder what all this means ... Surely blogging isn't going by the wayside. I think we all just got busy and let our creativity come and go without talking about it on our blogs, what do you think?

So, are you on my blog as apposed to just reading it in a feed? If you are on my blog you can see my new header?  I'm in the process of making some changes on the blog.  I'm thinking about deleting some old unnecessary blog posts as well as doing some organizing just to freshen it up a bit.

Anyway, lets talk painting .....

Harley, 8" x 10", watercolor on Arches 140 lb cold press
© Nancy Van Blaricom
My latest commission was a portrait of this handsome Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  His name was Harley and he was as big as a Harley Davidson motorcycle, lol.  Harley was born on September 11, 2001.  Right, yes he was born on that 9/11.  Not an easy birthday to forget.  Harley's portrait was commissioned by a dear friend of Harley's owners a couple of weeks before Harley passed away. We 
decided at that time to continue on with the commission believing they would love receiving it.  

When I take on a commission I always tell those who are ordering it that I will try but there is no guarantee. Especially with a pet portrait ... they are so personal. I usually feel added pressure to make sure and catch the personality of the beloved pet, that occasionally it just doesn't come and I need to let it go. Fortunately Harley came about pretty easily after some no pressure sketching. 

I had previously taken a number of photos of Harley.  Some photos were of him where he turned his back to me ... thats what the first sketch you see is about, Harley's head from the back, just to learn some of his mannerisms.  Next I got out the watercolors and sketched him in the headshot that was picked for this commission.  Just loose brush work deciding on the values. Then, one more sketch in a sketchbook just to get the feel of where I was going to go with this.  By this time I was feeling pretty comfortable with Harley and proceeded with my painting.

Prep sketches for Harley, various sizes, © Nancy Van Blaricom
Since the owners received their portrait of Harley they have both personally thanked me and told me how much they appreciate this portrait, saying I had really captured him.  
It doesn't get better than that.

He will be missed sorely by many of those who knew him.  As big as he was, and he was a big boy, he was their baby.  R.I.P. Harley.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cloud Study #15



~ Cloud Study #15~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"

A friend sent me a beautiful morning sky photo.  That photo was the reference I used … my cloud study does not do the beautiful sky photo justice.  One day ... one day I will get better at painting skies with beautiful colors in them.

..............................

Happy Spring ...

Today, the first day of Spring, we are fortunate to have sun and daffodils.
Here in the Northwest we've been told that our summer will be warmer than normal. But, for now it is just perfect.

Hope the first day of spring is as superb as ours.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cloud Study #13 & #14

Have you noticed I've been missing?  Although I have been thinking and reading 'art' I wasn't in the mood to paint.  I guess I was just wanting a break.  But .... I'm back today with a few more of my Cloud Studies. The top photo was from a reference photo taken in the summer.  I  loved painting this one.  I can almost feel that summer day.

~ Cloud Study #13 ~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"

The top photo was from a reference photo taken in the summer.  I  loved painting this one.  I can almost feel that summer day.

~ Cloud Study #14 ~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"

This second reference was from a more recent photo taken when we were experiencing one of our colder days with snow on the ground.






Thursday, February 06, 2014

Cloud Studies #10, #11 and #12

~ Cloud Study #10 ~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"

~ Cloud Study #11 ~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"

~ Cloud Study #12 ~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cloud Study #9

~ Cloud Study #9 ~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"

I was wondering if I would become bored with just painting clouds after 5 or 6. I thrilled to say that I'm thouroughly loving this study and look forward to my next one.  

I can see some growth from my first one I painted, but not enough growth in my painting skills to stop now.

My next few cloud studies will be in one post instead of a blog post for each study … I think we will all be happy about that decision. :-)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cloud Study #8


~ Cloud Study #8~
4" x 6", oil on Gessoed watercolor paper 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"