Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ahhh, en Plein Air

This is my Plein Air set up, overlooking beautiful Hood Canal

Lately, I haven't had a lot of motivation where my art work is concerned. I felt stagnate and could tell I had lost that once exciting feeling I use to have with my work. THEN........ I heard about a group of Plein Air artists that meet every two weeks. I've always wanted to join a group of Plein Air artist, but never had the opportunity. Then I met the person who started this group when we were both entering our work at the Arts Association Annual Spring Show, and I begged to join in on the fun.
I'm the artist on the bottom left hand corner.
I neglected to ask permission to post their names and photo's so you only see the backs of this great group. (I'll ask next time.) I'm told the group varies from 2 to 8 artists on different outings. This particular outing there were 4 of us.
The group met Tuesday morning on beautiful Hood Canal. About a 45 minute drive from my house. The weather was pretty nice with a few occasional clouds that would hang over us and chill us, then the sun would come out again and all would be fine.
So, this new group has given me the boost and motivation I've needed. I'm not much of a landscape painter, but hopefully I'll become better if I continue on more outings with the group.

Honorable Mention

I was the proud recipient of an Honorable Mention award at our local Art Association's 17th Annual Spring Show. This show was filled with exceptionally good art and our judge, Ned Mueller had to have a tough time choosing Best of Show.
This entry, White Lilies, is a small watercolor measuring only 6" x 6", double matted with a 5" wide border. The frame is metal with a slight lavendar color to it, and measures 16" x 16".

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Home-made Vine Charcoal

Who'da thunk that I could make my own vine charcoal? Awhile back someone mentioned making their own vine charcoal and continued to say their favorite wood to do this with was Madrone (Arbutus). Then they went on to say they just wrapped it in tin foil and placed it in the fire place. So I found a Madrone tree, grabbed a small branch dried it out for a day or so, then proceeded to wrap it in tin foil and placed it in the fire place over night.
The next day this was what the Madrone branch looked like. I was worried that as soon as I touched it that it may all fall apart, but it didn't. It was very solid. I'm not particularly fond of the turn out, as it seems almost too hard to make a mark on paper. I'm wondering now if it was because I left the Madrone bark on the branch, because after I draw with it a bit it becomes easier to make a mark. Maybe if I'd have taken it off it would be easier to use. But, on the other hand it isn't messy at all, and my fingers stay nice and clean.

Here you see a small piece of the charcoal I've broken off for ease of use, and some scribbles. I think it was well worth the effort and I'll probably experiment with some other woods in the future.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Major League Baseball

Last night we were privileged enough to attend a major league game between the New York Yankee's and the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners may have lost, but if you've ever attended a Major League ball game, just being there is thrill enough. This is a watercolor sketch of a major league baseball player ... though no particular player at all, just the essence of the game.

Mostly with this watercolor sketch I concentrated on shapes. I wanted to show the action of the player -I wasn't focusing on color... If I were to do it over again, I'd pick some blue-greys along with some warm sienna's.

On another note.... some of you who have subscribed to my blog and hope to receive the updates in an e-mail, are not receiving them. Mostly this is because you have not yet replied to the verification email sent to you by Feedburner to complete the subscription process. Unverified subscriptions are not active subscriptions. Because Feedburner verification emails get sent from this catchy (not) email address: "donotreply@emailenfuego.net", people sometimes miss it or it goes into their spam box. So, please check your spam and junk mail. If by the end of the week you have yet to receive an update I'll e-mail you personally incase you have already deleted this information and we can start over again.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Another experiment ...

Maybe it's the nice weather, but lately I've been wanting to try other mediums and materials ... spreading my wings maybe.

The photo's here are of a house that always catches my eye when I'm in the neighborhood. The front of the house faces the water, and is surrounded by vegetation, some beautiful well manicured shrubs and flowers. I have not done it justice, believe me.

The test/experiment was to use a crayon in the appropriate color then use watercolor paint on the top of that, allowing the the crayon to create texture. In the first photo, you see where I've drawn out the image in pencil, then used crayons in a light manner in the appropriate places.

In this second photo (on the right) you see my first washes of watercolor. You see a little of the texture if you look closely... some on the porch overhang and on the grey cement wall on the bottom right... and maybe in a few other places ... if you look closely.

Then lastly the finished experiment. I've added more value to the surrounding foliage. If you look closely you can see some texture. I think if I were to do this again I'd use a little more crayon. Not using too much as to fill in all valleys of the watercolor paper, but maybe just a bit more.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Do I seem a little crabby lately ...


Have you noticed that crabs seem to be on my mind lately?

This is another dungeness crab that I've tried to capture in a loose manner. My work ususally is so tight, that I need to make a concience effort to loosen-up. The support for this crab is regular brown craft paper, upon which I've used charcoal to draw the shape of a crab, then using pastel to create the middle and light values... then back to charcoal to make the shape of the legs - then a touch of brown conte' here and there.

What I learned with this painting/drawing:
  • The craft paper was not very forgiving. When I wanted to blend the colors, the paper just held on to the pastel ... such as the white on top of the crab back. I was going to blend the white lines ... it just sat there, not blending.
  • Craft paper has a great brown color that I find attractive, so I may try pre-coloring some watercolor paper to paint on.
  • I'm not sure I will ever become comfortable with the dry chalky feel of pastel and charcoal.
  • I love the look of charcoal.
  • I would like to become better at using pastel ... even if it is messy ... I have some artist friends who really are masters of this medium and I so envy the look they can achieve.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Watercolor sketch


This is a fast watercolor sketch I did this morning ... knowing that sometimes I work happiest when I am not concerned with the out come. I usually work slowly and each stroke of the brush pretty well thought out ... for the most part I am happy with the work I finish using that method but when I just want to play, this is my favorite way to handle watercolor - loose and free, a splash here a splash there.