Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Practicing brushstrokes ...

Yellow Tulip, 8" x 6", Oil on canvas, © 2014, Nancy Van Blaricom

While going through a box of props I found a bouquet of silk tulips that I had stored away. I decided I'd like to use one of them, just one single flower, to practice some brush work.  Thinking about using the whole bouquet just seemed too overwhelming at this time so I cut one tulip and began to paint this lone flower.

Although it wasn't a real flower or a whole bouquet I loved working on this painting.

By using the single tulip I was able to concentrate on how my brush was being loaded & where to place each stroke.  Also I took my time and attempted to look for warm and cool areas, soft and hard areas, contrasts in value - dark/light.

This was such fun to work on I just may be encouraged to see what else is in my prop box in the way of flowers….. maybe.

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.