Playing hooky

New aceos

New aceos

I must admit to playing hooky over the last week.  The weather has been warming up and while I had to dodge some rain, I was able to do my “fall cleanup” for a few days.  The flower beds are ready for spring weeding and as soon as it dries up some, I’ll be out there pulling grass, dandelions, and other assorted weeds that have already sprung up.  The redbuds are fully blooming and the dogwoods are coming on.  My red dogwood survived the winter cold and the deer with most of the flowers intact. so I am happy about that.  The daffodils are almost done though.  I have been picking them to put in the kitchen, but they haven’t lasted over long.  It is still early to buy any flowers for planting, but I’m getting the urge to.  We are having a high deer fence put around our garden this spring because we are tired of the deer, raccoons, rabbits, possums, etc. eating up everything including the fruit trees.  I might as well just been giving the wildlife the money the last few years.  LOL

I did spend some time making some new aceo/gift tags.  I have my next project in mind, but I have to do some photo research before I can start.  Here’s a peek at the aceos.  I’ll be listing some of them in the next few days.

Florida Watercolor

Florida watercolor

Florida watercolor

The Florida house has a much different feel than the Ohio house, both because of the different materials used and the subject matter. It too has an abundance of greenery, but this one has a lighter, sunnier feel to it. Palm trees always make a picture feel more exotic, don’t you think?  It didn’t have as many flowers as I might have expected, but the ones that were there helped moderate the green vegetation. It was all reds instead of yellows this time.  It seems to me I have seen a higher proportion of red, pink, and white pink flowers in southern yards.  We seem to have more yellows and blues along with the reds up here.  Maybe it is just the time of year though.

Large parts of the house were hidden by the lush landscaping and I had to pare back the shrubs somewhat – just not enough to change the overall impression. The area under the covered entryway was much darker because of the bright sunlight, so I lightened it up, as if the sky were more cloudy.  Otherwise, all anyone would see was that big two car garage.  I doubt that is what the buyer had in mind.  I think it all was pretty successful,

Next up will be a few new aceo/gift tags.  I have sold quite a few in the last month and need to replace them in my etsy shop.  Fortunately, I have plenty of blanks made up so it won’t take long.

Back to Ohio

Ohio house

Ohio house

I finished both of the commissions yesterday and am prepping them to go out tomorrow. It was interesting to work on two different styles at the same time – a watercolor and a pastel.  Still, each one seemed to fit the medium used.  The Ohio house has the deeper, woodsy tones of the pastels and the Florida house has sun washed watercolors.

I decided to show the pastel first since I started it earlier. Because there was so much greenery and the house siding was pale, I had to work hard to get the proper depth of color. Thank heavens there are day lilies in the fore ground along with a small reddish shrub.  It really needed the pop of color.  I did use a little bit of purple in the shadows, too.

As a Victorian, the house was interesting in and of itself.  Besides the normal bric-a-brac, the large front porch area has been screened in.  I suppose this makes the porches more usable on buggy summer nights.  You can barely see some outdoor furniture behind the screening.

Next up will be the Florida watercolor.

Inking Florida

Inked Florida house

Inked Florida house

I was able to ink the Florida house this week and it wasn’t easy.  I kept rechecking the landscaping, the entryway with the arch top windows, and the pillars to make sure I got it right.  So much vegetation sometimes makes the details hard.  There is a part of the house behind the palms on the left and I have to indicate something is behind them.  It is an easy situation to overdo.  I want to change some of the trees above the garage, too.  It looks a little too much like a leafy crown on top.  I’m waiting on color confirmation, but watercolor should be quick.

I am leaving the name and address to last.  I want to practice a couple of styles before I actually do it.  It has been a long time since I penned anything except my name.

Second Commission

Florida palm trees house

Florida palm trees house

When it rains, it pours. Right after starting the Ohio commission, I got another for a Florida house.  Since I was waiting for some color confirmation on the Ohio one, I went ahead and drew up the new work.  There is plenty of landscaping here so the trick will be to show as much of the house as I can and still have the attractive foliage.  The entryway is slightly hidden and I want to make sure it is visible behind the palm trees and shrubs.  I may move things a bit and cut back the palm trees, but nothing major.  It won’t be hard to make this pretty.

The buyer has specified watercolors and wants the gift recipients’ name and town in the corner.  I’ll have to brush up on my lettering skills for that.

The Victorian is inked

The inked Victorian

The inked Victorian

I spent several days inking in the Victorian house.  It was somewhat more complicated than you might think.  There was a lot of secondary detail drawing as I moved through the various parts of the portrait.  I first did most of the lower landscaping including the front tree and then the windows and screened porch and called it a day. The screen porch took a lot of concentration so it didn’t get too dark.  I do like to move all around as I work on a piece so that I don’t over work an area and can keep the lights and darks balanced.

The next day I moved to the fish scale shingles and siding.  Again, that needed a lot of preliminary pencil layout so the siding and the shingles didn’t get bunched up.  Then I worked on the upper windows, barely visible behind the tree.  I couldn’t make them too visible or it would look odd behind the foliage.  Lastly, I inked in the background foliage and touched up various places that I thought needed something extra.  After I apply the color I will probably redefine some areas, mostly the semi-hidden upper windows.

Ohio commission

Victorian home

Victorian home

When I was close to finishing the last Jasper streetscape, I received my next commission. It is a lovely Victorian style home and the portrait will be given as a gift.  There are fish scale shingles on the turret along with 4″ siding and the porch has been screened in. Since the house is solid white, I have to make the landscaping especially distinctive.  This is only the barest of sketches, but I should be able to start inking tomorrow.

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