More ornaments

Orange tiger

Orange tiger

Last week I worked on a few more ornaments so I would have a bigger selection in my etsy store.  I made another horse, another cat, and a sheep using the cookie molds with the paper pulp.

Palomino horse

Palomino horse

I had a hard time photographing them outside as the wind would spin them around.  I moved them from tree to tree, trying to find a place out of the breeze and with a small branch to stabilize them from the back.

And then after I found a good place, the gloss varnish reflected the light too much and altered the colors dramatically.  Another move to a protected and shaded area.  Finally, I figured most of it out and was able to post these.  I will be back to a small architectural to watercolor this week.  I really enjoyed the last one.  I am thinking of going through the Key West photos and picking something from there.  Maybe a small porch/window shot with all of the lovely flowers.  We’ll see.

Ewe ornament

Ewe ornament

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More pet portraits

Brandy

Brandy

After finishing the Nashville corner, I decided to make a few more pet portraits. I had a head shot of my sister’s collie and a nice picture of my sweet Lady in mind and over the course of two days I did them both.  Brandy, the collie, was a dark mahogany sable that belonged to my sister’s family.  It was hard to decide how much of her thick coat to show.  Too little would not give her enough definition, but to much ink would change her into a tricolor.  I probably should have used a bit more of a reddish brown, but I like it.  Her fur seemed to be black tipped which allowed use of the grey.  I think I need to work on the whiskers a bit for the future.  They are really hard to do realistically, especially with the nib pen which likes to skip on long strokes.

My sweet Lady

My sweet Lady

After the inquiry for a horse portrait in my etsy shop, I figured I better try one.  I had this picture of my sweet Lady in her later years.  She was mid to late twenties when I took this photo and starting to look her age.  It was late summer and some of the hair on her face was gone due to the fly ointment I used under her eyes.  I had some dilemma with her too on the amount of mane hair to include.  I didn’t want her to look as though she had a black mane as she was a glorious chestnut with the world’s most beautiful mane and tail.  I am not totally happy with her eye, but my daughter thought it was a very good likeness and that she would have known it was her even without the reference photo.  For my posts on Lady’s life and death, go to the following links.

https://ruthsartwork.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/my-sweet-lady/

https://ruthsartwork.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/filling-the-memory-basket/

The watercolors won

Nashville Watercolor

Nashville Watercolor

It didn’t really take much thought, but I decided to go ahead and use the watercolors for this. I really do need to practice some realistic watercolor architecturals and I’d rather start small and work my way up.  This turned out okay.  I am not overly fond of the corner curb area, but I like the shading of the tree on the building.  I had to make up across the street since it was totally blocked by cars, so I kept it vague.  This blog photo is not the greatest and I may try to change it out.   The colors are richer in reality.  Today’s weather, with the rain, is not conducive to a reshoot, so I’ll have to go with what I have for now.

Yesterday, I finished up the rest of the ornaments, except for the varnish.  I think next up will be some more pet portraits.  I had an inquiry for a horse portrait a few weeks ago, so I better practice one.  Fortunately, I have several head shots of my sweet Lady than I can use.  And I think I want to do another canine head, too.

Nashville corner

Nashville corner

Nashville corner

I am still working on a few more ornaments, but I felt like doing another architectural too.  I had been thinking about this photo for a while.  It’s a corner store in Nashville and if I remember correctly it might be a Hardrock Cafe.

I haven’t decided whether to use pastels or watercolors yet.  After the success of the barn, I am thinking of using the watercolors.  I have not done a serious watercolor streetscape and something small might be a good place to start. I will need to do something anyway for practice because the barn owner wants her house done in the spring and it will have to be watercolor to match.

And now for something completely different

Angel ornament

Angel ornament

Ever since the debacle of the coaster tiles, I have been trying to think of something new and more seasonally sensitive to put into my etsy shop. There is an outlet around here that sells overstock  and remainder books from 50 cents to several dollars and I have looked off and on in the arts and crafts section for some ideas. Who can resist a $2 art book bargain?

Rocking horse ornament

Rocking horse ornament

Just for fun I picked up a few books on handmade paper and in one of them was a section on ornaments made using ceramic cookie molds.  Hmmm……. I think I have some of those molds.  They  used to hang decoratively on the kitchen soffits of my last house but were now packed away because there are no soffits here.  I dug them out and sure enough they were the exact same thing as in the book.  I looked on line for the paper pulp and ordered a small amount to see if I could actually do this.

Fraidy cat ornament

‘Fraidy cat ornament

And do you know what?  I could- at least the paper molding part.  The painting has proven to be a bit more of a challenge because I haven’t done much decorative work like this.  It’s been slow going so far.  I had to get more acrylic paint and some more suitable brushes, but I’m learning as I go.  I don’t see it replacing my architectural work, but it is a fun diversion and maybe I can sell a few in my etsy shop.

The barn, watercolored

The watercolor barn

The watercolor barn

I must say, I do like the way this turned out. I was a bit hesitant to start the watercolor process because I haven’t done anything quite like it in a long time, but I think I did okay with it.  After staring at it for a little while, I finally just picked up the brush and threw on the paint.  I started with some greens and yellows for the trees and grass.  After I had a base for the foliage on I went to the barn. The gray siding was quite intimidating but I kept layering it.  I let it sit for a day and then added more greens, yellows, and umbers.  All in all, it took 3 days to finish.  Then I forced myself to stop because I was starting to fiddle too much.

According to the owner, the siding was made from chestnut boards and you could still see a bit of orange coloring peeking through the gray in her photos.  It adds a nice bit of contrast to the mostly weathered boards.  The barn was built over a stone foundation and I’ll bet that the stone was locally quarried or even found in the fields as they were cleared.  I am sure it has seen its share of history.  I wonder how many animals have made their home in those stalls.

Oh, and the buyer got it in the mail just yesterday and she likes it too.

The Barn

The inked barn

The inked barn

Before I had to take another short trip out of town over last weekend, I managed to finish the barn inking.  This is a 14 x 10 which will have a watercolor overlay instead of my normal architectural pastel.

It was rather complicated for my poor eyesight to keep track of where the open boards on the upper siding were and then figure out the layout of stalls underneath.  Her pictures were good so that helped.  Fortunately, the landscaping was  fairly simple.  I had to ink in the trees, the pastures, and the fences.  The owner had planted some grasses and black-eyed susans along the front fence and I expanded on those to add a little color to the front.  I was pretty satisfied with it at this stage.

Watercolor up next.

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