The Colorado cabin is finished

Greens and browns

Greens and browns

I finished the watercolors on the mountain cabin and have mailed the portrait off in plenty of time for framing as a Christmas gift.  The coloring was on the harder side as the cabin and roof were basically a monochromatic brown with light yellow trim and the trees were all variations of pines.  The only bright color was the door.  I used some intense yellows in the trees to help the flow of the eye and to unify the painting more.  I also tried to intersperse some of the blue spruce color around too.

I used a darker purple to put in the shadowing beneath and around the house and under the trees to give depth and a little additional color.  I decided a reddish brown overlay was best to highlight the siding board seams and vary the solid brown mass.  It didn’t really make it more red, just darkened the lines for the boards.

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The inking pretty well done

Mostly inked

Mostly inked

I’ve done as much on the inking as I will do for now.  I’m pretty pleased with the value ranges of all of the trees, but will use the watercolors to set out most of the shadowing.  It has a of a limited color palette, being mostly shades of green and brown, but I will probably throw in some purples for shadowing.  The accent colors are only light yellows, so that doesn’t brighten it up much.  It will take as long as the inking did, I think, to work out a color scheme to unify it but not be boring.

Trees, trees and more trees

So many pine trees

So many pine trees

Still working on the landscaping.  There is such a multitude of vegetation that it is taking a bit longer than normal to fill it all in.  I have to keep very aware of the positive/negative balance much more than I would otherwise, so that the house is not overwhelmed and it all gets too dark.  I am pretty pleased with this so far, though.  I will use the watercolors to darken under the house and will probably go in afterwards to fill in the ink where I think it needs it.

And yesterday I got an unexpected note.  Last August I was approached for the possibility of using one of my architectural drawings to be used as cover art for US State Department “English Teaching Forum” journal some time next year.  I sent them four different images to be in competition with I don’t know how many others, and I just received an email informing me that one of them had been chosen.  I was quite happily surprised because I had been told the person selected would be notified by the end of September.  When there was no word, I figured someone else had gotten it.  I don’t mind saying that I am rather pleased.  Sometimes “out of the blue” is a great thing.  I’ll post a picture when I get my copy!!

Inking started on the Colorado cabin

Starting to ink all of those pine trees

Starting to ink all of those pine trees

At the end of last week, I started to ink my latest commission.  With a small weekend break to visit my new grandson, progress is a little slow, but I’m getting back to work today.

I started the way I normally do on a home commission – with the foliage.  For whatever reason, I like to begin with the landscaping and gradually move inward.  This is fairly complex as there is not really any “front” landscaping, but a massive amount of trees all around.  I have to be very careful with the positive/negative space so that the house doesn’t get lost.  The linearity of the house will help contrast with the softer trees.  Even though they are spiky pines, their irregular shapes are more fluid.  Another balance I have to find.

I actually stopped here deliberately because I started to lose my judgement and needed fresh eyes.  I need to rebalance the two pine trees on the right so they don’t look quite so lined up and will reshape them to move them slightly apart.  I was starting to lose sight of the whole at this point and decided it was time to stop.  Ink is so unforgiving that way.

Windows and the railings will be up next, after all of those trees are mostly done.

Well, I got my wish

Colorado cabin

Colorado cabin

Well, I got my wish. Just as I was starting the inking for the Jasper, Indiana, streetscape, I got an inquiry for a Christmas home portrait.  A woman is having a portrait done of her parents’ Colorado cabin as a gift.

I had the darnedest time getting the enlargements made for this.  She sent me 2 screen shots which were labeled as jpegs and which I could see in my computer picture files that turned out to have issues when I tried to make some crops for details in photoshop.  It kept telling me that something was wrong with the file and photoshop wouldn’t open it at all.  It was with great trepidation that I took the flash drive into the big box store to make the enlargements, even though they showed up on it and I could open them at home.  Sure enough, their computer/printer couldn’t see the file.  However, I got the bright idea to try the expensive branded photo kiosk instead of the cheaper “house” ones.  And what do you know, there they were.  I showed the department manager my problem and he let me have the good ones, but only pay for the cheaper version.  It was a  big relief that I got anything at all.  I would have paid for the more expensive ones at any rate, because the return trip cost would have outweighed any cash savings.

Anyway, after my short drama, I went ahead and made the pencil drawing and started the sketch.  Inking starts tomorrow.

It’s been a while

Jasper street

Jasper street

I know it’s been a while, but I think I’m finally back on track with my artwork and blog posting for now.  August and September were filled with family moves and the birth of our first grandchild but now, with the start of October, I’m edging back into the studio and starting to look for the Christmas commissions to begin.

In the meantime, I selected another streetscape from Jasper, Indiana.  This one is not as colorful as the previous ones on the town square.  It is mostly muted blue-gray for the Elements store and plain red bricks on the left, but I liked the eclectic array of wares on the sidewalk and in the windows, along with the spool table and chairs for potential customers.  The upper brickwork around the windows is textured and there is a lot of vertical detail in the rest of the facade siding, so there will be quite a bit of inking involved.

Stay tuned.  The next post will be either the start of inking on this or the pencil up of a new commission.  I promise to be better in October.