I finished the dog portrait


Silly me. In my eagerness to start the watercolors, I forgot to photograph the inked phase, so here is the finished portrait.  What a cute little dog this is.  After I started the watercolors, the overhead perspective from the photo made her harness start to look more and more like a neckerchief.  I had to widen the base somewhat to make it look right.  It wasn’t so apparent in the pencil up or even the inking, but about half way through the watercolors, the orange harness fabric started to bother me.  I widened the base with the ink.  Fortunately, that area is in shadow, so I could get away with it.  In the end, I am pleased with it.


Gizmo done


I finished Gizmo’s watercolor portrait, and I must say, I like it much better than the acrylic one.  I was able to be much more delicate in depicting him – and he was a very delicate little guy.  I think for portraiture (both pet and architectural) that pen and ink with the watercolor or pastel overlay is much more suited to my style.  I really need to take an acrylic class and get a better idea of technique.

Jasper color

Watercolored in

Watercolored in

The watercoloring is finished on the Jasper, Indiana streetscape and it is ready for listing in my etsy shop.  While it is not quite as colorful as some of the others, I do like the blue gray siding next to the red bricks.  We actually went into this shop and bought some gifts and a little sign. It is a lovely little store to walk into and explore.

I am going to have to go out this spring and take some local small town photos.  I really have enjoyed creating this set of streetscapes.  The big problem is finding a small town mainstreet that is as vibrant as Jasper is and lots of open, well cared for stores.  Small towns are having a hard time surviving.  Jasper deserves a lot of credit.

Watercoloring the German streetscape

Streetscap with watercolors added

Streetscape with watercolors added 

This drawing has quite a bit more color added to it than the previous one.  I started with painting the red timber trim and flower boxes and then moved on to the walls.  I left the upper area white but darkened the lower areas.  The brown building on the left also provided a nice contrast.  I grounded the building by darkening up the street.  Unlike the road in the last one with the brick patterns, this one has nothing to distinguish it.  I may decide to darken it up a little bit more.

I decided to get bold with the sky this time around.  I discovered that if I put some ink lines on another sheet of board and then wet them, I had a light watercolor to add quickly to the real painting.  I wet the sky area pretty well with clear water and then loaded up the brush from the prewatered lines.  I quickly dabbed the wide brush into the sky area and moved it around.  Prewetting the sky with plenty of water seemed to let the ink wash act more like watercolor and not just stain the board wherever I touched it.  I’m pleased with the effect.  Some of the pinks appear along with the blues, giving the sky some texture.

I’m not happy with the green foliage between the buildings so I’m just letting it sit a couple of days before I make any adjustments.  Maybe I’ll add some yellows to it.

Redoing the studio linocut

Redone linocut

Redone linocut

I wasn’t really happy with the color print of the backyard studio, so I decided to redo it. Part of the problem I have been having with the prints I color is that the heavier paper is more textured and it is difficult to get an even print.  I went to the local box craft store to see if I could find an acid free heavier paper without so much texture. They carried a pad of Strathmore acid free mixed media paper with a smoother finish that had possibilities.  I bought it and made a couple of prints.  Definitely it was easier.  This one had better ink pickup on the whole than the more textured paper.  It isn’t quite as absorbent as fast, but if I take it slower and allow the watercolors a chance to sink in and dry, it does work.  I just think I need to practice with it some.  Because the black is more consistent, the watercolors have a chance to pop the image more.  I think I’ll keep trying it for the next few linocuts.

I had some new prints made from from my digital files this week, too.  After the last few years of work, I have pretty much run the gamut of the usable photos from my old analog camera, so I went ahead and made a few from my digital files.  It is so nice now that I can just look at my files and only print up the ones that turn out.  I used to have to take rolls and rolls of film to make sure I got some good shots.  It is certainly a lot cheaper too.  I have some shots from a visit to an outdoor dinosaur museum in Kentucky off of I-65 that have the makings of a few little boy linocuts and also downtown shots from Jasper Indiana where I had the paintings in the art show last September.  Maybe inspiration is striking again.  Anyway, those projects will be up in next weeks.

On a totally different note, please indulge a little motherly pride.  Our son ran in the 2015 USA Track and Field 100 mile National Championships in Texas on January 31.  A long time runner, he placed 12th in the men’s championship field and 23rd overall out of a field of 367.  Here is a link to our daughter-in-law’s blog with a picture.  I also have her blog in my blogroll if you can’t use the link for some reason under Beth’s Healthy Lifestyle Blog.  It is the previous post to the one up. https://treetoptrainingcultivation.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/endurance/

Phoenix color

Southwestern stucco house

Southwestern stucco house

Coloring this one was a little harder than it might seem. Stucco is always a challenge because of its lack of definition. I tried to use color variation to indicate texture and I think it turned out well.  Thank heavens for the greenery though.  It would have looked awfully stark, or just much plainer, without the addition of the shrubs. However, I must admit I am partial to having living landscaping around any building.  The tile roof was a first for me too.  It was a kind of pinky, orange color which tied in nicely with the brick sidewalk accents.  Anyway, it’s already packaged and off in the mail tomorrow.

I received another Christmas home portrait commission last week.  It should be fun to do and now I don’t have to make a decision on my next project.  I pick up the pictures today and will start the pencil sketch tomorrow.  My goal is to have it ready to go out next Monday.  Quick work, but doable.

Corgis, company and Christmas ornaments

New ornaments

New ornaments

It has been a week of company (two sets of family) and therefore a smaller amount of time in the studio.  I am still going back and forth with the corgi owner about his eyes, so I decided that it might be a good time to replace the green angel ornament that I sold earlier this month and make up a couple more.  I have relatively little blue in my etsy shop so I decided that a blue angel and a blue rocking horse might be a good idea.  Here are the three ready to go.  It is hard for me to judge the blue, but I think they turned out fine.

Soon, I will pin down the corgi’s eyes and finish him up.   I am eager to get it in the mail to her, but reluctant to send her a preview for the eyes.  I always like the wow factor when it is first opened up and that is spoiled with an early peek.  And my photography editing skills are not where I’d like them to be for someone to be making overall judgments on my work, especially when I have no idea what it would look like on another monitor or cell phone.  I just don’t know.  I may have to.

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