I started by putting my sketch on my paper using tracing and transfer paper.
I wanted her skin to have a slight pinkish tone to it. I thought I'd just mix red and green for that, but I ended up having to mix some yellow in to. The red and green I was mixing ended up getting too purple. Anyway, I painted the skin and hair, which is a combination of yellow and purple, using wet on wet for the first layers.
Here I've added some darker tones to her hair. I was careful to place them in the right spots because that's what's eventually going to give her hair the texture I want it to have. I also used some of my flesh mixture, with just a little less water in it and made some shadows along her arms.
I mixed some burnt sienna into my color for her hair and painted some more shapes for texture.
I've taken a break from painting the woman herself, to work on the background here. I started with a wash of light yellow green and went over that with some shapes using the same color, but with less water in it.
Here I've added some darker shades to the background and painted the blue in the woman's eyes.
I decided I wanted her top to be an ivory color. I went about this by mixing some yellow into the color I'd mixed for her hair and, using wet on wet, I painted this all over her top, then dabbed it with a tissue so it would be as light as possible. I achieved the folds in the top with a combination of masking fluid to keep certain areas light, a medium shade over the entire top and a dark shade painted in thin lines under the lightest shade.
That's it for part one of this post. In part two, I'll be focusing on the bed itself and the flowers on it.
I've been watching some Authortube videos from a woman named Kate Cavanaugh and I hear her talk a lot about "first drafts". That's a reference to the way authors write a first, second, sometimes even third draft of a story before the come up with the one they end up publishing. In other words, they don't put pressure on themselves to get things right the first time.
Contrast that with artists, who tend to think that whatever color, whatever stroke we put down, that's it. We have to get things right the first time because there's no changing things. This is a mindset that can hold us back from actually creating.
When I'm feeling indecisive about a piece, I tell myself to just put something, anything, on the page. There's a saying that goes, "The best decision is the right decision. The second best decision is the wrong one. The worst decision is no decision at all". This quote is about life in general, but we can apply it to art. Making any piece is a series of decsions and honestly, not all of them will be right.
I thought about this a lot while I was doing my dog eye painting, the last one of which I'm working on now. Here's an excerpt from my post about painting the golden retriever eye.
It was at this point that I my attention was drawn to what looked like some big white patches in the dog's fur.
I didn't want to add patches of pure white, but the leaving the fur as it was didn't feel right either. I mixed
burnt umber with a little bit of titanium white to see how that would look, and I was very pleased with the results.
I would like to move even more quickly in the future when it comes to making decisions about what to do in my pieces, even when I'm feeling unsure.
and I was very pleased with the results. and I was very pleased with the results. and I was very pleased with the results. and I was very pleased with the results.
I started with a base I made by mixing raw sienna, transparent middle yellow, and a touch of red into some titanium white.
,I didn't think it was quite right, though, so I glazed yellow mixed with purple over it and then red mixed with green,
and this is what I got and I'm much happier with it. This is an example of how, as artists, we can take a shade that's not quite right, and by glazing colors over it, make it right. Nothing's messed up just because a color isn't to your liking when you put it on the canvas, but you can't adjust what's only in your mind.
I painted over where the sclera was to be with titanium white so that the colors I was planning to use, a mixture of yellow and purple, would show up. I've started to paint around the rim with a blue-grey made by mixing titanium white, mars black, and ultramarine blue.
Last night I started the layering process required to give the eyeball the shine I want it to have. I painted a super transparent glaze of burnt sienna along the bottom of the sclera. What was really going to give it that shine, though, was painting titanium white along the top and in the pupil.
Here I've brightened up the white shine spot, glazed some ivory black over the burnt umber to darken it, and glazed a very thin layer of ivory black over the sclera. I've also added blue and purple to the surrounding area.
Here I've glazed some ivory black over the white highlight next to his sclera and glazed some gray made by mixing transparent mixing white and ivory black over the surrounding area with the blue and purple. I've also started to paint the fur around the eye.
And at this point, the eye is done. You can follow me on Instagram, which is _Saramakesart to see the rest of the progress of this painting.
I started with a base I made by mixing titanium white, mars black, burnt umber, with a little bit of yellow and purple.
Now I want to say a few words about making a decision about what color to paint something. Looking at my reference photo, I wasn't sure what "color" exactly that I saw. It wasn't definitely brown, or definitely gray, for example. I mixed the colors that I did, despite being unsure. If the shade I came up with wasn't right, I would know after I put it on the canvas.
What I'm getting at here is that it's much easier to know if the mixture you come up with is "right" when you see the results with your eyes, as opposed to just thinking about it in your head. If something's off, I know if I need to add more of a particular color to my mixture or even if I need to glaze some of that color over the painting after it's dry.
Of course, you may find that one color is too strong in your mixture and in that case, you'll need to tone it down. That's where complementary colors come in. I talk about those here.
As always, I sketched out my design for the eye with a charcoal pencil over the now dry base.
For the main part of his eyeball, I painted it with burnt umber mixed with mars black and titanium white. This was still too brown, though so I glazed gray over it made by mixing transparent mixing white and ivory black. I mixed more mars black into my color for the iris so it would be darker so I could paint the rim around the eye.
For the white parts of the fur, I mixed my original shade for the base of the fur into some titanium white. This gives me a very light tone without it actually being stark white, which would've looked very flat. I was careful to make my strokes go in the right direction. This helps to create the curly texture that is characteristic of poodle fur.
I’ve added blue, along with both transparent mixing white and titanium white with a liner brush, to create shine on the eyeball.
The more I looked at the rim around the eyeball, the more I thought there wasn’t enough contrast between the two, so I glazed ivory black over the rim.
Using a liner brush and some darker colors, I created more texture in the whiter parts of his fur.
So that is how I would paint a poodle's eye in acrylics.
In this article, I'm telling you about my quest so far to learn how to avoid blooms while working in watercolor. Blooms happen in watercolor when part of the paint in an area dries before the rest of the paint dries in that area. They can be one of the most frustrating parts of working in watercolor.
My attempts to avoid blooms while working in watercolor involve working on painting fast enough so the part of the paint in an area doesn't have a chance to dry before the rest. It goes without saying that I need to cover as much of an area as I can in one sitting. I think it also helps to watch the amount of water on my brush. A waterlogged brush will deposit more water onto the paper, which probably results in that area drying more slowly than the surrounding areas, thus creating blooms.
So, that's what I've figured out so far about how to avoid blooms in watercolor. I'll continue to practice these principals in my watercolor work going foid
I started by applying a base made by mixing a little bit of burnt umber with titanium white, yellow, and a tiny amount of purple, just so the yellow wouldn't be too bright. Then I sketched the design for my eye with a charcoal pencil.
It was at this point that I my attention was drawn to what looked like some big white patches in the dog's fur.
,I didn't want to add patches of pure white, but the leaving the fur as it was didn't feel right either. I mixed
burnt umber with a little bit of titanium white to see how that would look,
and I was very pleased with the results. I used burnt sienna as a base for his eye and mixed that with burnt umber for my shadows.
In the reference photo, I think you can see there's a high gloss shine to the eye. I achieved this with a combination of titanium white and zinc white from the Amsterdam line. Unlike titanium white, which is opaque, zinc white is translucent. For the big highlight on his pupil, I used ultramarine and a touch of cyan blue in addition to the two different whites. I was also careful to keep my wrist loose so I could paint a smooth, continuous line, which was also essential to achieve this look.
I've used yellow mixed with a bit of burnt sienna for the highlights on his eye and glazed over his rim with some ultramarine blue. It was important to me that the gray underneath still show through.
I used titanium white to paint the fur lines above his eye, being careful to follow the direction of my reference photo. I went over these lines with my yellow and burnt sienna mixture. Having the titanium white underneath, meant that the lines would now show up over the black.
And that is how I would paint a labrador retriever's eye.
I'm going to be doing a series of articles on how to paint the eyes of specific dog breeds. I'm going to be the German shepherd, the poodle, the beagle, and the labrador retriever. For this first post, I'm starting with the beagle.
I'm starting with the beagle's eye.
I started with a sketch in charcoal. So far, I've mixed burnt umber with transparent middle red and titanium white for the brown part of his fur.
I painted the lines around his eyes in sections. My tendency is to stop and start when painting a line, but making one continuous motion will go miles in this case towards creating realism. The lines around his eyes are a dark grayish brown. I'll have to tint more brown when I go back to this.
This is the next day and I've remixed my color for around the eyes so there's more brown, like I said. The rim right next to his eyeball still wasn't dark enough, though, so I took my liner brush and added a ring of black to it. For his iris, I just mixed burnt umber with a bit of oxide black.
I conquered the challenge of figuring out what to paint his sclera. I chose to simply mix a bit of brown with yellow. LAter, I went over that with some gray made by mixing zinc white and ivory black, leaving a small window of the brownish yellow showing. I also gave him a pupil and started to fill in the missing colors in his fur. His pupil has some highlights, which so far I've done in light blue.
Here I've added that extra bit of black along the dog's eyeball that was needed. I've also filled in his snout a light blue, rather than leaving it white, and painted his nose.
I'll probably continue to adjust the shadows on the nose, but right now, the eye is pretty much finished.
I'm going to confess, I'm currently in a creative dry spell, at least by my standards. In times past, I've been so overwhelmed with ideas that I feel like I can't possibly get to all of them and lately, I feel like I have my current project to work on and after that, I'm a blank.
The thing is, it seems no matter what my mind is doing, whether it's in hyper creative mode or slow mode, I'm not happy. If it's coming up ideas left and right, I'm like, "Brain, I barely had time to start on that other idea. Can we slow down a bit." If it's slow coming with the creativity, I'm like, "Brain, can we step it up? Where are all the ideas you're supposed to be giving me? I need to know what I'm going to do after I finish this project".
It just occurred to me today, in fact, to shift my mindset to that of, whatever my mind is doing as far as creativity, it's okay.
Let's talk about the first scenario, where your creativity is chugging along like a choo choo train. You worry about not being able to bring all these ideas to life. So what? If you're a creative person, your mind will come up with more ideas than you make manifest in a lifetime. Literally. The greatest creatives went to their graves with some creativity still in them and that's a good thing. It means their creative well didn't dry out. Just work on the ideas that excite you the most now and don't worry about the rest.
Now scenario two, where you have only one or two creative ideas at a time. Well, as long as you have something you're still winning the creativity game. Why not enjoy the peacefulness of a mind that's not racing?
Even if you have zero ideas, a condition known as artist block, which is writer's block for artists, if being an artist is your identity, this is not an excuse not to create. I'll let Lisa Clough explain.
"Not every single piece that we create needs to be our best, biggest, greatest piece ever. We just need to constantly create"~Lisa Clough to artists
If there was nothing I was excited to paint or draw, I would do quick studies or sketches(which can be in any medium you like, not just pencil) that I could finish in a day or two, until I found something I was excited about. You could even get some canvas boards or "student" grade paper for this if you don't want to "waste" your good canvas or paper.
Also, remember that inspiration has to find us working. That's a paraphrase of a quote from Picasso, which is the topic of this video I did.
I've started with a wash of what's going to be the lightest shade all over the hair. With watercolor, you always want to work from light to dark because your lightest layers are your most watery layers and if you put a layer with a lot on top of a layer with very little water, the layer underneath can lift.
Before I painted the second and third layers, I took a needle and, using the thimble end of it, I put masking fluid where I wanted highlights to be. That's how I got that pattern that you see. I was almost painting with the masking fluid.
I find a needle to be very convenient for when I want to keep my masking fluid areas very small. Even the smallest brushes can be too big a lot of the time. It's also important to have a lot of masking fluid on the needle. That was the only way I was going to be able to make the strokes that I did.
Here's what it looks like when I add more of the darkest colored strands. I was careful to follow the direction and copy the appropriate shapes I saw in my reference photo. Making curly hair is not about drawing lots or loops or spirals.
In other words, it's not this.
Also, because I wanted the hair to have some lift, I made sure my marks near the top of her head were slightly curved. I also needed to make sure the paint underneath was dry before I added more layers on top. This was so that I could get hard edges and therefore make each stroke look like an individual hair piece. If I'd painted wet on wet, the each stroke would've looked like different shade of the same mass. That would be fine if I was painting straight or maybe even wavy hair, but curly hair is usually more textured than that.
You can hear even more details in this video I'm posting.
These are swatches I made of my General's Kimberly Watercolor Pencils and my watercolor pencils from Caran 'Dache . The first pic shows the swatches dry and the second one shows them with water added.
I was expecting to like the Caran d'ache pencils way more than the Kimberly ones, but aside from the colors of Caran d'ache being more vibrant, there's not a lot of difference that I could see in quality. By that I mean, I think the Kimberly watercolor pencils are still great to work with.
That's just what I learned from swatching, though. To get a real idea of how well both sets of pencils worked, I needed to do two full projects with them, so I decided to paint this frog from Pixabay in twice, using the General's Pencils for one and the Caran 'Dache pencils for the other.
Below is day one of the General's version.
Maybe i just didn't use enough water or enough pencil, but I found it kind of difficult to build the green up to the intensity that I wanted it. What you see there is probably about three or four layers and I'm still not quite happy with it. As I'm writing this, I'm considering painting some red on the sides for shadows. In layering yellow with purple for the flesh around his eyeball and red with orange for his feet, I found that these pencils make it easy to blend and mix colors.
For the ridges in the leaf, I used the tip of my light green pencil and blended with my smallest watercolor filbert brush in a vertical motion. I moved my brush slowly in a continuous motion down the pencil line.
I added a red shadow to the side of the frog's body. The idea behind this is that since red and green are compliments, the presence of the red should make the green of the frog's body look brighter. I'm not sure how well that worked out, though. Then again, maybe I just need more layers on the frog.
I combined my light green and my regular green pencils for the mountains, since it looked like no single pencil was going to cut it.
That's pretty much it for the General's version of this painting. Now for the Caran 'Dache pencils.
I quickly found that the Caran 'Dache pencils blended out way more easily than the General's. My blending frustration might also be due to the paper that I'm using, though. I'm working on rough paper, so the pencil has a lot of nooks and crannies to get caught in. Cold press or even hot press be a better choice for working in watercolor in pencil form.
When it came to his left eye, I decided I would paint a ring of red around it, leaving some of the orange showing in the middle. Then I took a what looked to me like a bluish green pencil and draw a thin shadow, right along the outer edge. When I blended this all out with water, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the shadow blended into the rest of the eye.
I took advantage of the extra colors in this set to paint some dark spots on the frog's back.
I started filling in the mountains in the background with a dark green pencil. Then I decided it needed to be more yellow, so, I layered a yellow pencil with it.
I was thinking the mountains and the leaf looked too similar in color, so I set to work adding more yellow to the mountains. I also used purple, just so the yellow wouldn't be too bright. It took several layers of yellow and purple to get the mountains where they are now and I pressed pretty hard with the yellow.
The harder you press with a watercolor pencil, the more of that pigment you'll get. So if you want, for example, a yellowish green, press really hard with your yellow and press lightly with your blue. That's how I painted the ridges flanking the strip on the edge of the leaf.
In the second photo, I've started to color in the sky and I've also shaded the ridges in the leaf a darker shade, leaving a strip of the original shade showing on the edge for a highlight.
Painter of portraits and wildlife