Monday, September 26, 2011

Experimenting with Gouache

Since finishing Bracken, I've been experimenting with gouache again.  I really like using it in combination with watercolor but decided to try it the way I understand it's supposed to be used - like acrylic or oils.

One reason I decided to play with gouache this way was to try to learn acrylics without having to clean brushes constantly.  Because gouache is water soluble, you can leave your rinsed out brushes without doing a thorough cleaning of them.  The gouache doesn't set up in the bristles like acrylic or even oil.  I guess I have to be careful not to get into bad brush habits just because I can leave brushes when using gouache.  I don't want to carry any bad habits into my work with acrylic!

I'm not at all satisfied with this painting and may continue to work on it or I may go over it with pastel.  The gouache dries very quickly and smooth strokes and gentle transistions are very difficult for me to achieve.  I do like the basic premise of this but know it could use a lot more work.  The question is whether I want that work to be in more gouache or pastel!

Oh, this painting was done on Arches 140# hot-pressed watercolor paper with Lukas gouache.  I've taped it off so that the actual painted area is 8 x 10 inches.

As always, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bracken - After The Fall

I've been working more on Bracken since I dropped her portrait and am once again at the stage where I'll let it sit to make sure there's nothing more I need to do to it.

As always, if anyone sees anything that need to be done or changed, please let me know!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I had done some additional work on Bracken, the Golden Retriever, and was moving him off my art table to a "safer" place when I dropped her!  As you can see, the pastel came off in many places!

This is the first time this has ever happened to me although I've read about it happening to many others.  Sooooo, velour is no longer a favorite support around here.  Fortunately, I only have a couple of sheets of it left.

But, I'm not really so unhappy that it happened.  I wasn't crazy about the portrait and now I can make some changes and not worry about the tooth being filled.  I'm a "the glass is half-full" kind of person! lol

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Golden Retriever - Marinating Stage

I think I'm nearly finished with Beautiful Bracken - at least I'm at the stage where I know I'm not quite there but need to let it "marinate" a little before deciding what needs to be done.

I don't know if I messed up or not but the green of the velour paper just wasn't doing it for me so I added in some other greens to give it a little variety.  That's one of the things I want to think about.

Another is the collar  - I normally leave collars off unless the client just wants it  because I find they often distract from the portrait itself.  The round tags might be ok but I plan to ask Linda if I can cover up the buckle part.  My eye goes right to it.

The other thing is the sienna coloring - for some reason it never scans or even photographs very well.  Even though I'm using Richeson, Rembrandts and Senneliers, that particular color seems to be less opaque or something and the undercolors come through, particularly in a scan.  I'll photograph it in a little while and see if I can get a better photo.

If anyone sees anything amiss, please let me know.  If I change anything, I'll post again!

Golden Retriever - WIP 3

Still just pretty much blocking in color although I have started some detailing in the head area.  Still a ways to go.

I forgot to mention that the reference photo is from LJ on Paint My Photo and is of her 11 year old Golden Retriever.  Also that I'm using green Hahnemuhle velour paper, 9x12 inches in size with a variety of soft pastel sticks and pastel pencils.

I'm going a bit more slowly than usual as it took a while to get back in the groove painting on the velour but I think we're cooking now.  If only there weren't the interruptions one gets during the course of the day - I've said it before but I'll say it again - I need a mother!  Not just a housekeeper, but someone like an old-fashioned mother to keep up with the laundry, shop for and cook the meals and keep the house clean!

Any takers out there?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Golden Retriever - WIP2

Just a bit added to the portrait of Bracken, the Golden Retriever.  It's getting easier to work on the velour but I'm still just blocking in colors.  I'll go back over it and refine the details once I have the colors in place.

Watch this space!  lol

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Old Favorites

This is directed to the other artists who read my blog.  Did you ever have a favorite support that you used forever and thought was the best thing since sliced bread?

My favorite support was always velour and I rarely had a problem painting on it.  However, the paintings I've done recently have been on PastelMat or ColourFix Suede.  So I had this green velour and thought it would be perfect for the portrait of this older Golden Retriever.  It's been an uphill battle since I started and I just don't understand it!

I thought going back to a previously favorite support would be like riding a bicycle - after all, you never really forget how, do you?  Doesn't the old brain make pathways from repeated motions so those motions can be carried out quickly and easily in the future?  Of course, much of the problem has been getting the right colors. Even though the pastel is covering pretty well, the green background does affect the applied colors.  But the application has been difficult also - the pastels tend to drag and sort of skip on the surface and I can never remember that happening before.

Well, I'll quit complaining and just get back to it.  If it turns out lousy, I'll give it a try on PastelMat or ColourFix Suede!  Shoot, I may even switch media altogether and that would really stir up the old brain synapses, wouldn't it?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Double Exposure

I got this painting delivered to my gallery (the Raleigh Street Gallery) yesterday.  It's for a special exhibit for the Siler City, North Carolina Third Friday Art Walk and I'm excited about it.  The exhibit is called the Double Exposure Exhibit and is a joint endeavor between local artists and the local Chatham Camera Club.

A few months ago artists were invited to choose a photograph from a selection from the Chatham Camera Club to interpret in any size, medium and way they wanted.  Then a joint exhibit featuring both the photos and the art will be held at the Chatham Camera Club gallery during the Third Friday Art Walk in October.

I know the exhibit is over a month away but thought maybe some of you who are fairly close might want to mark your calendars and plan to attend.  I think this will be an interesting exhibit and it will be really fun to see the art next to the photograph.  I know one artist is using a medium that needs to be fired!  How fun will that be to see!

And, some of you artists might want to sign up to participate in the next Double Exposure Exhibit or maybe even start something similar with your own local camera club if you're too far to participate with this one!

By the way, my painting is soft pastel on Colourfix Suede - I call it "King of the Mudflats" and I think this is a Little Blue Heron.  There are so many varieties of herons that I'm not completely sure but I do know that it is a heron!   lol

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Visit With Dors

Some of you may recognize the beautiful kangaroo drawing I've posted.  It's from my blogger friend, Dors, blogspot,, and she presented this gorgeous drawing to me during the visit to us by her and her husband.  I was just delighted and overwhelmed by her generosity and so honored to have one of her beautiful drawings.  Don't you just love it?

Dors and her husband, Nev, arrived Friday afternoon and were so warm and friendly that it felt as if we had known one another for years instead of just meeting at that moment.  Of course, we have "known" one another for years but only on the internet and it's usually different when you meet someone in person.

Dors is no exception - she is different in person!  First of all, her bubbly personality just doesn't come through on the internet.  She's very warm and actually very funny and, as Sue ( predicted, we talked the "hind legs off a donkey" that evening! 

Dors and I talked art of course, and Nev, her husband, was equally warm and very knowledgeable about a variety of subjects.  He's also a master photographer and got some wonderful photos of our hummingbirds.  Between the two of them, we ended up staying up later that my DH and I have done for ages!  We just had a great time and I hope Dors and Nev did also.

We also hope they'll come back for a visit again one day. It really can't be too soon as this visit was way too short!