Friday, September 29, 2023

Is it Possible to Transform Transparent Watercolor?

Years of painting with transparent watercolor, gouache, collage and acrylic have given me oodles of ways to fix a painting. Yet there still many things I haven't tried. So this post shows one way to transform a painting if the artist (me) might be willing to mess around, going from one style of art to another.

A few weeks ago I met a young woman who's looks were so stunning I asked if I could take her picture. I explained that I was an artist and might use the photo for a painting. She was flattered and gave her consent to both the photo and the potential painting.

I began  the portrait with transparent watercolor. The more I painted, the more I got a Persian vibe from her features.

I spent some time looking at some fabrics from the region. Many of the patterns included a paisley design which led me to creating a new stamp for the background.

Once that was done, I was ready to work farther on the painting.

I chose a scarf to cover some of her head, some dark and light in the background. Finally I used my newly designed stamp to create a more interesting backdrop for this lovely face.

There was certainly a time that I would have patted my own back and said, "Job well done." But . . .

I wanted a different look, one that is more in keeping with the recent back and white portraits I've been painting. So I began to work on breaking away from transparent to gouache (an opaque watercolor paint).

My Process

I first put a layer of diluted gesso (a thin, white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or a combination of these substances) over the entire painting.

I still had enough of the figure to use as I moved on repainting the face in black and white (mixed to create various grays) gouache. 

Once I was satisfied with the newly painted face, I layered frog tape over the entire face and scarf. Because the tape is semi-transparent, I could gently cut around the figure with an exacto knife. If one is careful, it only cuts the tape and not the paper.

With the figure protected, I could work on the background with ease. I didn't have to paint so carefully and I could make the stamp appear behind the woman. Finally I removed the tape and . . .


Saturday, September 16, 2023

The Last Days of Summer

I know some folks consider summer ending at the end of August, but when it is 86-90 degrees in September, I consider it summer. Unfortunately the wild fires that have surrounded us bring in so much smoke that it is most unpleasant to be outdoors. However, it doesn't keep our plant life from enjoying the warmth.

When we rebuilt our home, I really wanted a small pond outside my studio
and here is why!!

The smoky skies also add color to the sky creating gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

Raya's backdrop is eye-catching. 

And, thankfully, the house and studio have good air filtering systems, so spending some time creating art is another way to spend these air heavy days.

 Don't forget rafting!! The first week or two of September has always been our favorite time to raft the Wild and Scenic Rogue River with our rafting family. And luckily the skies over us were clear, the days were warm and the star-filled night sky was spectacular. 

**You may remember that 3 years ago we had another great Rogue raft trip, and the day after the trip ended, our house burned down in the Holiday Farm Fire. It's hard to keep those memories at bay!

Here are some pictorial highlights of our raft trip:

This year Mike and I slept on cots.
This is the night before launch when we set the cots up on our trailer.

Only our first night at Almeda Campground allowed fires. I love the lighting!

And we're off! Day 1 of 5 days.

Did you know Barbie can also be a kayaker?

There is always a bit of looking forward to the next day's rapids and camp spots.

We have the best of dinners!

Mike thought he might see a UFO!
Oh wait, it's a helicopter with a bucket.
There is no escaping the wildfires.  

White water kayaking at its finest!

Heading into Mule Creek Canyon, known for the Cofee Pot!
It percolates your vessel then spits it out!

Amazing rocks

And then there is this breathe-taking reflexion. 

We saw very few deer.

And quite a number of herons.

At the end of our trip, we have our eyes peeled to spot the Haiku Tree.
Yes, it is still there growing out of one rock!

Awesome Autumn wishes to you all!