Words & Blues

Having a little fun

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

I’ve been traveling and working long hours lately, but managed to steal some time to goof around. I had some fun with watercolor and pen & ink. A friend has a dog that is a natural clown; here is a simple, quick watercolor from a photograph. It’s been a long while since I did a direct ink sketch (no pencil drawing, just ink to paper). It has a nice immediacy. This was done from a photograph (but I wasn’t trying to be faithful to the photo; I has just having…read more

Great Blue Heron

Posted by in Artwork

This was a lot of fun to paint, but I took my time with it. I felt that it needed very lifelike branches to work, so I drew them in, then painted them carefully in numerous layers. I started with a very light wash of burnt umber, which remains the dominant color, but other light washes of cobalt blue, burnt sienna, and some others were added one at a time to try to develop some good texture on the larger branches. But even the finest branchlets have multiple washes. The…read more

The latest fashion

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

I wasn’t intending to do a fashion-style painting, but elongating the form definitely took this pretty far in that direction. More work with the 18-color palette, although I didn’t use very many of the colors here.

New work in watercolor

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

I haven’t had a lot of time to paint lately, between work and traveling to doctor appointments, but here is another that I painted with the new 18-color palette. This portrait took unexpected turns. My intention was to start with a light blue wash for the shadows, and then go darker for the details, but as you can see below, I stopped after adding only the eye detail and a little color in the face. The face has a ghostly presence that I like, so I just stopped right there.  …read more

A new 18-color watercolor palette

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

I’ve been using a muted palette lately (mostly earth tones, many opaque or semi-transparent), so I thought I’d put together a mostly transparent palette. My starting point is one published by Daniel Smith on their website, by painter Brenda Swenson. I’ve already modified a few of the colors – initially because I didn’t have some, and some to reflect my own needs. Here is her color selection as I’ve laid in out in a small travel-size palette: I’ve made up painting strips on Arches paper, 140lb off-white. I’ve done two studies…read more

Face to Face

Posted by in Artwork

I had a long run of long days recently in New Mexico – 12-hour days for three straight weeks, worked right through the weekends. No time for painting, but we did get a lot done on the telescope. Got back to Seattle on Monday, and am getting back to one of my favorite things: portraits. I did one earlier this week; it did not go well. Things descended into mud pretty quickly. Started a new painting yesterday, after watching (and re-watching) the first half of Charles Reid’s Figurative Watercolor. It’s…read more

Goodbye, and good memories

Posted by in Artwork

My favorite Cloudcroft, NM, eatery is closing soon, and I wanted to paint it. I took some photos, and one with the owner and her child struck me as a particularly good choice. This is the photo. In the end I cropped it to improve both the composition and the sense of intimacy with the subjects. I recently bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for drawing (it comes with a stylus, and there is plenty of good Windows software for drawing). I decided to do a very spontaneous study of form…read more

The Artist

Posted by in Poetry, Words

An artist is free, To fall, and call it flight, To destroy, and call it creation. To be undone, and call it alive.


Call Me Lefty

Posted by in Artwork

I’ve been meaning for some time now to get back to drawing with my left hand. I’m right-handed, but a few decades ago I experimented with drawing with my left hand, and it was a very interesting experience. You could call it “enhanced scribbling.” Not very sophisticated, but something interesting, usually a face, emerged from the chaos. Those drawings are in New Mexico, so I can post an example at the moment, but I will when I get my hands on the sketchbooks. Here are three left-hand drawings done over…read more

Portrait Progress

Posted by in Artwork

I started a portrait from a B&W photograph Wednesday, April 22 in Cheryl Long’s class. Here are the stages it’s been through on the way to being, for now, finished. Here is stage one: aded a wash for skin color, and got the mouth and most of the hair done. Took about an hour and a half. The hair was a risk; I knew that I wanted to use different colors (for shadows, highlights, and mid-tones), and scraping to show texture. I sort of figured I’d fill in broadly with…read more