Words & Blues

Studies for watercolor portrait painting

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

Picked up a great book on watercolor portrait skills, by Charles Reid (Portrait Painting in Watercolor – out of print, but available used on Amazon). It’s a fabulous book. Here are two studies I did recently following the techniques in the book. Reid’s teaching technique is not the usual sort – very detailed, very specific, but also somewhat demanding, in that you had better be prepared to practice and to paint over and over to grasp what he’s teaching. He uses broad strokes and wet-in-wet to develop features that are…read more

A new portrait

Posted by in Artwork

I’ve been working on improving my portrait-painting skills. I’ve been taking my cues from Charles Reid, who does some amazing work. He has a way of suggesting a lot of detail with a minimum of actual detail, which makes his paintings feel very alive. This is not my first attempt at his style, it was the last in a series of four late at night, trying to get some inkling of how Reid works. I did pick up some of it – strategic use of color, a loose by lively…read more

Pen Sketches

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

A few pen sketches I made recently. The first two are pure sketches; no pencil drawing to start with, just all pen and ink. Boots are from photo, back of head is from live model (next table over at Issaquah Coffee). This last one was quite deliberate, having a little fun with pen and ink around midnight, just seeing what some random shapes suggest.  

Pens and sketching

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

I bought an antique fountain pen a few years ago, and at first I like the idea of the pen more than the pen itself. It was a very wet pen with a flexible nib. In theory, it should be fantastic for drawing. In practice, it was very hard to use. There were two possibilities: It was a lousy pen It was a fantastic pen that I was not good enough to use well. I tried to draw with it; I tried some more. I finally put it away on…read more

Bird, Blue.

Posted by in Artwork

This is another painting that I started last year, and only finished recently. Like the others, I got started, and then I got lost–usually because I had no idea how to do what I wanted to do. Or even had no idea at all what I wanted to do next. In this case, I lost track of the reference photo, so had to make things up if I was going to continue. A year later, and I have more ideas so I have been pulling out the half-finished paintings to…read more

le chat nu.

Posted by in Artwork

Translation: the nude cat (Sphinx cat) Pen and ink with Copic marker eyes. Whiskers are a bit of magic realism.

Mother and Daughter

Posted by in Artwork

I painted this watercolor for my daughter-in-law Elise and my son Chris. It’s from a beautiful mother and daughter photo (I presume Chris took it; he’s a good photog). The tenderness of the moment was very touching. I sent it to them as a Christmas present.

Talking Food

Posted by in Blues

My breakfast was spontaneously trying to communicate with me. It was kind of tragic, but it was still tasty.

The Mountain Seen

Posted by in Artwork

Back into watercolor class last week. I painted the rough (darks only, so working in reverse for watercolor) of this a little over a week ago. Over the weekend, I added the lighter details and did some fix-up on the forms. It worked out to do the darker stuff first – when I added the shadows and such, there was some bleeding of the darker colors, which was precisely correct. The snow reflects every color it “sees” from land and sky. From a photo provided by our wonderful instructor, Cheryl…read more

The Life of Memories, and Memories of Life

Posted by in Poetry, Words

I can see the past more clearly now See how it’s fitted, or ought to have been. Classical piano, tears, rebellion; Schoolyard bullies, kisses, bravado. Now: this feeling in the pit of of my stomach At how untouchable it is… If I’m too careful, I see the jumping and frolicking falling away, My face hardening: less surprised and more serious by the day. Oh, It’s just songs and dreams, but so much is Frozen firm there, in the ancient ice.   A reaction to this.