Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Artist at work

I've finally finished.

The last part of the painting was the painting within the painting. For this I wanted to convey that feeling of a creation in progress. The painting is of Niagara falls in the winter... the subject is not really important to all of us but hopefully is to Denis himself. We paint best what is dear to our hearts or that we have a connection to in some way and I know how much Denis loves the sheer beauty of the ice formations on the falls in the winter so it seemed just right that he would want to capture this on paper. For the rest of us artists the importance lies more in the fact that Denis, like us, is in engrossed in the creation itself, revelling in the rollercoaster of emotions as he paints. Hopefully our eye is drawn from Denis's face to his hand and down through the paintbrush to the painting but the painting itself is not the primary focus so i didnt want to paint in too much detail or use colours that were wildly different to the rest of the painting. This is why I had chosen to use the same colours for his clothes as the painting.

Thanks for following along with me. Its been nice to have company while I painted.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Artist at work WIP 4

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. I have managed to fit in odd times to paint and have now finished Denis's hair and begun the initial washes on the table. Just the wood grain to add and then the Denis in my painting can begin to paint his picture.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

progress report

I have now finished the clothes so thought I would post an update for you to see. I am now going to work on the detail on Denis's face and glasses. I hope I was be able to post another update soon.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Slow Progress

Hi everyone,

Sorry its been so long. I haven't done much more to the painting this last month as you can see but I am going to try to get back to it over the next few days. This was going to be my christmas card this year. I guess now it will have to be a New Years card instead. I hope it will be worth the wait. To you especially Denis, thank you for your patience in waiting for this painting to be finished. Hopefully painting it will help me feel stronger and more able to deal with everything.

Thank you for all your kind caring e mails cards and messages over the last month. They have all helped so much.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A portrait of Denis WIP 1

I thought it was about time I posted my progress here. I have now basically finished the skin tones on the face and hands. I am now going to work on the areas that I need to add a little more detail on. I have a WIP on Wet Canvas here if any of you want to know how I have got this far.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mini meet of artists inspires an idea for a painting

A very special artist JJ from Australia came over to Ontario last weekend and a group of us from Ontario held a meet at my house to welcome her.

It was a fun day with plenty of opportunity for discussions about art and anything really

but we managed to squeeze in some painting time too

As James and I were sifting through the photo's James suggested that an artist at work would make a great portrait study. Capturing the concentration, the creativity, the whole 'lost in the moment' thing. An excellent idea, I thought so after a couple of days working on the outline this is what I have decided upon. The person in the painting is a very dear friend Denis keegan. Denis I hope you will enjoy watching your portrait come to life


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grubs Up

Hi everyone,

I managed to finish the mother bird today and add in the last few shadows so here is the finished painting and the story that goes with it.

Life at the moment is more than a little crowded in the barn swallows nest. The babies are growing fast. Their baby down has almost gone and they will soon be ready to leave the nest. The lack of space at the moment makes feeding time especially challenging. Each time a parent returns there is a tussle for the prime feeding spot as a sea of mouths opened wide. As mum returns once again with some food the two most well behaved babies of the family are sat nicely at the front of the nest with their fluffy little wings neatly folded beside them. They would not dream of pushing their siblings out of the way. They have their mouths wide open ready to be fed just as their mother has told them to do. The most demanding of the family however is determined to be noticed and to get his beak in front of them. The oldest baby is feeling fed up because he is not being offered the food this time. In his annoyance he decides to block the baby of the family from getting closer to the food. For the baby there is simply ‘no room at the inn’


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grubs up WIP 6

I have been busily working on the rest of the background over the last couple of days. The wood grain has taken me a while but thankfully it's nearly done, just some shadowing left to do and then I can focus on the mother bird. I am hoping that I'll manage to finish her in a day or two.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Grubs Up' WIP 5

I have managed to get some more of the painting done today. Creating the mud pellet and straw nest was a challenge because I wanted to suggest this unique texture but not encourage the viewer to focus in on it too much as the mother and 5 baby birds are of course the centre of interest in the painting. I have a little adjusting to do to it in a few areas but it is nearly done. I have also begun painting the mother bird. I really want to capture the huge difference in appearance between the mum and the 5 babies. Although the babies colouring is largely the same as their mum, they are still much fluffier and plumper. In contrast their mother is sleek and elegant in appearance with muscular shoulders ready to power her in flight as she swoops to catch food for her young.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grubs Up WIP 4

All 5 baby barn swallows are now painted. The last one is the most demanding of the family. He is determined to be noticed and to get his beak in front of the others. It has been fun creating their little characters and accentuating their features to convey their personalities. I now need to focus on their nest.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Grubs Up WIP 3

Over the last couple of days I have been focusing on the next two babies in the nest. These are the most well behaved babies of the family. They are sat nicely at the front of the nest with their fluffy little wings neatly folded beside them. They would not dream of pushing their siblings out of the way. They have their mouths wide open ready to be fed just as their mother has told them to do. As a result they are the two who are being rewarded with the food this time. It was fun painting their wide open mouths.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

'Grubs Up' WIP2

Today I have been working on developing the character of my second youngster in the painting. I still have his tail to do but am quite pleased with how he is developing so far. He is feeling slightly fed up because he has not being offered the food this time. After all he is the biggest and in his opinion the most beautiful of the family. In his annoyance he decides to block the baby of the family from getting closer to the food. "If I can't have the food you certainly can't"


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm having fun with Birds!

I am so lucky to have such fabulous reference photo's to use for my paintings. The other day James took some photo's of a family of barn swallows in their nest as they were being fed by their mum. Here are just two of them for you to see.

I knew as soon as I saw them I just had to compose my own painting. The family that James photographed were already growing rapidly so much so in fact that it was hard for all of the babies to squeeze in the nest. Each time a parent returned there was a tussle for the prime feeding spot as a sea of mouths opened wide. I wanted to capture that struggle in a painting whilst showing the disparity between the biggest and strongest and the smallest youngster who had to struggle to be noticed in the nest. Today I started painting and have begun the wood background that I decided to use instead of the metal bridge in James photo's.

Here is a close up of the smallest of the family who has been pushed to the back of the nest in the struggle to get the prime feeding spot. I get the feeling he is saying 'hey... don't forget me!'


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fast food FLY through!

I've finished the painting. It is 14 inches by 30 inches and is painted on arches hot press watercolour paper. Hummingbirds are such beautiful birds and I have really enjoyed painting them.

It was wonderful to be able to study closely these magical birds in their different modes of flight, to capture the movement of their wings, their delicate features and their tiny pointed beaks...

... to be able to watch them closely as they feed and capture this moment in a painting. To see the tiny droplets of the sugary solution on their beaks glistening as they catch the light.

and to marvel at how they use their wings and tails to hover and flit with such precision..


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The glass Hummingbird feeder

Well I've taken the plunge. I eventually decided on an almost clear glass but with just a tint of bluey green to pick out the background colours and a pinky red for the glass flowers. I am pleased with the result. It makes the feeder a feature but without it dominating the tiny hummers. I need to redraw the chain before I paint it as it is slightly off centre at the moment and then its just to two Hummingbirds left to do. I've included a close up of the feeder so you can see it more clearly.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Decisions, decisions

I have been plodding on with the foliage. It has taken me ages but at last I have got the effect that I wanted with the darker more dense foliage in the right hand section enhancing the lighter area to the middle left as you look at it on the screen.I am now trying to decide what colour to paint the glass in the feeder. I flit between an almost clear glass with just the petal feeder sections in red glass or more of a pinky red colour for all of the feeder. I suppose i'm just going to have to take the plunge and decide.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Hummingbird painting WIP 3

I thought you'd like to see the chubby little male hummingbird that I've just painted. My daughter thinks he must love the food in the feeder. He has such a round little tummy and his tiny tongue is already flipping out ready for his next feed.

Again he is much smaller in my painting than in this photo, only 7cm, but if you click on the photo it's easier to see the detail this way. I will be a while now painting all the rest of the leaves on the right hand side of the painting which I am determined to do before I start on the feeder and last two birds. I'll post my progress again when I have started on the feeder.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hummingbird painting WIP 2

It's been a rainy day here so I have had plenty of opportunity to paint. I have worked on the foreground leaves and painted the second hummingbird. This is the impatient one (there is always one in any queue) so my challenge was to make her wings looked blurred leading us to believe her tiny wings are beating even faster than the others. The third hummingbird is the male so I am really looking forward to painting him next and adding that characteristic splash of red.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hummingbird number 1 is done!

I've painted the first of the 5 hummingbirds in the painting today. Above is the far left hand side of the painting. The female hummingbird in the painting is only 8cm from the tip of her beak to the tip of her tail. The photo below if you click on it is 5 cm larger than she really is so you can see her more clearly on the screen. I needed a very small brush.. but that's ok I have plenty of those. I'm off to paint a couple of the foreground leaves now.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Amazing hummingbirds

Inspired by my husband James's wonderful photographs of a male and female ruby throated humming bird (two of which you can see below) I just knew that these magical birds had to be on my list of things to paint.

James and I have loved watching the hummers come to our feeders over the last couple of months, flitting in at high speed, hovering and feeding and then leaving. We have often greedily wished more than the one pair would use the feeders. This gave me the idea for my painting. At the beginning of the season when food was scarce the male and the female both loved the convenience of the feeder. We mixed up a 3:1 sugar solution which was rich in energy for them.... definitely high calorie food on the go, sort of like a fast food drive through for us.... so I decided to create a painting using the idea of a 'Fast food fly through'. I wanted to create a drive through queue but with flying/hovering hummingbirds waiting patiently or impatiently for their turn at the feeder. Its taken me a couple days playing around with different compositions using photoshop. The painting will be 14 by 30 inches. I just need to draw in my background now which will be overhanging leaves. I hope this will help to give scale to the tiny hummingbirds.


Monday, July 13, 2009

A Bleeding Heart

Here is my new painting.

You have to imagine that I have a Bleeding heart flower in my hand as I tell you this tale. Fascinated by reading a shortened version of this story I just had to expand on it and capture the emotion of it in a painting. It is painted on nearly a full sheet of Saunders Waterford cold press paper. On a passing glance it looks like the girl is crying a tear of blood but when you look closer you can see what is really in the tear drop. To understand why let me tell you the story of the Bleeding Heart.

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess. Young men from far and near came to try to win her heart. But the princess was very vain and ignored them all. A young prince from a neighboring country fell deeply in love with her. She ignored him like the others, though he tried and tried to win her love. One day the prince found a pair of pretty pink rabbits at the market. At this point, I pull off the two outer pink petals and set each on it side to show the animals. He sent them to the princess thinking, "these will surely melt her heart." But the princess continued ignoring him. Then the prince sent her a pair of beautiful earrings. Next I separate the two inner white petals and hold them up next to my ears. Still the princess would have nothing to do with him. The young prince was so heartbroken that he took his dagger and drove it into his heart. The remaining centre of the flower in my hand is shaped like an outline of a heart with a line down the centre. I hold the heart up, remove the dagger-like line, and plunge the "knife" through the heart's centre. The princess, realizing too late that she did love the prince, cried out, "My heart shall bleed for my prince forever more!" and her heart bleeds to this day.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Lab Adore is finished!

It's been a busy week but I managed to fit in some painting time and have finally finished. Thanks for following along with my progress and for all your encouraging e mails. So what is it that Harry has spotted?

Much Love


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lab adore WIP 7

I have been working nearly all day doing the pen work for Harry's fur over the watercolour that I put in yesterday. It's really relaxing working with the pen, even more so because I can curl up on the sofa with the board on my lap while I'm doing it. I've only done the top section but you can see how it makes him come alive.

Do you remember how dark the shadow on my son looked against the white paper. I was convinced I had gone too dark but when I had put the pen work on Harry I actually needed to make the shadow even darker!
I need to paint in the mouth section next and the rest of the watercolour fur background. I'm looking forward to painting in his drool (grin)


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lab adore WIP 6

Thanks again for your positive comments by e mail.

I have finally finished my son and am now beginning the initial colour wet on wet washes on the face of Harry my dog. This is just to establish the lights and darks and colour variations in the fur. Its amazing when you start to really look at black fur how many colours you can see. I have used Paynes grey, ultramarine blue, sepia, raw umber and ivory black. I am going to use a black pen to draw in the fur on top of this so this will merely be what shows through. I have painted his eyes in detail and will now begin adding the fur from the eyes outwards.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lab adore WIP 5

Thanks for all your feedback by e mail. I am glad you are enjoying the painting process. I have finished around the eyes of my son, painted in his freckles and painted his clothes all apart from the zip. I am now starting to paint in his hair. I know a couple of you have asked if you can see a close up of the eyes and skin so especially for you here one is. I love how working on hot press gives such a smooth finish to the skin.

so here is a photo of the whole painting so far. I am looking forward to finishing my sons hair so I can begin working on Harry.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lab adore WIP4

Over the last couple of days my son has gone through quite a transformation in the painting. I finished all the under painting and he looked recognizable but a very strange colour

then layer by layer I added glazes of perm rose, brown madder, quin gold, burnt sienna, burnt umber and then used brown madder to rosy his cheeks a little more and caput mortum for the shaded areas.

His face looks a little pinker in this photo than it looks in the real painting. I hope you get the idea though. Next I need to add his freckles and give him some eye lashes, eye brows and hair but for today I'm done.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lab adore WIP3

I have finally finished the background and have begun the under painting on the face of my son. I love this stage, looking at all the colours in the skin beneath the flesh tones which create the light and shade and transform the 2D sketch into a 3D image. He does look a bit 'bruised' at this stage but this will disappear once the skin tones are glazed over the top. For the underpinning I am using brown madder, caput mortum, ultramarine blue, hookers green and quin gold. Have a look at someone's face and see if you can see all the colours that are there.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Lab adore WIP 2

Thank you for all your lovely comments by e mail and here on the blog. I had hoped to have the the leafy background finished by today but the lovely weather tempted me outside into the garden this afternoon. For those of you wanting to know the size of the painting and what paper I am using it is about 23 by 17 inches and I am using Arches hot press 140gram paper. I love the smooth texture of the hot press paper. It is lovely to work on if you want to put detail in and is also my personal preference when I am painting portraits as it gives a lovely smooth appearance to the skin.

To paint the leaves I am using a combination of sap green, hookers green, Burnt sienna, raw sienna, cadmium orange, brown madder and caput mortum. Hopefully I will finish them over the next couple of days.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lab adore background

I have begun working on a leafy maple background and am using many of the same pigments that I will use when I paint my son and Harry. First I painted in a wet on wet background using sap green with a touch of burnt sienna and brown madder with a touch of rose madder. Then when dry I painted in some Japanese maple leaves using a mixture of brown madder and caput mortum. I am planning to paint the rest of the maple leaves in early fall colours so I can pick out the more orange and golden brown hues that can be seen in Harry's eyes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another portrait in progress!

I haven't talked about how my paintings evolve from my original ideas for a while so I thought with my next painting I would share my journey with you.

My daughter recently pointed out to me that I have now finished several paintings using photo's of her brother as a baby as references but none of him now as a teenager and that lots of you might think she has a younger brother and not an older one. I thought I'd better rectify this. My son is very fond of our older Labrador Harry, as Harry is of him. Being a typical Labrador though, Harry is also extremely food orientated and frequently gets himself in trouble because of his food obsession. We often joke telling people that Harry is on a strict seafood diet... see food ... eat it. I thought this would be a fun dual concept to play with. In my painting I want to convey the closeness between Harry and my son. But what is it exactly that Harry our Lab adores most?

From the drool I am guessing that maybe he has spotted a burger cooking on the BBQ or maybe even a plate of pancakes and ice cream with some maple syrup drizzled over the top. From the smile on his face I think our son knows what Harry has spotted too. He knows him too well.

I hope you can make out the outline well enough. It is extremely difficult to get a good photo of a faint pencil outline so apologies if it's a bit grey. I will post an update in a couple of days when I have painted the background. I hope you will enjoy following along as this one is painted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Cat Commission

I have just finished a commissioned painting of a cat called Yorkie. He thought he was the master and owned whatever he set his eyes on especially if it was pink and was where you wanted to sit. He was a big softy but definitely had what my client described as 'catitude'.

This was a tough assignment because the photographs that my client had of the cat were only small and much of the detail was lost. This was the photo that I used as my reference photo

Unfortunately Yorkie died last year so another photo was not possible. So to fill in the missing gaps I asked many questions and with the help of my client I was able to finish the painting. So here is my painting of Yorkie sat on his favorite pink chair... 'A Cat with Catitude '

Thank you Ann for being so patient with me and answering all my questions so carefully and thoughtfully. I hope you and your sister will enjoy the painting for many years to come.