Saturday, February 27, 2010


This is indeed tricky business; I’ve never been too good at large-scale washes—not that this is large scale per se, but it’s more than I usually do with blending hues, and I’m real uncomfortable with it. (Perhaps I just never learned to do it ‘properly.’) I keep telling myself that it doesn’t have to look exactly like the photo—it’s the feel of it that I want. That is, after all, the reason I chose it. So, here are the first two steps: the drawing and the wash. (The sky wash is a little further along than I usually do at this stage, but it should be worked while it’s all wet.)
At this point, the hardest part is overcoming that angsty feeling that this is going to really suck—that I’ve taken on more than I can do well. I'm not happy with it, but if I overwork the sky at this point, I'll completely botch it. (No perfectionism there!) Of course, I’ll stifle that junk and forge ahead, ‘cause, well, I’ve posted it—and then there’s that wasting paper thing…I’d rather flop than waste a perfectly good sheet of paper. Besides, if it turns out poorly, then you’ll get to see both ends of my artistic spectrum.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Making Plans

I made the final decision on my next project. I’m trying to stay enthused about my novel, Story for a Shipwright, and yet realistic at the same time. Therefore, I thought I’d try, not only something completely different from what I’ve done in the past, but something that might have possibilities as a cover for the novel in case I resort to self-publishing.
Either way, it’s a gorgeous image that feels like the world of shipwright Sam Wesley. I especially love the atmosphere…if you’re interested in a preview, visit photographer Doug Wood’s Website, or here, for a glimpse. I plan to make a few minor revisions, and I’ll be translating it into a 10”x 15” image, something I can easily work with in the end...if I don't drive myself nuts with it before it's done!

Meanwhile, here’s my little painting hovel…As you can see, I've still got some framing to do, too...

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Finished Self-portrait

I scanned this one in sections, then joined them with success, so the colors are a fairly close representation of the original. (Wish I had a bigger scanner—and printer.)
I have an idea of what I want to paint next, and it’s a rather intense piece. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind on a few things, one of which is my querying, (not to mention all the other blogs I’ve been neglecting). So, I’ll take a brief reprieve, clean my house, catch up on some mundane stuff, do some reading, and get back at it…
…hmmm…a nautical scene, perhaps?

The Snapshot

I worked on the face a little more (okay, overworked, as usual), but I think it has a little better depth. It probably doesn’t look like much progress, so to make your visit worth your while, I’m also posting the photo I’m working from.
(Okay, I admit it—it’s a self-portrait, at my husband’s request.)

My camera and graphics program render the hues a bit more saturated and overall lighter than the actual work in progress, but they provide the general idea.

...and I'm not too crazy about the floating image. I guess I like props for a painting, but I think black works well for a photographic image. Oh well, too late now...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Put the razor down and back away from the painting...

I quit where I did today, because I started getting that feeling like I want to hack it to tiny irretrievable bits. The eyes and nose and mouth are throwing me a fit, and I don’t even want to talk about the stupid sweater and jeans. So far, the only part I like are the hands…time for a break…
...don't worry, I will finish it...

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Bit More

Now comes the really labor intensive part...along with the precarious face. Maybe I'll add some background color; think I'll go with paynes grey, instead of black. (It should diminish the butt size, visually.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Now, I'll start adding a lot more detail.
The subject might like it if I trimmed down her derrière, but I'm not going to. I'd indulge vanity if I were being paid, but otherwise, I like to paint exactly what I see...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Wash

Okay...that wasn't so scary...
 And I think this one should be a little easier than the last portrait because the face won’t have as drastic shading.

In case you’re wondering, the background will be all black…(and I really hate that this won't fit on my scanner; my lighting is going to be all over the place on these posts...Oh well...)


Okay, here goes with that queasy feeling again...
I’m venturing another portrait. At 10”x 13”, this is a little larger than my usual, but I have to admit that the increased head size makes it somewhat easier to execute facial features. I considered doing just a head and shoulder view, but I do so enjoy painting body parts, especially hands, which you may have noticed are particularly prominent here.

I chose this pose for its contrasting angles and overall composition. I don't have a title for it yet, so I'll just call it Sitting (pathetic that a writer doesn't come up with a more imaginative name).

Not much to look at, I know—and it's too big for my scanner, so there is some distortion.

Well, the pressure is on—wet the paints and go…

Monday, February 15, 2010

Window on Eggemoggin: Done

One of the details I really like on this is the hook at the bottom.
Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to paint next...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Slow Progress

This is the labor intensive part where it probably doesn’t look as if I’ve made much progress…

...and yes, I did intensify the orange...

I don't think I'll post again until it's done...I think you get the idea...

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Photograph

I think it’s time to display the original photo from which I’m working. You may notice that I’ve altered the composition just a bit—the perspective and placement. One of the advantages of painting, as opposed to shooting a photograph, is that I’m not confined to any particular angle and don’t have to worry about showing up in reflected glass.

By the time I’m done, all the shingles will receive the same attention as the shakes at the top.

Thanks again to photographer Doug Wood for allowing me to place his copyrighted image on my blog!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Every Single Shingle

You might think that painting old, worn cedar shakes might be less intense than painting a cobalt pitcher—I know I did—but the more I work on this the more I realize how much detail is in each shingle. Granted, it’s not the same kind of intense, because there’s a lot more leeway in representing wood.

I know that the traditional watercolorist probably wouldn’t insist on all that detail, but what can I say? I’ve never claimed to be a traditionalist…
…and, by the way, this painting is 6” x 10”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Giving It a Wash

Thought I’d better post this before I get too carried away.

I thought I was done with the gradations of color on the windowpanes, but decided to add a little glaze (you probably can’t even tell…). Then, I gave the shingles a grayish wash, and next, I’ll jump around, painting individual shakes, building up the detail as I go.

Window on Eggemoggin

Here are the beginnings of a new painting. I’m working from an image by photographer Douglas Wood, who shoots some beautiful scenes of Maine*. So much of his work captures the world of my novel, Story for a Shipwright, and I do so love reflections on glass…don't know how well I'll capture it here, (it remains to be seen if this makes a far better photographic image than watercolor interpretation). It will be a less intense work than my previous two paintings, which is a nice reprieve.

After transferring the sketch onto watercolor paper (I don’t sketch it out on the actual paper, which does not like erasures), I mask the boundaries with tape.

Since I want the reflected sky evenly gradated, I use masking fluid (brush on latex, that really messes up the brush) to keep the muntins free from paint.

Essentially, the sky is done. The reflected foreground will receive added detail.

*Seriously, you should check out his Website. He even has some evocative black and white shots of a workshop--makes me think of my novel, again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

WhooHoo! Finished Another!

Okay, this is a pretty big deal for me—I actually finished it in just a few sittings. And, I enjoyed doing it! One thing I don't like is how conspicuous my signature looks. I need to find a more discrete way to sign small paintings; makes me want to wipe it out and do it in a muted color, but I already took the masking tape off (which leaves a sticky film if it's been there for over a year). Oh well, not tonight.

Here’s something even more exciting. I actually have another project in mind. Something brand new and completely different…stay tuned for the entire process…


A little more progress,
and the photograph…
The background is a little blurry, and I'm still in the process of deciding if I'll bring it into focus or go with what's there. Guess I should have used a different F-stop...Oh well.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another Painting in Progress

Time to post another watercolor in progress. This was originally one of my first posts, a second painting in a pair, (the first one has been done for years). I decided to work on something so similar because it had been a long while since I painted at all, and the portrait was freaking me out. Give me some hard lines of a still life—that ought to be easier, I thought. But for whatever reason, I found it immensely tedious and quit. After all, I had a novel begging my attention.

After the size of my last painting, (several times larger than I usually work), this now feels quite manageable at 6”x 6”, less than a quater the size. I’m even having moments when I find myself enjoying it. Besides, it will help me stay distracted while I send out queries for my novel, Story for a Shipwright.
 Here's where I left off:
Once I really get going on it, I'll post the photograph from which I'm working. (It's the writer in me—I don't want to give away the ending too soon!)