Kino Bay Sunset & Tree Silhouette in Pastel

During the month of March, I was blessed to have my Aunt Nell (an artist) visit.  She is a very talented oil painting artist but she wanted to learn to do pastels so she asked me to show her.  She had a beautiful photo of a tree silhouette and sunset from Kino Bay that a friend of hers had made.  So, we did the following pastel together.  They both turned out fantastic and here’s mine.  I loved the colorful bright sky and really enjoyed doing it.  The tree took a long time but I think it turned out pretty good too.  This was done in soft pastels on a 16″ x 20″ piece of Velour paper.  Disregard the blue painter’s tape at the bottom, it was windy when I took the photo and I didn’t want to crop out the bottom that much to post.  Hope you enjoy!


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Quick Pastel Landscape

I did this quick pastel landscape on a 6″ x 9″ sheet (1/2 sheet) of Velour paper with soft pastels. I was showing my cousin how to do the sky. I added the mountains at the bottom and thought it turned out really good. It’s so fun to do something quickly (it took about 30 minutes or so) and see a beautiful finished product. I love these sort of skies, they are so bright and soft and yet so simple.

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Bird of Paradise

Here’s a pastel that I did back in January… just took me a while to post it.  This one was really fun.  I did it with my Aunt, she did one and I did one, and we had a really good time.  It’s done with soft pastels on velvet paper.  Hope you enjoy!

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Dogs, Dogs, Dogs….

Lately, I’ve really enjoyed drawing Dogs.  I have a couple of different Walter Foster “Dogs” books (one very old and one new) and I also have a couple of live models, ZZ and Frita.  ZZ is a very energetic 5 year old Golden Retriever who won’t stay still very long so he challenges me to draw quickly.  Frita (not ours but she visits often) is a mixed breed, possible part hound, part doberman and enjoys sleeping so it’s easier to get her to be still.  Here are a the dogs from the past month or so:

A Great Dane from the Walter Foster “Dogs” book:

A Dalmation from the Walter Foster book:

An Irish Setter from the Walter Foster book:

Quick sketch (approximately 10 minutes) of ZZ:

Here is ZZ eating.  When I sat down in the floor near him to draw, he decided that something must be wrong and he must be suppose to wait to eat.  So, he came over and sat down beside me for some attention.  I got up then he went back to his food.  I sat back down and we repeated this several times.  Finally, I convinced him that it was OK to eat while I sat in the floor drawing.  But he ate quickly so I didn’t have much time to draw him. 

ZZ again.  This time, I tricked him into looking at me.  He loves to play “laser”.  So, I played laser with him, then would hold the laser in front of me and he’d give me this sad “please play with me” begging look.  I would draw a few minutes and he would decide I wasn’t going to play with him so he’d turn and leave.  So, I’d play laser a little while, then we’d repeat the process above.  I believe I managed to capture his expressions fairly well.

And, last but not least, here is Frita, asleep on the couch:

Hope you enjoyed the dogs!

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Draw something mythical

First of all, I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since I last posted….  I will try to post more often.  After all, I have been drawing daily, I just haven’t been posting regularly. 

I have never considered myself an artist of mythical creatures.  I can’t say that I particularly care for dragons and wouldn’t choose a dragon as a primary subject myself.  However, I have been working through the book “Artistic Fitness” by Ed Tadem and can see some value in drawing something mythical.  When drawing a mythical creature, my “left brain” does not have a pre-conceived notion of what that mythical creature should look like.  Therefore, my “right brain” must draw exactly what I see.  After I draw a little bit, if I notice a line that’s not quite right, I don’t necessarily feel compelled to change it, I just use the drawing as practice and know that I have become one step closer to drawing what I see, not what my mind *thinks* I see.  So, enough philosophy…. here’s the dragon: 

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Zion National Park – “The Three Patriarchs”

This watercolor sketch was created from a photo I took in Zion National Park. This is called “The Three Patriarchs”, named for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Reverend Frederick Fisher named this place in the early 1900’s. I took the photo and did the watercolor on August 15, 2011.

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Never assume your painting will be unworthy of putting in the sketchbook

Soooo, this next watercolor sketch was one I did quickly on the night of August 14, 2011 after visiting Zion National Park.  I wanted to do something to practice and keep my daily art streak alive but I figured it wouldn’t be worthy of putting in my sketchbook.  So, I did it on the back (“wrong” side) of a scrap piece of watercolor that I had.  After I was finished, I really liked it and have since taped it into my sketchbook.  So my lesson learned was to never assume that my artwork will be unworthy of putting in the sketchbook….Here it is, all out of my memory of the cliffs at Zion.

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Bryce Canyon Plein Air Watercolor Sketch

I had the opportunity to visit Bryce Canyon National Park in August.  While there, I was able to sit and do a plein air watercolor sketch (my FIRST live sketch in nature) at Sunrise Point on August 12, 2011.  I used my Koi watercolor sketch box and my waterbrush.  I really enjoyed sketching in the great outdoors and wish I had more time to do this.  Here’s my sketch:

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My Koi Watercolor Color Chart

One of my artistic goals is to do more plein air sketching.  Most of my sketching is with pencil but I have recently seen so many beautiful watercolor sketches that I decided I would give it a try.  At first, I bought some watercolor pencils, which I really like for the most part.  Then, in preparation for my recent trip to Southwestern Utah, I decided to buy a small watercolor kit that can travel easily.  The kit is a Sakura Koi Watercolor Sketch Box set.  Here it is:

You can buy it here:

I bought the 24 color set.  I decided I needed to learn the colors and color mixing a little better.  Let me just do a little math to put it in perspective.  If you have a 24 color pallete, creating a color chart yields 576 (24 x 24) color combinations!  WOW!  And that’s just mixing 2 colors with each other, then those same two colors plus white.  Color mixing experts say that you can mix 3 colors, but really, I think I can deal with 576 colors.  Besides, I think mixing a 3 color chart would be very confusing….and you’d probably make lots of “mud” colors.  Anyway, so I found some instructions for building a color chart:

I liked this one pretty good, there are other instructions out there, you can find one that you like just by searching the web for “how to make a color chart”.  Basically, it’s just a matrix and you add the color from the row plus the color from the column.  Everything below the diagonal has white added.  My example is below with numbers.  I numbered my colors to make it easier. 

Here’s my finished color chart:

As you can see, I made mine in 6 panels then taped them together with thin strips of white duct tape.  This made it fold-able and is the same approximate size as the Koi watercolor box.  To do this, each square was 1 cm square.  Here is the folded color chart on top of the Koi watercolor box.  It was too thick to put inside but you can rubber-band it to the box to keep them together.

Another note about the color chart:  Creating a color chart this size takes a long time.  To speed up the process, I put the column color on a pallette in a long horizontal line, then white on the pallette in a long horizontal line.  See below.  Then I could just mix the color from each row with the horizontal colored line, put it on the paper in the correct block, then mix with the white horizontal line, put it on the paper in the correct block, then wash the brush and go to the next color.  Like this: 

I hope that anyone who uses this can follow my instructions and hope that you’ll build your own color chart.  I have to admit, it was alot of work, but it’s well worth it when looking at something and trying to figure out what colors to mix.  You just find the color on your color chart that you want, and look at the colors that you need to mix to get it.

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“Recent” Drawing Exercises from “Artistic Fitness”

I titled this “Recent” because the oldest is almost two months old…. I am trying to catch up on some posts and there are lots of things I want to post….so this will be a shotgun post of several days of drawings over the past couple of months.  The exercises are from the book “Artistic Fitness” by Ed Tadem.  I highly recommend the book for anyone learning to draw.  There are usually half a dozen steps that take you from the general shape through adding the details for a complete drawing.  Here are mine:

Hope you enjoyed!

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