Sunday, January 25, 2015

Every time I revisit this watercolor of a bohemian waxwing, I see the live bird in my mind. It was winter and I was skiing and landed about five feet from the perched, breathing waxwing and my reaction was to reach over and stroke its back. The feathers and colors were so stunningly smooth. Painting the bird in my studio was easy but then it wasn't the real thing! After revisiting this painting for fifteen years, I realize it is real! It is my experience and I can see that experience with this image. Don't forget to paint!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What makes a landscape painting no a portrait painting? Context! How is that painted?
A portrait calls for one object/person/bird to be more important than the other objects. Biophilia claims all animals are important! How can one have a "center of interest" if one object does not stand out?
Space is the answer! The space between is the cohesion ecologist's talk about and landscape painters present. Simply put a branch in front of the bird and it makes it a landscape. Try it!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why are watercolors hard? Because the painter is out of sequence. I brush in the "sunlight" at the beginning, then I had the bright colors and also the beautiful colors that I see.
Then I frame these colors with darks: really black but I mix my black or use indigo from the tube. If the bird is dark then the background is light. I'm finished when the darks set off the lights!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How does a painter make something look real? Is it color? The shape? Darks and lights? Brushstrokes? Or all of the above. Lets look at these birds: what is in front of them and behind them? Nature is about things interfering with another thing and painters call this shapes and space. Brushstrokes that make a shape all at once(one sweep of the brush) is what nature does-its there! Try these tricks to make your paintings more "real".

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Today I am posting the watercolor version of the Goldfinches. Yesterday I posted an oil and challenged my self to paint the intensity of the oil paints.
One great American painter, Edgar Payne,  is known to have lamented that our paints are 400 times less intense than nature.
If you don't like your painting then add more color!

Friday, September 5, 2014

This is an oil painting not watercolor! But my challenge today is to replicate this painting in watercolors.
Students come to my classes and have chosen one medium or another for all kinds of reasons- toxicity, ease of painting, ease of clean-up, beauty of the finished painting and more.
I believe painting is painting and the different qualities of each medium are not so different.
Setting a goal is a powerful incentive. Try setting a goal!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ruby Throated Hummers are very colorful and extremely hard to see unless they sit and turn into the sun. I reference a birding guide book for colors which I should try to see. Then when I paint, I use saturated colors-deep rich colors on the dark side to replicate the intensity of what I see. Try it!