Therefore (see previous post), I have started Blanco Lavender Field With Chairs #3, this time as an 11x14 on really good watercolor paper. (The paper I used for the birthday card was very unforgiving!) As you can see, I have already sketched the general shapes with watercolor pencil and masqued the chairs so that I will be able to toss color about freely in the field and background.
Something inside me is itching to paint something big and if I improve enough on #3, maybe I will do a #4 that is a full sheet of watercolor paper (22x30 inches.)
Here is my second version of Blanco Lavender Fields With Chairs. I like it much better and have decided that I am just not the type of artist who can paint well from memory! This one is about 5x8 inches and was done as a birthday card for the friend who was with me the day we saw the lavender adirondak chairs in the lavender field.
I forgot to bring the photo of the lavender colored adirondak chairs in the Blanco Texas lavender field on the day that I had time to start painting it. So this overworked first attempt is strictly from memory. Stay tuned to see just how inaccurate my memory was!
Hold onto your hat Judy, here we go! It is time for me to finish your commission!
The flowers look like little striped popcorn boxes in this work-in-process shot because I paint one petal at a time. Then I paint the nearest petal that does not touch the first one. When they are thoroughly dry, I will go back and paint the in- between ones!
I'm spending a lot of time in hospitals and waiting rooms these days, being supportive of a family member with cancer. I carry my "itty bitty art kit" to keep me from going crazy and have been doing some good VSA (Very Small Art!) I need to get back to my big commission, but I am scared of ruining it if I am not able to give it full concentration and a stretch of several hours time.
At some point you stop redesigning the composition of the painting and you have to start making marks on the big piece of paper - just DO it!
Here I am placing the red cactus flowers in the foreground. Because of the camera lighting, you cannot see that I am standing in a dark room. The paper is taped to the door and behind me is a photo projector, sitting on an ironing board.
I have found this to be the best way to combine several photos into one composition. You can move the projector forward or back, up or down, until the size and location of each photo is correct and melds into what you have already drawn.
I was suprised by this question last week and responded, "A little bit of whatever needs doing!"
Here is a photo that is part of one task that I have set myself: to sneak 21st century technology into the operation of an old fashioned Texas Hill Country ranch.
When we run a lot of cattle through the squeeze chute (it is humane, I promise!) to give them tests or vaccinations, I take a digital photo of each face. Then when one solid black cow out of a group of thirty solid black cows loses her identifying ear tag (think of losing a pierced earring) I can match her face to one of the photos and make her a new tag: Yellow 151.
Thirty black cows may all look alike from the highway as you drive by, but this one has one ear lower than the other, only one cowlick, located almost on top of her head, a smooth dark nose and three little ridges above each eye.
Both Judy and Gail, my painting buddy, say that the cactus in the corner, and a few other close up blossoms I have been working on -see above- should be the focus of the painting, so it is re-composition time! This is what makes commissions fun, you never know quite where they are going when you start.
Starting the first layers of color on the plant details: ochre on the yucca flowers, greenish yellow on the sunset side of the yucca leaves, ochre on the lower sections. I did an orange-yellow on the cactus flowers, then added the red when it was dry.
Decisions: the yucca needs to be smaller in the final painting and the cactus much larger - to look like it is closer to you.
New: rocky area background colors, and mountain colors.
Decisions made: mountains need to be higher in the final version to balance the yucca height. Also, if the rocky area with cactus turns out well, it should be bigger too. I guess we will wait and see!
I have added two greens and some ochre (dusty yellow) for the grassy area, put some background color on the log that is in the cactus and rock area and added some pinks to the distant mountains and the "castle" parts of the nearer mountains. Some of the pink will get covered with blue and some will stay pink. The pink is a watery form of the red that is in the sunset and the (future) cactus buds.
I still have not worked out the full composition for this commission, so I am doing a 1/4 scale trial run! I used watercolor pencil and a projector to put the mountains and yuccas in, then masqued over the yuccas to protect them while I throw colors at the background.
A new commission is brewing.... A friend is reworking a bedroom and looking for colors to match a new southwestern themed comforter. Right now we are emailing photos of desert scenes back and forth. Stay tuned for visuals.
Gouache is a form of watercolor that is less transparent. I used my 40% off Michaels coupon and bought an inexpensive set. I was disappointed to find that, though the paint looked different, it went on the paper just like watercolor! But perhaps I was using too much water with it. So I tried using it straight out of the tube and what a difference! When I was not happy with the bull's facial coloring, I just put more paint on top and it changed! You can't do THAT with transparent watercolor! Anyhow, here is the 5x7 result.
After almost 20 years of Industrial Engineering, I decided to try to align my life with my values and priorities. Now I am an artist, part time ranch worker and part time church staff (strategic planning). That leaves almost no time for housekeeping, which is fine with me and my dust allergy!
My art business is called Texas Hill Country Art, and I mostly paint Texas wildflowers, landscapes, animals and such. I often paint commissions of people's favorite vacation photos.
Watercolor and acrylic paintings are also available in a greeting card format. ACEOs (baseball card sized paintings) are sometimes studies for my big paintings and sometimes just silliness, like my Ballerinas in Trouble series.