About Me

My photo
Quispamsis, NB, Canada
As long as I can remember I have been drawing and painting. Although my subject matter may have changed with time, what has not changed it my attraction to nature. Being drawn in by sunlight, shadows textures and details all with rich colors. I know I am best challenged when the work has a high element of complexity. I spend much time and effort exploring my subjects - striving to gather as much information as possible before I begin working. My first love is working with water mediums - from watercolors, through acrylics and most recently water soluble oils. Often I may explore the same or similar subject in different mediums.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Old Reliable

Honestly, I think I was more afraid to start this commission than I have ever been when starting a portrait.  The owner of this tractor loves it.  He is more than proud of it. And so my conundrum (I love that word).   Painting nature is a bit more forgiving and less precise than rendering something that has been manufactured.  Tractors are specific, they have gears & grills, shiny parts and mucky parts along with very specific angles, perspective and proportions. 

The drawing has to be precise and representational of all the details.  No room for errors here.  Have to invest the time upfront to get it right.  Typically, I approach a painting with a very loose drawing focusing on volume – how much space the subject occupies, proportions, and the best composition to do it the most justice.  So I had to switch gears with this one. No pun intended.

In order to capture the softness of the spring sky I used a gel medium to keep the acrylic paint wet longer to allow for more blending.  Then I began working on the details of the horizon and the areas between the rail fence. 

Next I fussed with getting the reds right.  I mixed and tested and mixed some more.  Somewhere along the line I began to relearn that acrylic reds are difficult.  The colors deepen as they dry – whereas with watercolor they lighten.  Often deepening for several hours after the color has been applied.  Also acrylic reds have a tendency towards streaking. Layer after layer after layer of red and orange were applied.  The next day more layering of lighter reds. You get the idea. 

And finally, it is complete and I am at the starting stage.  This is when I stare at the painting with squinty eyes and a critical view.  Looking for any area requiring tweaking and fussing.  I generally wait two- three days before sealing the work and framing – just in case….

Friday, June 3, 2011

Peppermint Candy Petunias

Somehow, the whole time I was working on this painting, I kept thinking about Peppermint Candies.  You know, the ones with the swirl of red and swirl of white?   It first occured to me as I was sketching them out - and then as I started to apply the watercolor paint I just kept thinking about them.  
Awhile back, I checked on my framing inventory and realized I had five really nice frame sets for watercolor paintings and so I set out to complete five in one month.  And I did it.  This is the last piece that I told myself I had to do in this timeframe.  

I love the colors of this flower.  The pinks are flaming and yet there are so many subtle shades.  The photos that I worked from were actually more on the bluish side - I chose to modify the colors to the impression they had on me.

This painting is 12.5 x 8" wide (unframed size) and is painted on Arches 300lb paper.