Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Three ACEOs

Three ACEOs to ponder. All of which should be posted soon in my Etsy store.

Pretty Cleo, 2.5"x3.5" ACEO, watercolor on 140# Arches

"Pretty Cleo" is another attempt at an image I posted a few months ago. She's a cutie, isn't she?

The Twilight Castle, 2.5"x3.5" ACEO, watercolor and watercolor pencil on 140# Canson

This ACEO started as I contemplated castles and landscapes. I need to start adding more environments to my work. My imagination apparently inhabits a barren, rocky world that has specatular sunsets.

Smokey Joe, 2.5"x3.5" ACEO on 3"x4" paper, watercolor on 140# Canson

"Smokey Joe" started as a practice piece, experimenting with wet-in-wet on Canson paper. He's such a well-mannered kitty.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Two Purple Princesses, 5x7

(top) Purple Princess With Orb, 5x7, watercolor on 140# Arches

(bottom) Purple Princess With Wand, 5x7, watercolor on 140# Arches

I started these two paintings several months ago, but abandoned them. They seemed weak, washed out, and a little cartoon-y. Last weekend I gave them a fresh look. I decided they needed some depth of color, some contrast in tone, and some detail. So, I darkened the darks, built up some depth in the shadows, and added some detail to the face and dress.

They are still in search of a name. She's still in search of a name. For now, she's known as the Purple Princess, even though the one with the wand is a little misshapen, like a fairy godmother who has seen better days.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pile of Pumpkins, 8x10

Pile of Pumpkins, 8"x10" watercolor on Arches 140#

Another pile of pumpkins, for the season.

Pile Of Jack Wannabee's, 8x10

Pile of Jack Wannabee's, 8"x10" watercolor on Arches 140#

A pile of pumpkins, for the season.

Offering, 8x10

Offering, 8"x10" watercolor on Arches 140#

Another figure, exhibited at the Contra Art Show earlier this month. I'm not happy with this one -- I don't like her eyes.

Temptation, 8x10

Temptation, 8"x10" watercolor on Arches 140#

One of my first successful attempts at a figure in watercolor. Exhibited at Contra Art Show earlier this month.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dragons, Dragons

Archon Orange Dragons 1 and 2, approximately 3x4, watercolor on Arches 140#

Here are two more dragons, doodled while at my artist alley table at Archon/Nasfic in August. If I do this again next year, I really need to bring a lamp. The hallway was dark, and I had trouble seeing what I was doing. Thus, these little guys are a bit gnarly and awkward.

Two dragons

Archon Green Dragons 1 and 2, approximately 3x4, watercolor on Arches 140#

Two of my dragon doodles, done while at my artist alley table at Archon/Nasific in August. The size got away from me. They were intended to be ACEOs, but they got too big for their britches.

Penciled Peppers, 3 views

Penciled Peppers 1, 4x6, watercolor pencil on Canson 140#
Penciled Peppers 2 and 3, 2.5 x 3.5 (ACEO), watercolor pencil on Canson 140#
I stumbled on a great deal at the outlet store -- a set of 24 Derwent watercolor pencils for a pittance. Here is a 4x6 pencil painting of three peppers, drawn from life. (And they were tasty, too.) I also did two small ACEO-sized pencil paintings of the peppers, from different angles.
Lessons learned:
1. Painting from life is easier than painting from the imagination.
2. Painting with pencils is a layering process and takes a long time.

Friday, September 7, 2007

More Contemplations on Fruit, ACEO

Contemplations on Fruit, 5 & 6, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor on Arches 140#

Here are two more Contemplations on Fruit, doodled while sitting at my artist alley table at Archon last month. Serine felines. And fruit.

4 Contemplations on Fruit, ACEO

Contemplation on Fruit, 1 - 4, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor on Arches 140#
I doodled these Contemplations on Fruit while sitting at my artist alley table at Archon last month. I'm not sure where these little guys came from, but I find them intriguing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Who? Me? 4x6 OSWA

Who? Me?, 4" x 6" watercolor on Arches 140#

I'm back! After an incredibily busy summer with back-to-back art shows, science fiction conventions, and work-related travel, I'm back in my studio and putting brush to paper. Feels good.

Here's a quick little painting, titled "Who? Me?", inspired by a silly cat photo I found on the Internet. It's 4" x 6" on Arches 140#. Looks like I need more practice with perspective.

This painting is an OSWA, which is an acronym for "Original Small Work of Art". That means it is a standard 4" x 6" size and will fit in standard photo albums and frames. Like ACEOs, the OSWA size standard is becoming all the rage on Ebay and other art websites.

Red Peppers, 4x6 OSWA

Red Peppers 1, 2, & 3, 4" x 6" watercolors on Arches

Here are three different approaches to painting part of a red bell pepper.

Red Pepper 1 relies on the reds and yellows to create depth and shadow.

Red Pepper 2 relies on the blues and purples for shadowing, but I think it feels "labored".

In Red Pepper 3, I stopped trying so hard and slapped paint where ever it "felt" right. And then I stopped. I think I like this one the best.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cliff Dwelling Dragon, WIP

Purple Gargoyle Needs A Name

Purple Gargoyle Needs A Name, 8" x 10" watercolor on Arches 140#

Edit: His name is "Night Guardian"

I LOVE this guy! I'm really happy with him. I believe the paper made all the difference. Arches is the absolute best! I also used quinacrodone pigments, which are incredibly transparent -- quin gold on the moon, belly, and wings; quin violet in the body. I used hooker's green for underpainting, but I won't do that again. I'm not completely happy with its effect as a complementary color.

Another Cliff-Dwelling Dragon

Another Cliff-Dwelling Dragon, 15" x 19" watercolor on Canson 140#

This is the largest painting I've done so far. The background when in quickly and easily, but I labored on the dragon a bit too much. As it stands, this will be my centerpiece in my ConQuesT art show display in late May. He might become a print, as well.

My Favorite Dragon

A Dragon In Need Of A Name, 11" x 15" watercolor on Strathmore #140.
I'm really happy with the way this one turned out. I think I will make prints of him. I took great care in developing his shadows, his eyes, and the cliff.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Belly Flop

Belly Flop, 9"x12" watercolor on 140# Arches

I kinda like this little guy. I might make prints of him. I was afraid I had overworked him, but I think he can be saved. I had used that shade of yellow that doesn't scan well, so I went back with cadmium yellow and cadmium orange. Also, I lifted off some of the blue to brighten his eyes. I still need to give his smile more definition and touch up his claws with some china white.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What's on the table?

Another dragon, a work in progress. I'm applying very thin layers of underpainting on this one, trying to build up the three-dimensionality of this guy. Just how pale? Compare the painting to the worktable. Very pale. Stay tuned.

I'm really intrigued by his eyes. I'm not sure how I'm going to keep their expressiveness when I apply color to the pupil.

The Watchers

The Watchers, 2 related paintings, 11"x15" watercolor on Strathmore 140#

I'm not sure where these guys came from. I just started sketching freehand on stretched watercolor paper. I'm not sure they're really finished. I think they lack definition in the body modeling, and in their perches.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Squareheaded Girlfriend

Squareheaded Girlfriend,
11" x 15", Watercolor and Watercolor Crayon on 140# Strathmore

After working on ACEOs for so long, I had the urge to work on a larger surface. This started as a random sketch in my sketchbook, then redrawn freehand in watercolor crayon on an 11" x 15" sheet of watercolor paper. The final piece involved more watercolor crayon, regular watercolors, and the plasticwrap texture technique in the background.

Castle Glow aka The Red Keep ACEO

Castle Glow aka The Red Keep,
2.5"x3.5" watercolor on Canson 140#

This started as an exercise in graded wash, and turned into a castle in the warm glow of late afternoon.


Approximately 3"x5" watercolor on Arches 140#

A little worm, in search of a book. This is a simple practice piece I started in class a few months ago and finished up last week.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sitting Pretty On A Wall

Step 1. I started this piece when I was still working with my watercolor teacher. At her suggestion, I started with a combination of new gamboge and cobalt. At this stage, there is the new gamboge layer, then a green layer with salt.

Step 2. At this point, I considered the piece done, but I was unhappy with the way the new gamboge overpowered everything else. Also, the color simply does not scan well, so I doubt I could make prints from it.

Step 3. I added a glaze of cobalt over the body and wings to tone down the new gamboge. The overall effect is more greenish, but I'm still not satisfied. I might try the same subject again later.

Sitting Pretty On A Wall, 8x10 watercolor on Arches 140#

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Learning Mode: Mr. Grumpy, redux

Mr. Grumpy, watercolor on Canson 140#, 3.5 x 5.5

I did this quick rendering of Mr. Grumpy in watercolor several weeks ago, for practice. I think the boy needs more texture and more drama.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Learning Mode: Imagined Lizard

Imagined Lizard, watercolor on Arches 140#, 9x12

I worked on this piece in my last two watercolor classes. The goal was to learn to build depth through layers of color, and to build a wet-in-wet background. It is loosely based on an iguana, but not intended to be realistic.


Dragon, underpainting (left), finished (right)
9x12 watercolor on Arches 140#
This is my first attempt to use what I learned in class on a piece of my own. On the left is stage one, the underpainting. On the right, the finished work. The scan is oversaturating the yellow. It's much more subtle on the original. The painting combines underpainting, wet-in-wet, and layering.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sketchbook: Mr. Grumpy

Mr. Grumpy, watercolor pencils in sketchbook, approximately 9"x12"

Class was cancelled this past week due to bad weather. My teacher suggested I use reference photos of reptiles in sketching my dragon critters. This grumpy little guy was inspired by a photo of an inquisitive little lizard perching on a flower bush. This isn't a realistic portrait, but I feel good about the facial expression and the round little belly. The icky weather also inspired my use watercolor pencils for color instead of my usual graphite. The water made the paper buckle, as you can see on the left side.

Learning Mode: Landscape Tone and Value

Two Landscapes, 4"x5", Watercolor on Arches 140#

These two paintings are my homework assignment from my watercolor class. The goal was to paint a landscape using tone and value and only three colors. In this case, I used cobalt, viridian, and gamboge on the top/blue one, and cobalt, quin rose, and ultramarine on the bottom/purple one.

The paper makes a tremendous difference. I did a series of practice pieces on 90# Canson, but it felt as if the pigment was sliding off the paper. On the 140# Arches, the pigment gripped the paper better and stayed put.