Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Visions of Nebraska

I recently had a junket to, of all places, Lincoln Nebraska. Nebraska is a very, very flat place which definitely brings to mind the phase "big sky country". This is an interpretation of western Nebraska, which is primarily range land. This is a watercolor. Tony has challenged me to do it in oil, to see how the mediums differ. Should be interesting!

Lath House at Huntington Gardens

This is a view of the newly opened, steel and glass botanical lath house at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, California. For fun, I show a sunny scene in the foreground with a rainstorm sweeping in over the hills in the distance. The building posed a challenge. The lath was laid in using liquid frisket (sort of like painting with rubber cement). After the initial color pass, the frisket is removed and stark white lines remain. Then you have to somehow blend the color together to make the structure look like it exists in space, add shadow, etc. This was my first try working with liquid frisket.

Don's Last View of a Tropical Shore

A good buddy, Don Lynch, has given up life in the States and is moving to Alberta Canada to pursue a sculpting career. Go, Don! I gifted Don with this tropical scene, so he would have something warm to look at during -20 degree winter days...

Still Life, with Cat

This is your classic still life study of a bowl of fruit. When I finished it, I had a lot of empty space left in the picture, so I decided to add the cat as a "feature". This is my first attempt at rendering fur in watercolor. I decided to try out some iridescent silver watercolor as an undercoat, which really popped the individual hairs rendered in dark gray over the top. Coincidentally, the week I painted this, we adopted a Russian blue cat who looks like the picture. Welcome Dmitri, the Russian blue!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I recently enjoyed a great exhibit at the Huntington Library of Constable's 6 foot oils and full size sketches. The sketches were very impressionistic (60 years before impressionism) but Constable then did them over in the required, tight style of the day where every leaf on the tree was defined. He liked a Z-shaped composition with theatrical lighting effects to force your eye to move around the canvas. This is my attempt at a Constable-style picture, rendered rather small and in watercolor rather than in oil. The original is startlingly vivid in tone for a watercolor. (Sold)

A watercolor where I was practicing layering colors and creating transparent reflections. Would you believe the underlying color on the table is a hot pink? This is a charming German Hummel figurine that dates from 1952, quite different from the Hummel figurines I remember seeing in America. A loan from cousin Vivi to practice figure drawing.

Wipe Out

Something beachy for on-coming hot weather. I'm practicing people--this is your basic stick figure! This is a watercolor. The foreground achieves added interest by scrunching plastic wrap on the wet paint, then doing over painting on the dry page.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"No Place Like Gnome"

This one is just for fun, a little picture of an English cottage intentionally done "Kincade" style. The gnome was a last minute addition to solve a flaw in the watercolor paper!

Monday, April 23, 2007


After I sold Menage a Trois, I received a commission for another picture. The buyer wanted me to duplicate the picture in oils. As you can see, oil and watercolor are NOT the same medium. Deconstructing the watercolor's washes was an interesting exercise. Here's the result...