Sketch and Final

This is from a portrait workshop that I used to attend. It’s easier for me to create a more finished looking piece if I can manage to get enough information when sketching a subject. This is an example of my method. In my studio, I transferred the sketch at left to a piece of Arches watercolor paper and then painted it.

Bully!*

Theodore Roosevelt overcame a frail childhood to become a boxer, war hero, conservationist, author, cowboy, governor, Nobel prize winner, muckraker, trust buster, vice-president, and finally, immortalized on Mt. Rushmore as the 26th President of the United States. His macho persona, I think, is best described by a speaker at Roosevelt’s own funeral, who declared “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”

*In Teddy’s day, the word bully meant something great, or, as we would say today, awesome.

Digital Enhancement

These colorful creatures can be seen flitting along the edges of the Wyomissing trail. They are noticeable especially against a snowy background. How do they stay warm all winter?

This is a watercolor on rough paper, but it looked too static when finished, so I scanned it and added some digital snow using Photoshop.

’tis the season

…for holiday cheer, the yuletide version. I made this portrait from a photograph that I took, and then copied using Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons. These are pretty versatile crayons; they’re hard enough to hold a nice line and soluble enough to draw a nice wash across the page using a brush loaded with water. 

Happy holidays to everyone, however you celebrate!

Sketchbook Studies

Earlier this year my sister gave me a sketchbook of handmade, cotton watercolor paper made by the Amatruda Company, based in Amalfi, Italy. It’s roughly 6″x9″, has four deckle edges and takes a wash beautifully, although the surface falls apart if it gets reworked while wet. So I decided to use it for fast studies – wet washes only, to avoid detailing anything. Two hold-out roses from the sunny side of my home; our pumpkin before carving; and a rogue spaghetti squash from my garden.

Fall Color

Here’s a tree I spotted at a pumpkin patch that we visited with the grandkids. What caught my attention was the way the outer leaves turned color while the center remained green.

This painting is an exercise in value, also known as rhythm. An academic teacher that I knew described value as the lifeblood of a drawing or painting – light values support dark values support light values, etc., across the entire work. It’s a tricky thing to accomplish when using color, so I limited my palette and spent a month on and off tweaking it until I got it right.