Thursday, July 15, 2010

WIP Feeding horses

This is as far as I have gotten on this painting. In the last post about this painting, I asked for suggestions on how to do the gravel and hay. My good friend Deb Ward ( suggested that on the gravel I splatter and for the hay I build layers by using masking fluid. I failed miserably on both.

I tried the splatter and I did not get the effect I wanted so I scrubbed it off. I then tried salt. Nothing. I even used kosher salt so it would be large blots left. So I will probably go back to the splatter, but use gauche or liquid acrylics to achieve the look.

As for the hay, I could not get fine lines with my masking fluid. I suppose I need to look into getting a masquepen to get the fine lines I need.

I am still liking the painting. I like the how horses and the girl are shaping up. But, as my fellow GCWS and blogger pal Rhonda ( stated in her blog, I am starting to get too tight with my painting. I have given myself an finish date as a week from today. This will either frustrate me or push me to let it flow. We shall see.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Daily Painting ... Is it For You?

Daily Painting ... Is it For You?

This is a neat site. Artists Helping Artists is a weekly blog talk radio show, hosted by Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry. Each week Leslie and Dreama discuss a specific topic that addresses how to "sell more art on-line". This blog lists all of the resources that are discussed on the radio show. 

The first show that I listened to was Daily Painting - Is It For You? Carol Marine, of the Daily Painting Practice, was Leslie and Dreama's special guest for this topic. Carol is one of the premiere daily painters in the U.S.I have followed her for three years now and as you can see she is listed on the right of this page.

I enjoyed the conversation tremendously.  I highly recommend that you check out this web site and talk show.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review: The Simple Secret to Better Painting by Greg Albert

Last month when Greg Albert spoke at the GCWS Meeting he offered the opportunity to buy a few of his books. I chose The Simple Secret to Better Painting: How to Immediately Improve your Art with This One Rule of Composition.

In this book Mr Albert claims that you can improve your art with his one rule of composition. He states that his "goal is to make pictorial composition simple to understand, remember and apply."

Mr. Albert said that he came up with this concept from his experience as a teacher. While teaching the Principles of Design (unity, variety, harmony, contrast) and applying them to the Elements of Composition (line, shape, color) he found that the students often were frustrated in remembering and achieving them in their work. Mr. Albert explained that the theories worked for analyzing what went wrong after the art was completed better then
helping them complete the work correctly. He created this
One Rule of Composition to help avoid mistakes.

Mr. Albert claims that if you remember and apply his rule along with the formulas of The Rule of Thirds and Mostly, Some and a Bit, it will help you make better composition choices for your paintings. In the formula, The Rule of Thirds, you divide your picture into thirds vertically and horizontally. The intersections of these divisions create the best locations to place your center of interest in your picture. Mr. Albert reminds us not to give into the urge to put your center of interest in the direct center. He shows how that ends up being a boring placement.

When Mr. Albert talks about color variety he refers to the formula, Mostly, Some and a Bit. By this he means, "that you could use mostly one hue or family of analogous colors, with some of another color and just a bit of a third contrasting color...... To make your painting pleasing, you need to vary the quantities of warm and cool colors, so they are not equal......., the colors should be mostly of one temperature, some of the other and a bit of contrast."

I found this book to be helpful, not only in reminding me of the design principals, but a fresh way to look at how I create a painting. The book gives many examples of these design formulas and how it simplifies the Principals of Design. Mr. Albert talks about using variety, placement and leading the eye through a painting to achieve an exciting and pleasing composition. He shows how it applies to painting a still life, landscape, figures and portraits to create a more interesting painting.

It is a quick read. Teachers, if you adopt Mr. Albert's Rule of Composition, along with the Rule of Thirds and Mostly, Some and a Bit, it will make teaching composition so much simpler.  If I had read this book while I was in college, it would have made my design class a lot easier to grasp. I will post these formulas in my studio (per Mr. Albert's suggestion) for quick reference.

As for his have to read the book :-)


Thursday, July 8, 2010

GCWS July Meeting: Marlene Steele, guest speaker

This months GCWS Meeting was graced by local artist and teacher, Marlene Steele ( Marlene teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati's Community Classes, UC DAAP, Evergreen Art Center and in her studio. She received her degree from the Art Academy. Marlene is a member of the Cincinnati Women's Art Club. Marlene likes to paint with watercolor, colored pencils and pastels.

I was excited to hear her speak on Working with the Figure in Watercolor. I took drawing classes from her approximately 12 years ago. I enjoyed her class very much and tried to soak up everything she taught me.

Marlene went over her brushes, palette, paper and other various tools that she likes to use. All the while she told us about Jack Meanwell, whom she fondly called her mentor. Marlene said that through him she began figurative work in watercolor. She was into exploration and was more into volume than perfection of a painting. Marlene used conte' crayon and watercolor paints as her tools to draw the figure.

She encouraged us to get reams of cheap paper so we too could explore watercolor more fully.

Marlene talked about color mixing and her palette set up. She places her warm reds and yellows on the top and down the right with the blues on the bottom and up the left side of her palette. (see picture on the right) Marlene uses two of the same size brushes  to begin her painting.  One brush is for cool colors and the other is for warm colors. Her colors were fresh so she used more pigment and very little water to paint with. Marlene used a damp brush to lift out areas. She lighlty laid in her color to keep the value light and build the shadows with washes.

 Marlene talked how thumbnails can be helpful in organizing and/or re-directing a drawing/painting. When she is beginning a drawing session with a live model, Marlene does quick sketches in increments of 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, etc... whether it is charcoal or watercolor. She explained that this keeps you from getting tight.

Another tip she shared was to assign or find the shape with your brush as you lay the color when sketching. If you look closely to the picture to the left you can see the shape of the muscles, shadows and highlights on the figure she is painting. Marlene said, "Shadows make everything happen, shape the light."

Listening to her brought back memories of her class and a yearning to take another from her.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Feeding horses WIP

As I stated in my last posting, I am enjoying this subject. I thought I would post three pictures showing the progression of the painting up to this point.

I have approximately 6 hours (including the drawing/transfer process) into this painting so far.

I am trying to lay the washes in slowly and cleanly. Something I work hard to do because I get impatient and usually at some point start to lay the darks in too soon.

In this view, I was working on the lady's shirt, pants and the boys shirt while I was waiting on the leaves in the background dry.

Hay....not sure how I am going to paint the ground of hay and gravel.  As any painting it is a process and I will figure it out as I go along. That is why I am determined to go slowly.

Have you painted something that seemed tedious or difficult to you? How did you resolve it? Were the results how you envisioned them?

Ideas and critiques welcomed, just hit comment.


Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July festivities

I hope everyone had a good and safe 4th. In our area we celebrate the 3rd & 4th. Our local pool/amusement park, Coney Island 
(, has an event called BallonGlow on the 3rd. As you can see from the pictures, hot air balloons stay tethered so they can light up as the sky darkens. The park stays open later for fireworks.

The picture shows the hot air balloons peaking through the trees. My vantage point was from the parks front gate, where I was working, looking down the main road way. We close the road way when the parking lot fills so the patrons can get close to the lake where the fireworks were launched. It is a pretty neat event. To see more pictures of the balloons go to Coney's link.

Our outdoor concert venue, Riverbend (, is also attached to the park. On the 4th the Cincinnati Symphony  has a concert and fireworks.  So today is a day of rest after all the activity.

I have been working on finishing up the painting of Pop's Garden. I will sit on it for a week to see if I still think it is done.  As for the river view drawing in my last post...I am still drawing. I started it over because I want the perspective to be right.

Being technical is driving me crazy. So I am only working on it while I wait for the paint to dry on the painting I just finished and the one I have begun.

I started a painting of a little boy watching horses eat. I took this shot at another event we had at Coney Island called Paddlefest ( This is a huge event for canoing and kayaking. There is a day of instruction on water safety; how to use a canoe/kayak, etc... There is a youth day where the city summer camps bring in kids to learn about water safety, get canoe rides, health, animals and information about the parks of Hamilton and Clermont County. The last day canoeists/kayakers either race or take a leisurely ride down the Ohio river to Sawyer Point (Downtown Cincinnati) where another day of festivities is set up. It is a lot of fun to watch.

At the youth day, Hamilton County parks brought in animals from one of their parks. I took this picture of this little boy being curious. I loved how he got down to see the horse eat while the Park Ranger was explaining how to feed the horse. Kids and two favorite subjects rolled into one :-)

I hope your weekend was as much fun as mine was.
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