Tag Archives: watercolors

Walking Wolf

The final two phases of the painting begun here.

A walking wolf - incomplete imageI hate this stage. The goal is to add some texture, hopefully a little of which will remain and add depth to the final product. Sometimes it works beautifully, sometimes I manage to sort of smear it out of existence in the final blending. I’ve almost never actually ruined a painting this way…

But I’m always certain that I did when I look at it! Blech.

Normally I wouldn’t show off this phase, but I’ve shown off every other stage of this painting, so here you go. Witness my sad shame.

A walking wolfAnd the final version. The texture work from number three didn’t show through quite as well as I’d hoped, but I’m still very happy with the result. I think this painting shows a lot of depth and detail, and I’m happy to have this representation of my favorite animal!

This one earned a spot in my Etsy shop, I think!

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Work In Progress: Walking Wolf

Given my current busy schedule, rather than trying to fit in more art than I really have time for, this week I’ve decided to show the first two stages of my current work-in-progress. The Walking Wolf below isn’t yet complete, but hopefully this post will provide a little bit of insight into my process for more detailed artwork. I’ll be sure to post the final wolf when he’s finished, as well, whether it turns out great or not. *smile*

Initial watercolor sketch of a wolf walking across the page.This is the first watercolor sketch of my latest work in progress. At this stage I am just roughing in the shapes and defining the shadows. Very little of this will show through when I reach the final version, but everything that comes after will depend utterly on the quality of this sketch.

Given how well it came out, this gives me great hope for the final product! I’m particularly pleased with how the shadow placement in this iteration allows the back left leg to recede into the background, adding a great deal of depth and shape to the entire image.

Shadowed sketch of a wolf walking across the page This is phase two. The work was done two days later, after the original sketch had dried fully. Letting it dry is important, because otherwise the colors of your new layer will bleed into the wet paper where you worked before.

In phase two, I’m adding a couple of under-colors. If you click on the image, the larger version will show that I used dark brown for the shadows and an orange tone to rough in some of the shaping. The final wolf shouldn’t have much orange at all; I chose the color because if I do this right it should complement the brown and provide highlights in those rare spots where it shines through at the end.

The darker shadows make the image much more dramatic; if I was going for a looser style and less realism, I could stop right here and be pretty happy with the results. Unlike the last image, this scan has also been color corrected to match the original tone a bit more.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be starting the third iteration later today; keep your fingers crossed for me, will you? I’m really loving this image, and I don’t want to wreck it now!

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Practice Pieces: Mountain Layers and Mountain Haze

Layers of hills and mountainsFirst up this time, I’ve got Mountain Layers.  This acrylic painting was an experiment with different colors, opacities, and textures in order to create the feeling of depth between peaks.  The colors make it rather obvious, but I am reasonably pleased with how the most distant mountains faded into the haze.

Still, even more than most of the paintings that I share with you here, this really is a “practice piece.”  The composition is simply, the colors don’t add anything at all, and the whole thing doesn’t really “feel” anything at all.  It’s just paint on canvas, moderately applied.


Mountains fading into the skyOn the other hand, my second painting of the day is an experiment that exceeded my every expectation.  Done in watercolors, Mountain Haze demonstrates some pretty textures in the foreground before the mountains rise up against a blue sky, that same sky blue bleeding through the purple cliffs and creating a gorgeous haze that pleases my eye inordinately.

It’s still a long way from a professional quality piece, but it does have a pleasing composition and feels very soothing.  I’ve still got a long way to go, but in the meantime I think I’m going to have this one framed and hung in my bedroom.  It’s a good, restful piece.

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Practice Pieces: Mountains and Yellow-Eyed Girl

Trees before MountainsThis was my first set of watercolor mountains; I usually do most of my landscapes in acrylic. I was at my Mom’s house for the holidays and all I’d brought along was watercolors, so watercolors I did.

It came out better than I expected, but worse than I’d like.

Title: Mountain Majesty

Size: 9″ x 12″

Medium: Watercolors

Canvas: Watercolor paper

Primary Colors: purple, blue, green

A Yellow-Eyed WomanAnother case of using red instead of brown for flesh tones; I may have issues!

Still, I really love the way the red hair came out – so layered and vibrant – and once I outlined her eyes they became much more compelling.

Title: Yellow-Eyed Girl

Size: 9″ x 12″

Medium: Watercolors

Canvas: Watercolor paper

Primary Colors: red, orange, yellow


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Check This Out: Eastwitching

All of you here have suffered through my art – sometimes lovely, sometimes learning – for a while now. I’m getting better, and I’m proud of all the progress that I’ve made, but I am nothing compared to this amazing gal:

Alison Fennell, of the Eastwitching Etsy shop, is one of the watercolor artists who most inspires me. Her work is evocative; simple but unmistakable. She captures the essence of each creature she paints without over-detailing it, creating a very loose but powerful image. For months, I’ve been lusting for some of her prints, telling myself I was going to pick them up as soon as I got a full-time job again and things weren’t quite so tight, budget-wise.

Then, something happened. This awesome woman started running a weekly contest through her blog – find the needle hidden in one of the images and win a free print. I was overjoyed – a chance to get one of these gorgeous pieces now? Sign me right up! I’ve been entering each week, faithfully, hoping to get my favorite print.

Along the way, I’ve exchanged a few words with Alison. She’s asked my opinion on the contest – presumably along with many others – and I’ve given her what feedback I had. I’m just pushy enough that I even went so far as to offer some ideas and suggestions that she might not have considered, expecting a polite thank you and maybe some future contest fun.

Instead, one of my favorite artists wrote me back to thank me, profusely, and to tell me that she was going to send me the print I’d been hoping to win, free of charge, because what I’d said had been particularly useful to her! When I read those words I actually teared up for just a moment, just because this kindness was so unexpected. I hadn’t thought to get anything from the conversation beyond the chance to workshop an idea with another person, one in a position to benefit.

As my financial situation changes, you can be sure I’ll be going back to her store to buy. In the meantime, I’ll just be window-shopping with greedy eyes. If you like animal images, art, and supporting good people, stop by Eastwitching and take a look around. You just might join me in painting-love. And Ms. Fennell is just plain nice.


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Puppy Portraiture

While I was visiting my mother over the holidays, I took along my watercolors. In addition to a number of practice pieces (some of which will be posted later) I took the opportunity to paint my brother, Mike’s, two dogs. The images below weren’t scanned; they were photographed before I gave them to him, to keep.

The head of a gold lab. This is Rox, short for Roxanne. She’s a younger dog, and a total sweetie. She’s phenomenally trained and very affectionate.

The head of a brown dog This is Chewie, Mike’s older dog. He’s getting on in years and doesn’t really hear anymore, but he’s still a sweet dog. Well-trained, too, if you know the hand motions that have replaced his verbal commands.

I didn’t really capture the look of either dog, but I did capture the look of “dog,” generically; I’m really happy about that.

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Practice Piece: Sleeping Gypsy

A sleeping cat, painted in purple tones Sleeping Gypsy is a watercolor of my female cat. Unlike the boys, she frequently sleeps while I’m awake and (most importantly) doesn’t wake up and move as soon as I decide to paint her.

I’m getting a little better with the water colors, I think; finally getting some hang of how they’re going to blend and streak and such.

I really liked how this came out. Sure, it’s my frequent sin of monochromaticism, but it’s pretty and textured and that’s enough for me.

Besides, Gypsy is pure black. Painting her in one tone just makes sense.

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