Saturday, February 25, 2012

Northern Pike Painting, Installmt #4, Finished

Well!  Once again my technical shortcomings are showing.  I've got a vertical pic here, where it's obviously horizontal.  I downloaded it horizontal, but every time I transferred it to my blog, it went vertical.  Let's just pretend it's like the thirty foot vertical Hubble and Hudson fish and say I did it on purpose.

Anyway, I finished it!  Like!  When you see it in person, the colors are super bright, and all over the painting you can see through the layers, getting a sense of depth.

Now all I have to do is let it dry for a day and then spray it with a spray varnish.  Once that's dry, I'll varnish it with a liquid varnish.  Both of these are archival, and high gloss, which I prefer, because they deepen and brighten the colors.

As you can see, it's still taped to my drawing board.  Within two weeks I'll have it finished and framed.  At that point, I'll take another photo so we can compare to see how much deeper and brighter the colors have become.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Northern Pike Painting in Progress, Installment #3

Okay, now I'm laying in the colors on the tail... red, comp to green, orange, comp to blue, some 'Hot Volcano Red,' which is a nice pearlescent, and an iridescent bronze.

Northern Pike Painting in Progress, Installment #2

Okay, here I have most of the friskit removed so you can actually see the fish.  I splattered friskit over the water as well so that when I go back in and paint again the fish will be well seated in the water.

You can see the tape around the edges holding this puppy down to my drawing board.  With YUPO, you don't have to worry about the 'paper' buckling at all, but you still need to tape it down just to hold it in place.

You can see some numbers at the bottom - initially I had those out on the drawing board because I wanted to make sure the head was 1/4 of the body.  Decided I liked it and will be painting the numbers in more vividly.

This pic shows a closeup of some of the textures I laid in.  I wanted the blues and greens to show through the fish to give the feel of reflections in the water.  The colors aren't the best because I'm not the best photographer.  I'm not making excuses - can't be good at everything!

I'm planning on painting the fish complimentaries of blues and greens - what is that, students?  Oranges and reds, in a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio as I've shown you kids.  I'll also lay down some more iridescents to give the sense of shiny scales.

Oh, how I love to fish!  One of these days I'll tell you the story of how I caught the one that got away.  But I'd have to paint a big bass to tell that story...

Northern Pike Painting in Progress, #1

I grew up in Washington State.  And Montana.  And North Dakota.  And... well, that's another story.  However, I do have fond memories of fishing with my dad.  One of our favorite fighters was the Northern Pike.  We'd catch them summer and winter.  Trust me, sitting out on a frozen lake in North Dakota in the middle of the winter is pretty frigid.  But that didn't matter; we had wonderful times out there on the ice, wind gusting.  We'd drill a nice hole or two and drop our lines - not like those pansy Minnesotans that put houses out on the lakes.  Often we'd have to continue to scoop at our holes to keep them from skimming over with ice.  And not like people down here that catch and release.  We EAT our fish!

It occurred to me the other day that fish really make me happy.  If I see a painting or print of a fish, I am drawn to it.  If I see a fish sculpture, it's all I can do to keep my hands off of it.  Last week I finally had the thought - why don't I paint one?  So... I'm going to show you a progression of what's up with my Northern Pike.  Of course a pike would be my first choice.  These fish give a fun fight.  One quarter of the fish is head, and that head is crammed with threateningly sharp teeth.  Once you DO catch one, you still have to be careful!  But when you have him - oh, so rewarding!
This painting is, well, I'm an artist so I haven't measured, but it's about 20x24".  What you see here is only a portion of the painting because you need a close-up to see what's going on.  I'm working on YUPO again, and this shows the mid stages.  First I drew him in with a light pencil.  After that, I painted in the fish, being careful to add some nice textures, with a friskit to protect the whites.  You can see the friskit looking a bit orange (the tint they add to it so you can see where you've painted) and in many places, simply lighter than the paint.
Once the friskit was dry, I added a layer of greens, turquoises and blues, spotting and dripping in some iridescents and other colors for interest and more texture and depth.  This had to dry for 24 hours and I added another layer of turquoise and blue to deepen the colors, toothbrush-spattering on some more iridescents, with a pearl iridescent over parts of the fish.  For this layer, I had to be super careful to not paint over any area twice, because it would have completely lifted any previous paint.

That's it for now.  I'm going upstairs to remove the friskit.  We'll see what it looks like soon...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Well, when we do go out for lobster, which is not very often, I don't sit and draw it, I usually EAT it right away!  I have been known to take pictures of my food, though.  This drawing is one I did in my purse sketchpad while we were waiting for our food, as we were in Red Lobster and little lobsters where everywhere. 
You're seeing a knotted string in the middle - it's the centerfold.  I did the initial sketch with a micron pen and painted it with acrylic inks later at home.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bible Illustrating

A typical page in my Bible.  I like to illustrate whatever is meaningful to me; it helps the words to run more deeply into my being.  Did this one this morning.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Inside Tattoo - Dangerous Sport

We all know that art is a dangerous sport, and I had to go out and prove it.  Last week I did something I've never done before, and hope to never do again.  After teaching my classes I was packing all my art supplies up to load into my car, piling them in one spot on the floor.  I have a basket that's divided into sections that I've filled with pencils, pens, paint, markers, tape, you get it, and... a very sharp, very sturdy bamboo pen.  This particular animal is about ten inches long and covered with India ink.  And, you guessed it, the basket down on the floor was supporting this infamous blackguard of a pen in a nice upright position.

As I was working I stepped over the supplies and misjudged, bringing my full weight down on that pen.  It pushed up into the inside of my leg, skewering me!  One of those times when you just have to hold still and concentrate on breathing.  I'm nine days out now and it's still bothering me.  The hole was about a half inch in diameter, so it's been taking its own sweet time to close, and the area around it is still REALLY irritated.  The joke was that I was trying to give myself a tattoo INSIDE.  A number of people that have seen it thought initially it was a Brown Recluse spider bite, because it looks similar, but I'm not feeling like joking anymore; I'd just really like it to get better.  And I'd like to start wearing dresses again.

Yep.  Art.  A dangerous sport.  Handle it with care.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Complimentary Kitty

 Yesterday I taught on complimentary colors in my classes, and using reference photos - changing them to make them your own.  In this particular class we were using watercolor pencils, and one of my students came up with this darling, puzzled kitty.  Here it is, still taped to her drawing board.  What a treasure!