Thursday, June 25, 2015

starting with the darks

Australian Shepard
8" x 5"

I've never been very good at working methodically, that is always using the same process to start a painting.  Sometimes I draw in the darkest areas and lines first, sometimes I block in the overall darks first.  Lately I've been starting with a pencil sketch, then going in with watercolor.  I'm finding that it's better to establish the overall pattern of light and dark first and then layer in the darker, and then darkest darks over that, so as to not disturb the layers underneath.  Now that I'm painting everyday, it's become easier to remember these things (that I should already know) and start the right way!  I never thought I had the discipline for the transparency of watercolor (acrylic and oil can always be covered or changed) but I think I may just learn yet...

Here is Day 56 (on top), Day 55 (underneath) and Day 54 (seen through the previous page):

Here is a look at the progression of this piece:

squares versus rectangles...

"not a deer"
8.25" x 5"

On Monday I started a new sketchbook.  I got down to business as usual, still continuing to paint a dog a day with The 100 Day project...but the book is a rectangle.  Luckily I found a rather tall-eared pup to paint to fill the space, but it's still a rather awkward composition.   The problem is that I don't really think about composition too much with these little painted sketchbook sketches, and it easier to fit thing in a square than a rectangle, I think.  I'm really just working on technique in these pieces and compositon is secondary.   Maybe this will force me to think about that as well... 

Here is the progression of this piece:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


As I continue on my 100 day project, I am falling into some sort of a rythym of more finished sketches and quicker, less resolved sketches.  But mostly I feel like I've been "resolving" or
"finishing" these sketches more than I should be, being "sketches" and all.... So, I have resorted to having a sketchbook for my sketchbook.  The past few days I have done quicker, looser, sketches in my big 9"x12" book, before I do the my daily painting in my 6" x 6" book.  I feel like I should be working bigger and on loose watercolor paper instead of in this tiny sketchbook.  However, I committed to doing 100 paintings in the same format, and I do think it is a good practice.  I am learning a lot about watercolor but also about how I like to work. 

6" x 6"

Syndey is a beautiful Great Dane that lives on the 39th floor of a high rise in Chicago.  I can't wait to do more paintings of her.  Her daddy, my newphew Paul, takes a lot of great photos of her so I have alot to work from.  

Here is a look at my process...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clover and Sport

Clover and Sport
10.25" x 13"

This is the final of the painting I showed the sketch for yesterday.  I didn't end up submitting it to the show because I wasn't sure it was right.  I like parts of it, but it wasn't exactly how I envisioned it.  Part of me wishes I just entered it anyway...

Clover is my dog and Sport is Clover's (toy) dog.  Sport started out as my daughter's toy, but too much dog slobber and she willingly handed him over to Clover... he lovingly carrries that thing everywhere, and would never dare tear him apart.

Monday, June 8, 2015

working bigger

I am trying to start working bigger, slightly bigger anyway...

Clover and Sport, sketch
9" x 12"

I originally created this sketch as an idea for the "Possessions" exhibit at the Attleboro Arts Museum.  I liked the color and general gesture of the initial sketch but needed to go larger in order to incorporate the legs and the "Possession" (his stuffed dog, Sport).  Seeing how that was the point of the painting, that needed to be the focus.  Increasing the size of the paper to 10.25" x 13" helped but I still think it could use a little more breathing room, compositionally.

Next time I'm starting with a full sheet and cutting down once the painting is finished!

Monday, June 1, 2015

my process... my product(?)

So, I've been thinking a lot about process, and product, and if I have one and if so, what is it...

I have started a new project, #the100dayproject on Instagram. Ella Luna the author of The Crossroads of Should and Must prompted her followers to spend 100 days creating something, and post it on Instagram.  Every day in May, I have posted a photo of a painting in my sketchbook.  Some are more developed than others, but I mainly intended to let it be a place to experiment, and not have the pressure of a "finished" product.  Sometimes I prefer the works in progress to the ones that I develop more fully.

Sometimes I like the finished ones.

Today someone offered to buy the painting I did of their dog.  My question is, should I let this be a product, as in should I sell my sketchbook pages? or make prints of them? or just leave them be as my "process" and work on new separate pieces if someone is interested?

Overall, I have enjoyed the process of sticking with a single format (6" x6" sketchbook), medium (watercolor) and subject (dogs) for an extended amount of time...and that's good because I still have 69 days to go!