my creative resolution

Hoping to draw, paint and create my way through 2014!


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Progress on my portrait painting lessons

portrait
Halfway through my first lesson and I’ve learned a lot so far! Here are the key things:

  • Skin color is a mixture of many colors. You don’t pick a tube and say this will be the color. For the demonstration I’m following, I started out using a Yellow, a Rose and Cobalt Blue.
  • Work wet with light washes. I first painted a wash of the yellow and then added the rose to it. In certain spots I dropped in the Blue.
  • One of the most important things I learned was - soften the edges! Whenever I added a “shadow area” I would soften the edges. This was one of my main mistakes in the past. I would paint a shadow area, not soften the edges and the result would be blotchy looking skin.
  • Painting skin is a gradual build up of colors. Before, I would paint the face a solid and then try to add in the shadows.

I am excited about my progress so far! Watching TV last night, I was noticing the shadows that make up the face.

My “lesson” is from “Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages and Skin Tones,” by Suzanna Winton. I picked one of her demonstrations and I’m following along, trying to recreate it.

Here are my steps:
His face looks like a rainbow.
portrait1
The “crevices” aren’t black shadows.
portrait2
Even the lips have soft edges and are made up of different colors.
portrait3


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Painting outside of my comfort zone

usfinal3
Last week I must have been feeling extremely ambitious, when I decided to paint not only a portrait in watercolor, but a portrait of my husband and I! It was a fun photo of us at the beach and I thought – why not? I think I thought with the hat and sunglasses it would be easy. lol!

Things went along smoothly until I got to the faces, where I encountered a struggle similar to painting my “beach girl’s” face. Both faces were partly in shadow and no matter what I did, the skin looked blotchy and unnatural. I realized that, quite simply, I lack the “know how” to paint the highlights and shadows on a face while maintaining the smooth look of skin.

Despite this, I still think I did a decent job. Towards the end, I relied heavily on watercolor pencil, to add in the shading. But the main reason I feel good about this project is that I identified what training I need. Not only that, but I found a book that will help me in this area. I’m very excited to follow along with the step-by-step demonstrations in this book, “Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages and Skin Tones,” by Suzanna Winton.

Here were my steps:
I started sketching in a light watercolor pencil, because I figured I could erase any lines I wanted to. Then I added in the color – except for the faces.
us1 us3 us4

Once I started adding paint to the faces, things got blotchy and funny looking.
usp1 usp2usp3

I went back and forth with paint and pencil trying to get the right shading and trying to get it to look smooth.
usp4 usp5usp6


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Figure Drawing – update on my Summer project

beachsketches
I keep a sketchbook in my beach bag and try to pull it out while we are at the beach. I wish people would stop moving! - lol. Last week I realized I’d forgotten a pencil. So, I snapped a couple of photos of people by the shore. When I got home I sketched them. They were easier to draw – since they were staying still. :)

Here are my previous posts on this subject:
1. Figure Drawing – My Summer Project
2. Figure Drawing – the inside of the body


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Thank you to all my followers!

thank-you-1
Last week I decided to try my hand at lettering. I love the look of painted words in a watercolor. I kept painting “thank you.” I think I was hopefully anticipating one more follower which would bring me to 100. A goal I couldn’t even fathom when I started. Since last week, several new followers have pushed me past this goal. So, I want to thank all of my followers! Your feedback is an amazing source of motivation to me!


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Watercolor Shell

shell
Any advice for me?… I struggled with getting the shell to pop and look 3D, as opposed to smooshed in the sand. I know some of my problems were because: I painted this from a real shell and the background was made up. I used colors in the sand that I should have used in the shell. Since I didn’t want the shell to blend in, I used brown paint and it became a dark muddy mess. I sat down to paint at several different points and the shadows were probably changing.

Why is it that “struggled” is one of the most common words I write?! lol. Oh well, you paint and you learn. :) Not sure I want to attempt a redo on this one. Hoping to hear your comments!


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What I’ve learned about art (and myself)

eye
In the last six months, I’ve been on a creative journey. Here are the things I have learned through my creative resolution:

  • Every time I sit down to paint, draw or create – whether it’s a success or failure – I learn something.
  • Looking back at my lists of project ideas, helps me stay focused and complete things. And feel a sense of accomplishment about the things I can check off!
  • Even the most common objects can be interesting subjects – a bottle of windex, the vacuum – lol!
  • Trying again. A couple of times I’ve tried to redo a painting. The second painting wasn’t necessarily better – but you I improved certain things (and lost some things). It is interesting to compare and analyze. A great learning tool!
  • To post or not to post? I went ahead and posted something I felt I had overworked and was honest about it. I loved the feedback I got!
  • A weekly checklist is helpful to cover all the things I want to work on. (But it is okay, every once in a while, to throw it out the window and work on what I feel like!)
  • Learn everything you can when you visit the art store. Look at their website for even more product information.
  • Disposable palette sheets are awesome. Quick clean up, plus I write what paint colors and mixes I used, for future reference.
  • Bloggers are so nice and supportive. Thank you!!! :)
  • The resources to learn from other artists are everywhere – blogs, videos.
  • Mixing colors leads to a less saturated color. For vibrant, bright colors – use colors directly from the tube. (It took me a whole painting to learn this!)
  • Developing a style takes time and practice.
  • A project can spark the idea for the next project, and so on and so on!
  • Sometimes I have to force myself to finish. I would love to start new projects everyday. It is fun and exciting, but sometimes I have to buckle down and finish the lingering ones. The feeling of accomplishment is amazing!
  • Hanging my paintings makes me feel good! :)
  • Take the pressure off. I don’t sit down to create a “frameable” piece. That paralyzes me! I sit down for a “5 minute sketch” or to play with watercolor.
  • Be open to inspiration – it is everywhere!
  • Dedicate time to being creative. Schedule time, to make sure it happens. Life can easily get in the way.
  • Step away. With a fresh eye, I notice things, I wouldn’t have, when I was deeply involved in the painting or sketch.
  • Try new things. Whether it led to success or failure, I’m growing from trying new things.
  • The computer can be a useful tool – for planning out projects, for analyzing color, etc.
  • Keep track of paint mixes for the next painting session. I found keeping a little leftover, a paint “starter,” is helpful.
  • Painting sand is very hard. Sand is many different colors and textures and changes color as you get closer to the ocean. I’m still working on this!
  • Getting back into a project, after a lot of time has past is difficult. I’m afraid of ruining it and I forget where I was. BUT, once I get started on it again, I can quickly get back into it!
  • Keeping a blog is an amazing motivator and I can look back and see what I was thinking and working through during each creative project!


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6 months of my creative resolution!

watercolors
…and still going strong. In the past 6 months I have accomplished 52 watercolor paintings, 8 acrylics on canvas and 64 sketches! It is amazing to me what writing a goal down can do.

When I first typed the words, “I hope to draw, paint and create my way through 2014!” – I didn’t know what I would spend my time doing. Would I be decorating the house? drawing? painting? refinishing furniture? Imagine my surprise when the first months were filled with acrylic painting – one of the things I have the least experience in! I even pulled unfinished canvases – years old – off a shelf and finished them, like this carrot.

Carrot

Carrot

And one day I decided to add watercolor to my sketchbook and suddenly I was falling back in love with watercolor! I wanted to do more and more things. Each project led to ideas for 10 more! I felt joy and fulfillment.

I certainly had moments when I wavered. The unexpected connection and support from fellow bloggers pushed me on as well as the encouragement from my family who kept saying, “Don’t stop.” Six months in and I’m not stopping. I’m still not sure of my direction, but I’m “finding” myself as an artist and learning a lot along the way.

Thank you for joining me on my journey! :)

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