Jul 12, 2015

Mulder and Rokko - Special Friends


I love animals, and I love drawing them! 
Mulder & Rokko - Graphite - Commission

Working on a commission piece has introduced me to many new animals.  I see their pictures, I hear their stories and I learn about their special character.  By the time I start my drawings I feel I know them.

Mulder and Rokko's portrait  has its own story.  It was a special surprise for their owner, a gift from friends. The picture is even more special as this is a memory piece of Mulder who has recently died.

My clients secretly gathered their pictures, they wanted to maintain the surprise.  We met, shared stories and pictures.  Then my work began.  I studied the pictures and tried several groupings.  I loved Mulder's stance and wanted to use it but did not know how to incorporate Rokko.  I spent a lot of 'thinking' time.  Studying my reference material.  Going for walks and fiddling with pictures in my sleep.  Then one day I had it!!  I did a mock up and checked with my clients, they loved it!

It had captured not only their likeness but their character! Mulder, who is standing at the back was always in charge.  Making the decisions and keeping Rokko in line. He was a salt and pepper schnauzer but his beard had a touch of brown.  I used coloured pencil to add this special touch.  

Rokko was quieter, more submission, ready to follow rather than to lead.  His special touch was his tongue.  There was always had a bit of his tongue peaking out. 

The drawing just seemed to come together.  I started with Mulder, in the back, then Rokko.  It was a challenge, I must admit to keep Rokko from becoming a black, blob.  Easy to do with a black dog.  But making his lighting almost backlight, seemed to really help in bringing his face to life.

The boys are gone now, wrapped and presented as a gift.  My clients were thrilled with the picture and could hardly wait to give it.  They even bought their own print as the dogs are good friends of theirs as well.

If you have a special friend that you would like me to draw, send me some pictures and let's talk.  I would love to see your special friend and hear their stories.
Have a great day,


Jul 4, 2015

Always something New to Try!!! - Watercolour Techniques.


New colours
 New subjects
 New mediums!

The Excitement of Creativity is always there!!

EVENING LIGHT - Watercolour - 12 x 16

Evening Light was inspired by the sunsets in the summer at Powell River.  We were camped at Willingdon Beach, at the edge of town, right on the water.  The view is fabulous: Vancouver Island and Texada Island to the southwest and the open waters of the Georgia Strait to the northwest.  When the sun sets, its colours flow down the Georgia Strait and  add a shimmering glow to everything it touches.  I captured a flock of Canadian Geese by the water feeding and resting.  The setting sun bathing them in lovely oranges and browns. A special moment in time!!

I was full of excitement to start work on this painting. It was going to be an adventure!!  

New Colours:  I have been studying colour theory and while reading "Mastering the Watercolor Wash" by Joe Garcia, I noticed some of his color mixtures.  His combo of French Ultramarine (FUM), Permanent Rose(PR) and Viridian(V) sounded and looked very interesting.  I thought this might be the combination for me to use for my waves.  

New Subjects:  I have taken many pictures of waves, studied them for hours as they crashed on the beach and admired others who have painted them. But I have never painted them myself!!  I was ready to try.  

New Mediums:  Yes, I know, working in watercolour is really nothing new for me but working with birds and animals is.  I was really challenging myself to get that fluffy, feathery look for my geese.  I knew I could do it in pencil but not so sure with watercolour.

Evening Light became my obsession!!

EVENING LIGHT - (detail) note the gradation of colour in the big wave.  It contrasts nicely with the whites. 

 I worked away on it every moment I had.  Experimenting with my colours; painting, lifting, glazing, really getting a feel for their character.  I loved the gradation the FUM brought into my water.  And the Viridian added just that touch of green that I wanted, my waves seemed to have a life of their own. (Check out the detail,  the waves have a rough texture, making my foaming water even more soft and fluffy!) 

The waves and the birds were a lesson in construction.  Lay down the foundation, a wash, and then build.  Layer by Layer.  Light to dark.  Looking for the subtle changes in values.  Quite like a drawing in many ways.  Pacing lots!  Back and forth.  Paint a layer, step back, analyze. Then suddenly my geese were there and waves were rolling!!  Evening Light was born!

As you are out holidaying this summer look out for the geese.  Canadian Geese can be found all along the coast by water, at this time of year.  They are busy raising their young: teaching them to swim, to feed and to survive.  Great to just watch them, they are such good parents.

Have a great day,