Tag Archives: Northern Virginia Artist

Tips and Techniques

Today, I am starting a new series to help you improve your skills and your art. The goal is to post a new topic in this category every week. If you have questions or ideas, please send me an email. I would love that. If I dont know the answer I will research it for you!

Toady, I thought we would begin with a tip on painting portraits or adding them to a painting. For instance a rider on a horse or child with an animal. When you paint a person the planes on the face that contain the eyes nose, mouth and chin are always parallel to each other. I have used my portrait of Eric to demonstrate.

Eric DiagramAs you can see from the diagram, all his features are parallel.  The angle of his eyes, nose and the tilt of his chin. This is particularly useful if the head is tilted or turned. if your drawing doesn’t look right check the planes.

This painting is done on Le Carte Pastel card as opposed to my usual surface of velour. I will go into the painting details in a later post. I must say that it is far easier to correct mistakes on this paper. But dont get it wet ! A drop of water will eat a hole in the surface that is almost impossible to repair! This works very well with pastel pencils. You can add details with softer pastels as well.

Happy Painting!

Sunset Run

On May 1-3, 2015, I will be giving a workshop on painting a white Andalusian horse. I wanted the horse to reflect all the colors of the rainbow so I decided on a sunset. I was inspired by a painting I saw at Lesley Harrison’s Workshop a couple of years ago. In fact I went out to California for a private one-on-one session with Lesley so that she could teach me how to achieve this beautiful effect. I had a wonderful time learning from her!

Here is a beginning stage. I added all the colors I wanted to use to the coat first. I used pure pigment colors without added black particularly. Pastel blue, pink and yellow-orange.

SR3 I also used the same colors for the background.

After that I began to go darker with the horse itself and progress to the finish.

SR6I LOVE color and like to use it in all animals that I paint.

Same principles apply. I use color first so that it glows through in the finished animal. All pastels used were Rembrandt or NuPastels.

Portraits in Pastel

I thought you might like to see the progression with this portrait. So here’s a sneak peak of how I work:

Portrait1 Portrait2 Portrait3

 

In the first picture we have added skin tones and shading. I spend a lot of time around the eyes. You will also notice I have laid in a base coat for the other colors to blend into. There is just a hint of her hair and notice her pearl earrings!

In the second picture I have added the hairs and the beginnings of the background. One bubble has been put in and the others are drawn in.

In the third picture, I finished all the bubbles and her hand. All done except for final adjustments to the background and adding her cute striped sweater.

Bubbles-Portrait Workshop

Next week will be the annual portrait workshop and I am excited about it. I painted portraits in watercolor for 25 years before switching to pastels. I love painting portraits in pastel . It is so much easier and I love the result.

This year I have been working on a special set of portrait colors to make the paining not only better but easier. I have switched to mainly Girault pastels. They are not only so beautiful in color but also in texture. They have a wide range of color and I highly recommend them. These will be complemented by a range of complimentary NuPastels and also Carbothello pastel pencils.DSC_0409This year we will be painting this adorable little girl blowing bubbles.

Bubbles

There are so many elements to this painting. I love the cohesion and harmony of colors in the child carrying into the background. And the bubbles!!! We will concentrate on the ears and hands. Most people have the most trouble in those areas so we will do studies of each before working on our final painting. There is still one space and I would love to have you come. We also have an optional 4th day for those who want to paint their loved one . I will provide lots of individual attention to help you complete your portrait.

Winter Coat-Update

I added a post yesterday about my newest painting experiment with pastel mat and showed you the stages. After I thought I was done, I still kept fooling with it and rubbing the pastel on the right side with more blue.

As I did this a flaw in the surface began to appear. This flaw would not be covered with pastel–no matter how much I added. Since I was unfamiliar with the surface (this was my first painting on it), I was unsure what to do to fix it and how to proceed. It looked like I would have to start over. I was not willing to sacrifice my wolf and all the time I put in to its creation. So where do you go to get answers?? The internet.

After searching, I took a paintbrush and wet it and then brushed over the area with water and let it dry overnight. This morning I awoke to a large even spot on my painting. The flaw was evened out but now I had a spot:(  I added more pastel and guess what? My flaw returned. I then tried brushing off excess pastel(outside) and then spraying the area with fixative.  After it dried , I applied more pastel. Guess what?? The flaw returned.   Sigh….

Then I decided that since the painting was probably a goner, I added a darker color over the blue I had used on the right hand side. I brushed the blue off first so as not to have too much pastel dust on the painting. It worked very well!! I was relieved and glad to save my painting.

It also looks much better to have darkened that side. The wolf now lives in the space and the dark adds depth to the painting.

Pencil Wolf 4