I have started another art challenge on one of the art forums I read, and this one is six artworks in six days with the theme of “blue.” I have narrowed that down for myself to be blue-feathered birds (I like doing a theme within the theme, like my flamingoes series), and have found a variety of reference photos to work from with the first being the bluest of blue-feathered birds I have ever seen, the hyacinth macaw. I’ve actually been looking forward to painting this bird,, especially this happy youngster who posed so nicely.
I have seen these birds in person before at zoos, and they really are that brilliant a shade of blue. In the sunlight, they are a close match to my tubes of ultramarine blue. I did this in acrylic paint, having succumbed to an impulse buy at WalMart on Friday and coming home with a 12 bottle set of acrylic paints marketed to the crafters, but my husband likes to use on his little figurines that he paints. I think I like them as well. This is only my second acrylic painting I’ve done myself (excluding one my husband helped me with – I’ll need to blog that one as well!) and I am pleased with it.
I did another Christmas card artwork sooner rather than later, and yes this is related to another art challenge. The theme was not announced until the evening prior, and the prompt was, “after dark.” I have actually intended to do this holiday-themed still life for a while now, and just hadn’t sat down and done more than just a rough sketch and obtain a good reference photo. This turned out to be the perfect excuse to just do it. What I’ve had in mind is a Christmas-themed still life arrangement with a lighted candle, and for the level of detail I wanted to capture, colored pencils are best. I may not use them nearly as much as my other media, but when I do it is for something specific and detailed.
I stopped long enough to scan the image in white-on-black, just in case I was still not satisfied with the coloring-in by bedtime. Surprisingly, several of my fellow artists and challenge participants like this better than the final color version. Comments received so far include “surprising,” “minimalist,” and just plain “cool.” I do not have an original for this version for obvious reasons, but I could probably make one if requested. I only have this version up at my Pixels site for prints and even cards.
Adding color to the drawing
I have to confess, I expected the coloring-in phase to be more of a battle than it was. I often say, “Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug,” and yesterday went smooth enough to qualify as being the windshield. The black paper has a laid texture to it, and is made for charcoal and soft pastel, so it didn’t take the colored pencil as fully as smooth paper would, but I like the effect and will be using it again. If you would like to own the original, you may purchase through Daily Paintworks here.
I do love how the pinecones turned out! Y’all will likely never see my first attempt at drawing a pinecone, which is probably for the best. The colors pop against the black background so nicely. Finally, the contrast between the still life objects in focus and the colored lights being completely out-of-focus in the background came out just as I had hoped. Prints and cards are at the Pixels store, while apparel and accessories are at RedBubble.
So, time to ask your input: which version do you like better, and why? Should I do up a new white-on-black version? I suppose I ought to joke, “Asking for a friend.”
The days are beginning to get shorter here in the northern hemisphere, which means it is time to get ready for the upcoming holiday season that kicks off with Halloween and ends with the New Year. Here at the beginning of August, it means it is time to think about what art you want on your Christmas cards! I have two paintings from last year, both five by seven inches, both ornaments hanging on the tree that I have not blogged yet to go along with my Winter Snowman watercolor painting also from last year.
The why behind the art
This was actually a test of a company’s watercolor paper; the red one is on hot press and the blue one on cold press, which really matters more to me as the artist than anyone who doesn’t paint. (The brand is Legion’s Stonehenge Aqua, for other artists reading this who may be wondering.) After finding a reference photo that I really like, I painted them side by side. I was pleased with how both turned out, and it gave me a good idea of what to expect from each … along with two cheery and festive paintings that both look just right for cards!
After six flamingo paintings, I guess I got restless and on a whim I painted this lovely little beachscape, which is my term for a landscape that features a beach (rather obvious). It also has elements of a seascape and a cloudscape, but the sand and some shore grass tip it firmly into the beachscape classification in my opinion. It’s the sunrise part that makes the clouds so interesting to me.
The original is on paper that was sold as ten inches by ten inches, but a careful measure shows one dimension to be about an eighth of an inch short. This was the first time I had noticed this deficiency on the block (glued pad of pre-stretched watercolor paper that buckles much less than taping a sheet down myself) even though I have already done a previous painting (will post that soon!). While I can fix that on the scan, the original is not quite square. I am not at all versed in the intricacies of framing art, so I don’t know if that will have an effect.
Overall, I think this is my best landscape so far. Then again, this is only my fourth landscape I’ve done this year, so not a whole lot of competition there! I am asking $100 for the original, and do ship. Prints are available at my Pixels page, and apparel and accessories are at my RedBubble page for those who like to wear their art.
I do still have a pile of paintings and pastel works to post, so stay tuned!