Posted in colorwork, painting, quilting

Follow up on Fence Questionaire

First of all, everyone said “Keep the fence.” Many of you liked the wine-purple color, but some agreed with me that an adjustment of some kind was needed.

I did try options 1 and 2.

Option 1: Start over with another fabric. Here are the samples I painted on the white fabric. I decided that it was a fun exercise, but just didn’t look too fence-like.

Option 2: I applied a wash of a cool blue color to tone down the strident red violet.

It just plain didn’t work as intended. To my eye, this is worse than before.

In the end, I chose to start again with the original fabric, for the same reason that I picked this fabric in the first place. The print had an earthy, woody texture to it. This time I mixed my violet paint with enough azure blue to create a sort of periwinkle or lavender tone. I also modified my foam brush by cutting notches into it.

The Winner!

Thanks to all who participated in the game. Your encouragement and positive remarks let me feel the community around me. I wish I could give you each a hug.

Now I can move on to sewing. I’ll start with a little hand embroidery on the flowers.

Happy making to all and to all a good day.

Posted in painting

Sitting on the Fence

……..about the fence.

Today I finished painting the Van Gogh-ish sunflower scene.

Close of up the flowers.

I’m very happy with my work. I also applied a wash of paint on the fabric that will become the fence. But I’m just perplexed about whether the fence works with the rest of the piece. Here it is:

I like the texture – it’s quite true to the real thing. I even like the violet color. It’s the tone of the violet that I’m not sure of. And I don’t think the light tan base color works well with the rest of the palette.

There are a few options:

  1. Start over with new fabric. I have white and a white on white print that might work.
  2. Apply another light wash over this fabric. Since the paints are transparent, a cool shade of blue would blend with the background and make the violet areas look blue-purple.
  3. Stick with what I have and modify the fence color by painting highlights in an opaque paint and stitching texture with thread in colors that fit the palette.
  4. Omit the fence and let the sunflowers float on the background.

What do you think?

Posted in painting

Channeling Vincent Van Gogh

If you read my post dated October 1, you will remember that I have a desire to make a fiber object featuring sunflowers. As a reminder, here is the photograph I took this summer that will form the basis of my design.

I got pulled off my work when I decided to make a “confetti” sample on October 1st. It was great fun, but it won’t really give me the effect I want for this background.

So today, I am back on the trail of Van Gogh. I’ve studied some of his still life paintings, enough to get a handle on how he painted those dotted backdrops. I am trying it on the background fabric I have selected. It is a mottled pattern in a Prussian blue color. Certainly, it looks painterly in its own way, but it lacks the dynamic quality I seek.

I get out my Jacquard textile paints and, with new brush in hand, start at the top of the fabric. Directional lines and dashes are what I’m going for.

Sky complete, starting on foliage background.

As I work my way down the fabric, I move from thinner lines to fatter, more blocky shapes. These represent what I see when looking at the background of my photo: mottled light and shadow of leaves, branches, etc.

Middle section painted.

I leave the bottom of the fabric blank, because the foreground is the fence. I have another piece of fabric for this element. It will be painted with a dry brush technique to portray the weathered state of the boards.

Background with my test swatch of fence fabric. I make the marks in violet paint.

I found this process quite meditative. As the fabric gets filled with splotches, one pauses, studies the work, and asks oneself: Where do I put the next mark? What is it calling for? How will I know when it’s finished?

Mr. Van Gogh might have known, but I am only guessing.

Posted in painting

Learning to Paint Water

I’ve moved on to the next tutorial by Shari Blaukopf. This one is exciting to me because it’s all about techniques for painting water. Still water, moving water, rapids, reflections, waterfalls – these are all subjects that interest me greatly.

First off was brush techniques frequently used to paint water.

Sketchbook – first attempts

Hm, I think the wet into wet needs a little more practice.

A little better.

There’s no substitute for learning by doing, so I moved on to the first subject: Still water. Here you see my sketch and the first washes.

While I might have made the blues darker, I was well enough satisfied to move on to the next steps.

In my enthusiasm to paint, I failed to get photographs of each stage. Let’s just say that there were two more layers of wash (mostly on the trees) and then final details. Once everything had dried, I applied some white gouache lines to the still water.

Completed painting:

While I feel that I succeeded in getting the reflections right, I’m not terribly satisfied with the overall painting. I’ll probably try it again.

To see Shari’s work, you can visit her blog here.

Friday, Oct 2nd. Today I painted the still water scene again. This rendition is much more pleasing to me.

The colors are cleaner and more transparent. The sky and water are vibrant instead of washed out. And the vegetation in the background is clearly defined.

Posted in painting

Final Lesson – Painting Shadows

Yesterday my husband and I returned from a week in Wisconsin. It was the baby’s 2nd birthday and we were there to celebrate. I loved my time there. My granddaughter had just broken the code on language, and words were tumbling out of her mouth in great abundance.

I had intended to post this blog last Sunday, but family life took priority.

The reference image for the lesson was a slightly decayed old service station in South Carolina. I will admit that I wasn’t terribly inspired to paint it. Bu I knew there were lessons to be learned from the effort.

First the sketch. Only a small number of pencil lines were used. I didn’t ink them.

There is a wide curving drive way across the foreground. The sun is coming from the right side of the image. It is high in the sky, but not directly overhead. First wash:

Next came the trees and shrubs in the background.

I was okay with this work, except for the dark tree on the right. The green doesn’t seem to fit with the other shades of green paint. Here is the final painting.

Posted in painting

More Urban Sketches with Shadows

I continue to work through Shari Blaukopf’s tutorials.

This week’s sketches focus on painting shadows of three dimensional objects. Shari chose three rather pedestrian objects. And yet they offer all the elements an aspiring watercolorist would need for practicing shadow painting.

Fire Hydrant

Waste receptacles, also known as bins or trash cans.

Car parked in bright sunlight.

I find that if I take sufficient time to make a good pencil sketch, the process of applying paint goes pretty easily.

If you are interested in Shari’s tutorials, you can find them here:

Posted in painting

Crayola Fun

For the past week, my head has been buried in this project:

Under the Sea Quilt – applying binding

Well, today I finally finished it. The big reveal will happen on Friday. You will have to check my post then if you want to see final pictures. As a little break from all the sewing, I took inspiration from Jennell Willey, of “In the Artroom” Check out her blog about using crayons with water color paint as a form of resist.

Because I have been watching hummingbirds whiz back and forth in my backyard, I decided to feature one in this little warm-up exercise. She is approaching a group of tumbling down trumpet vine blossoms.

Next comes a wash of color. I chose turquoise, orange, yellow and blue, to pick up on the crayons I used in the drawing.

A little splatter won’t hurt this painting.

After it was mostly dry, I added a bit of darker green to outline the vines.

And here is the finished painting, dried and with tape removed.

It took all of twenty minutes to make and was very relaxing. If I wanted to explore this technique further, I would sharpen my crayons a bit to get a more precise line. This would be a great technique to use in making greeting cards.

Posted in painting

Structure in the Garden

This blog is about my first watercolor on-line tutorial from Shari Blaukopf. She is a Montreal-based artist who specializes in urban sketching. First let me say, I enjoyed it. The reference photo is of a barn wood clad schoolhouse relocated to an urban garden somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

My first challenge was to draw and ink the essential lines of the image. I took my time over this step, since it is critical in setting up the rest of the painting.

By the way, I’m working on Arches cold-press watercolor paper for the first time. This premier paper is much beloved by watercolorists.

Next I completed the preliminary washes for the sky, building and flowers.

After letting these dry thoroughly, I went to work on the shrubbery and trees. Shari gave instructions on how to mix eight different greens using various blue and yellow paint. This part was really hard for me, partly because I didn’t have all of the paints that she used in her mixes. I had to substitute.

To me, the various green areas look like they don’t belong together.

I let the paper dry for almost a week before I got around to adding the final details. First the lawn went in, then dark green for underpainting the brighter greens. The barn wood got more shading before all final details were added using a small round brush. After drying, I dabbed some white opaque paint onto the flowers to give a little sparkle to the scene. Here is my finished painting.

This is the first time I successfully painted a mass of foliage. I also learned how to paint a lawn and the order to use in painting flowering plants. I’m betting that I will use these techniques in many future paintings.

Shari Blaukopf’s blog is found here:

Posted in painting

Western Sunrise

Yesterday and today I took a break from sewing to paint with watercolor. I have been following a tutorial by Montreal artist Shari Blaukopf called Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink and Watercolor. My goal for this painting was to practice skies. I chose a reference photo that had a very nice sunset and featured clean, simple shapes. This would allow me to make a finished painting but focus on the sky. The photograph also featured a reflected sky (another good subject for practice.) After making a pencil sketch, I jumped right in on the sky and reflection. Next came a few pen marks to guide the rest of the work.

After drying over night I added the other washes – mountains, meadow and trees. Once these had dried, I used my brush to give texture to the trees and shadows to the pond.

So far I’m liking this. But I felt that the painting did not really show the warm glow of morning light that I saw in the photograph. To correct this, I made a wash of burnt sienna and quinacridone red and stroked it fairly evenly over the grass.

Ahh that’s better. I used a dry brush technique to give a little texture to the grass and let the painting dry. For the last step, I followed Shari’s instructions and added pen marks to the trees, grass and pond edge.

This painting gave me a great deal of pleasure. I avoided most of the miss-steps with the watercolor paint and achieved the look I was after. I guess it’s worth signing.

I will put in the link to Shari’s class, but it’s on Unless you are already a subscriber, you may not be able to open it.

Here is the artist’s home page.