This is James and his new puppy. His grandmother (a dear friend) asked me to paint a portrait as a Christmas present to her son and his wife. She wanted a soft look, and watercolor is a perfect medium for that.
I was given a 3″x5″ photo from which to work, and the finished portrait would be 16″ x 20″. Help! Thank goodness for PhotoShop. I was able to blow the picture up and see some of the details. Next the colors. Would they be accurate? Mary sent me samples of hair and skin color as James lives in Colorado…I live in Charleston…
This is going to be a short blog as I got well into James’ portrait and remembered I needed to take photos. You can see some of the drawing here, and the puppy is well underway. I used a combination of Transparent Red Oxide and Quinacridone Sienna to arrive at the wonderful orange/copper color on the nose and highlighted in the fur. At this point, I’m just starting to figure out the fingers and hand placement. Also, what is going on with the rear paw? Which leg was it attached to (look at the photo below)?
Here is the sweet photo of James and the puppy.
I thought you might like a closeup of James’ sweet face. I really wanted to capture his intent, his thoughtfulness. I hope I succeeded.
Mary sent me this wonderful picture. “They love it!” she said.
I saw this spoon in a drawer of antique silverware belonging toÂ my mother. I was struck by this particular one and its simple beauty. I loved the way the silver caught the colors that were nearby: the orange ruler and the aqua of a glass bird. They really weren’t even that near, but the spoon seemed to find the colors anyway.
I’m always intrigued with line and shadow, and the line of this spoon seemed wonderfully simple, evenÂ elegant. I placed it on this cloth of squares, whichÂ to me emphasized the roundness of the bowl and its shadow.
This seemingly simple watercolor is actually more difficult to paint than one would think. I was very touched by the following comment, which the son of a former classmate of mine madeÂ when he sawÂ this piece:
“Metal is lit directly (with the source lights that are reflected once to your eye ) and by the surrounding objects that are also reflecting light (so that light reflects twice: once from the directly-lit object and then from the reflecting object to your eye). This is true of all materials that aren’t true black, but metals reflect light in closer to coherent image than other materials, which cause greater ray scattering. So polished silver would show warped but optically coherent reflections of the lit objects around them, and fabric, for example, reflects only the most incoherent suggestions of nearby lit objects, just smudges. To suggest so unambiguously, using only pigments, that the spoon is tarnished silver, is to not only get the colors right (which takes tons of practice) but to smudge the colors to somewhere between optic coherence and total diffusion.”
I wanted to post this piece as it’s the first inÂ a series that I’d like to do using minimal color. I hesitate to say shades of gray, but that’s what fascinates me at this moment. I love the subtleties that can be found inÂ grays. Not only do they range from dark to light, but also from one end of the color spectrum to the other.Â In my next blog, I’ll give a range of samples.
If anyone is wondering why I have so little to show, I’ve been busy with my younger daughter getting married. It was lovely, and great fun!
Also, I was thrilled that she wanted me to design and sewÂ her dress. I learned sewing in junior high home economics, and it took. Also, my husband and I had a stuffed animal company (Under the Lamb, Inc), and I createdÂ several products, including an executive lamb, called E.F. Mutton, our biggest selling product. I did the original lamb. My husband wrote “The Wool Street Journal” to goÂ with it.
E. F. Mutton
Here is my daughter, Katrina, Â in the dress and train. She, by the way, has been the model for many of my paintings.
This cell phone picture showsÂ the top. I love the way it falls around the neck.
Eating the Cake
I’d say that’s enough for now. I’m busy reclaiming my life, and I hope to get painting as I haven’t been able to do in years! This Saturday, IÂ was justÂ juried into the Charleston Art League, and I’m excited to plug in and see what happens next.
In case you didn’t see, we now live in Mt Pleasant, SC, outside of Charleston: Â 1393 Southern Magnolia Lane, Mt. Pleasant, SC, 29464.