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 never thought that a painting I did with enticing lips would be chosen to be on a billboard!
A wonderful group called “ArtPop” (ArtPop Street Gallery) is on a move to fill billboards all across the US and eventually even in Europe with art!
ArtPop worked with the Charleston Arts Alliance and Adams Outdoor Billboards to launch the movement here. They had a city-wide contest, and we five (holding our unusual trophies) are the winners! Who knew?? Last night we had the opening send-off with the billboards lighting up! We’re each on several billboards throughout the city, and move when the billboard is needed for someone who can actually pay… I still haven’t seen any of mine, but many have, and I’ve heard it looks great.
Here is the original painting, and you can see where I took the long, skinny part that I submitted for the contest.
“Reflection” – This piece is for sale and, if interested, can be purchased in the SHOP
Thanks for taking a look.
Come on down or over to Charleston and see the real thing!
I’m posting birds probably because it’s spring, and we’re moving, and I’m decidedly feeling the nesting urge. Our house has sold, but we’re not clear where we’re headed yet, except we know we’re staying in Charleston.
I want all my paintings to find a nice home where they’ll be loved and bring a smile or provoke a thought. The best way to do that, one would think, would be to have a sale.
All my paintings will be anywhere from 20% to 25% reduced. Gag!
I’m hoping this blog will, perhaps, cause you to feel the nesting urge, and bring one of these paintings into your home.
This little Wren just found a home! He was grabbed on Instagram before the sale even began!!
I had to paint this Wren as he’s been sitting on my kitchen window sill chirping his heart out. I figured he was singing “paint me!” And so I did.
Sarah's Update What a year this has been! Most of it has been dedicated to illustration and the publication of our book, Frog's Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables. I've been able to grab time to fit in these little paintings, which I've grown to love. I have them...
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...
Â Â Â A dear friend, Jan Fincher, asked if I'd do a pastel portrait of her three children when they were little (being now fully grown with children of their own). Â Â Â She then gave me a wonderful 3x5 photo taken many years ago of the kids in a bed of tulips!...
Out On A LimbThis piece, "Out On A Limb," was so much fun to paint! This is a watercolor on watercolor canvas, which I've never used before. Every medium has its own very distinct look. This wood stork is young. Notice that it still has tufts on the top of its head,...
This is a commission that I just finished for someone who had seen the photo (below), and wanted me to paint it. I knew that the photo below (taken by Luke Champion, a teenager who has split-second reflexes) needed to be a watercolor, as there were these wonderful...
How this still life evolved I started out with this rather pathetic setup. The rose was dying, and I'm working against time. I loved the light on the vase, and the colors in the rose, but not the pine table top. This is when I decided to improvise. Â Â I laid in the...
"The Pink Hat" is a painting I've been wanting to do for months! A dear friend had been to Uganda, and this little girl's picture was among the photos. Her innocence was so compelling. So was the hat. Interestingly, the most difficult part for me were the hands. The...
"Doots" My childhood best friend, who died last year was just so full of life! She loved to laugh. We met in pre-nursery school, and were both "Doots." We started the renownedÂ "Doots & Doots Detective Agency"... solving all manner of crimes...often ones that we...
I taught my first class! They liked it!! Who knew.... When I was in my twenties, I taught an art class of about twenty students, all ages. Within several weeks, most of the class had evaporated! Â After that, I determined that I should leave teaching to...
I never thought that a painting I did with enticing lips would be chosen to be on a billboard! A wonderful group called "ArtPop" (ArtPop Street Gallery) is on a move to fill billboards all across the US and eventually even in Europe with art!...
I'm posting birds probably because it's spring, and we're moving, and I'm decidedly feeling the nesting urge. Our house has sold, but we're not clear where we're headed yet, except we know we're staying in Charleston. I want all my paintings to find a nice home...
This painting was a Christmas gift from Luke to his wife, Rosie. Tackling this portrait was scary because I know Rosie, and I wanted this to be good, PLUSÂ Iâ€™ve never done anything with this many different personalities in one portrait. I mean, look at the...
"SOPHIE" Â Pastel Portraits Make wonderful Keepsake Gifts! "Two Asparagus" - watercolor print "Shallots" - 11" x 11" watercolor available for sale "Merry Christmas, Sophie" - Personalized digital print fits right into an 11" x 17" frame ~ wonderful gift for a child ~...
"SOPHIE" Â I'm now offering colored pastel as well as sepia and charcoal portraits! These make really wonderful gifts! Patrickâ€™s boys actually picked the charcoal as the look they would like. Theyâ€™re thrilled! To see more portraits and to order click...
Image size - 11" x 14" Matted size (ready for framing) - 16" x 20" Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ~ 3 DIFFERENT CHOICES sepia on toned tan paper sepia on white drawing paper charcoal on toned gray paper Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ~ I'M NOW OFFERING PENCIL...
I'm madly painting and framing in anticipation of this Spoleto Festival. I have no idea what to expect, but I'm hoping that the people who might like my work will find me. As you can see from the paintings on this post and in the side panel, I don't have one style. I...
Anite is a Haitian woman who works at 2nd Story Goods, a non-profit cottage industry started by my friend Kathy Brooks. She tells Anite’s story below:
We stand outside Aniteâ€™s tiny thatch home, the one she moved into this past June with her four children. I reach down to fix the collar on the dress of the little girl standing there with Aniteâ€™s daughters. Anite tells me that the little girlâ€™s family lived next door until recently and were forced to leave. The momma left with her baby and left this daughter behind. Alone.
Anite is a young widow and might weigh 75 pounds soaking wet. I wonder how many days she has gone without food to keep her children fed… She is a woman of faith. She is a woman fiercely determined to keep her family together and raise her kids well.
Anite has taken this little girl in.
So, this young girl is maybe eight years old. She is so thin and small it is difficult to say. Anite has taken in another mouth to feed, another body to clothe, another child to hold when she cries.
She slays me.
She tells me that God will take care of them, that He promises to do that for those who care for those in need. So she does.
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I was so touched by Anite’s story that I felt prompted to paint her and offer the print as a means to give money to her family and others like her through the ministry of 2nd Story Goods.
The print will come unmatted, rolled in a solid tube ready to place in a mat or frame.
I will send $35.00 from each sale to 2nd Story Goods for Anite and families like hers.
The remaining $13.00 will cover the cost of reproducing your limited edition print and shipping it to you!
You can place your order through all the various means on the sidebar next to the painting.
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I’ve tried to take some pictures as I’ve worked on this watercolor so you can see the progression.
First step in laying in the painting
This is really not the first step but you’d never be able to see my “first step” pencil drawing as it is so light. So, this is the step after the drawing where you lay in shapes and try to establish some colors.
The next step is to lay in the background and continue to fill in the face.
Now I start laying in the background shapes and colors trying to balance the background against the foreground. In this painting, I don’t want the background to compete very much as Anite’s clearly the focus. I try to keep the colors somewhat muted.
AndÂ here is the final piece!
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I can’t believe so much time has passed since my last blog! This has been a year of settling kids in college, or not college. I keep thinking I’ll have my own life, but perhaps that’s a myth…
Anyway, I’ve managed to squeak in painting, and I’ll try and catch you up. I’m going to try and keep this post updated (ha) so you can check in at your leisure, if you like. I’m presently working on a piece called “Waiting.” This was generated by a series of photos sent to me by a friend of three Mennonite women at the train station. I’m always intrigued by what people might be thinking, especially when waiting.
He Heals the Brokenhearted
This painting, “He Heals the Brokenhearted,” was accepted for the 72nd National Exhibition of the Watercolor Society of Alabama, Spring, 2013.
The summer has been filled with illustrations, one a commission (below), the others have been submitted to a children’s book publisher (on the right panel).
The poppies are just for fun…
That’s it for now. As the kids are going off on their lives, I’m starting to get excited about regaining mine… !!