Blog Archives

Tools and Supplies

In approximately two weeks, I’m heading to Nashville to be an instructor at –The Fantastic Workshop-.  I’m looking forward to it greatly, and have been busy preparing material for my lectures, as well as the demos I’ll be doing. As I gather the necessary materials at this time, I also remember all the questions about my process people asked me at Illuxcon a few weeks ago. Among the most frequent questions I field are regarding my supplies, and so I decided to gather all that information in one place. I have some of this scattered throughout my blog over the …

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Applying Gold Leaf video

Stuff used in this video: * wood panel – Blick Studio 8×8 inch wood panel * watercolors * watercolor ground – Daniel Smith, both clear and opaque * gold leaf sizing – Miniatum ink (the pink stuff in the video) * gold leaf – lagoldleaf.com 24 karat * lots of cheap synthetic brushes Here are some in progress photos for the piece: I sketch directly onto the wood panel. After I’m done with the sketch, I paint over the entire thing with watercolor ground. I keep the watercolor ground fairly thin over the background wood areas, and I add a …

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Capturing the Gleam!

A tutorial on how to effectively digitize reflective and relief elements. Working with metal leaf in a painting can create some very beautiful textural effects that make an original painting that much more of a unique creation. It becomes not simply a static image, but something that changes in its presentation and the mood it depicts, depending on the ambient lighting. It is interactive with its environment. That same quality however, makes it very tricky to digitize a painting that has reflective qualities. The main issue is that you have two things at odds with each other: (1) Reflective effects …

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Dragonfly wings

Before I get to the meat of this post, I wanted to express my thanks to all of you who have written in the past week after my previous entry to tell me how you appreciate reading my blog.  It is wonderful to know that these are so helpful, and it is inspiring to me to hear how it inspires you! So, onward! This is a piece in progress still, but I have been getting questions about the wings in many of these recent pieces. So here is a closer look at how it goes. I start with the pencil …

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Trance

I have fallen a little bit behind in keeping the blog up to date these days! Lots of events happening, a whole lot of art happening, and also a little bit of uncertainty about the audience interest in reading blogs these days. much as I love this format, the bite sized tidbits of social media seem to be the preferred choice of information consumption. However, I was gratified to hear from many of you that you have missed my blog posts on the process of my paintings. Now that i am coming to the end of a big deadline crush, …

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Ink Textural Demonstration Video

Okay, you guys finally wore me down. I’ve been getting requests for some video demonstrations for years, and though the hermit-artist in me hates video record of her existence, I’ve buckled down and done it.  At least, one video. We’ll have to see if there are more. If anyone has requests for short-demonstration type videos you would like to see me do, feel free to offer up suggestions here. I can’t do a full painting video, I don’t have the setup capability for that, but I can do little 5-10 minute bits like this one. So, that said, here it …

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Pigment geek-out

Okay, artist geek-out time now. I just bought a bunch of new Daniel Smith paints. Haven’t had a chance yet to play with them, but I did at least get to do a quick test swatch of each this morning. *Quinacridones – the top row of red-pinks-purplish colors. I’ve heard a lot about quinacridones lately from various artists, and I’ve decided to finally give them a shot. They’re extremely vibrant, and beautifully translucent, in tones that I definitely don’t have with any of my other colors. *Lunar – the next row, there’s three of DS’s Lunar colors. These are semi-transparent. …

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Using Pigment Powders

A question I’m asked a lot lately is what brand of paints do I use (Kremer Pigments, Daniel Smith, and Winsor & Newton), followed up with queries on what do you do with the pigment powders from Kremer. Kremer Pigments are very versatile because you can make whatever paint medium of choice you want to work with, by mixing with a different binder. Binder is what holds the pigment together in a fluid suspension of some kind. For oil paints it is linseed oil. Tempera is egg emulsion. Acrylic is a binder resin. And watercolors use gum arabic. To begin, …

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Techniques & Mediums: Watercolor Ground

Avalon - http://www.shadowscapes.com/image.php?lineid=4&bid=991

What is watercolor ground? For those of you familiar with other mediums like acrylic and oil, watercolor ground is the equivalent of gesso.  It’s a primer, but unlike acrylic/oil gesso, it is specially formulated to be a porous surface that accepts watercolors, instead of repelling liquid like a traditional gesso would do. What this means is that you can turn any surface into something suitable for watercolors, instead of being limited to paper and illustration boards. The brand that I have been using is made by Daniel Smith, and they offer 4 colors – white, neutral, black, transparent. I’m told …

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Testing a new transfer method

I’ve been thinking on this for a while now, because sketching directly on a canvas with watercolor ground is not a very satisfactory experience. Especially with fine point mechanical pencils. It works a little better with a more blunt softer lead. But it makes transferring sketches difficult. I decided to try something I did long ago in college, back when I was doing intaglio printmaking. There’s a technique called Chine–collé where you take some lightweight paper (like fancy Japanese rice papers) and bond it to a heavier surface for support. I dug up some rice paper I bought a long …

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Natural Plant Pigments

I spent the day at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens, at a workshop taught by Judi Pettite on the making of, and use of plant pigments in dyes and inks. To those of you who have been following me for a while, you know I’m a big fan of the natural plant pigments that Kremer Pigments used to sell. They’ve since discontinued that line. But something about plant pigments has really drawn me in. I’ve been meaning to try and make my own Nettle pigment at some point, and after this workshop, I definitely want to make it, as well as …

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About Art References

“Ships Passing in the Night” Prints ($16.95 & $26.50) available -here- A question I was asked recently: How much do you use references for animals in particular?   At this point, I mostly do birds from my imagination. Other animals I usually need at least a few reference pictures. I don’t ever draw directly from any one photograph. Here’s a pinterest board I use for gathering references on any one particular piece that I might be working on at a time: http://www.pinterest.com/puimun/references/ You can get a pretty good idea looking there, what my painting of the moment is. I like …

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