Paws - 9"x12" watercolor on Fluid 100 Cold Press - Pat Dolan
Here's the step-by-step approach to this watercolor. It was a lot of fun to do, and I love this new watercolor block - Global Art Fluid 100 Watercolor Block paper. It was a great surface to work on, held both water and color extremely well.
Just off the easel - Sleeping Tiger - watercolor - 13"w x 10"h
I took the photo of this cat on our Bed and Breakfast bed when we were visiting Banchory, Aberdeen, Scotland. He was a beauty, to be sure, and ever so friendly. The painting shows him to be much more remote that he actually was in person or rather, in cat.
I apologize for not taking more step-by-step photos of the progress of this handsome feline. But here are the few I did remember to take. If you look hard, you can watch the details emerging as the photos progress. The final photo, above, shows how I added the whiskers and a few ear hairs with Winsor Newton Designer Gouach, Permanent White.
Contemplation - 22"w x 15"h - watercolor - 2017 - Pat Dolan
This painting has been taped to the drawing board for over a year awaiting the time I was ready to tackle painting such a large watercolor, let alone a wc portrait of this size. I've been intimidated by the mere size of the piece, as well as not knowing how to proceed with the actual painting.
However, after having such a fun time painting the two small wc portraits (Daniel and Rebecca) last week, I was emboldened to attempt this one of a thoughtful woman at peace with herself and her world. The following photographs will depict the process of this painting over the course of a few days.
These first few photos show how wet the watercolor paper needs to be to create a blended background and allow for the grounding colors to merge into the paper. This painting is done on 300# Arches watercolor paper, taped to a piece of contac-covered foam core for added stability. Once you wet the paper, the paper needs to be well supported if you wish to have some control over the work. Much of the initial work on this (and most of my paintings) piece is done in a wet-on-wet technique of watercolor painting. I do keep the painting at a slight angle so the paint drifts downward on the paper allowing for a directional blending of the background.
The next few photos give you an idea of how a painting is developed, layer by layer, color by color, with each layer adding depth and dimension to the work.
Daniel and Rebecca - They are shown here with 12"x16" mats - watercolor - 2017 - Pat Dolan
Here are my representations of twin grandchildren of one of my dear friends. I've been watching them grow up via Facebook and when I saw the photos used for these portraits, I immediately saved the photos as future reference for these watercolor paintings. The photos are used with permission, of course, granted some time ago!
I forgot to take very many "in progress" photos of Daniel's portrait. Sorry about that!
Daniel - The completed watercolor - without the matting.
Here is the first photo of the "in progress" for Rebecca's portrait.
Stages 2 and 3 below:
And the completed portrait here, without a mat.
Rebecca - 2017 - watercolor - Pat Dolan
It was great fun playing to capture the expressions of these two little toddlers - both seemingly deep in thought. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did painting them!
"Three Friends" - 2017 Pat Dolan - watercolor- 12"x16" with mat
These three little girls are companion preschoolers with our great-granddaughters. Capturing their joyful expressions and delightful embrace was great fun - as well as a bit of a challenge. Painting blonde hair is a challenge in and of itself, to be sure. And with the sunshine brightly illuminating the hair of the two girls on the left - and with slightly different shades of blonde.... it was fun, of course, as well as a challenge!
Here's an earlier version - I wasn't happy with the facial shadows, to say the least. Here, I'm still working towards a better representation of these three little girls...
And finally, it helped to create more contrast in the clothing, with highlights reflecting on the girls' faces. Toning down the bluish shadows and heightening the rosy hues, I think the painting came together more successfully.
Oh, it's wonderful to be back playing with watercolors! I have nearly a dozen drawings on heavy-duty watercolor paper ready to go. Guess I'll be busy for a little while!!!
A rare view of my studio - clean, tidy, with amazingly empty surfaces!
Above, my computer desk, printer, paper supply cabinet, tool drawers, etc.
Below, my drawing table in the rare state of emptiness. I have a piece of felt-backed table covering on it since it's bare wood with metal and plastic additions. I love my new lamp - it's far more secure than any I've had previously, can twist and turn different directions, and has one of those special "daylight" bulbs in it, making it easier to maintain the appropriate colors when working there. Color looks quite different in different lighting, of course. But I prefer daylight for my bird portraits and the majority of my other work, as well.
Below, a 28"w x 6' table that I use when I am painting with acrylics, or as a drying space for watercolors, since I generally work on 3 or more watercolor paintings at a time. Quite often, I need to allow certain areas of a watercolor painting to dry before I can proceed to the next step in the painting. Thus working on several paintings at once makes it easier for me to keep busy while something requires I stop working on it!
And finally, another view of my desk - you can see over my desk an opening to the front entryway. That opening allows for the sunshine from my studio to lighten up the entry - especially when the front door is closed in the winter season. During the remaining seasons, our front door is generally open to allow the light into the entryway and the dining room. I need lots of light - that's the major reason we chose this particular unit in our townhouse development. My studio is lit from the east and the south, as well as seasonally allowing the sunset from the southwest to illuminate the room. It is said that north light is the best lighting for artist's studios - and that may be true from the perspective on eliminating direct sunlight and shadow areas from one's workspace. I do have to dodge the intense sunlight occasionally, but in Central Pennsylvania, the cloud cover usually takes care of any "over-lighting" that might occur!
All this cleanliness is a result of my desire to switch mediums - from acryic painting to watercolor painting. It's amazing to me just how many supplies come with each medium! Acrylic painting requires tubes and tubes of paint, a pile of different kinds of brushes, various kinds of palettes - depending upon how long the paint can stay wet on a palette and be used multiple days (I like food storage containers the best - they are free and mostly air tight. But they do take up a lot of storage space when one is collecting them for future use.)
So now it's on to bringing out my watercolor paints, papers, brushes, sponges and more. I'm excited to consider just how I will approach watercolor painting after having ignored it for so many years. Yes, I've had occasional forays into wc painting, but never stayed with it long enough to develop a new style appropriate for this new time in my life.
We shall see what we shall see. I expect it will take some time to feel confident in using this medium - it is so completely different that painting in acrylics! In acrylic painting, one generally works from dark to light. In watercolors, one must preserve the whites of the paper. That can be accomplished with a product similar to rubber cement that can be easily removed once the painting is completed, leaving the white of the paper untouched by paint. Alternately, the "purists" prefer to work around the white areas, leaving them totally untouched by anything - are more rigorous process, to be sure.
Stay tuned to see what happens in the studio over the next few weeks. I suspect I am more anxious about this than any of you!
While Penn State continues to pummel Pittsburgh, I'm painting in my sunny studio and looking at recent photos. Thought I'd share some of each, the paintings and the photos!
Last night's double rainbow shining over our townhouse - taken from the car as we left for the Art Alliance for the art show opening.
Above, one of the triplet cubs born to the roving mama bear that roams a 300 mile or so radius including our neighborhood. This photo was taken by one of my neighbors, but I thought I'd share it as it's emblematic of our "edge of town" location in central Pennsyvania.
The calico cat I began a few blogs ago - it's improving, but I'm still not happy with it. We'll see what happens in time!
This is the "Hungry Fledgling Bluebird" I completed awhile ago - but it didn't quite 'work' and I couldn't figure out why. Here's a photo of the older version so you can compare the two. The one below is missing some essential spots - my neighbor and I were in agreement on that, so today, I updated the fledgling and am 'fairly happy' with the results...
Back to central Pennsylvania! Below are two photos from our visit to the Great Blue Heron rookery just outside Fisherman's Paradise park. Spring Creek, a major trout fishing stream here, supplies the environment for a great deal of wildlife, apart from the trout adn the fishermen... The "sentry" heron below seems to be the first to arrive, and he/she stands up there on the top of the ridge until all the herons in the rookery have soared in and landed at their nesting sites. Be sure to click on the images to see them enlarged for better viewing!
Above, as dusk settles in, we can barely see the heron families gathered in their various nesting sights. We have watched them flying in from all directions and seen some of the flying antics these large, somewhat awkward, yet very agile birds can accomplish in the air. It's always thrilling to spend the hour before dark witnessing this spectacle.
And finally, a few farm photos. The first two are a farm located on business hwy 322/Atherton Street as one approaches State College from the east. I have photographed this farm for over a dozen years, first during our visits to our daughter and her husband, and then after moving here in 2008. It's one farm I want one day to paint - in watercolor, not in acrylics. But until I practice a lot more in watercolor, that farm will wait!
The farm above is one I can see in the distance from our kitchen window. On foggy mornings/evenings, it's especially entrancing, as it is in the sunset, etc., etc.