Saturday, October 28, 2017

Autumn Artwork

"Old Truck" - (c)Pat Dolan 2017 - 10" x 14" - watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# wc paper

When we moved to our current home about 3 years ago, this old truck was resting jauntily on the hillside, it's bed filled with growing plants. I photographed her in every season, even to taking pictures as she was slowly driven away to be sold to the highest bidder. The autumn matched her coloring perfectly, although in this view, one cannot really see the wonderful tall grasses in the truck bed. I may need to do another one... Meanwhile, below are some step-by-step progress photos to help you see how a watercolor painting is developed from drawing to completion.

Here's another fall watercolor recently completed, although it was started years ago! Sometimes I have to put away in incomplete painting until such a time as it calls to me to be completed. I put down the first few layers about 5 or 6 years ago, then got stuck trying to figure out how to proceed.
"Tennent Church Cemetery" - (c)Pat Dolan 2017 - 10" x 14" - watercolor on Aquarell 140# wc paper

The Old Tennent Church is a Presbyterian church located at 450 Tennent Road in Manalapan, New Jersey, where we once lived. It's cemetery has Revolutionary War headstones, among so many others. It's an incredibly scenic and tranquil spot next to the Monmouth Battlefield of historical fame. It's particularly beautiful in fall and winter, although also beautiful in spring and summer!

Once again, the completed painting.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

More Watercolors on the Art Table and Beyond!

"African Girl" - (c)Pat Dolan 2017 - watercolor - 14" x 14" - currently unframed
From a photograph by Stephie Butler, used with permission

Having experienced so much at Stephie Butler's portrait class, I am excited to keep on doing more watercolor portraits, as well as some other things, so that I might develop my techniques with more practice.

"Girl at the Wall" - (c)Pat Dolan 2017 - watercolor - 10" x 12" - currently unframed
From a photograph by Steve Evans Photgraphy, used with permission.

"Laura" - (c)Pat Dolan 2017 - watercolor - 10" x 13" - currently unframed
From a photograph taken by my husband, Frank Dolan - about 30 years ago! She is the daughter of friends of ours.

I now have another nine drawings taped to Contac-Paper-covered Foam Core, ready to go. In betwixt and between regular daily live events, I hope to be painting up a storm of portraits over the next month or so. Framing these pieces is so very expensive, but watercolors MUST be matted, at the very least, and stored in clear plastic envelops to preserve the quality and prevent damage. I'll want to frame a few of these, especially if they are to be exhibited! But that's for a later date!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Back from the Framer!

"Snobby Cat" - 2017 (c)Pat Dolan - Framed 17"w x 20"h - watercolor

Just brought these home from the State College Framing Company & Gallery and am thrilled with how well the new watercolor paintings look in their new frames!

Here are "Sleeping Tiger" and "Blue" - 2017 (c)Pat Dolan - each framed measuring 17"w x 20"h - watercolor

And finally, three Ravens floating in a single frame. They are mounted on a textured linen mat and then framed together.
"Raven Trio" - (c)Pat Dolan - 2017 - Acrylic on Canvas - Framed measuring 18"h x 35"w
The Ravens are painted with permission from photographs by Wendy Davis Photography

Come December, "Snobby Cat" will be at the annual Christmas show and sale at the Bellefonte Art Museum, Bellefonte, PA. The cats and ravens will go to the State College Framing Company and Gallery, State College, PA from December through February.

I have more watercolors in progress and hope to have them framed and exhibited with these at one or the other of these locations!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Watercolor Class with Stephie Butler

A class photo - I'm standing on the left, Suzanne, Melissa Fischer (organizer), another Pat, Joanna, Stephie Butler, ?
Seated are Pat (Melissa's mom), Joanna Lodewijks-Pijlman, Thaddeus (Melissa's brother), and Melissa's sister, whose name I've unfortunately forgotten.

Portrait of a Boy by Stephie Butler in watercolor (Note: all photographs can be enlarged by clicking on the image.)

I spent two wonderful days in Stephie Butler's watercolor portrait class last week and wish to share a little of my experiences there. Stephie (website: is from Great Britain and only comes to the USA every so many years to teach her watercolor techniques, philosophy, color theory, and tips. So it was wonderful for me that I discovered her class just three weeks prior to her teaching within a reasonable driving distance of our home!

Below are images of a few of the watercolor paintings she brought along - or demonstrated during her teaching sessions while here. I love her loose style, although I discovered it's not so "loose" as it appears! It's well thought out ahead of time, I assure you!

This is her set-up, along with paint samples showing the basic 4-color skin mixture Stephie uses in the majority of her portraits.

These two color charts illustrate the varieties of skin tones Stephie employs in her portraiture. She uses one yellow with one red for nearly all the actual skin tones.

Then for shading, Stephie mixes mauve tones from various shades of blues and reds, as seen below.

Stephie Butler teaching & demonstrating watercolor portraiture last weekend in upstate NY

Joanna Lodewijks-Pijlman - wC painting above and completed below.

Below, are the two paintings that I completed - several others are "in progress!"

My completed watercolor using a photograph supplied by Stephie Butler.

MY second watercolor done using a photograph by Gunnar Salvarsson, with his permission. I altered it quite a bit, making the girl much older.

Monday, October 02, 2017


Blue - 13"w x 10"h - watercolor on 140# Fabriano Watercolor Paper - (c)2017 Pat Dolan

Several people have asked to see how this painting was accomplished. I took a few photos along the way, but I've never video recorded my painting process, so I hope the photos will provide enough of an insight into the process as needed!

I begin by wetting the sheet of stretched watercolor paper thoroughly with a hake brush. Then I allow the water to seep into the paper so that the shine is beginning to diminish, but the paper still glows under the light.

Then, after mixing good quantities of the colors I plan to use, I begin by dropping rich color (ultramarine blue) onto the paper with a fairly good sized watercolor brush - in this case, I was using a 14" round Creative Mark Mimik Kolinsky brush.

With the paper still quite wet, I began adding darker blue tones to add depth to the fur. It's a mixture of cadmium red and ultramarine blue, making a deep purplish brown color...

Above, I added some color to the lower corners to 'ground' the painting - I didn't want the head to simply 'float' on the paper!

Just a close-up shot at this point.

Still adding some depth/darkness to certain areas.

Beginning work on the eyes, nose, mouth...

Adding more details to the facial features...

Here, I'm fairly satisfied with the end result - I've lifted a bit of color in a few places and deepened the color in a few other spots. All that's missing is the whiskers and to brighten up the highlights in the eyes.

I used Winsor Newton Designer's Guache Permanent White to achieve the final results.

While masking fluid is an excellent resource, I haven't used it since back in the 1980's and am a tad reluctant to do so until I've got more watercolor practice back under my belt! In the 1980's, I did very realistic watercolors, using masking fluids at times, and leaving the paper white at other times to achieve the desired effects. I recently purchased Pebeo Drawing Gum and The Original Incredible Nib so that I may begin re-learning that technique. It's certainly useful for saving small details of white paper when choosing to wet the entire sheet of paper and apply loose color in dramatic fashion!

Hope this little "step by step" photo series is helpful!