Monday, February 28, 2011

Sadie 5

I should have switched over to Rylie, but I'm so close on finishing Sadie that I ended up spending the day on her.  I just couldn't resist getting those "doggles" under control....and I'm very happy with the way they are looking.  I have a little work to do on the shadow area under the doggles on the right hand side, but other then that I'm pretty happy with the outcome. 
Now, I'm focusing on everything below the harness area.  You would think that seeing the way the hair grows is an easy thing, but Sadie's hair is so smooth and close to the body that it has been a real challenge.  The area to the left, above her paw has been difficult.  It took more than a few "passes" to "get it right".  I finally made the decision that the hair kinda wraps around her forward shoulder area and then makes a downward turn to the legs.  Sometimes you have to take what you know with what you see and make the best compromise between the two.  That's what I did and I think it is working.  Today I'm off to the laundry and grocery shopping......till next time....have a great day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sadie 3 and New Camera

I know I have been "missing in action" these past few days, but sometimes I just need a little break from the computer.  I also have been learning to use and enjoying my new camera.  It finally arrived a few days ago.  The first company we had ordered from turned out to be less then reputable and we ended up canceling the order.  Ordered from Amazon....which is what we should have done in the first place.
Isn't it pretty!!  Oh my, you should see all the buttons and dials!  Thankfully, it has an auto setting which allows you to "shoot" right outta the box.  I do want to move beyond that.....but it will takes some time to get familiar with everything.
I did get a little painting in the other day......
I have not done anymore on the "doggles"....I want to finish her head first so I can see how everything "works" together.  I am fairly satisfied with the muzzle area....I just have a little spot behind her mouth to finish up.  I just can't seem to quite make that area frustrated with it yesterday!  Today is a new day though and after sleeping on it I think I'm seeing it a little clearer this morning.....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rylie and all those curls!

While it rained and thundered and hailed.....yes, hailed.....I was working away on sweet Rylie and all those lovely curls......
She is coming along nicely I think!  I had such fun swirling around in that "mop" that sits atop that sweet little face and of course it will eventually cascade down on either side.  I spent some time on the nose and muzzle area....blocking in some color.  Animal noses can be tricky....getting that texture and the play between dark and light.  Rylie's nose is a little different in that due to the angle the photo was taken, there is a bright reflection on the bottom side of each nostril opening....not something you usually see....but that is just another chance to learn and grow as an artist.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back to Sadie

I spent most of yesterday working on Sadie.  I have been a little apprehensive about tackling those "doggles".  I have not painted a lot of transparent....reflective surfaces.  To me that is one of the more difficult things to render.......
To the left is the reference photo of the glasses.  Below is the painting.  I have not done anything but slap a little color on the frames...just so I would not loose them completely.  I needed to be able to freely apply layer upon layer of washes to build up the darkness of the glasses.  I  am pretty happy with the results.
 I need to lighten a couple of highlight areas and maybe do a little more tweaking, but I will wait till more of the portrait is finished to see how things start to relate to one another.  While I was waiting for each layer of "doggles" to dry I did some work in the neck area and the collar.  Then I bounced up to get the nose and muzzle area underway.  Today I'll let Sadie rest a bit and focus on Rylie.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Calibration Software Anyone?

I know you are all expecting to see more progress on the doggie portraits.....but....not quite yet.  We have had some pretty nice weather days and both my hubby and myself have taken advantage of them.  Had some errands to know, grocery and stuff.  Then I decided it was time to rid my little home on wheels of all the dust bunnies!  Billy (hubby) was kind enough to wash all the outside sparkly and clean!  I decided to comb out and trim nails on the furball front.  Finally, got back to my painting table.  But, not to paint.  Many of you know I am interested in selling prints of my work.  I have a new epson 1400 printer and just purchased calibration software/hardware.  Thought some of you might be interested in what I have done.
This is what I used.  It is a very simple program and I just love it.  It is so much easier to tweak my colors in photoshop now and get awesome prints from my paintings.  Prints that are very close to the original.  Here is how it works.....after loading the plug in the hardware and then hang it over your screen.  It even has a diagram that comes up and shows you exactly where to place it. 
Here you see mine....the thing is counter weighted so it hangs with ease.  Once it is in place the software takes over and does everything.  When it is finished it actually brings up a page with photos where you can (with the click of your mouse) see before and after results of the calibration.   I love it!!

One more purchase....this was made by my darling hubby.  He had a project where he needed a soldering iron.  I have some jewelry designs in my head which require soldering...soooo...I managed to convince hubby to buy a little better soldering iron so I could use it too!  Aren't I the clever girl....LOL!  This is what we settled on.....
It is a Weller 100......kinda a "middle of the road" unit.

Now, it is back to my painting table and Rylie and Sadie.  Next time I'll have photos of my progress.....promise!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rylie's Day

I spent yesterday on Rylie's portrait.  I just love all those curls that frame out that sweet face. Those great big "Betty Davis Eyes" are to die for!  LOL!
Nothing here has been completely developed.  At this point, I'm just looking to find the appropriate values and shapes of dark, light, and the mid tones.  Rylie's hair is a combination of smooth and coarse.  At least that is what I perceive from the photo.  I have never seen either Sadie or Rylie in person.  Once I am satisfied with the placement of the values and shapes, I'll go back and start adding the coarser individual hairs.  Yeah, I paint those one by one.....a labor of love!
I have enjoyed all of your comments and one I hear a lot is....."how do you do that?"  I'm never sure how to answer that.....I know it is a "gift" from God and one that I cherish every day.  I know that I see the world a little different.....for me it's all about shapes and value.  I know I see color in terms of my palette.....The sky is not just's ultra marine blue with a bit of titanium white.  That bit of rust is burnt sienna with a touch of burnt umber.  As my husband can attest, I find beauty in the strangest things and will practically stand on my head to get that "perfect" reference shot with my camera.  It's just who I am....and I'm thankful for that every day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sadie part 2

I spent the day yesterday working on Sadie.  It took me a while to get the "hang" of her fur.  It is so soft and smooth and when you are putting in shadows and highlights you have to be careful to maintain that smooth texture.  That is one of the reasons why I like working on gesso board as a surface.  It offers a smoother texture than traditional canvas.  Many times I found myself fighting with the texture of canvas....painting on the gesso board is so much easier.
I'm pretty happy with the ears and forehead area.  As the painting progress, I usually go back and do some tweaking here and there.  Now, the ear on the right has a coat of glazing medium over it so it looks a little more intense then the rest of the painting at the moment.  I use the glazing medium to not only protect the layers of washes, but it also allows me to see what the painting will look like after I apply the final varnish.  I can still go back into an area that has been glazed if I need to make any adjustments.
Here is a close up of the other ear.  Ears can be a challenge because....well....they can do so many "funky" and "wonky" things with those babies.  They are usually in heavy shadow which can also make things difficult.  Once again, I try to just paint what I see.  I know it looks a little strange when you focus on just the ear, but when you step back and look at the whole painting it somehow makes sense.  Now for those "doggles"!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Progress on my paintings.....

Here you see, Sadie.  Part of my reference photo is sticking up from behind the painting.  As you can see, I have been working on ears.  The one on the right is pretty much done.  The one on the left, I'm just getting started on it.  Laying in the washes of color and then I will gradually build them up adding depth and texture with each new layer. 
Sadie's hair is like velvet.  Soft and smooth.  You can click on the photo for a larger view. 
Here's Rylie!  The complete opposite of least as far as the hair is concerned anyway.  She has huge expressive eyes.....the kind you can get lost in.  Her fur is full of motion.....curls and swirls.  She just has the sweetest face and I think she loves the camera!
You can click on the image for a closer look. 
I'm really enjoying working on these two and next time I'll post some close up sections so you can get a better idea of the detail.  I love doing the details!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Two New Projects......

I know....been awhile since my last post.  The old truck painting I have been working on has just NOT been calling my name.  I'm happy with the truck, but hate the I'm shelving it for awhile until inspiration hits.  I spent the day yesterday working on two sketches for my next paintings.  The photos come from their owners and they graciously gave me permission to use them as reference.  So, without further ado........
This is Rylie.....owned by Rick and Paulette.  What can I say, I'm just totally in love with that sweet face and all that curly hair.  You can see her sketch below. 
Say "hello" to Sadie owned by Donna and Stu.  What a personality she hot motorcycle rid-in mama!  I would have liked to have put the motorcycle in the painting, but it would have had to have been a huge painting in order to get Sadie the size I wanted her.
Here is my sketch and Sadie also has her own blog.....Sadie Speaks.   
Stay tuned as I'll post my efforts on these paintings in the blogs to come!  Also, I am finally getting the hang of my new printer.  I will be making prints available for purchase in the not so very distant future!