Different Approaches to White Heron

Great White Heron photograph
Great White Heron photograph by
Elise Beattie.

Challenge

Finding different approaches to painting this beautiful Great White Heron is what our Fearless Painting class guru, Elise Beattie, has challenged us over the weekend. This is some beautiful photography Elise Beattie!

If we choose to accept this assignment…. this challenge will self-destruct in 5 seconds.

Great White Heron Pen & Ink
Great White Heron Pen & Ink

Initially, I do a quick black and white study in my sketchbook with a gel pen (nothing special).

sketch Great White Heron
sketch of Great White Heron for a watercolor

I scrounge around in the studio to find a leftover piece of watercolor paper from a project to work on. This simply means there is a surprise ink drawing on the back of the sheet for anyone purchasing the image. Kind of a two-for-one prize for the art collector, you know. I decided on a much closer view for this Heron rendering in watercolor. The dimensions are taken off of my B&W sketch.

Proportional Divider
Drafting Proportional Divider

When I want accuracy, I have to grease those crazy artist mind gears. I break out a tool from the old drafting days that will ensure correct results twice as big on the watercolor paper. The tool I use is called a “Precision Deluxe Proportional Divider”  (made in Germany).

Would you like a tutorial about how to use this tool in another post on this blog? Leave me a comment if you do. It is unlikely that anyone is dying to learn how to do this though.

Proportional Divider in German
Prop Divider instructions in German

On the instruction sheet, there are some really useful instructions in German on the flip side, just in case you were wondering. How is your German? Mine is terrible.

I do anticipate making a third layout today using a different approach with acrylics on a canvas board, but I haven’t gotten there yet. First, I need to finish my piano practice.

Online Fearless Painting Class

Monochromatic Assignments
Monochromatic Assignments

Painting

I have not been known to be very fearful as far as my art is concerned, but I recently signed up for a class called Fearless Painting. What are my worst fears? Being an artist is what I am and always will be, but…

How do I sell the art that I am always creating?

After facing some “real” health issues, a lot of activities have had to be re-learned. It was noticeable that my creativity felt stymied. I really needed a little boost. This &#(@^$% quarantine is still in effect, so getting a weekly in-person class becomes impossible. I noticed that a friend of mine named Elise Beattie, from Spokane Watercolor Society was offering a two-hour online class on Tuesday nights through the Spokane Community College which I signed up for.

Fearless Painting with Elise Beattie

I am not quite finished with the acrylic “abstract” & a landscape of a “mountain view” that were started in last Tuesday night’s online Fearless Painting Class. We are using a primary color pallet allowing tinted MONOCHROMATIC values. Fun, fun, fun!  I love value studies.

Slavin Conservation Area

Slavin Conservation Area SouthWe went to the James T. Slavin Conservation Area just, off of highway 195 yesterday. I was able to go and paint Plein air with some friends from our Spokane Watercolor Club.  It was really chilly 24º F, but did warm up to 40º around noon. It was surprising how close to Spokane this park is. The conservation area covers a lot of ground (600+ acres) with a lot of different natural wonders to see. I was able to paint two sketch images while I stood on a little knoll directly in front of the parking lot.

Slavin Conserv 01First a Watercolor Sketch

I painted while looking south standing upon the first knoll near the parking lot for the first plein air image. It had meadow grasses with scattered burgundy bunches of bush, then going off into into where the forest pine and birch tree line appears. I made a rudimentary watercolor sketch of this scene, but stopped there, as my watercolors and  water were freezing. But, when the other artist’s arrived, I learned about a trick that stops that from happening. I love painting with other artists, because, you always learn something helpful from each other. If you want to know the secret, you’ll have to come paint with us to learn. 🙂

Slavin Conservation Area West
Slavin Conservation Area West
Slavin Conserv 02
Slavin Conservation Area 02

Second is an Acrylic Sketch

The second image is painted using acrylic paint on a canvas board. Standing at the same location but turned to face west where a pair of pines flanked the left side, with grasslands reaching off into a distant treeline and hill silhouette behind. These colors are a little tricky to get right, but are quite beautiful when it comes out right. Neither of these plein air sketches are any way near finished, but the scenes are embedded in my mind and I am sure I’ll be able to finish them in my studio.

I am not up to strenuous hiking, but thankfully this area is easily accessible with parking close by so it was a totally rejuvenating day. Being able to paint with other painters has revitalized the artist in me. It was surprising how many people walk their dogs there. There is also evidence of a lot of horse hoof prints on the trails. In about a month, that whole field is going to be covered with wildflowers, one of the local ladies told me .

EYE CANDY SURPRISE!

Next month sounds like a great time to schedule another plein air painting trip there. Yep, I’m looking forward to it.

 

Orange Rufous Hummingbird

Painting an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over a honeysuckle vine. I thought I’d get out the acrylics for a few “favorite things” paintings. Consequently, the subject manner falls back to one of my all-time favorites. Hummingbirds.

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 4
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

Vine Background

We feed these hummers all summer long and enjoy sitting on the deck admiring them. Above, is the finished painting. Following, are the progress shots of the acrylic painting process for me.

Hummingbird Orange Rufous B0520
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas.

Beginning with background darks using mixtures of hookers green, phalo green, burnt sienna, cobalt blue, and alizarin crimson in a haphazard cross stroke pattern. Carefully blocking out the location of my “flying hummer star” on the lower third right corner.

Adding Depth

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 2
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

Next, I experiment with leaf shapes and brighter values for the surfaces closest to the main attraction. Similarly, I proceed to brighten specific leaves that serve as a background for the flashy orange honeysuckle blossom being positioned next. I want to see the depth to the vine behind.

Hummingbird & Blossom

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 3
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

Now, is when I select where I want to place the up close blossom along with some scattered hints of more in the background. Also, the hummingbird shapes and values are defined. The layout works for my eyes, so I proceed.

Details

Hummingbird Orange Rufous 4
14″w x 11″h acrylic on stretched canvas. Acrylic rendering of an orange Rufous Hummingbird hovering over an orange honeysuckle vine.

What follows is numerous lighting tweaks, along with the details on my winged magician, “Mr. Orange Rufous Hummingbirds“. This bright orange guy is now hovering on the canvas. The finished shot of this acrylic painting is the first one in the post. If you are interested in learning more about hummingbirds, check out the Audubon page here.

a horse illustration…

This one was a mixed media done as a practice session or equine study. It is available in the studio.

Horses in different positions and styles done before doing a motorcycle gas tank design in “Shadow” style, later that week.

Horse Ink Shadows G3306

Horse Ink Shadows G3306
20″w x 30″h ink/acrylic airbrush on illustration board

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS Day #2

ORIGINAL ART For that special person on your list at heavily discounted holiday prices…

Contact me here… or simply go to our website Valerie Woelk original art to see more pictures and descriptive information about today’s special or any other art you may want. There are many paintings available for immediate shipment or pickup.

On The 2nd Day of Christmas…

“Hula Anna” K5206 – $50 (unframed)

Anna dancing hula
acrylic painting of a family gathering with hula as part of the event.

18″w x 24″h acrylic on canvas board. Acrylic painting of a young hula performance from artist’s memories of family and friends along with the magic of the dance in the past, …far away.

handpainted metal garden markers

Visual Garden Markers

12 durable, beautiful custom metal garden markers for his wife’s roses and garden that show what is growing visually. They are ready to ship UPS this morning! Finished for a wonderful client in the northeast USA, “Happy birthday to his wife on Sunday!” What a great idea on how to mark what you have planted in the garden

These were tricky to paint because they are tiny 3″ wide by 2″ high. Being used to painting in a much larger size made me have to use teeny tiny, detail brushes to do the entire image. It is always good to broaden our skills with all our painting tools though.

metal garden marker
stainless steel garden markers

These are great little metal garden markers made of stainless steel, they are kind of slick on their surfaces so, I had to roughen the surface of the metal with a green scrubber pad before I painted. I wanted to make sure the paint would adhere. After finding reference pictures to work from I painted each one with acrylic paints for each of the twelve different rose and flower species. Then it was the lettering of the names on the front and back of each marker. Last step was a sealer over the entire surface. Dry, pack and ship.

The flower Varieties

Abraham Darby-English Rose

abraham darby English Rose metal garden marker
abraham darby English Rose

Apothecary’s Rose

apothecarys rose metal garden marker
apothecarys rose

Granada Rose – Hybrid Tea

 granada rose Hybrid Tea metal garden marker
granada rose Hybrid Tea

Henry Kelsey-Climbing Rose

henry kelsey Climbing Rose metal garden marker
henry kelsey Climbing Rose

Lavender Mist Meadow Rue

lavender mist Meadow Rue metal garden marker
lavender mist Meadow Rue

Noble Anthony-English Rose

noble anthony English Rose metal garden marker
noble anthony English Rose

Rosa Mundi-Rosa Gallica

rosa mundi Rosa Galica metal garden marker
rosa mundi Rosa Galica

Sunsprite-Floribunda

sunsprite floribunda metal garden marker
sunsprite floribunda

Tango-Anise Hyssop

tango Anise Hyssop metal garden marker
tango Anise Hyssop

Vavoom-Floribunda

vavoom floribunda garden marker
vavoom floribunda

Zephirine Droughin-Climbing Rose

zephrine droughin metal garden marker
zephrine droughin climbing rose
zephrine droughin 2 metal garden marker
zephrine droughin 2 climbing rose

I painted the names on the back surface of the metal garden markers.

backs metal garden markers
backs metal garden markers

This couple must have a fantastic garden, with all of these gorgeous kinds of roses and climbing flowers.

signs done!

Painting neighborhood address signs done. You can see them sitting here, ready to seal with clear coat, dry and frame …

signs

It doesn’t look like much but it is on good sign board. Sealed in white oil based paint, then black backgrounds sprayed for the arrow bases. The white numbers in the black arrows are made with white sign paint that is sprinkled with glitter while the paint is still wet, so these will shine when car lights flash on them. Probably won’t win any awards but should be easy to see when you are trying to find your way around out here.

Pete is planting the posts today, then we will put black frames on. then the delivery guys will have no reason to talk stink about us anymore 😉

What does an artist do? Paint signs.

What on earth does an artist do on the weekend, paint neighborhood address signs of course! Here are two signs masked off ready to shoot with black for the arrows.

painting neighborhood signs
painting neighborhood signs
paint address signs
paint address signs

If you have ever been over to visit our place you would know why these signs are needed. I bet you we are in the UPS and FedEx drivers “stink list” for being hard to find. Oh well! These are directional signs (for the two bends in our private road debatable as a driveway) made of sign board (expensive smooth plywood) and coated with white house paint 2 coats yesterday. Now the (black) arrows are laid out and masked off with masking tape so I can shoot the arrow backgrounds.

border boards
border boards
black backgrounds
black backgrounds

Painting neighborhood address signs process. Honest occifer! I did NOT use that spray can of paint! Oh, my fingernails… it is a new way to do my nails I tried using the spray paint to see if I could airbrush them myself. Anybody got bail money?
😉

Now I spray the (black) arrows backgrounds.