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Friday, January 30, 2015

A Commission that Takes the Cake!

This week I have been busy with working on this commission. It is done, hooray! Maha, the client is very pleased with it. That is always good. :-) Maha has her own business called Arty Cake. She decorates beautiful cakes with butter cream frosting, and has won many awards. Here is her website:
She is a very good artist.

Tonight I am going to the Hogle Zoo Art Show. I didn't enter this year but had a lot of friends that did. So it will fun to see them and their artwork.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Commission for Arty Cakes!

I was contacted last week about doing a watercolor commission for a lady in England who has her own business called Arty Cakes.

When I do a commission, I work from a photo generally. In this case, she didn't have one with the cake she wanted in the painting, If you can't tell from the drawing, it is a hat with flowers on it. I had to use photoshop elements to create the image to paint from by combining different images she had emailed me.

She makes beautiful cakes, many that are florals. She is really an artist herself with butter cream frosting!

I had to enhance the drawing so all the pencil lines show clearly, but it also makes the background a bit grayed because of doing that. It really isn't gray at all. In my process of doing a commission, I then send the drawing for the client's approval. I also ask for any suggestions if they have any. I find that helps in producing a final painting that the client will be satisfied with.

Once approved, I then paint it. I will post progress of this painting in the next day or so.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Watercolor Studies Continues; The Midnight Bunny

Today I completed another study, this time of a bunny. As I am doing these studies, I am trying out different kinds of paper, graphite pencils and color palettes. The bunny today was painted on 90 lb. Arches Cold Press. It is too thin for my liking, but wasn't too bad to paint on. Because of it's light weight, it absorbs the water like a sponge all the way through. That can result in a unflat painting when you are finished painting. Last night I put weights on the 'Vintage Lady' Painitng which I mentioned in my previous post. It was painted on this same arches 90 lb. paper. I sprayed the back of the painting with water, put a paper towel over it, then a heavy book with 2 three pound exercise weights (gotta use those weights for something!)

This morning I looked at the Vintage Lady painting to see if it was dry. It was and it was pretty flat. not perfectly flat, but reasonably flat and ready to mount in a mat.

Ok, so back to Midnight Bunny. As mentioned I have been trying different graphite pencils to do my sketch for the painting. This time I used a 6B. I liked it, you could get a nice dark if you want. On Vintage Lady I used a HB. Which is very hard. It was a lot lighter lead color and didn't smear much.

If you don't want your lead to show up in your watercolor, the HB is pretty good for that.

On Midnight Bunny, I used the same color palette as I did on "Vintage Lady". Three colors; cobalt blue, rose madder genuine, and azo yellow. Although I used a lot of layers on this painting and it has some darks, it still has some luminousity in places. I guess that's what you get when you use transparent paint, right?

In this painting I lifted color out on the bunny, the grass, and around the moon. A few years ago I took a workshop from Joseph Alleman, and he lifts color out. His work is wonderful and he has the awards to show fpr it. Here's his website:

Look at Joe's paintings, especially those that have darks in them and see if you can see where he has lifted the paint out. If you are new to watercolor, you may not know what this means. When you put several layers of color on the paper, you can go back after it's dried with a wet brush and lift out spots. I you look at the bottom of my bunny painting, you can see blades of grass that I have lifted out.

I am finding as I am doing these studies, that I have picked up and implement some things from the people I have taken workshops from. I hadn't realized that I had done this till now as I am re-evaluating my painting skills.

I have to admit that as I got into this bunny painting, I wasn't liking the way it was turning out, but committed myself to finishing it. Lifting really saved it. It's not a great painting,but it is ok and was a valuable study. The purpose of doing studies is not only to practice, but to also find what techniques and color palettes I like and don't like. So I am satisfied with what I learned today.

How's your painting coming along?

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Year's Resolution; Improve my Watercolor Skills!

Vintage Lady 10" x 8" Watercolor
I am sitting in my studio, cozy warm, looking out the window. It has been raining on this very grey, overcast Monday morning. I have bread baking in the kitchen anticipating a delicious union of homemade pumpkin soup for lunch. My plan for my art today is painting watercolor studies. I have been watching videos on youtube by fantastic watercolor artists. One of my resolutions for 2015 is to improve my technique and style.                                                                                                                                                                               Over the weekend I watched several videos by Sterling Edwards. He paints very loosely and my mission today is to loosen up my watercolor style. Although I am not trying to  paint exactly like Sterling, there is always something to learn from a really great teacher. Several years ago I took a workshop from Sterling, and although I have notes from then, I felt like I just needed to see him paint again. 
Once you begin watching these demos, you need to be careful or you will find yourself on a  youtube watercolor demo binge! It's the next best thing to taking workshops. I also watched demos from Don Andrews who I took a workshop from. He paints quite loosely as well, and does it so effortlessly!

Learning Twitter 10" x 8" Watercolor.

I have attached a couple of watercolor studies that I have done the last few days. The first one, Learning Twitter was done in the way I usually paint. The second one was done after I watched the Sterling Edwards and Don Andrews video demos. It is definately a lot more looser.On the first one, I did try to do a loose background, but failed with the subject matter.  I think the second painting was more successful, but I still have a long way to go. By the way, on the second painting I used a limited palette of 3 colors; Rose Madder, Cobalt Blue and Azu Yellow.
I am trying to find a palette that I like working with too. That's another goal!

I am going to keep painting, and it's time to do another one. I will keep you posted. You can bet I will be watching more demos on youtube!

Monday, January 05, 2015

What to do? I have an artist's brain.

I have so many things I want to accomplish and I get sidetracked. I am supposed to be writing my blog and what do I do? I get looking at other artist's work online. There is so much wonderful art out there in cyber space.

So I thought... That is enough, Catherine, write your blog and stop looking at all that art!

I have a lot to do for my new years resolutions. Here are some of them:

Carry around a sketch book and USE IT.

Paint a watercolor a day.

Learn about how to become an illustrator.

That's just a few.

Oh oh...My daughter just text me and has tempted me to go to lunch with her.... I should be working! I always value time with my kids so it's very easy to say yes. But I will take my sketch book with me and get some sketches done. That's killing two birds with one stone, right?

The image above is a crop of a painting I did called "Follow Your Inspiration".

I guess I shouldn't feel too bad about looking at other artist's work, and let's see how can I categorize going to lunch... how about... It's all very inspiring!
What do you do to get inspired?

Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Year, New Ideas!

A new year is always refreshing, it seems to be a start over for many of us. Although today is probably not much different than most days. It's just how we think about it.

This Christmas I made many gifts for my family. One of them was a portrait of my son. He loves the Green Bay Packers and has since high school. So it seemed appropriate to reflect that in this painting of him.

It is done in watercolor on Arches hot press paper. It's not very big, an 10" x 8" painting. I often use my kids as models in my paintings and Brock has been known to complain that I have never used him. So it was time to paint him!

Today being the first day of the new year, I have been planning what I would like to accomplish this year. I paint a lot in acrylic, but I thought I would like to improve my watercolor techniques for 2015. I belong to the Utah Watercolor Society, and it is a wonderful organization with many talented painters. I hope to benefit this year by participating more in the paint-outs and workshops they hold.
If you would like to join us, here is the link to the website;

The meetings are the first Tuesday of each month and they are held at the Sons of the Utah Pioneer Building. Here's the address:
Sons of the Utah Pioneers Hall, 3301 E. Loiuse Ave (2920 S.) Salt Lake City, UT, 84109

I also am planning on writing on my blog more often and sharing my artistic process.Comments welcome!

One more thing I would like to say on this fresh new day in 2015... I am full of gratitude for my life, and my family. I am so thankful to be an artist and through my talent am able to show appreciation for the beauty of this earth. May we all be blessed with a happy and prosperous New Year!