Thursday, November 12, 2009

First stop in North America? N.Y.C. of course...

Master N. Davis.
Feel like your looking at a movie-still and things are about to get a little scary? Well, stay tuned (by that I mean look at the next version, below - you were right...)

Master D. Harwell.
A mysterious sort of scene. (Or is it just me?)

Miss N. Buckingham
Is it just me (again) or does this have a 'futuristic look' to it? I know, paying attention to too many movies like "Aeon Flux"...

Master J. Wolters
Great colors. Notice the detailing on the Empire State's upper tower.

Master B. Davis
Great 'depth-of-field' by not only using various 'shades' for the layers of buildings, but changing up the colors, too. Works perfectly to capture this 'superhero moment.'

Miss A. Escue

Miss R. Fadler
Exceptionally beautiful color-transitions in this sky.

Miss M. Wolfe
D R A M A T I C.
You know those evenings when the sun seems to set the entire sky on fire and then it just GOES BLACK...

Miss K. Breeding
She missed starting this last week with the rest of her classmates due to an illness but has beautifully 'caught up' I'd say. Perhaps a few window-indications, but this delicately-moody version is virtually finished. Bravo, K.

Miss H. Ridge
I'm betting all eyes are drawn immediately to the Empire State Building is this version, as they likely are to the real thing when one is in its vicinity.

Miss C. Lee
Check out the close-up and note the subtle hand in adding the paler window-shapes.

Miss A. Cole
This is the only version to use something other than a darker window-color and I like it very much. It's approaching sunset and there's not much contrast evident between illuminated office windows and the last of the sun's strength. A''s forcing us to go in close and really look.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good News/Bad News: Australian Landscapes

Tuesday AM Update: a commenter notes that there are some paintings "among the missing" (and I now count only 8 on display out of 12 total - what was I thinking?) and she's right. My bad. Must go back to my other computer in a little bit in order to post them. Sorry.

Master J. Wolters

Miss M. Wolfe

Miss C. Lee

Miss R. Fadler

Here's the good news: all my students did a great job on the assignment. The "bad news"? They did it without me...Boo-hoo-hoo. There, now that I got that out of my system have a look at their paintings.

Master N. Davis

Miss N. Buckingham

Miss K. Breeding

Miss H. Ridge

Master D. Harwell (unfinished: missed class first week on project)

D.H.'s picture (as it might appear when finished - Photoshopped by Mrs. L.)

Master B. Davis

Miss A. Escue

Miss A. Cole

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Step-by-Step Australian Landscape Demo

Ink your pencil tracing - except for the white areas you marked with a "W" first!

Give the SKY a middle blue & let it dry, then go over everything else (except the whites) with a golden-tan. Let it dry.

Mix up a batch of red-brown and paint your rocks and the ground around the grass-clumps. Start to green-up your trees with a middle tone.

Complete your middle-greens in the trees & grass-clumps saving some of that sunny-tone for ready-made highlights.

Give the grass-clumps and trees some dimension by adding deeper greens, using directional 'leaf-shaped' strokes for the grass. Make rich shadow-colors by adding compliments (opposites on the color wheel - and in your paintbox, instead of plain old black)

Finishing steps: deepen sky tones, deepen rock/dirt tones, add shadows coming from grass-clumps and on 'left sides' of rock formations. Put some 'texture' on the ground and rocks using the smallest amount of rock-shadow tone and a small brush. Boost the drama of your picture by inking in some grass leaves now that you have the shapes in color.

Oops! One more thing: don't forget to GENTLY erase all those 'W's.

Here are the video-demos to go along with the photos, above.

1) 1:14 - Tracing & Inking (4 short parts) part 1
2) 2:08 - part 2 (saving the whites)
3) 1:35 - part 3
4) 1:13 - part 4 (Inking some dotted lines)
5) 3:05 - Painting (finally) the Sky
6) 3:44 - Golden-Yellow everywhere...
7) 7:40 - Rocks & Dirt and starting your greens
8) 6:05 - Finish your greens (they're good for you!) & add some shadows
9) 6:06 - Deepen-the-Dirt & add shadows to your Rocks
10) 6:30 - Deepen the Sky & 'texturize' the foreground dirt & Rock formations

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Look Familiar?

Here's an interesting product I found in the Dick Blick 'Holiday Catalog' that just came yesterday. Looks very much like what I wanted for our students in Escape Artists this year. Want a treat? Visit the Blick website. I have always had excellent dealings with this company: fair prices, fast service, and knowledgeable staff. Check them out if you're looking to 'dabble' in ANY artform.

Oh, last weekend at (my) Half-Price Books (in Watuaga, Texas) they had some great looking 'kits' right at the front near the registers. One was an acrylic set with everything including what looked like a couple of terrific brushes, all for less than $10! The other was a Chinese-brush-painting kit. This kit had a grinding stone, ink-stick, 2 brushes, and of course the guide book, all for $15! If you've ever thought for a moment about either of these painting styles/media I'd suggest you check them out immediately.

For any 'Galaxy Quest' fans, I KNOW what you're thinking: "By Grapthar's hammer, what a savings!" Why not try it - even on your own - you'll at least have a laugh.

Update: found my note with publishers'/manufacturers' info...
Chinese-brush-painting: $14.98 from 'Spicebox'
Acrylic painting: Walter Foster. I can't find the specific kits even on the WF site (, but my note says they were $7.98 each with two or three different pre-lined cardboard 'canvases' to choose from. The one I thought a 'best' first choice was a sunflower still-life.

The Lone Mini-Mystery Painting for Week 7

Portion of a stunning dark red-brown scallop shell as interpreted by Miss K. Breeding. I like it. It's small, yet bold. Kinda like the girl who painted it...

Madagascar Mountain Escape

This was our first experience with a painting material from "Yupo." The sheets are translucent polypropylene, which means they can be inked simply by placing the Yupo over a 'master line drawing' and traced in ink.

Brief experiments proved neither our otherwise terrific Uniball permanent black pens nor fine line Sharpies would work well. The latter came across as fairly pale, believe it or not. In the end what worked was India ink applied with an old-fashioned crow quill pen. It dried surprisingly fast and never bled-a-drop, as you can clearly see from the sharp lines in all the paintings below.

"Yupo paper": (
Crow quill pen (

Miss R. Fadler

Master N. Davis

Miss N. Buckingham

Miss M. Wolfe

Miss K. Breeding

Master J. Wolters

Miss H. Ridge

Master D. Harwell

Miss C. Lee

Master B. Davis

Miss A. Escue

Miss A. Cole

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Escape-Artist Note cards

The type came across a bit smaller than I wanted. But in a nutshell I would really like to see these mini-prints of your paintings selling like hotcakes at the upcoming Sonlight Fair! Contact me soon if you want to be a part of an artcard-collection.

A Sweet Surprise

It's not everyday that a student takes such extra time and effort, so here's a special "Thank-you" to a most enthusiastic student, Miss Lee.

Hm-m-m. Do I talk much about coffee in class? If not she's been reading my mind during those 10a.m-11a.m. class times!

More Mini Mystery Paintings

Friday, October 2, 2009

Our next stop? "Yupo"

Step away from your pencils...if you're putting 'transfer-graphite' on the back of your homework drawing that is.

Our new paper isn't paper at all, but Yupo's 100% polypropylene! Why didn't I realize this sooner: it's so translucent we can TRACE RIGHT THROUGH IT. That's the good news. Bad news is our normally SUPER pens are not quite waterproof on it, but more good news is I have some India Ink which is, so...I get to do all 12 (!!!) ink-drawings for you. I expect, um, well, dark chocolate is always appropriate. Just kidding.

Here's 'stage 1' of about 3 stages. We can't work too soupy on this surface, as it takes a bit longer to dry. If either assistant is reading this - could you bring hairdryers, too? In our first stage we'll cover our entire painting in it's Mid-tones. Sort of like below. Then stage 2'll be some darker/richer tones, followed by stage 3's lighter/brighter tones and final highlights and deepest darks. I'm planning on two weeks this time. Yeah. Old dog learning new trick. Only took 'til week 5, right? Have a great week, Escape-Artists.

My Demo is the same size you've been working on, overall sheet = 6"x9". Be prepared to use your smaller brushes - especially where you notice all the vegetation. This one is really Impressionistic and while it seems like the painting could be flipped upside down and work the same, notice the reflection of each element (sky, mountains, greenery, and water) are about a shade or two deeper/darker or richer than the original. The body-of-water is affecting every color mirrored in it (just as a mirror's color changes a reflection).

Here's the step-by-step: