Busy Holidays

Aside

November flew by!  I find myself working on holiday cards and enjoying my favorite season.  This year it’s extra special due to the success of my football and basketball teams at Michigan State.    MSU’s green and white are a perfect match for the Christmas season. Go Spartans!

I’ve added some new cards to the greeting card gallery.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

Happy holidays to all!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Mini Lesson – Painting the Cat

I should clarify the title:  we’re not literally painting the cat 🙂 🙂 🙂   This “mini-lesson” shows step-by-step how I created a watercolor painting of my cat, Abby.

  1. Begin by sketching the cat with an HB pencil.  Make sure your drawing is accurate!  Lighten the pencil lines by dabbing at them with a kneaded eraser.  Contrary to what most books say, once wet, these lines can’t be erased completely.

    Pencil sketch of cat, in preparation for painting a watercolor

  2. Mix the following puddles (a puddle is paint mixed with enough water to dilute it to the desired value):
  • Cobalt blue + Brown Madder (warm purple mixture)
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Sienna + Raw Umber
  • Burnt Sienna + Raw Sienna
  • French Ultramarine + Payne’s Gray + a bit of Alizarin
  • Sepia + French Ultramarine
  • Alizarin Crimson + French Ultramarine (make two puddless:  One very dilute warm & one cool)
  • Alizarin Crimson + Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Sienna + Ultramarine (very dilute for the cat’s eyes)
  • Viridian Green
  • Winsor Green
  1. Mask out small detail areas which you wish to remain white.

Use liquid frisket and a cheap brush coated with standard bar soap to “paint” these white areas.  When the frisket is dry it will look and feel a bit like dried rubber cement.

  1. Next I paint the base washes of the cat.

Base watercolor wash of a cat, in preparation for painting a watercolor

Glaze water over the entire cat until it glistens evenly;  drop in the following colors and combinations based on where they can be seen in the cat’s face:

  1. For the eyes use the diluted raw umber/ultramarine mixture;  then drop in viridian green;  add the pupil using sepia/ultramarine.
  2. For the ears paint the raw umber/burnt sienna mixture;  then drop in the cobalt/brown madder mixture;  finish with the ultramarine/Payne’s Gray/Alizarin mixture before the ear dries.
  3. For the face and body let raw umber/burnt sienna bump into ultramarine/Payne’s gray/alizarin, allowing the colors to blend alongside each other.
  4. Add Winsor green and drop in viridian for the collar.

** If necessary wet a section at a time to keep the paper wet while painting the cat.  It’s important that you paint wet-in-wet not wet-in-dry!!

  1. Allow all initial washes to dry completely.  Never paint into an area that has started to dry.
  2. Rub off the frisket to expose white areas.
  3. Add the final details:
  1. Use sepia/ultramarine for dark black highlights.
  2. Use Alizarin/burnt sienna for reddish highlights in fur
  3. Use a second glaze of raw sienna/burnt sienna and raw umber/burnt sienna to form the area around the mouth and nose.
  4. Use a 2nd glaze of alizarin/burnt sienna, cobalt blue/brown madder, and raw umber/burnt sienna for hightlights in the cat’s ears.
  5. The collar tag is created using alizarin crimson.
  1. Finally if you have lost whites such as the whiskers use a rigger brush and a diluted mix of permanent white gouache to paint over the watercolor.

Final watercolor of a cat.  Part of a mini-lesson tutorial for this blog artfulpassages.com

Hope you enjoy!  If you have any questions at all, please use the comment form below.

Thanks, and happy painting!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

The Little Things ARE the Big Things

Watercolor painting of an uncle making soap bubbles for his nephewwI have always known that little things matter.  Recently I’ve remembered that the little things often ARE the big things.

After a week spent vacationing in the Whalen House in Grand Haven MI, my mind replays lovely memories.  There were gorgeous sunsets, incredible views of Lake Michigan, and the red light-house just across the road from our rented cottage.   All glorious, ostensibly big things.

But what stands out two weeks later?

  1. Watching my eldest and his wife make soap bubbles with their nephews.
  2. Seeing the delight on my daughter’s face after she returns from geocaching with her boys.
  3. Sitting in the sand with my extended family, visiting while watching the grand kids build sand castles.
  4. Watching the love of my life, Steve, grill for the billionth time for his family (sometimes “mad skills” mean lots of work…)
  5. Photographing little items that might be fun to paint, like the tea cup covered with clover decorations that I discovered in the living room.  It will please the Irish in my family so much!
  6. Visiting over wine and pie in the “man cave”, a little hut outside the main cottage.

Most of the things listed could happen anywhere.  Often business encroaches on the important “little things”.  Today I remind myself again to do better:  listen more, send more notes, respond to emails more quickly, etc., because the little things really are the BIG things.

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Love painting flowers???

Watercolor painting Pansy with Lettering by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarbMay has always been a time of blooming flowers which I love to smell, look at, give and receive BUT, until recently, NOT PAINT. I slowly, slowly began to add them to my hummingbird paintings because hummers go to flowers for the nectar. Then, because I love to teach and students really like painting flowers, I had to add flowers as main subjects; I just can’t turn down a student request.

Finally, I grew to love the joy all those beautiful flower colors brought to me. I think aging has made me enjoy colorful things! Who knew!?

I have been rewarded in all of my work because, thanks to painting flowers, I am a better colorist.

Happy spring to you!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Mini Lesson – Watercolor Pansy

This “mini-lesson” shows step-by-step how I painted a pansy in watercolor.

  1. I begin by sketching the pansy with an HB pencil.  Make sure your drawing is accurate.  Lighten the pencil lines by dabbing at them with a kneaded eraser.  Contrary to what most books say, once wet these lines can’t be erased completely.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on artfulpassages.com

  1. Using liquid frisket and a cheap brush coated with standard bar soap, mask out small detail areas which you wish to remain white. When the frisket is dry it will look and feel a bit like dried rubber cement.
  2. Mix the following puddles (a puddle is paint mixed with enough water to dilute it to the desired value):
  • Cobalt blue + alizarin crimson (warm & cool mixtures)
  • Aureolin yellow
  • New Gamboge
  • Alizarin crimson + new gamboge
  • Permanent rose
  • French ultramarine + alizarin crimson (warm and cool mixtures)
    Sap green
  • Winsor green + Hooker’s green + new gamboge
  • Hooker’s green + cobalt blue
  1. Next paint the base washes of the flower petals.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on artfulpassages.com

  1. Glaze water over a petal until it glistens evenly; drop in the following colors and combinations based on where they can be seen in the petal): cobalt blue+alizarin; permanent rose, alizarin + new gamboge, and aurelion.
  2. While the first petal is drying, follow the same process on a petal which does not touch it (remember we don’t want wet paint to touch an area that is drying).
  1. After the base washes are completed on all 4 petals paint the dark purple sections following these steps:
  1. Using a fully loaded brush paint the dark area
  2. Then pull color out from the center of the dark area using a rigger brush to create the veins.
    * Use thicker puddles of both cool and warm mixes of French ultramarine + alizarin crimson for this area.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on artfulpassages.com

  1. Add highlights to the edges of the petals by glazing over the base washes with the same mixtures.
  2. Rub off the frisket and add a light tint of yellow below the center part of the flowers. Leave the two white areas on the center of the right and left petals.
  3. Paint the base washes of the stem and leaves.
  1. Glaze water over the leaves and stem until they glisten evenly; drop in the following colors: Sap green, hookers green _ cobalt blue, and Winsor green + Hooker’s + new gamboge
  2. Add highlights by rewetting each darker area and painting a second glaze over it using the same mixes as were used in the base.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on artfulpassages.com

If you have any questions, please add a comment below or grab me via the contact form.

Thanks,

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Mini Lesson – Watercolor Hummingbird

This “mini-lesson” shows step-by-step how I painted a hummingbird from one of my photos.

  1. I begin by sketching the hummingbird with an HB pencil.  Make sure your drawing is   accurate!  Lighten the pencil lines by dabbing at them with a kneaded eraser.  (Contrary to what most books say, once wet, these lines can’t be erased completely)

artfulpassages.com - Hummingbird Watercolor Lesson - Start w/Pencil Sketch

  1. I then mix the following puddles (a puddle is paint mixed with enough water to dilute it to the desired value):
  • Cobalt blue + Brown Madder (warm & cool mixtures)
  • Winsor Blue + Viridian Green
  • Sap Green
  • Alizarin Crimson  + New Gamboge
  • French Ultramarine + Payne’s Gray + a bit of Alizarin
  • Sepia + French Ultramarine
  1. Next I paint the base washes of the bird.

artfulpassages.com - Hummingbird Watercolor Lesson - Paint base colors

  1. For the eyes, feet, and beak use the Ultramarine/Payne’s Gray / Alizarin mixture.  Leave the white highlights untouched.
  2. For the back of the bird paint the Winsor Blue/Viridian mixture.  While it’s still wet add Sap Green next to it, letting the colors bump each other.
  3. For the belly, let Sap Green bump into the Cobalt Blue/Brown Madder (warm) puddles, letting the colors blend alongside each other.
  4. For the wing and head, use both the warm and cool Cobalt/Brown Madder mixtures;  then drop a little Sap Green into them while still wet.
  5. The rosy area under the belly is painted with Alizarin/New Gamboge.
  1. Allow all initial washes to dry!  Never paint into an area that has started to dry.
  1. Add the final details

artfulpassages.com - Hummingbird Watercolor Lesson - Add details

  1. Use the Sepia/Ultramarine mixture for dark highlights on the beak and feet as well as in the eye.
  2. For wing highlights use the cool Brown Madder/Cobalt mixture.

If you have any questions, please add a comment below!

Thanks,

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Happy 59th birthday to me!

Welcome to my blog!

Come join me as I celebrate my last year in the “frantic fifties” and document my “Artful Passages” into my sixties and beyond.   In my artful blog/journal I’ll use writing, painting, drawing, and photographs to chart my blog-journey.

Since its my birthday and all, I deserve some cake don’t you think? In lieu of the real thing, let’s serve up a couple watercolors instead.  Lots less calories!

 artfulpassages.com - Watercolor Birthday Cakeartfulpassages.com - Watercolor Birthday Cake

Thanks for making this passage with me!

Barb

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature