Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Whatcha Working On: Wednesday

Lookey Here~ I'm actually updating on the correct day! :) And, I'm about to show you a few unfinished pieces, which, I guess is the literal meaning of what I'm working ON at the moment.

Here is what I've been working on......... (other than the Trolls in the last post)~
A Custom Portrait in the early 19th Century Style:

This painting started with a VERY patient customer sending me photos of her son. (I say "VERY" patient because this portrait process started awhile ago, and I'm working on it when I can.).

From the photos she sent, (it helps to have several photos to look at), I drew up a sketch.
After the sketch is approved, the painting begins.

Here is a photo of what is on the canvas now....mostly basecoats and some shading. You can see that we rearranged some things from the, boulders were added, the kite was erased and a sling shot/ bag of marbles took it's place.
The face looks a little spooky, but it will get filled it soon. (Although, it's a good look for Halloween!)


A Watercolor Painting:

And the other painting I'm working on is a watercolor. I started "experimenting" with watercolor about three years ago. I say "experimenting", 'cause it's just that when I try to teach myself a new experiment! I love to try new things, but there is always a learning curve and my "methods" would probably shock a true watercolor artist.

I would never presume to teach anyone what I've tried to learn by trial and error! But I do enjoy the learning process, especially when something turns out the way I envision it.

So, after three years of painting with watercolor, I decided to treat myself to some really nice paint, albeit more expensive paint. Up until now, I've used student-grade paints that you might pick up at Michael's. I did a little online research and discovered Daniel Smith watercolors. These were recommended on blogs, and websites of professional watercolor artists, so I thought I would buy a few and give them a try. I went with basic primary colors to start out, and this gives me the freedom to mix many more colors.

After using them, I don't know how I was painting before with just student grade....'cause now I'm hooked! These watercolors are easy to work with, and flow beautifully on the paper. I don't think I can go back now! (They are quite a bit MORE expensive than student grade, but I think they look much nicer. So, I guess I'll have to figure out a way to afford them from now on! Hmmm?, maybe I can convince the family to go without food once in awhile?! Ha!).

And, I'll let you in on a little secret......I would love to illustrate a children's book someday. That has always been a little dream. But, I don't know how good I would be with deadlines, etc.! :) Plus, it seems to be a difficult industry to break into. Ah, well, I can dream.

The painting is of sisters walking along a path on a windy day. The first step was to sketch or draw the scene. Then I stretched the watercolor paper (notice the brown tape around the edges) by soaking it in the bathtub. The graphite pencil sketch stays in place even after the paper is soaked in water.

After it dries flat with the tape securing it to my plywood board, I begin to paint. The painting part is the unconventional part of the process. Everything else I just mentioned is the "norm" for stretching watercolor paper. My painting process involves things like paper towel blotting, dry brushing (which seems weird when you are doing watercolor!), and a few other "made-up" methods.

Not sure where this will go, probably Etsy when it is done, or I might just keep it and hang it on my bedroom wall! :)


TheCrankyCrow said...

Oh Suzanne - I LOVE that custom portrait you're doing...and that watercolor is pretty amazing too!! (Wow - I didn't know you actually soak the paper for watercolor...Really??) I think you illustrating a children's book would be incredible....too funny - I've always wanted to WRITE children's books - maybe we'll have to put our heads together some day! Happy Hump Day! Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

Caitlin said...


I really like the two sisters!
Beautiful work that you're doing.
As always.


Lana said...

LOVE your work Suzanne! Watercolor is so much fun! I would buy a children's book illustrated by you ~ even though I no longer have (young) children! ;)

Julia said...

I love the little girls! Lovely! I am so missing being creative! Looking forward to a less stressed routine...someday.