Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First sale from my Etsy shop!

I've finally completed and mailed my first sale from my Etsy shop!  On Etsy, I started out with my custom drawings of wedding gowns, and then someone suggested I paint bouquets, too.  I thought that was brilliant, since flowers are some of my absolute favorite subjects.  My first customer contacted me in mid October and asked if I could get it done and to him before November 12, his first anniversary with his wife.  Sure!  Then Hurricane Sandy hit and I was without power for a week here in New Jersey and managed to finish it anyway, sometimes painting by candlelight! (Which, by the way, is not a fun way to paint!) But I finished it in time and he gave it to his wife yesterday.  He told me that they loved it, which makes me so happy!  I'm always nervous doing commissioned work for people for fear they'll see all the little mistakes and things that bother me, plus all their expectations...So when a customer is happy, that makes me very happy. 
I even remembered to take pictures of the painting in progress so I can share them here.  When I paint watercolor, I usually paint wet into dry, which is how I did this painting.  It's more precise and when you have a lot of detail work, I find wet into dry works best. 

The first steps I took were to paint the parts the customer told me were important.  He really wanted the peacock feather to be highlighted, since they were special to his wife and came from her family farm. He also wanted the cloth around the flowers stems to be visible.  I painted the fabric first, since it was a pretty pattern and looked fun to do.
Next, of course, came the peacock feathers. I was a little scared to paint them, but they came out pretty well and I had fun mixing the dark blues and greens in their centers. 
After the fabric and feathers were done, I started to paint by color.  I did the little green berries and some leaves.  I figured going by the colors was an easier way to paint then being all over the place, mixing all different colors and being fairly disorganized (in my opinion). 
I then started in with my reds and purples. I painted the first layers of the red flowers, then went in with the purple flowers. When the first layers of red paint were dry, I went in and finished the red ones. I find red a tricky color and it needs several layers and a lot of attention to be just right. 
Finished the red flowers, and a few more pink and purples ones. 
Starting to put in some of the white flowers as well.  The painting is really starting to come together now and it's exciting to see it looking like an actual bouquet of flowers!
Almost done!  I put in the blue ribbon and finished all the flowers.  All that's left is some detail work with the wispy pieces that are sticking out and finishing up the larger leaves on the outside edges. 
And here again, the finished bouquet.  Watercolor on cold pressed paper, 9"x12". 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Anything New Lately?

So I know I haven't posted any new art in a little while, but it's not because I haven't been working on anything! 
A family friend asked me to do a painting for her.  She had this painting in her home for over 20 years that she loves in a lot of ways, but wanted it sort of re-done and on a smaller canvas.  She loves the scene, but there's too much pink in it.  Here's the original. 
Right now I'm working on a smaller version on a 16x20" canvas, so it's even a different format. I'm using a lot of blues and blue-violets in my version and I made the moon much larger.  I'll post the final version when I'm finished. 

I'm also working on my very first Etsy sale!  I'm so excited for this.  I got an order to do a watercolor painting of a bridal bouquet.  The guy wants to give it to his wife for their anniversary.  I'm so glad I decided to put bouquet paintings in my shop because I love painting flowers and this is a good way to make some money doing it!  Can't wait to post my final results from these two paintings!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pin Up Girl!

My best friend is celebrating her one year wedding anniversary early next month and asked me to do a painting for her to give to her hubby as a gift.  They both love the vintage pin up girls from mid-century and she had even decorated his college dorm room with cute vintage posters of them.  She asked me to paint her in the vintage pin-up style wearing the things she had on their honeymoon.  It doesn't look exactly like a vintage pin up because she is wearing more modern clothing, but the idea of it was so cute.  I think this will be the next thing I put in my etsy store, custom artwork of yourself or significant other as a pin up girl! 

Watercolor and acrylic on hot pressed (smooth) watercolor paper, 8"x10". 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Some Amazing Etchings

I've been in Cleveland, Ohio, for the last six weeks while my boyfriend did two medical rotations there.  On my last day in Cleveland, I finally got myself over to the Cleveland Museum of Art.  Honestly I'm mad at myself for not going sooner because there was so much to see and I didn't get to it all in just one visit. 
On display was an exhibition by a British artist named John Taylor Arms.  He did amazing, detailed and gorgeous etchings of Gothic architecture in Europe.  His work is so precise and detailed, they even provided a magnifying glass to observe the etchings.  They were fairly small in size, roughly 9"x12" if I had to guess.  Some were smaller.  I would think it would be difficult to work much larger than that, given all the detail of the etchings.  I was so drawn to his work because I love his style and I love his subjects.  
I am absolutely fascinated by medieval history and it is one of my favorite time periods.  I've had the opportunity to travel a lot though Europe and see some old Gothic architecture up close.  And I want to see more.  Looking at his work, it was exactly the sort of thing I would love to do myself.  I took some photos, which I will share on here but I only had my camera phone, which isn't the best quality. And there is some glare from the glass but I tried to take the photos at angles that gave the least glare. So I apologize for the poor quality photos. 
I hope you enjoy these etchings as much as I did.  If you would like more information on this artist you can of course google him or go to Cleveland Museum of Art's website. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Portrait of Axl Rose

So back when I was a senior in high school ('02-'03), I discovered Guns N' Roses and became obsessed.  I was in love with Axl Rose and anything Gn'R.  For one of my senior art projects, I drew a portrait of Axl.  I labored over this drawing, as drawing faces has always been very challenging to me.

As much as I still love Gun's N' Roses, my obsession has faded a bit and I would like to give Axl a new home.  If you're interested in purchasing my drawing, please contact me.  The drawing is fairly small but comes with black matting and all together is a little smaller than 9"x12".  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Finished Plumeria Watercolor

Well, it's done!  Cluster of Plumeria, 9"x12. Watercolor on paper.  

I had a lot of enthusiasm for this painting when I started it, but by the time I got to those leaves at the bottom, I think I was a little tired of it.  I painted this using a photo reference I found on the internet.  Maybe I just can't wait to go to Hawaii and get my own photo references of these gorgeous flowers.  Maui in T-3 months and 24 days.  I cannot wait to get there!!!! 

In the meantime...here's another recent watercolor painting I did of some plumeria. This is about 5"x7" ish....I made a wedding card for some friends a few months back and I painted this inside.  The photo isn't very good, sorry about that. It does look nicer in person.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Palette Knife Painting

I've just completed a painting I've been thinking about for a while.  I actually drew my picture on the canvas in late June or early July and hadn't gotten around to painting it until this week. 

Sorry for the not-so-great quality photo. I left my camera in Poland accidentally and all I have right now is my camera on my phone.  I have a friend with a "real" camera (as opposed to my point-and-shoot) and I want to try to get some more professional pictures of my art soon. ANYwho...
So I painted (most of) this with a palette knife (the exception being the background because I wanted it smooth in contrast to the flower and also the stem because I got sick of the palette knife).  My original vision for this painting was to have it a little more abstracted than it is, but I really do struggle with abstraction.  
Also, I had to do a lot of experimentation with mixing reds.  Red isn't a color I use a lot and I had a lot of trouble creating a very light value red.  I liked my dark reds, but lights were trouble.  In my reference photo, the rose was sitting in front of a window with light shining through the petals.  I wanted to get that bright, vibrant light value but I don't think I did. I think I got a medium red and had to compensate by making the other values darker than they were.  That is ok, but I still wanted that light value and I couldn't do it with out adding white and making it pink, totally wrong. If anyone has any suggestions for this, please leave me some comments! Thanks :)
My inspiration for this painting was a photo I had taken of a rose that was wilting.  If you've seen some of my other flower art, you might notice I like to capture flowers when they start to droop.  I sketched it and sort of scribbled it for shading in my sketchbook, and thought it would make a really cool painting.  I wanted the painting to be more like the sketch, but oh well.  I'm still pleased with the way it turned out. 

I liked the idea of having more straight and sketchy edges.  Maybe some day I'll try it again, perhaps on a much larger scale.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Portrait of a Cat

I took a photo of my cat a few weeks ago and have wanted to make a painting out of it ever since.  I had another mini canvas floating around with a painting on it I didn't love.  So I gessoed over that and painted my kitty.  I'm liking this little gem much better! 

This is Shinobi.  Acrylic on mini canvas, 2"x2 3/4" on a mini easel.  I painted the edges gold.  You know, one of these days I either need to buy a professional camera or find a friend who has one to take pictures of my art for me.  Looking at the painting sitting right next to me versus looking at this picture, the photo distorts it a bit and the colors aren't quite right.  The background blue is brighter than the photo shows.  Anyway, enough of my camera problems.  

I had done the painting of my friends dog and it made me want to paint my cat.  I did this painting today, took me a few hours.  I'm so bad at keeping track of my hours on artwork, I really should do that...So I made up the chair he's sitting on, in reality he was sitting on a bench in front of a window and I didn't think that would make a great background for a painting.  I'm happy with his little chair.  :)  And I did the background blue because I wanted to keep it simple and I liked that color blue.  Hope you like!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Portrait of a Dog

A family friend had asked me to do a painting of her dog, Roman.  I actually don't do very many drawings or paintings of animals and thought Roman would be a fun challenge.  He's a pure white boxer with one bright blue eye and one brown eye.  The eyes were actually the most fun part of the whole painting (especially that crazy blue one!).  I had a lot of fun painting him and my friend was very happy with the finished piece.  That's always the best part of doing any art for someone, when they really love it.  So here he is: Roman, Acrylic on canvas 16"x20"

Wedding Gown Drawings

So I know I still haven't finished my watercolor painting of Plumerias yet (I know, I'm such a slacker...) but I have been working to set up a little business selling custom drawn wedding gowns. It all started with my best friend who got married last year.  She asked me to do a drawing of her dress and of course I did.  

Everyone who saw it thought it was really nice and a great idea and I've had a few requests since then for drawings.  Talking some more with my BFF who is in the wedding gown business, she said this is an up and coming thing, and designers are starting to do sketches of their dresses for their bridal customers.  So I figured, why not give it a shot?  I took the leap and opened up a shop on Etsy today and I'm really excited about it.  Check it out for yourself!
My Etsy Shop

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Plumeria Update

I'm still not finished with my plumeria watercolor! I've made some progress but I have fine-tuning to do. It's been a hectic week, I flew back to the US from Poland and have been a busy (and jet lagged) bee ever since. I hope to finish it this week!

I tried ripping tape so I could have an irregular border but the paint leaked a lot underneath and I couldn't lift it out. It didn't have the effect I was after so I'll probably just crop it out when I finish the painting. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Plumeria In Progress

Still working on the watercolor Plumeria flower painting.  I wish I could have gotten a little further or finished by now, but it's been so unbearably hot and I haven't had the energy to put into it. It's supposed to be cooler this week so hopefully I'll be able to finish it up! :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tropical Inspiration

In honor of our upcoming trip to Hawaii, I'm starting a new watercolor painting of plumeria.  These beautiful flowers are all over Hawaii, and it is what they make lei's out of.  
I am so excited!  A friend of ours is getting married in Maui in January, which is the reason for this trip. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii and I cannot wait to get there! We booked our flight, condo and a car. And who knew that even 6 months in advance, things start getting sold out already. We just booked our car yesterday and lucky for us we even got one, most places were out of cars and the ones that were left were outrageously expensive. Our crappy '04 Nissan Sentra cost over $400 for 2 weeks. Yikes. So if you're ever going to Hawaii, make sure you book what you need like 9 months ahead. 
Anyway, I'm doing this watercolor on high quality 9x12" Arches cold pressed watercolor block. 

Arches blocks of paper are great, but very expensive!! It was I think $50 at Michaels, but, being the thrifty artist I am, I would never go to Michael's without a 40% off coupon so it wasn't too bad.  These blocks (which come in many sizes) usually have 20 sheets to a block, and they are glued together at the edges to keep them from buckling while you work. When you're finished with your painting, you then take a palette knife and cut the paper off the block. 
I drew the flowers in my 9x12" sketchbook, traced it and then transferred the drawing to the watercolor paper.  I never draw straight on the watercolor paper anymore, because you can make too many mistakes that don't erase completely or just scratch too deeply into the paper.  It's always good to draw on a separate piece of paper, work out all the issues there and then transfer your final drawing. 
But before I transferred my drawing, I put some clear Liquitex gesso (artist primer) on the watercolor paper. 

One thing I don't love about watercolor is how flat the color is when it dries, no glossiness at all. I've tried adding gum arabic to my wet paint but it doesn't work very well for me. It comes out glossy, but I don't like how the paint reacts with it. (Maybe I did it wrong?)  When painting on top of this gesso with watercolor, there is a slight sheen to the finished painting. I discovered this because I recently gesso'd over a failed painting, first using cheap, opaque gesso. Once the painting was covered with a few coats of that, I used the clear Liquitex on top of it so I would be painting on a much better quality surface. I like the results! So I'm going to do it again with this painting. 

So my paper is prepped and ready to go, I will begin painting this today. I have the ragged tape around the edge so it will have an irregular border. I got this idea from artist Judy Morris, featured in the June 2012 issue of my Watercolor Artist magazine.