Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Water Color Paintings

Water color is becoming one of my favorite media. I like the soft effect that it gives the painting and the fact that it can be combined with other media. I prefer to work with water colors from a tube rather than a pan because the paint can be applied to the painting directly from the tube for a gouache effect or can be diluted with water and used as a wash.

In both of these paintings I combined water color with other media. The portrait of the black and tan Afghan is colored with Derwent Inktense pencils with a water color overlay. I used a black Inktense pencil to draw the lines of the dog's hair. I wet a #4 filbert brush with water and painted over the pencil lines. This produced a black ink. I then painted the white areas on either side of the lines while the ink was still wet. This produced a shaded grey under coat. Once the ink was completely dry I diluted yellow ochre water color and painted the tan areas of the dog's face and throat. I also used this to highlight areas of fur on the dog's coat. Once this was dry. I mixed white with a small amount of yellow ochre to create a light tan for highlights and painted them on the dog's throat. I diluted black water color with water and painted over the inked areas. I then painted the dog's nose and muzzle. I mixed a small amount of burnt umber and yellow ochre and painted the dog's eyes without diluting the paint. Finally I used a light wash of cerulean blue for the background.

The dogs on the beach at dusk is inspired by Diana Fife's beautiful painting. I love the impressionist era and wanted to try my hand at an impressionistic painting.

For this painting I added only enough water to the paint to make it flow. I used acrylic paint to accent the white areas of the sky and the waves. The dogs' fur is highlighted with acrylic paint.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making a Beautiful Bow

A beautiful bow can transform an ordinary wrapped gift into something special. I have found that most people don't know how to make a bow. In fact they seem a little intimidated by it.

It's really easy to make a bow. The only materials that you need are ribbon, craft wire and scissors. I use approximately 6 yards of 2 1/2 inch wide wire edged ribbon. You don't need to use wire edged ribbon but I think it makes it easier to shape the bow after it's made. I usually buy a spool of ribbon with more 6 yards and leave the ribbon attached to the spool as I work. This ensures that I don't run out of ribbon while making my bow.

Step One: Measure approximately 8 inches from the end of the ribbon. After you have made several bows you will be able to do this without measuring. Pinch the sides of the ribbon between your thumb and index finger.

Step Two: Make a loop and pinch the ends between you thumb and index finger.

Step Three: While pinching the loop tightly between your fingers, twist the ribbon and turn it so that the wrong side of the ribbon is now facing up. Make another loop bringing it toward your thumb and index finger. Pinch the ends of the ribbon in.

Step Four: Twist the ribbon so that the wrong side of the ribbon faces up and make another loop.

Step Five: Repeat the twisting and turning the ribbon to make loops until there are five loops on each side of the bow.

Step Six: While pinching the ribbon between your thumb and index finger wrap craft wire tightly around the bow. After wrapping the wire around the bow several times twist the wire close to the bow. Leave about 5 inches of wire and cut off the excess. Cut the ribbon from the spool approximately 12 inches from the twisted wire.

Step Seven: Shape the bow by separating the loops to give the bow a full look.

Hopefully I have demystified bow making.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reverse Cable Scarf

Scarves make great knitting projects. They can be knitted quickly, often only use two skeins of yarn and make great gifts. Knitted scarves are very popular and patterns can be found everywhere. I found a free cabled scarf pattern at Michaels. This pattern is also available at www.caron.com. The pattern calls for 2 skeins of Caron Simply Soft yarn. I usually don't like to knit with acrylic yarn but I couldn't resist Caron's beautiful Iris color. I did like the idea that I could throw the scarf in the washer and dryer which is something that I couldn't do with a wool scarf.

I enlisted Mozart's help again to model the scarf since no one else in my house would agree to be a model.

The scarf is knitting up quickly and is very soft. Although the pattern is rated for an intermediate level knitter a beginner with some knitting experience could knit this scarf as well. The cable pattern is relatively easy (slip 8 stitches onto the cable needle, knit 8 stitches from the left hand needle and then knit the 8 stitches from the cable needle) and would make a good introduction to knitting cables.

Bandit Portrait

I love animals and am trying to expand my repertoire. Cats are independent and have an air of mystery so they seemed like a good choice. Bandit is a beautiful black and white tuxedo cat. The contrast of black and white fur made him an interesting subject to paint. After sketching my Afghan Hounds, drawing a cat was a bit out of my comfort zone. It took several attempts to get the cat to a point where I was happy with him and ready to progress to painting.

Directions for Reclining Cat Portrait:

Daler Rowney Canvas Paper
Liquidtex black, white, grey, silver, raw umber and bronze yellow acrylic paint
White 65 lb. card stock
Cray Pas Expressionist oil pastels: pink, green and gold
Drawing board
Royal Soft-Grip brushes: 3/4 inch, #4 flat, #4 round, #0

This painting is based on a photograph that I took of Bandit. I liked the reclining pose but found it hard to sketch.

1. Scan the picture into the computer, enlarge it to a 5 x 7 inch size and print it on white 65 lb. card stock.

2. Since I don't have a light box I taped the card stock print to a sunny window. Tape a piece of canvas paper over the card stock and trace the outline of the cat with a 2H pencil. Remove the canvas paper and card stock from the window. Place the canvas paper on a drawing board and begin to fill in the details of the cat (his eyes, nose, and the lines for his coloration).

3. Using a #4 round brush and white paint fill in the white areas of the cat. Let it dry.

4. Fill in the black areas of the cat with black paint and a #4 round brush. Let it dry.

5. Mix bronze yellow and raw umber until the color resembles a light golden wood. Fill in the floor area with this color. Add raw umber lines on the floor (to resemble a hard wood floor) before the golden wood floor dries.

6. After the floor dries add highlights with grey paint. Using the 3/4 inch brush paint the wall with a light coat of grey paint.

7. Color the cat's eyes with green oil pastel and blend with a paper stump. Add a layer of gold oil pastel to the eyes and blend with the paper stump. Repeat with the green pastel and blend. Add black acrylic paint to the center of the cat's eyes.

8. Fill in the cat's nose with pink oil pastel and blend with the paper stump. Clean the stump by rubbing it across a piece of sand paper before using it to blend the pink nose.

9. Mix a small amount of grey paint into white paint to make a light grey color. Apply the light grey to the white areas of the cat (shading).

10. Using a #4 round brush and white paint, paint the fur using short strokes. Pull some of the strokes outward toward the black and long strokes for whiskers (above the eyes and on the face). Paint short strokes with the black paint on the black areas. Use black to paint in the marks for the claws on feet.

11. Paint the wall with short swirled strokes using a #4 flat brush and silver paint. Allow some of the grey base coat to show through.

12. Mix the grey paint with a little bit of black and paint a shadow on the floor to the left of the cat.