Friday, June 25, 2010

A Watercolor, Beginning to End

~ I did this little watercolor yesterday ~
The model is my Afghan 'Dazzle' at age 10 months,
when they are fluffy all over and you wonder how they see
through all that hair over their eyes.
This pose is called a "play bow" and she still does it
at age 4. I think she will always be fun and puppy-like!
(which also involves being a destroyer of shoes and a shredder of paper)
~ The beginning stages ~
First, a pencil sketch, then I apply watercolor washes
to get some color down, painting around the light hair.
I'm using my little watercolor box, although I often use
my larger plastic palette. Since this is a small 8x10
and I'm using limited colors, this works fine.
And a glass tea cup holds the water.
I'm working on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.
~ Dazzle and Dazzle ~
Oh my, she is so amusing! There's times she barks and
wants to play with a doggy on my computer screen.
Sometimes I work from a printed photo
and sometimes just look at one on my screen.
It works great to blow it up to see detail.
Here we are halfway through, adding depth through
more washes on the grass and sky and dog hair.
Below is a close-up of the finished painting.
The white areas are the white of the paper.
In watercolor you usually save the whites this way,
an oil painting is done a bit differently.
She was actually chewing on a plastic chicken toy
but since there's no way it was recognizable,
I have replaced it with a red ball.
Next a mat and frame and ready to hang!
(This painting will be available soon as a print on my website)
It has been fun sharing my painting process with you!
If you haven't tried watercolors, just give it a go!
You may love it!!!
~ Violet ~
A bit later... okay, so I am picturing my friend Martha
rolling her eyes at my previous paragraph.
Yes, I know, it took me some time and much practice
to get to the point of creating a (successful) watercolor.
And one needs the right tools for it,
good brushes, high quality paints,
good paper, and probably an artistic leaning.
And study, and practice practice practice!
(People usually don't see the ones I threw away!)
There is a lot to find out about the various pigments
and how they mix, from transparent to staining colors,
how to keep from making the color of mud
(but one needs mud sometimes too)
But everyone has to start somewhere.
One thing that helped me the most when I was learning
watercolor painting, was to study books that showed the process.
How you get from 'here' to 'there'.
( Classes helped too. )
So, to see a painting from the beginning stages
up through the final result, can be such a learning experience.
If an excitement builds in your heart
when you view a painting
(or whatever else makes your heart flutter!)
If something stirs within you
and you hear yourself saying, "I want to try that!"
Well, just start at the beginning.


Privet and Holly said...

Wow, violet, you are so talented!
My daughter likes working in watercolor and I'm just amazed at how it can be manipulated. I've been down in Savannah, GA while she attends a seminar for high school students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I'm on my way to a reception of the work that they created this week in just a few short minutes. Trying to visit a few blogs before I go. Your dogs are lovely and how great to be able to document all of that beauty and playfulness through your art!
xx Suzanne

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

So pretty! The PERFECT subject, too! No, I have never painted, however my mother is an artist. You both make it look so easy!


Distressing Delilah a.k.a. jenn said...

Thank you for sharing your process..your work is precious! Have a wonderful weekend.

Brenda Leyland said...

Oh Violet, I had such fun reading through your posting today. And your puppy (even at 4) is absolutely adorable. Your painting of her is wonderful.

I love to think that you did this wonderful piece yesterday -- in a day -- and already we get to see the end result.

I love visiting.........contented sigh

Susan said...

Amazing how quickly you are able to complete such a delightful painting. I do love watercolor.
And your puupy is a cutie! :)
I'm having a little giveaway on my blog if you'd like to stop by.

Kate said...

Lovely, Violet. Thanks for sharing your process. I have a feeling it's a lot harder than you make it look, but I really want to try watercolor.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

My dearest Violet, I am finally back in the saddle....I never thought it would feel strange to get back to blogging! Thank you dearest for providing me with the link....your work is really, really exquisite, and I so need to get to the drawing table NOW. I will get you in an email and tell the details! Anita

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Dear Violet
Thank you so much for visiting and your kind words about my art.. I am honored to receive such a compliment from an artist as you.
Yes, it was truly magical to meet Anita in person! She is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside.. Ruben and Anita are very special people.
Enjoy your weekend

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

I could not leave without commenting on this piece.
I just love this watercolor.. Your colors are so vivid, yet soft.. You are a master with the brush.... I love to work with watercolors but have a lot to learn... Exquisite!!
Warm regards,

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

VIOLET, MY PARTNER IN GLITTER!!! Oh my dear, I am so glad to be reconnected with everyone. I had so much fun every single day of this trip and The Tail of The Yak was our very first destination after my SIL picked us up at the San Francisco airport! You would have been paralyzed with joy and really, you don't know where to start. They had caligraphy kits like no other, vintage jewelry, paper products, paints, glitter, crowns, YES CROWNS!!!! But I already have enough, but it never hurts to look and get inspiration!

I have to say that again, your post intrigues me and my dear friend Tita (Patricia Cabrera) has encouraged me to start watercoloring. I want so badly to do it; with our building project coming down the pike, I think this summer is going to be extremely busy...but I will try to carve out time.

Have a wonderful FOURTH!!! Bisous, Anita

Marie said...


Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. What a joy reading yours and seeing what talent you have. Wow! I would love to be blessed with an artistic hand.

If you don't mind I'd love to start following and can't wait to see what your next creating might be.
Dancing in Tattered Shoes

Marilyn said...

I loved doing watercolor many years ago in art school. Just haven't done it for many years. Love seeing your process.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

VIOLET! OH, coming back here is so refreshing, seeing your gorgeous canine pose for your skillful and lively watercolor!! THank you dearest friend, glitter pal, sister in Christ for coming and joining in on the excitement as we embark on what I know can be also a nightmare, a mess, a lot of expense......but it's just two rooms, no plumbing, and hopefully more space so we can do what we love: ENTERTAIN!!!

Have a great Sunday my friend and great something fun today!!! Anita

BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour Violet,
Been browsing through your posts and had to stop again to comment. How talented you are, the watercolor is wonderful. Well done!

Mystical Gypsy said...

I didn't know that special pose had a name. I love it when they do that! It's one of the unique mannerisms of Afghans that makes me love them so much. My Blu2 still does it at age 5. Another one is the "wild gleam" they get in their eyes when they feel cranked & ready to run!

Janet said...

Thank you for sharing the joy of such inspiration! I will be sending my mom to your website. She loves to paint and started in her 70's. She had been made to feel as a child that her gift was unimportant but she is feeling free to express herself and making up for lost time now!