Saturday, September 1, 2012

Painting Grace in the Rain.

How ironic—It is raining cats and dogs outside and I am painting away on Grace at a sunny beach! 
This  painting will be glazed in layers, and this is one layer of many layers to come. Each layer needs to dry completely before the next can be applied to keep the colors fresh
Although I have never seen Grace in person, I think I have gotten her likeness. The detail dress stripes, highlights, etc. will come last. 
Because I started out as a watercolor artist I have a hard time painting from dark to light instead of light to dark although I have found that it really isn't critical. 
I love including hands and feet in paintings just for the challenge. Grace's will be a challenge. At this stage they need work, but that's half the fun—figuring it all out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today's Painting

I enjoyed painting my nephew's daughter today. It is a great shot of her playing on the beach. As always I start with a yellow ochre background and sepia value study. The shadows in sand and the diagonal line of the water in the background  add interest to the composition. She is such a cutie. I have never seen a picture of her without  a smile on her face. I will post my progress as I go along. It should be fun.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Before and After

The project is now completed! The initial image was improved by photographing the children on an actual swing. This allowed me a source picture to use to correct the anatomy of the children. Children's heads are big but not that big. I noticed when I saw the children in person their hair was a wonderful red. In the photograph the hair color darkened to a much browner shade. I wanted to correct that in the final painting. Because of the repositioning and smaller head size, I had to repaint parts of the swing and grass that were done initially with an airbrush. With all these challenges, it worked out beautifully by matching the colors and using a dry brush technique.

I used Golden Open Acrylics—Thanks for that recommendation, Jackie! Since they are slow drying they work more like the oil and watercolor paints that I do the majority of my work in. The water cleanup was by far superior to the solvents you use with oil paints. For an additional challenge, I mixed all the colors from the primary colors, red yellow and blue. The final image looks more like the actual children and shows their wonderful red hair. The younger child now looks like he is sitting in the swing instead of falling out of it. It was a fun project—I had a good time doing not only the faces, but also the tennis shoes and the t-shirts, especially the superman emblem! Scroll down for more on how I did this painting and the details on the process from start to finish.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wall Mural

I was commissioned to do a mural of two boys in a swing. The challenge here was to improve the anatomy and perspective on a mural that another Friendswood artist had done. The former artist did a good job with the tree, the swing and the grass; and my assignment was to improve the likeness of the two boys in the swing. I also needed to match the swing and the background as I shrunk the heads and relocated the boys on the swing.

I started out by taking photos of the boys in a swing. Since none of the individual photos worked for me, I used the magic of Photoshop to do get my layout just the way I wanted. I presented two layouts for my client to see, and after adding a smile on one of the boys faces—they chose one right off the bat. Good start!

I then proceeded to transfer the image on the wall and substitute my image in place of the previous one, matching the background and swing. So far so good. Follow along with my progression as I post images of my daily painting sessions to the finished mural.
The Original Image

Day one-We needed to remove an electrical outlet,
which my client took care of right away!

Days two and three-were spent matching the grass, transferring
the image to the existing mural and doing a value study.

Now the fun begins—Adding the color.
I hope to be done by next week. Stay tuned for more images.
Worked on the shirts, shoes & skin tones today. It's getting there.
The younger child's likeness is dead on,
but I need to get a better likeness of the older child.
Will work on the eyes and mouth tomorrow.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Varnishing 101

Wait 6 months to allow the paint to dry fully. Some recommend a year. I apply my varnish with a synthetic brush from Lowes or HD dedicated solely to varnishing. A mixture of Winsor Newton Artists' Original Matt Varnish with Winsor Newton Artists’ Gloss Varnish gives a nice buttery finish. Use a double boiler to heat the mixture in order to melt the wax in the Matt varnish. Some people use the microwave for this step, but I feel the mixture is too volatile for that.

Paint in one direction with overlapping strokes. After 10 hours apply the second coat in strokes perpendicular to the first coat. Clean your brush with mineral spirits and let your varnished painting dry over night. Varnishing your paintings protects them from dust and scratches. If scratches happen after the painting is varnished just re-varnish the area and poof they disappear.

If anyone has any other recommendations for varnishing, let me know by posting a comment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Painting

Had fun painting with Belinda today. This painting is done on a wood panel that is primed with gesso. Paint application is a bit different from regular canvas as the paint slips and slides on the surface, but once I got the hang of it, I was good to go. May add a little detail or I may sign it and call it done.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

qr codes are Cool

I just created a qr code for Fontaine Fine Art. It will go on business cards, art show labels, my name tag I wear to art shows, my car window etc. etc. When someone scan the code with a smart phone, it will take them to my Website where they can learn more about the original artwork I have for sale, where my upcoming shows are, the awards I have won, the plein air painting I have done, what my clients are saying about me, and what is going on in my blog. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Better than fishing

I painted with my friend for about two hours today. She told me about "Goo Gone" for keeping my brushes like new and I got a good start on an under-painting. I like the play of light and dark in this painting, but the color of this photo taken with my new handy dandy iPhone 4S is much cooler than the original painting. I especiallyI like that in the water. I will let it dry and play around with the colors a bit. That is the beauty of oil you can always make changes. It is painted on gessoed board with mitered side that Randy put together for me. The gesso gives you a slick surface that lifts easily making it  interesting  to paint on. to get a smooth surface will require many layers. Some would rather go fishing, but It makes my day when I can  paint—I am fortunate to have that luxury. The hardest part is stopping.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Every artist should do a still life and a self-portrait. The first step—and hardest for me— was getting a good source picture. It took several days and many shots. I wanted a full-length shot and found a great 30 x15' canvas for the job.

Along with the source picture I am using a mirror to stare at while I paint to get the skin colors better than the cmyk  print my printer provides. Staring at myself this way is painful, but necessary.

Painting my hands and the zebra pattern on my blouse, although challenging have been quite fun. Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson with white and black make up the pallet for my skin tones. 
Now off to my next painting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Great Outdoors

Painting on location in the great outdoors, or Plein-air painting has been a new and exciting experience for me. I attended a workshop on Plein-air painting last night that I would like to share. For all you Texans the pronunciation is plen that rhymes with ten, not plain. Both my recent try at Plein-air and last night’s presentation were inspirational enough to blog about. It is educational for those interested and a reminder to me of the basics for my next outdoor painting experience.

I have had one Plein-air painting trip to Galveston. Our group of three drew quite a crowd with oohs and ahhs. I was having great fun painting the sails of the Elissa until they moved the sails on me! 

You need to paint quickly and small. Take a picture before you start painting just in case they move the sails on you. Find a good cross light where patterns of light and dark are accentuated. Paint them first—as they will change. Look at the shadow to determine where your light source is coming from and exaggerate it for drama.  
Plein-air painting can be used as studies for larger creations or to loosen you up, like gesture drawing does.  Although you can’t possible paint it all, your main mission is to decode the vast amounts of detail into a simpler version of itself. Placing a compliment next to a color gives a shimmering quality to the subject matter and using strong value contrasts with 4 major value scales imitates the drama of natural light. 

During my first Plein-air experience I took too many tubes of paint. Next trip I will try a pallet of both warm and cool primary colors with white and black instead. There is also a wet canvas carrier I want to look into. I plan to bring a black board to prevent light from shining through the back of my canvas. Some prefer board or canvas panels. A viewfinder would come in handy as well. Using a horizontal pallet prevents a value change that happens when the light is cast on a flat pallet. Pale Drying Oil was also suggested as a medium. It is nearly as fluid as walnut oil though it is quite a bit darker. As far as its drying ability, it is said that a layer of paint could be touch dry in less than 12 hours. I have got to give that a try.

Thanks Lisette, Jim and Bill for your all your advice. I can wait to try capturing the great outdoors again.