Koi Painting work in progress painting…

Trying to pull together several painting so they can be finished, one for a customer, one for a show and one just for me.

Below you can see several paintings I have sitting about my studio space… I am working on all of them at once…. trying to get them either finished or started.   I work this way sometimes because its best to let some paintings sit rather then work on them too long.  They become over worked and stagnant if painted for hours and hours.   One is an oil painting which I just need a few adjustments and it will be complete…  its the water painting with the yellow trees.  The next looks like a light blue and purple combination, its also a water painting and we do not know where its going but I have a pastel kinda monet feeling for it so it will start in that direction.

The one on the floor is the one I started yesterday and I  will work on it today.  Its the only watercolor in the bunch so I’ll have to clean my pallet before I start painting it again.

This painting is sitting on my back porch to dry Its a combination of Gesso and watercolor painted on canvas.


WIP # 10 Geisha in Oil work in progress.

I’m trying to decide if I should put the flowers on the right side of the geisha or take them out… also  I’m trying to decide if the kimono color is right.  should I use analogous colors or should I keep it warm.


I started this yesterday ( Thursday) I like it but I may have to change two things. Its Oil on canvas 18 by 24. I’ll let it set overnight and decide tomorrow.
it was so beautiful today I think about 70 degrees….. I could hardly stand staying indoors and doing my work. I went to the lake (Lake Wylie SC) and walked for about an hour, with the dogs of course.

I am working on a big project right now… up loading some new lessons to my free art lesson’s blog and to the Art by example . com website. I plan to do some video taping tomorrow and after we get it edited there should be some free video of me painting my Koi…. Its all so exciting!
Check back to see how this painting progresses.

work in progress … Child’s Portrait

I’m back with a  few more changes.  I put in the cushions on the chair, I made them a bit larger than in the photo because I need this bright color to give it the feel it needs.  I have left out the last cushion on the left because I’m still debating on what color it should be.  That’s because I haven’t decided if the shirt will be light blue or dark green … I painted it light blue to see how the contrast of warm and cool color looks side by side and also because I know I can always change it.  Light blue is a color you can change because most colors will cover this light color.  Right now, its Manganese blue and I don’t think I had that on the  original list of colors.   You might want to take note of it.

  Just to give you a little background on what s been going on in my studio.  I have this portrait on an easel and of course everyone who visits makes their comments.

 Remember I have a number of friends who are also professional artists or photographers.  I find it amusing what they think is good or what I should change.   The first thing is… None of them seem to agree on anything, one will tell me to widen his chin, the next one will say… no leave it as it is because it will make him look too old.

Then there are  the non artists who say things like… where’s his other arm?  They can’t see the process as well.  I did put his other Arm today.  It only has the initial first glazes and I’ll bring it up to the correct value later.  This arm being behind the other arm will have to be a bit cooler and not as warm so it stays behind the binoculars.   I’ve decided not to make the background too busy because this will take away from he young boy’s face.   I will put in the stand of trees and I’ll have to pay attention to the push pull of the lights and darks.   Where the background meets the light part of the face I will want the background to be darker and visa versa.  This will give the painting movement and also help to create the illusion of space and depth.  

To answer your questions…

When softening use a bristle brush because it does not hold as much water as a sable and will soften without creating a back run.  Only run the damp brush along the edge you want to soften. if you want a graduated wash, its best to wet the surface of the paper where you want the gradation.  This will give you more time to work and as long as your paper stays damp, you should be able to paint an area without hard lines.   Start at the darkest corner, drop the color in by taping the point of the brush into the paint then onto the paper where you want the darkest area and continue across the wet area until you want it to start lightening, add a little bit of water to this fist puddle of paint then pick some up with the tip or edge of your brush and  ( first touch the brush to a sponge or a set of towels to take out any drips or excess water) then apply this lighter color to the area  where you just left off… continue doing this until your color is at least 1/2 as light as the darkest area.  This will create a subtle change ( because the paper was wet) and not allow lines to form between the changes.   Anytime I tell you to wet the paper first …you should paint on clean clear water and not have any puddles and also do not paint hard, use a light touch because you do not want to remove all the sizing from the paper.

If your unsure if water is covering the entire section tilt the paper to the side and look for the sheen on the surface of the paper, this will tell you how much water you have and if you’ve missed any spots.  The water should not be runny or drippy this would be too wet.  The surface of the paper should have equal amounts of water so it will not dry unevenly , it should have a sheen but no puddles.  This one variable is the one thing that makes most folks not want to paint in watercolor or  if they do paint in Watercolor, they will not use much water. So…  If you can learn this, you will be able to  paint almost anything.  If you have any other questions or comments chime in I

I’ll write you back and answer all your questions.  This is almost finished and my plan is to have it finished by Friday.   So speak up now cause we are moving to a totally different type of painting next.


Its one am and I’m seeing spots in front of my eyes.  Good night all.

Work In Progress

The hair was very red so I glazed green thru it to give it a more ash brown color.  I also pulled out some of the hairline on each side of the head.  Its easy to make hair look like a helmet.  Especially if there isn’t an apparent part.  Earlier today I put a part in and it looked pretty good but I changed it back because this little guy doesn’t seem to ever have much of a part in his hair.  It allowed me to see the correct perspective.  This portrait will need a few more layers of color to get all the areas up to the correct value.  Right now…the skin appears a bit too warm but you will be suprised when the darks of the background are placed around the head how light the face will look.   Of course once the background is in I  can glaze another layer of color if needed.    I still have more to do, …the upper lip needs work, some softening and some modeling for the right side. The right eye isn’t right…  but I’ll get it.    By the way, use a template for the eyes, this will insure they are exactly the same size.    The right eye I decided not to paint it as it is in the picture.  This means I have to just wing it. The eyes are a bit darker on the computer than they actually are in person.   They look dark in the photo but I will probably not paint them that dark unless the client wants them really dark.  Both  eyes need highlights and low lights which I usually save for a little later in the painting (so I can have something to look forward to). 

The more I paint the face,  I’m finding it difficult to decide what the shirt color should be.  It would look great as a cool color but that isn’t really African.    Also the trees and such in the background will have to be a little cool so I will paint them with some blue in the leaves and some gray for the trunks just for some contrast. 

To answer some of your questions which I have been getting by email…

1.  I used sable brushes ( rounds and angled flats) for direct painting and a bristle brush for the softening or blending.  The round sizes are 04 to 12, the flat brushes are 1/2 inch and one inch.

I uses gallon jugs of clean water and have at least three of them on my painting table.  This is to make sure I never use dirty water.   Dirty water will leave sediment in the very light washes and make your painting have a dirty look.

I have several palettes you can see one of them on my daily painting blog   http://shantimarie.wordpress.com.  The one I use for this painting is a pallet that I use only for portraits because I do not want any of the colors getting dirty.  It has 22 mixing wells and a large center area. Its porcelain and gives me true color in the mixing area and it has a lid to keep the paints fresh.

I start the painting laying down but  as soon as possible, I move it to the easel because I stand while painting and a table is a little low for standing.   Also I have real day light type easel lamps which I use unless its a very bright day.

young boy..Portrait art lesson

you can click on the photo to enlarge.

Here you can see the painting is becoming a bit more refined, it’s still has a ways to go but its best to allow the painting to sit and be totally dry before we start the the next set of  glazes.  In the next step, we will correct any problem areas and also put more shadow on the left side while allowing the right side to appear as if it’s in sunlit.

The eyes start out very red and are darkened with each subsequent glaze.  I use sepia and ultra marine blue to get the deep color of the eyes.

If your unsure of how the glazes work, basically you paint in very thin layers of paint allowing each to dry between layers. You create depth by using these thin layers. You can paint red, allow to dry then paint blue and it will appear as purple.  You can change it over and over by simply changing the color as long as you use transparent paint you will have a stained glass effect.

I use a bri