Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mare and Foal Horse Art Collection includes K Joann Russell's Watercolor


"Quarter Horse Mare and Foal #2"
Decor Print of Original Watercolor/Ink Painting

Another nice surprise this morning from the Etsy Whoa Horse Art Team. The above art is included in a treasury collection of mare and foal subjects, some outstanding equine art by worldwide artists.

If you'd like to read about this registered quarter horse mare and her very talented colt, click here. You'll be amused.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunflower Ballet Original Painting from Sunflower Studio Art

"Sunflower Ballet"

8 x 10" acrylic painting on canvas - gallery wrap

To purchase click here


This sunflower reminded me of gestures and movements in a ballet. I painted the background a dark color to give the subject a dramatic look. The composition is a very simple series of shapes.

Computer monitors can't show you all the nuances of colors. The dark background is an excellent example in this little painting. On the monitor it looks black. I didn't use any black paint. I do not use black in my paintings. I got in that habit when I was introduced to traditional watercolor.

So, how did I get such a dark color? I mixed colors that produced various darks. Some have a blue, others a touch of purple, some darkened greens. That's so much fun to mix those. The opposites on color wheels or three colors equally spaced on the wheel can give you a starting point. All part of the fun of playing with colors. I used two blues, two greens, one purple and one red.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Colt Horse Art Decor Print by Artist K Joann Russell in Etsy Treasury

"Long-legged Stage"
Decor Print of Original Watercolor/Ink Painting

A nice surprise for me this morning! This decor print of horse art was selected for a Treasury in Etsy.com. I was invited recently to join a group of horse artists, "Whoa Horse Art Team". One of the members selected a great collection of art to be featured around the theme of "Horse Babies". These artists own or have owned horses, ride and/or train or raise horses, participate in horse shows, etc. They know their subjects and it shows in their art.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

One Minute Gestural Memory Sketching, Expressive Drawing of Horse by K Joann Russell


With love I share this less than a minute gestural sketch I did late last night. Yesterday was a full day and this entry in my artistic journal says a lot to me. I'm using this illustration to show you the many benefits of such a journal. I have not altered the image after scanning it, so that is why the lines are faint. Click on the image to enlarge it for better viewing.

It has been "ages" since I painted a horse picture although I have three large unfinished canvases of horses propped against a wall reminding me to do something about them. At the end of a long day I impulsively grabbed my pencil to draw expressively from memory a horse with stretched neck to get some nourishment amid crocuses. Note that one ear of the horse is turned as though the horse is cautiously listening to someone or something. The impulse is caution.

Gestural sketching simply uses quick, sometimes multiple lines to indicate the space orientation or movement of a subject. To finish the sketch I used a few strokes of watercolor to indicate the yellow color I spotted in crocuses popping up along a sidewalk as I walked in windy Seattle with temperatures in the low 30's.

I added in pencil a few words to remind me of people, events, etc. that gave further personal meaning to the sketch. My scripture focus yesterday was in Nehemiah 5:11 about the command to "restore" in reference to the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem and the peoples' well being. At the top I wrote "whoa horse team" because I accepted the invitation to join yesterday an Etsy forum by that name composed of horse artists. The name at the bottom refers to a gallery which represented me years ago.

To sum up the whole minute plus color sketch, it put me back in touch with my love of horses and my ability to express that love which was denigated by a "successful" artist whom I respected at one time. I've encouraged myself, as the Psalmist David did often. Yes, I can still draw horses, even from memory! Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Field Colors in Painting for Artistic Journal of K Joann Russell


"Field Colors"
5 x 8.5" Acrylic/Ink on paper


Do you recognize the colors from the beach scene yesterday? With the last bit of those paints I did a brief sketch in my artistic journal. My journaling efforts are short on words but long on images which I'll explain below. My schedule today is such that studio time will be minimal so I thought I'd use this to share my adventure into this art "form".

I've never been a traditional journaler. I write notes to myself on scraps of paper that get torn up or stashed in a file folder, mostly to be forgotten. I'm just not a prose writer. I enjoy crossword puzzles and have written formalized papers. I've used random words on a sketchbook page to decide a direction for a painting, but that isn't the usual journal that people talk about.

In December while working on year-end business tasks and new goals, I read a fascinating book, "The Creative Entrepreneur" by Lisa Sonora Beam. She uses multi-media journaling as part of her decision making process. Maybe you could say it is a variation on brainstorming. I tried a few trials for myself which were a little stiff at the start, but then it lit a spark in me for the new year.

I decided to use my new artistic journal to help me become a more expressive painter using colors. I didn't want to box myself in a corner by rigidly holdly to a daily schedule. I wanted to use whatever materials suited me at the moment. That meant a world of paper and supplies in my scrapbooking stash plus all my drawing and painting media. I wanted images to be my expression with only small amounts of text. I wanted to "cut loose" with acrylic paints which I have done freely on mat board scraps that get tossed. I wanted to get back into landscapes. I guess you could say I wanted to get my "voice" again.

I didn't need anything fancy, but it had to be durable. I found on the 50% clearance rack at the local Kroger(Fred Meyers) a journal with lightweight paper and large sized rings enough for a year. Then I found a sketchbook of mine that had unused papers in a heavier weight that would withstand water applications.

In this photo I left part of the ink lettering at the top to give you an idea of my completed page. I glue the heavy weight paper on the journal page and write in the margins words, quotes, etc. that give some meaning to the imagery. Remember how a picture is worth a thousand words? Mine are. I'm finding myself going back to pages in this journal to refresh my memory and encourage myself. It really is helping me keep focused. Why don't you try one for yourself?





Monday, February 9, 2009

Beach Color in Daily Painting with Favorite Brush


"Beach Color"
4 x 5.75" acrylic on watercolor paper


Most of today I've been working on a large seascape, so beaches have been on my brain! I had already cleaned up my brushes when I remembered about a small painting for my blog. I decided to paint quickly using only one large brush for the size paper and a few colors. Out came some fresh paint: naples yellow, raw sienna, hooker's green, cerulean blue, and ultramarine blue, and titanium white.

The brush I used is a filbert brush #4. I really like filberts because their "scalloped" shape creates versatile strokes. I can draw lines or make broad strokes or lightly drag the flat or narrow side of the brush.

I had only a few minutes so I concentrated on colors I find at our Pacific Ocean beaches. I kept the surf relatively calm. The vantage point is looking down from a hillside to the sand and rocks.

I had fun and didn't totally make a mess of my composition as I did the other day. Another good illustration of the ups and downs for artists. This was a good day. I look forward to tomorrow being equally great or even better.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hydrangea and Irises in Colored Pencil for Scrapbooking



3 x 3" colored pencil on paper


While working on my visual journal last night I found in my supplies for scrapbooking these little treasures. My daughter Liz who designs scrapbooks, especially the digital ones that Creative Memories prints in book format, requested them a few years ago as an experiment. After my fiasco yesterday with the ACEO and watercolor pencils, I decided to share these with you to show what can be done with colored pencils without washes.



Three 1.5 x 1.5" colored pencil on paper

The three irises were intended to be used separately with a pleasing color of paper behind the tiny art. I scanned them all together to save time. I haven't made anymore of these tiny pieces of art because they are time consuming. But, I've painted with acrylic paints directly on my scrapbook pages when I've had the time and inclination.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Celebration of First Rhododendron of the Year!


Best Part of a February Rhododendron


3.5 x 2.5" ACEO "Learning Experience"



Yes, it is February, but I found a rhododendron blossom in my yard when I went out to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. I thought that rhodie would be a perfect subject to paint on some ACEO paper I received as part of a birthday gift. Besides, I've neglected this blog. I haven't painted anything very small recently to post here.

This has been an adventure doing this "failure" piece, but I think it is a great illustration of the ups and downs of an artist's endeavors. So, here goes on an account of the lessons I learned.

I started with watercolor pencils because I love to draw and thought that a few washes with lines would capture the tissue thin petals and the heavier buds. Yes, the drawing was great with expressive and flowing lines. I should have stopped there and stuck with using those pencils to sketch which I often do because they are so portable.

With watercolor pencils you can use a brush and water to make a traditional watercolor effect. And you can come back into the wash and make more lines with the pencils. That makes such an interesting effect. But, I couldn't get the values to be the same as the subject in front of me. To change up things, I moved to rendering a light blue grey background. That wasn't wonderful either. I worked back and forth, even using the fabulous white pencil that burnishes colored pencil drawings.

The tiny size of the paper was strange to me. 2.5 x 3.5" is really small when you've been working on large canvases. I did not want to give up. I so wanted to grab my acrylic paints and totally cover the parts that weren't working, but I was determined to see what I could do to "rescue" this piece just for the fun of it.

I learned long ago how to rescue botched watercolor paintings. Some could be saved and others had to be tossed or gessoed for another medium. A common rescue technique is to wash out a passage that isn't working. I tried that without much success. I resorted to the technique of using Chinese white paint to cover up or modify what isn't working well. Things were going downhill rather fast.

I ended with one part of this ACEO that was really nice, a postage stamp size painting. The rest was beyond rescuing, even the paper was starting to tear. So, I stopped and planned how to explain this learning experience. I picked up the package of ACEO paper to read the exact measurements and noticed for the first time that the watercolor paper is 80 lb. No wonder I had trouble after trouble. The texture was fighting the watercolor pencils, but most of all the paper wasn't the 140 lb. weight or heavier that I normally use. Duh, Joann!

If you've never heard of ACEOs, they are Art Cards Editions and Originals, an art format of 2.5 x 3.5" started by an eBay artist and marketed as Trading Cards. I've not been a fan of them. Do you think I had a subconscious block today? Tomorrow I'll be back on large canvases.

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