Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My little sketchbook is finished!

Thank you for all your suggestions for the last "pile" in my accordian-fold book. It was hard to pick between marbles, paperclips, pickles, postcards, eggs and more.... but I settled on the marble idea (thanks, MaryAnn Bake) and did a pile of glass ocean floats.  They might not be that interesting, but I liked the challenge of making them translucent so you can make out some of the floats underneath.

Pile of Floats, the last page of my sketchbook

There you have it. I have two more folding books ready and I am thinking about my next series. What'll it be?  Thanks for reading this three-part blog from the High Desert Art League. Stay in touch and you'll hear from another member of the group soon!

Helen Brown
Sunriver, Oregon

Monday, April 20, 2015

...and the Piles continue!

Helen Brown again. If you missed my last post, go back and read about this "Pile Series" in my little sketchbook from the prior post. Today I am going to talk about the technique used in these paintings.  I'll use a pile of candy as my demo:

This is a spread from my folding sketchbook depicting a pile of sweets.

Instead of drawing out this whole painting first, I start by drawing just three shapes with no overlapping lines:
Three shapes drawn in pencil on the white paper

I paint a colorful wash over the entire painting. (If I wanted to save any whites, say for dew droplets, I might use masking fluid. Here I just painted around the sparkles I wanted to save.)

In the next wash, I use a darker value of the same colors and paint around the three shapes.

While adding detail to the three shapes, I pencil in more candy shapes. I am careful not to draw over the existing shapes so that it looks like the new candies are below the first three.

Then I paint around the new shapes. I am only adding washes to the negative shapes, that is, around the candy shapes.

As I paint "deeper and deeper" into the painting, I am using darker, more neutral-colored paint to push the newer pieces back. I pencil in more and more candy shapes underneath those I have already painted. I can continue in this way until there are only a few very small, dark shapes left. Of course, I have to add detail to each candy piece. I love pattern, so that is a fun step for me.

OK now I need your help!

I have seven double pages in this sketchbook. I need ideas to finish it.  Here are the next two pages that I've filled in this manner.
Shells from the beach

Flip flops

I have ONE page left and can't decide what kind of pile it should be. Please email me or comment below to give me your suggestion! 

Here is my accordian-fold sketchbook almost completed. 

(Note: If you are a member of the Watercolor Society of Oregon, you can catch a short workshop session with my sister, Mary Burgess, and make one of these wonderful sketchbooks yourself. She taught me to make them. It is so fun! That'll be in Hermiston in October. 

Thanks for reading to the end of this blog! And happy painting!

Helen Brown
Sunriver, OR

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Piles of FUN in your journal!

Helen Brown here. It's April and my turn to write on the High Desert Art League blog! I hope you have been following this interesting blog as there are 12 different artists writing on it. You never know what will appear next!

I love making these little accordian-fold sketchbooks using watercolor paper, matboard covered with decorative paper, a ribbon, a bone folder and a glue stick. Once I finish the book, I can’t wait to fill it up with something…paintings in a theme….paintings from a trip or whatever comes to mind!

I started out painting in this particular book with my watercolor students. We painted a pile of fall leaves using a layering technique as we gradually got darker and darker in the negative area on each consecutive painting layer. We then added a droplet of dew on several of the leaves. Here are examples of some of our class paintings. I thought they did a great job!

The above two paintings are those of Marlene Guasco.

This one is by Michal Haller

Yours truly did this one.

OK, so back to the sketchbook idea.....,  I decided to fill up my little folding sketchbook with "Paintings of Piles" so to speak starting with a leaf painting.

Page one of my folding sketchbook

What else can I make a "pile" of?  My sister Mary sent me a photo of a pile of moose dung!!!! as a suggestion for a painting, but it lacked color and value contrast, so I chose to paint plastic silverware instead:

Page two

My family catches crawdads at our cabin in Montana during the summer. Here is a pile of them on a platter. As you can see, I stretch my paintings over two pages of the book, but you wouldn't have to. You could paint tiny paintings on each individual page.

Page three

If you've read all the way down to here, you are a patient person! Thank you. I will stop for now and continue in a day or two with the next "piles." The book has seven pages so I'm looking for more piles to fill my book. Next I will explain the layering glaze technique in more detail. I find it a fun and relaxing way to paint.

Helen Brown
Sunriver, Oregon

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Looking for Inspiration, Wine Tasting and Painting

Hi, Jacqueline Newbold here.  I want to share with you how I find inspiration for my paintings.

On a recent wine tasting trip to Yamhill Valley, Oregon, I found breathtaking views as the scenery opened up into rolling hills, vineyards and orchards. Our morning was greeted with rising fog as the blue mountains in the distance started to show through.

 The day brought dappled sunlight and warmth. It was fun to slow down and take it all in while savoring some of Oregon's best wines. I even learned how to blend my own Pinot Noir and came home with a bottle with my name on it!