Art Adventures

Posts tagged ‘gessoed watercolor plexiglass painting’

I had so much fun at the Willamette Valley last weekend! After hiking the Silverton Falls (10 falls, 7 miles…we shortened our hike and had 5 falls in 5 miles…gorgeous), we toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House (my favorite architect of all time…what a treat), then managed to fit in a stop at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm before calling it a day…yep, all that in ONE day, and heading back to our VRBO in McMinnville.

I was somewhat amazed (and a little disgusted, frankly) at the commercialism of the Wooden Shoe. I had different visions of a quiet, peaceful field of tulips, but instead, there were inflatable kid toys, bungee jumping, rides through the tulips on a “train”, a hot air balloon, you name it. But for my purposes, we headed straight into the fields, where I managed to shoot about 200 photos of tulips and people in the tulips. It was incredibly beautiful.

You will see several paintings from this trip, but the first one I had to do was this one, a man on a bike, riding through the field. PERFECT! I took several shots of him. He seemed to be leisurely poking along, glancing down at the flowers every now and again, clearly out for a casual ride to see the sights.

First wash of teal and yellow

First wash of teal and yellow

String, paper squares, produce netting and scribbles dance in the canvas, providing a crazy, fun background for the tulip colors.

Details:

Tulip guy detail 1

In the background, I suggested trees and a distant field of pink flowers. You can see the squares of paper, produce netting grid, and string

Tulip guy detail 2

Up close of Mr. Tulip Guy, where there is gridded pattern of netting and paper squares as well as a fruit tree in the background.

Tulip guy detail 3

Here is a detailed view of the bike, with string, painted grids, and paper collage. As you can see, the flowers are not painted as such, but suggested by mass and color.

Finished original on Plexiglas! One of my favorite areas is the background, where it seems a little surreal, or suggestive of trees, clouds, and haze. This turned out to be a fabulous painting!! It strikes the perfect mood.

Petals, 20x16, $750 original watercolor and mixed media on Plexiglas

Petals, 20×16, $750 original watercolor and mixed media on Plexiglas

The question was…Petals? Or Pedals for my title. After some deliberation, I decided on Petals. Why? Not sure, other than that I just love the flowers.

Cheers!

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes. Every one of my paintings is available as a print, and I sell signed greeting cards of all my images.

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During a recent trip to the Oregon Coast, we popped into Bandon Dunes for a late dinner one evening. Having heard positive reviews on this particular restaurant, our party of 6 sat ourselves down in anticipation of a fantastic meal.

Er…not so much.

Since it was late, I had snacked a little beforehand and wasn’t ravenously hungry. I decided on the spendy crab cakes. Just two, mind you. When they arrived for consumption, I was a little shocked at the size. Maybe a couple of inches in diameter, and not thick; on a bed of…nothing. Okay, there was an artistic swirl of sauce and maybe a sprig of something as a garnish, but…really?

And, yes, I can do the small meal at an inflated price. IF it has a wow punch. Like, I want to eat every last bite even if I am stuffed full to the gills (which I wouldn’t be anyway, in this case). A punch of brilliant flavor. A moan-ful moment.

These cakes? Not only were they super small, they were … meh. I mean, it wasn’t bad? But it sure wasn’t great.

So you are wondering where this is going? I had been working on a fox painting before I left (photo reference from my fabulous photographer friend, Sue Dougherty @offleashphotography…thanks sue!  You must check out her photos…gorgeous). When I got home, and looked at my in-process fox painting, I thought: meh. Okay, but not great. This fox was a mediocre crab cake on a bed of nothing.

Here is how it looked when I got home:

Beginning Mr. Fox

Beginning Mr. Fox, with the ocean behind him.

After the fox and the background were almost complete

Fox and sand dunes…BORING

I had changed the background from snow (the original photo) to sand dunes and ocean. A string from produce netting meandered through the gesso base, symbolizing trails the fox travels daily, in search of food or a mate. Produce netting also provided an interesting texture in the background. You can see this in the up-close view of his face, around his ear. The red circle at the top of the painting is a lid from my recycled Costco nut jar that I use for my water container. I place it under the Plexiglas to tilt the surface as I paint. This encourages wet pigment to move and provide interesting patterns.

Mr. Magnificent Fox deserved more. More pop. More drama. More…something! I mean, Good grief. I was not a painter of a crab-cake fox! No more mediocre! No more BORING!

So! I went into the background again with very dark value black and blue. I began by covering up the ocean. Yes, it took a little courage.

Correcting a BORING painting

Correcting a BORING painting by covering up the ocean and sand background

After painting the top third with a dark value, I broke up the color a bit with neutral and somewhat lighter squares shattering the foreground white.

Working on the foreground.

Working on the foreground.

I adjusted the pattern, then the values, and finished with this:

Detail of fox, showing the poofy tail, string of trails, produce netting texture, and squares

Detail of fox, showing the poofy tail, string of trails, produce netting texture, and squares

Detail of string at fox's leg

Detail of string at fox’s leg and the produce netting texture.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that I changed the painting. No more so-so!

Fox, 20x16, original watercolor, gesso, paper, produce netting, and watercolor pencil on recycled Plexiglas. $550

Fox, 20×16, original watercolor, gesso, paper, produce netting, and watercolor pencil on recycled Plexiglas. $750

Now, the painting has movement, drama, and interest. Dark blues contrast sharply with his magnificent orange coat. There are poofs of splatter paint at his tail, showing softness and the un-boundry of his fur. The layout and placement of dark values draw your eye around the painting. Your imagination can fill in what you see in the background. It holds your attention. It pops! What do you think? Did it change how you feel about the fox? Does it hold your attention more?

Thanks for reading this blog and supporting my passion. Feed the beast!

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes. Every one of my paintings is available as a print, and I sell signed greeting cards of all my images.

 

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There must be contrast for interest. Really. If life/art/people/etc. were all just the same, we would find ourselves uninspired and bored. Ethnicity, culture, race, skin color, height, houses, food, personalities, paintings; if it were all the same, where would be be? I shudder to think. The blandness of sheer repetition would cause dullness of the senses.

And so it occurred to me this past weekend when I went to Portland with a friend of mine (katherinetaylor.com). We went in search of potential gallery representation, as well as to enjoy Portland’s art scene. I was struck by the need for contrast. Not only concerning styles of paintings, but contrast within a painting. Contrast is an absolute necessity to create compelling interest.

We visited a variety of galleries. There seemed to be a disturbing amount of art that I wouldn’t want in my house. Much of it was seemingly simple, with dark themes, many hung without frames, and at exorbitant prices. Nonetheless, some of it was striking. Of the galleries we visited, a few stood out as representing accomplished artists of a range of styles, all employing the elements and principles of design in a compelling manner. Those galleries were Butters Gallery, Gallery 903, the Augen Gallery, and the Froelick Gallery. Again, we didn’t have time to see them all, but these were the best of those we visited.

Of the most noticeable common themes, texture seemed to be often employed element for many artists. Mixed media, tangible texture, and visual texture abounded. In addition to texture, contrast of value, such as darks against lights created compelling visuals. For instance, in a high-key painting of mostly light values, a shape, or line of black added at a focal point made the work sing. Or, in a mostly black/dark painting of war and oppression, bright spots of flags gave some relief in contrast and made the viewer look closer…longer.

So! To that end, I have come home very inspired to add contrast and increase texture surface to my paintings. As a result, I took one of my photos from my favorite artistic inspiration locale, Pikes Place Market in Seattle, of a flower vendor.

Flower vendor carrying flowers

I began with a basic reference photo.

I loved the way the flowers surrounded this girl as she carried a huge bouquet to a customer. In planning my painting, I cropped in closer to the girl and mapped out my values on a small thumbnail sketch. I wanted to produce an edgier painting, so planned a dark mass of value that connected her shirt, hair, and the bouquet to the edge of the painting.

Flower vendor value study

Value study. The arrows indicate visual movement of the dark value moving out of the edge of the painting.

Once I began painting, the texture came through from all the applications in the base of the gesso. This was a recycled painting, as well. It had a former life of being something else (that clearly didn’t work…). I had covered it and textured it up, but a little remained of the painting beneath, adding further interest.

Detail of the flowers around the vendor's face

Plenty of whites were left unpainted here in a detail of the flowers around the vendor’s face

Produce netting was used in various spots to create a honeycomb or a grid-like pattern.

Detail of produce netting pattern

Detail of produce netting pattern

IMG_4350

I added many pops of color onto a neutral background of black/grey/and cobalt. Above, the vendor’s shirt takes on many textures. Produce netting squares, small squares of paper, scribbles in the gesso base, and 3D lines were painted into the surface before the paint was applied.

The edge of the bouquet.

The edge of the bouquet. This detail describes both the netting honeycomb pattern and the painted-in squares of color for interest.

More texture.

IMG_4353

Watercolor pencils add a line element

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Scribbles and underscoring create complicated patterns in the painting.

Scribbles and underscoring create complicated patterns in the painting.

And finally, the finished painting:

Flower Vendor copyright

“Transaction of Color”, 20×16, $550. Original painting. Watercolor on gesso and collage.

This painting has a very fresh, open feel, accomplished both by the texture, the massed values, and the bright areas of color. Hopefully you get a chance to view this painting in person. I will be installing it at Hood Avenue Art as soon as it is sealed and framed. It is very interesting to view the different textures and colors up close. All in all, I believe I captured the contrast I was going after with the almost-blacks, the neutrals with pops of color traveling in pockets throughout the painting, the gestural strokes, patterns, and texture. Look for these qualities to come up in my future work. Expand the mind, people!

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes.

 

All images and paintings on this site copyrighted by Sarah B Hansen unless otherwise noted.

 

 

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Okay, okay…it’s a little corny, but I figured, hey, with this spring-like weather on Valentine’s Day? I’m a little cheesy.

As I painted this bunny, I thought about his expression. He is chewing on something. Maybe a thought. Maybe a piece of an herb. Perhaps it is something slightly bitter. He’s mulling it over, as it leaves an strange taste in his mouth. Like an ornery thought, or a wild hare (pun…), it won’t go away. It won’t let him go. He’s planning a crazy move. My kids have looked just that way before they do something naughty.

Watch out. He’s gonna get his funk on.

Bazillowres copyright

Bazil, 7×5 original watercolor and gesso on recycled plexiglas. $110

And, as it just so happens, it is my 2-year anniversary on WordPress today.I set up my blog on this day in February, 2014. My very first blog post was March 10th. At that time, it had been 3 years since I stopped painting. I decided to begin again with a blog as inspiration. I had a goal of starting one new painting and finishing a painting every week. I promised myself to blog about the finished painting every Sunday, with a short story about the painting. It would give me a reason to paint, and hold me accountable to produce work that was not only going to be visible to anyone on the internet, but also improve my skills as a painter, by simply painting every week.

To that end, after 2 years and 99 posts, this blog has kept me focused. I still have the goal to start one painting and finish one painting every week. I’ve improved not only my painting skills, but my writing skills as well. My readers have increased in numbers and have kept me busy with their positive likes and comments. I have met many new friends with this blog and other social platforms that have spun out of it. Over the past 2 years, my business as an artist has grown until I am busy enough to have trouble finding time to write! I am selling paintings, prints, and greeting cards, and have added a monthly Watercolor & Wine Class that fills quickly and has been extremely positive and fun. Much of that success has come from right here…

To any of you thinking about starting a blog for your business, hobby, or just for fun, I would say go for it! You don’t have much to loose, and much to gain.

Can’t wait for more to come! Great paintings, an Italy trip, new friends, and more sales!! Thank you all so much for your continued support.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes.

 

All images and paintings on this site copyrighted by Sarah B Hansen unless otherwise noted.

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For the upcoming mini show at Hood Avenue Art, a sneak peak of a painting in progress!

Quail in progress, 5x7 original watercolor on Plexiglas

Quail in progress, 5×7 original watercolor on Plexiglas

These little quail are usually clucking through our back yard, on their way to some important task. The male always perches on a rock or stump and surveys the progress of his harem moving through the grass. Love these quail.

I’m not sure what I will name this little gem. Comment if you have ideas on a title!

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes.

Keep creating to Feed the Beast! Support each other, people!:)

All images and paintings on this site copyrighted by Sarah B Hansen unless otherwise noted.

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Mama duck gestured to the partially submerged log with her bill and nodded slightly to her many ducklings. “Hop up, youngsters, dry off, and practice your yoga stances.”

I was on my kayak at Hosmer and had been trailing her at a distance for a time, clicking off photos with my Canon SX50 Ultrazoom. I hoped there might be a hidden treasure in the photos when I viewed them at home. So I just kept snapping pics. The little ducklings stopped at a bank and fluffed their fluffy down feathers, organizing and preening themselves duckily.

It was by sheer luck, and much to my amazement, when the mother called to them and organized her little balls of fluff on the log, just for my photos. I was very close in the kayak, making slow, measured movements and holding my breath. After she gestured, they all hopped up. I sat, mesmerized, clicking off pics, and marveled  at how perfectly cute they all were.

I had taken about 20 photos before moving off and giving them their peace. When I got home, I combined the pics by selecting poses from each and aligning them just so for the painting. A little guy who had stretched out his leg became my focal point.

Photo reference, one of many, for Ducks in a Row

Photo reference, one of many, for Ducks in a Row

I painted the first wash quickly, deciding to use purple and quinocridone burnt orange as my two main colors, creating a somewhat neutral color palate with a strong horizontal line of dark value behind the ducklings. Since I wanted the small duck with his foot outstretched to be the focal point, I removed a chick to the immediate left to give him a little space. I had used liquid mask on all the areas of their highlighted downy feathers, to keep it sparkling white in the end.

IMG_4337

After the first wash of purple and quinocridone burnt orange

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the background yet, other than keeping it loose and letting it fade away. I stepped away from it and allowed it to dry, knowing I would relish adding detail to the little ducklings. While it sat, I ran across an article in a magazine illustrating little dots in the background. I knew it would work for this painting.

In order to finish it for my First Friday showing at Desperado, I quickly began working on it the morning of the show.

After I had painted the background and the general shadows on the ducklings, I removed the mask

After I had painted the background and the general shadows on the ducklings, I removed the mask

Once I had removed the liquid mask, I worked on each little duckling. I paid close attention to detail and softened the edges so that their down appeared fluffy.

duck detail 2

Duckling detail. I kept all the whites as pure background and painted the shadow area only

duck detail 3

I concentrated on keeping the downy feathers very soft.

I saved the last little duckling to the end, using intense color and fine detail in his form. I made sure to keep the background as dark as I could behind him and accent his little stretched out foot with a vivid orange hue.

Focal point

Focal point

The painting has rhythm, which I enhanced by keeping all their legs and feet very bright with an orange and red mixture, their colors about the same, and the top of the log completely white to connect them all together. The mother duck looks over at them, bringing our view right back to the small guy with the outstretched foot.

Detail of dot squares and texture in background

Detail of dot squares and texture in background

After the ducklings and their mother were finished, I addressed the background with the squares of dots I mentioned earlier. You can see in the photo below how textural this painting is, with the collaged squares of paper and the scribbles of gesso. I love the dot effect, which further illustrates the organization of the little ducklings.

Ducks in a Row, $450  original watercolor and collage on Plexiglas

Ducks in a Row,  16×20 $450 original watercolor and collage on Plexiglas

Early in the afternoon, I felt I had work still to do on the painting, but took it to the show anyway. It received much praise and commentary. There was plenty of discussion on the conversation of the ducklings and their mother. So funny! After looking at it all evening, I decided to leave well enough alone and announce it finished.

This is one of my favorite paintings. I love these little ducklings and feel it is a strong conversational piece. I’m happy with the suggestion of a background and the neutral color of the overall painting. Hope it puts a smile on your face as it did to the many people who saw it at the First Friday show.

To purchase, send me an comment. I accept PayPal and will email a PayPal invoice. Shipping extra. Prints available, sizes starting at 8×8 for $25.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about painting classes.

Keep creating to Feed the Beast! Support each other, people!:)

All images and paintings on this site copyrighted by Sarah B Hansen unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

 

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I didn’t expect to be flung back into my teenage self when I went to Portland Saturday Market last year. Yet that’s exactly what happened as I rounded a corner and witnessed a small band of three guys, dressed in depression-era clothing, playing music.

I immediately felt the wheeze of air and the rounded chord buttons beneath my fingers from my old accordion. I heard my brother plunking out a rousting rhythm on the banjo and we were both singing our hearts out. I could smell smoke from the wood fireplace and Mom’s homemade bread in the oven. “Mr. Bo Jangles” was our song of choice when we jammed, played over and over again with what seemed like amazing finesse. As a gangly, freckled 14-year-old girl playing the accordion, I was under no illusion that I could be considered cool. Or interesting. Uhmmm…this was the 80’s, people. No one “cool” even TOUCHED an accordion. But when my then-24-year-old brother played his banjo and I sang along and played the accordion? I actually felt cool. Really.

The three twenty-something guys at Portland Saturday Market WERE cool. They had a Portland retro-urban-folksy thing going on in a big way. When I snapped a photo of them, I wanted to paint my memories, infuse them with the vibe of these guys, and capture the surrounding organized chaos of Saturday Market.

I began by layering in collaged strips, along with randomly placed squares of sheet music, symbolizing their songs permeating through the market. Shiny areas shown below are dried liquid mask, protecting the whites of the gessoed plexiglass. I also used 3-D fabric paint to scribble on the surface, further illustrating the rhythm of the music and chaos of colors, smells, and sounds.

musicians detail 1

Detail of the drawing with strips of sheet music and liquid mask

Now I could fling paint without worrying about saving whites. I used a neutral green color scheme with areas of Daniel Smith’s Quinocridone Burnt Scarlet as my red accents. When I paint a large wash like this, I change colors on my brush often and let them mingle on the palette. Following my value plan, I washed in mid- to light-neutrals in a “T” shape composition, with the most intense green and red on the central figure. I tilted the plexi at a sharp angle to induce drips and splatters into the white foreground.

musicians detail 2

First wash using a “T” composition

After the first wash dried (I usually help it along with a blow dryer), I went into the figures and deepened value, intensified color, and added detail.

musicians detail 3

Second wash, enhancing values, saturation, and detail

I struggled to get the value deep enough, so went with a darker paint, Daniel Smith’s Sodalite Genuine, adding it to all the dark areas.

musicians detail 5

Darker values added using Sodalite Genuine

I didn’t like how the Sodalite muddied up most of the colors. It is better used with cool tones. Since this painting is mostly warm, the paints didn’t play nicely with one another. I removed most of the Sodalite with a wet brush and went back into the painting using Ultramarine Blue as my dark receding values.

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After wiping out all the Sodalite Genuine, I painted Ultramarine Blue in its place

Below, I replaced the Sodalite with Ultramarine Blue in the background trees. Plastic wrap protects the musicians from getting water drops on them.

musicians detail 7

Using Ultramarine Blue for the background trees.

Much better! Brighter, and not so dreary:

musicians detail 8

Detail of musicians with Ultramarine blue in background

Especially the difference in the guitar case:

Musicians copyright

Final painting, Musicians at the Market, 16×12, watercolor and collage on recycled plexiglass

Musicians at the Market reminds me of both the Saturday Market and the times I had playing music with my brother. The music I heard at the market, though, triggered the memory. What music triggers an immediate response from you? Is there a song that transports you to a different time or place? It’s weird how music does that. Maybe more than any other trigger.  What do you think? Comment and let me know. 🙂

 

To purchase, send me an comment. I accept PayPal and will email a PayPal invoice.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals!

Keep creating to Feed the Beast! Support each other, people!:)

All images and paintings on this site copyrighted by Sarah B Hansen.

 

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