Art Adventures

Posts tagged ‘nostalgic watercolor painting’

Mmmmm….strawberries.  Tangy, sweet, tender and warm-from-the-garden burst of freshness on your tongue. There’s nothing like them. It’s Strawberries from the Market today for Thirty-Dollar Thursday!

I took this photo when I went to Portland Saturday Market in March this year.  They were an early batch, for sure.  They called my name.  Yoo-hoo!  Yeah, you with the camera. Over here!

I had to snap a couple of photos in all their red deliciousness.  Here’s the one I used for my painting:


Strawberries at Portland Saturday Market

After a quick sketch of the yummy orbs (okay, okay, it’s not chocolate, but hey…it’s STRAWBERRIES!), I did a first wash:


First wash of strawberries and their neato turquoise containers

I had hooked up my video camera to do a video of the process, but alas, no battery.  I think my video-making is jinxed!  Next wash:


Adding more depth and color into the strawberries and their container

The strawberries…I can smell them!  I had fun with the final wash, because after I completely saturated the berries with Quinacridone Red, I covered the containers with plastic wrap and sprayed the berries with water. Then, I lightly dabbed the water off and lifted it back to white. When the berries were dry, I dotted them individually with flecks of red to make them appear to have seeds.  Cool, huh?


Strawberries at Portland Saturday Market. 8×8 on gessoed watercolor paper.

So here it is!  What you have all been waiting for!  My weekly Facebook Thirty-Dollar Thursday offering for you all lucky folks out there!  Buy it today, as it won’t be thirty dollars(plus shipping) again! 🙂 Follow me for more offers:  SBHansenART on Facebook.  Love to you all and enjoy your Thursday.  Maybe have a strawberry or two.  I know I will.



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It’s my Facebook Thirty-Dollar Thursday offer!!  Red Chair, the final of the four lawn chair series is up for grabs today.

Red Chair 8x8 on Gessoed Watercolor paper

Red Chair, 8×8 on Gessoed Watercolor paper

Just thirty bucks for the painting (not including shipping).  It’s an 8×8 watercolor painting on gessoed watercolor paper, matted to 12×12 frame size for ease in popping into a pre-made 12″x12″ frame. This painting would normally sell for around $75-$100 dollars each.  No plexi or glass required with framing, as the painting has been finished with a Lustre varnish.  This is the last of the chair paintings for now…all three have sold quickly.  Next week, I’m on to something else!!  Tune into that later!  If you would like to see how I paint a chair like this, check out my post on The Turquoise Chair and a Mashed Potato Day. Last week’s chair sold quickly, see Orange Chair post.

Message me or find me on Facebook and let me know if you want it.  First come, first serve.

Now, on to more paintings this weekend.  I’m planning on a brand-new something cool.  Look for it on Sunday’s post!  Feed the Beast, people!


Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers!  My mom is an amazing woman. Long story super-short:  She got married at 20, had 7 kids(!), lost her parents when she was in her early 20’s, was a farm wife/mother, held various jobs outside the home, then, when I left for college, she got her college degree in her 50’s, wrote a book and sold it in her 70’s and is now writing another book in her 80’s. She even learned to play a violin in her 80’s! Talk about the Beast Within…she has him and passed him to me!  Mom, you are amazing.  You are, and always have been, an inspiration to me.  So Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  This painting’s for you. 🙂

When I was a kid, growing up on a farm in Colorado, my mom would wake me up in the morning, saying, “Wake up, my little Chickadee!”  Somehow, it made the morning seem a little less morning-y.  So for Mother’s day, how about a chickadee painting?


Chickadee drawing on plexiglass. Yep, those are feathers

My brother takes amazing photos of pretty much anything.  He understands the terms F-stop and shutter speed, and somehow uses all those little adjustments and funny protruding knobs to produce photos that say what I would like photos to say but never do.  My photos look like a kid with a 110 camera…remember those?  So when I asked for a chickadee photo, he came through in spades…or birds, I guess. The above drawing is referenced from his photo.  Thanks, Brosky.

Then, while I planned out my painting, I thought, why not put feathers in the canvas?  Why not, indeed? Yep.  Feathers, three of ’em, adhered with gesso to the plexiglass.

Adding feathers to painting

Adding feathers to painting

Because I’m working full-time this week, I decided to work small. This is a 16×20, about half the size of my usual paintings.

Next, I had a coupon for Michaels, you know the 40% off any one item? I purchased the coolest die-cut thingy~!  I love it!  I went punch-crazy with 2″ circles and added them to my painting.

2-inch Die-Cut Punch Thingy

2-inch circles cut out of regular paper and tracing paper using Die-Cut Punch Thingy

I glued them on using the gesso:


Circles, adhered to the gessoed plexiglass painting

Here is a feather, already adhered to the painting.  You can see a smidge of a die-cut circle in the upper LH side of this photo, and in the above photo:



Feather, gessoed onto plexiglass, in preparation for my chickadee painting

Now, the fun begins.  A little Moonglow and Quin. Burnt Orange for the head…


Painting Mrs. Chickadee’s head

Moving on to the body with mixtures of Moonglow, Quin. Burnt Orange, and Cerulean.  Leaving all the whites alone.  No liquid mask was used in this painting:


Mrs. Chickadee body detail

I finished the bird, then started on the background.  The background needed to stay very neutral and cool, in order to recede away from the bird.  I debated on whether or not to add a building/vertical or horizontal structure behind the bird, but in the end, decided simple was best.

Detail shots showing texture:


Up-close shot of feather


Detail of one of the many circles of paper in the painting

In the end, super-cute chickadee:

Chickadee Mom, 16x20, watercolor on Plexiglass. $500 unframed.

Chickadee Mom, 16×20, watercolor on Plexiglass. $500 unframed.

Here’s to you, Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Follow me on FB to get notices on special deals or ask me about owning a painting.  See you all soon.  Keep creating to feed that beast!


If there was ever a time for an egg to be serenaded, this was it.  It’s Portland, Oregon?  And you know the reputation for Portland and it’s No-Cruelty-to-Animals(that we eat ;)policy, right? I’m not necessarily making fun of Portland and it’s quirkiness.  After all, I lived there for 12 years.  Which probably explains a lot.

Well, this egg found himself at the Portland Saturday Market.  Why so sad, you ask?  His mother, model chicken that she was, spent her days daintily nibbling at custard-crusted insects, sipping mineral water in the organic garden and eating enriched wheat grass before tucking into bed at night.  I have proof:  Portlandia.

Think symphony music. But on this day, some Ya-Hoo from the carton next door blabbed that Life After This was not so good.  There were rumors of coffee, toast, and…EGGS?  What?!!  He got the drift.  There was no hope of a happy ending for our little friend.  That’s when the low, rhythmic bawwow wow wow of a didgeridoo came through the fray to soothe our poor little anxiety-ridden egg at the Saturday Market in Portland last weekend.  Trust me.  I saw the whole thing.  Hence, the title of my new painting, “Didgeridoo Eggs.”  Don’t know what a didgeridoo is?  Well, I video-taped the gentleman playing the thing, and you can clearly hear bagpipes in the background.

So anyhoo…the Portland Saturday Market proved to be much different from Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. Guys in kilts playing bagpipes, petitioners trying to get us to sign a petition, organic produce piled high in visual delight, wonderful food smells…and, of course, the guy on the ground playing a didgeridoo.  Super cool.  I loved the area and went crazy taking photos of all the fruits and veggies.  I have so many reference photos for future paintings!  It’s nuts!  I don’t have the time to paint all that is in my head.

But I started with the eggs.  They called loud and clear to me, in all their white pureness, the old wooden box they sat upon, and the light whispering through them.  I had a square piece of plexiglass for this composition.  My last one, so I better get myself in gear and see if more framers have old plexi for me.

I finally successfully figured out Windows Movie Maker that I downloaded last week. The reviews said the program was simple.  It pretty much was, once I fumbled my way through trying to edit last week’s video and the flub-up with the audio.  This week, I used my camera on a tripod to video the egg painting.  Then, I downloaded it onto my computer and uploaded it into Movie Maker.  Problem was, it was sooooo long! My boys, Teenagers-Hooked-on-Media that they are, advised a time-lapse with a song.  No audio.  I figured out how to do it, so here it is:

What do you think?

Below are some photos to show texture in the painting…pretty hard to see detail when the video is running at 8x!


Detail shot eggs, showing gesso texture beneath the painting


Another detail shot behind the eggs on the carton


Up-close shot of egg carton



Removing the worn area of the wooden box with a damp brush

The lettering on the front of the box was fun to do.  I painted the whole area with an underpainting of Cobalt Teal, quinicrodine Burnt Orange, New Gamboge, and a touch of quin. rose.  I allowed the area to dry, then went in behind some of the letters with Moonglow to pop them out.


Placing a darker color around the letters to pop them out of the background

I love the composition of this painting, with the dark and mid-dark values making a “Y” against the turquoise and white eggs.  I chose the single brown egg as a focal point in the composition.  All the other eggs sparkle of pure white.


Didgeridoo Eggs. Watercolor on Plexiglass. 25×25

Didgeridoo Eggs ranks up there in the top three in my ranking of seriously fun paintings.  I enjoyed every step of this painting.  It went so smoothly and quickly.  I propped the painting up in my house and looked at it every chance I got.  And you know what?  Everytime I glanced it’s way, I smiled.  Now THAT’s an accomplishment.  I hope the person who purchases this painting feels the same way.  And I hope you enjoyed this post.  Feeling creative?  Get at it!  Feed that beast!!


Last Wednesday, I asked my 18-year-old son how his day went.

“Mom, it was like this.  When I got up today it was like a cold lump of mashed potatoes plopped right on the floor.”  Huh? Since we have a dog and a cat, my mind immediately went to dog/cat poo on the floor.  Uh oh. “What do you mean, mashed potatoes?” I asked as I glanced nervously around on the floor. Turns out, he was describing how solidly unappetizing, unappealing and uneventful the day was.  I totally understood.  I had experienced a similar day.

I chose to paint four small, 8×8 inch single-chair paintings for a promotion on Facebook.  I knew I needed to paint quickly, as I had a full work week and was heading out of town to check out the Portland Saturday Market scene during the weekend.  I had a goal to get the paintings done, video and photo the steps, post this blog, send my promotion out to the folks on FB, eat right and cook decent foods for my family, buy my son a fishing license, go to school conferences, go to the Facebook seminar, exercise, and clean the toilets.  HA!  Needless to say, Superwoman I was not.  Some things fell through the cracks. Okay, a LOT of things.  Toilets were last on the list.  So they are still on the list.

So with all that on my mind, I began to muddle through the long list by beginning on drawings of four 8×8 inch paintings of single chairs:

Four Single-Chair Drawings

Four Single-Chair Drawings

I chose to paint on gessoed watercolor paper instead of plexiglass. This is a fun, quick way to paint in my same style, using scraps of watercolor paper.  I thought it might intrigue my Facebook fans and give them a chance to purchase one or a group of four for my Thirty-Dollar-Thursday FB promotion.  This might become Thirty-Dollar-Thursday-on-Friday (or Saturday…).

The gesso had already been applied, textured into with various tools when wet, and left to dry.  I drew the chairs simply onto the textured paper and applied liquid mask to the arms.  You can see that the mask is a little shiny in the photo below.  I have taped the first painting onto watercolor board to stabilize the painting while I paint and keep it from wrinkling.  Yuck, though.  Look at the yellow-ish color tint of this photograph!  Thought I corrected the color in Photoshop, but apparently I didn’t!  Anyway:

Drawing of Turquoise Chair

Drawing of Turquoise Chair, taped onto watercolor board

Below, my first wash is using my favorite Cobalt Teal watercolor paint by Daniel Smith, mixing with Sap Green and Quinocridone Rose.  All colors were super-loaded and wet.  They bleed and blend together on the paper.

First wash with Cobalt Teal, Sap Green, and Quin. Rose

First wash with Cobalt Teal, Sap Green, and Quin. Rose

Here, I had hoped to enter a video.  I’m such a newbie with video taping that it turned out pretty horrible.  Then, while I taped, using my iPhone, the memory ran out.  I finished the painting without finishing the video.  ARGH!  So you are stuck with just photos again for now. 🙂

Second Wash, deepening values and intensifying color

Second wash, deepening values and intensifying color

After blow-drying the colors dry, I went into the painting with deeper colors, letting everything bleed together and run on the paper.  Up at the top of the painting, I sprayed clear water to allow the paint to run more freely and get rid of the “deliberate” look. This was so much fun, just throwing color around on the paper. Love it!

Then, I removed the liquid mask after the paint dried. Here is a detail of the arm with the liquid mask removed.  Check out the amazing texture from the gesso coming through!

Chair arm detail showing removed liquid mask

Chair arm detail showing removed liquid mask

Now I needed to soften the arm edges using a damp brush.  In the above photo, the bottom edge has not been softened yet.  You can easily see the difference.

Softening the bottom edge of the chair arm using a damp brush

Softening the bottom edge of the chair arm using a damp brush

Above, the damp, flat brush blends the arm edge to soften it.  Easy-peasy.  Just don’t get the brush too wet.

Turquoise Chair finished. 8x8 watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper

Turquoise Chair finished. 8×8 watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper

I pulled out more detail in the chair, added a few shadows, further deepened the dark values, and spattered water in the foliage to add sparkling light. Finished in spite of all the obstacles this week.  And at the end of the day, I, too, felt it had been a Mashed Potato Day.  I felt lumpy, cold, and uninspired. So many things did not get done that I needed to do. But at least I finished this chair.  I finished only one, though. And Thirty-Dollar Thursdays did not happen Thursday…or Friday…or Saturday.  Maybe I’ll put it off till this Thursday. How about any of you? Did you have a Mashed Potato Day this week?






Gatherings…I can picture folks in these colorful lawn chairs.  Visiting, having a glass of wine, and looking out to their kids playing in the yard in Hood River.

I’ve had this photo in my mind for 2 weeks or so, thinking about what I want to say with it. There is nostalgia, there is friendship, there is leisure.  Of course, I’m drawn to repetition and color!  Here we go!

Photo and value study of composition

Photo and value study of composition

This  time, I had the forewithall to do a value study first.  Here, you can see my planning with a simple sketch.  Photo reference is at the bottom.  I try to select large, connecting shapes of the same value so that there are not so many bits and pieces flying around. Next, to study the composition and layout:


Composition study/sketch

I usually divide my paintings into thirds and pick one of the areas the lines intersect as the focal point.  Here, you can see my circle in the lower LH third where I selected the blue chair for the focal point.  After some thought, I change it to the front (RH) lower third because of the ease of all the shapes converging in this area.  This is where I plan to have all my darkest darks and lightest lights.

I prep my canvas with texture in the areas where I want to draw the eye.  I’m texturing using Cheap Joes Gesso, while it’s still wet:


Texturing the canvas by drawing a grid tool through wet gesso

In the lower area of the photo above, I have placed wet squares of tracing paper, further enhancing texture.  Gesso was painted directly over top to adhere the tracing paper to the surface of the plexiglass.  After it dried, I drew the composition onto my prepared plexiglass:

Drawn out composition

Composition drawn out on prepared plexi

To allow me to paint all the chairs, the background, and the foreground, without worrying about saving the whites, I painted liquid mask (or frisket) to all the arm chairs.  To enhance the idea of repetition of pattern and line, the arms provide an integral part of the design.  I’ll return later into the whites to add detail.

Painting near white chair

The focal point is near my brush(above photo). To draw the eye,  I’ll keep the chair white, placing complementary colors red and green/blue next to the white chair.  The darkest darks of the painting will be behind the chair, to make it POP.   This is also where I’ll add the most detail to the painting.

You can see the texture of the gesso impressions after painting.  Pretty cool, huh?


Detail of texture around the wisteria plant on the shed

Here is a detail of the texture of the underlying tracing paper adhered to the plexiglass in this photo. Ooooo…I love this stuff!


Texture detail of background trees, grass, and foreground chair

You can see how easy it is to paint the chairs and background without worrying saving the whites of the chair arms.

Removing the Frisket:

(Okay, okay…this is hilarious.  I decided, per suggestion of a very nice fellow blogger, to upload some videos to my blog, using YouTube.  I’ve never done this before.  It was pretty easy, but I thought I had removed the background music.  Didn’t.  And it is loud, so you can’t hear what I’m saying!)  Also, I was soon made aware that the video needs to be in landscape mode, not portrait.  Good grief.  What a goof I am.  Removing frisket video here. I promise to improve…REALLY!

Removing liquid mask from the surface of the painting

Removing liquid mask from the surface of the painting

I spent about an hour or so going over each and every removed-frisket area to soften and enhance the arm chair lines.  It took a while, but was worth the work.  The chairs look finished and have shadows and detail.

Gatherings almost done

Gatherings…almost done

You might be able to see how much softer the lines are in the chairs.

Check out this texture from tracing paper beneath the paint:


And on the shed behind the chairs:


I had to rework the wisteria area.  Difficult to explain what you want the viewer to see without explaining it all.  I’m still not certain I’ll stay out of the wisteria bush.  Feels weird to me, but I’m not sure what is wrong with it.

Gatherings. 21x30 watercolor on plexiglass

Gatherings. Watercolor on plexiglass, 21×30

So, video snafu aside, I’m overall pretty pleased with the outcome of the painting.  I usually paint close-up, zoom-in-on-detail-type-paintings, but this was a fun departure. I love the chairs.  I’m off to Portland next week, to check out the Saturday Markets and other fun stuff they have.  Looking forward to some new material to paint to inspire you all!!

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