Category Archives: watercolor

Dogs, finally!

Several people have been asking me to paint dogs and I have resisted.  But, finally, I decided to jump in – and found that I love painting dogs as much as I love doing farm animals.  So, here we go.  These are my first three paintings.  I have already been comissioned for two and will start working on those soon.  Hope you like them

Herefords, Anyone?

Here are a couple of my most recent paintings.  One is a Hereford/Angus cross- that explains the white face on a black body.  This one I did in a representational mode – meaning that it looks pretty much like the real animal.  The other is two Herefords, one with horns and one without – take your pick.  This painting, I did showing full bodies and using lots of liberty on the colors.   Notice how the shadows are using to allow your eye to come into the painting.  Both are available on https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnnetteBennett?ref=hdr_shop_menu

 

FRAMING A PAINTING ON A BUDGET

Almost all my artwork is offered in sizes that will fit frames off the shelf – or of course, customer frames.

For those of you that do not wish to invest in a customer frame, here are a few suggestions:

Go to Hobby Lobby, Michaels or most large hobby shops.  Look on the internet before you go for their weekly coupon – usually 40% off on one regular priced item.  Take your coupon and artwork to the hobby shop.  Look in their readymade frame section.  These frames will already have glass and some will even have the matting included.  These are usually called Wall Frames.  If you work is smaller – they usually have a large selection of desk top frames to choose from.

Position your artwork, LAYING IT ON TOP OF THE GLASS, to get an idea of how it will look in that frame.  Once you have found one you like.  Now you need matting – that is a white or colored piece of sturdy paper that acts as an inner frame between the outer frame and your artwork.

The hobby shops will sometimes have “cut-outs” – those are the pieces of matting that were left over when someone had a custom frame job done.  These are usually only a couple of dollars and you can pick out several colors to use and “double” mat your artwork –for not much money.  If they don’t have cut outs – they will have full sheets of matting – even these are not too expensive – and they are in stock.  Again – pick out some colors that you thin accent the painting and work with the frame.

Now, take the mat(s) and frame to the custom frame shop inside the hobby shop (or – one of their people may have been helping you already with the mat selection).   Ask them to cut the mat, (showing the how much of the artwork you want covered with the mat and how big the mat will be on the sides).  Ask them to put the mat, on, place it in the frame and even finish the back of the frame with paper, and put a hanging wire on the back. 

I can’t quote prices – but you should usually manage to spend around $65.00 doing it this way vs $200-$400.00 with a custom frame.

How I Create a watercolor painting …. step 3

OK, it is finally a paining and now you can see all the steps it took to get there and the finished product.  You can see that I followed the ink sketch pretty closely.  All the white areas on the ink sketch either stayed white (letting the watercolor paper show through is a favorite of watercolor artists) or had a light wash of color.   You eye is drawn to the white especially if it is next to a bold color.  This helps create a center of interest.  In this painting, the center of interest is the calf in the foreground.

As far as the colors of the two ANGUS , I used some interpretative license.  One of the great things about painting is to INTERPRET not DUPLICATE.   The many different colors in them were used create texture, sunlight, curves, planes, etc.  I could have chosen more traditional colors like deep purple, blues and some blacks( as I have done on other paintings), but I wanted this to have a more contemporary feel.  I added the greenery in the background since these calves were in a pen and there wasn’t any real nice background.  So – I placed them in a pasture with some trees in the background.   Also, I made the shadow stronger in the painting and repositioned it from the ink sketch, the shadow helps “ground” the subject so it is not floating in the painting.

 

One of my favorite analogies is to think of a painting like a stage for a play.  Lighting and backdrops and positioning are all use to direct your eye toward a certain actor or grouping.  All the other surroundings are kept in the shadow or dark.  When you look at a painting, notice where you eye goes and try to figure out why it went there.  Was there a strong light/dark contrast?  Was there an accent of an unexpected color?

When I painted, my watercolor paper was wet and  my brush had water in it when I picked up the paint.  This is called a wet on wet technique.  Also, I could “drop” another color into a color that was already on the paper.  This way, the colors mix and blend with each other and created a more exciting look than if they are mixed together on the pallet.  The paints I use are called transparent, that means you can see through them – rather than opaque – which are a thicker heavier paint that you can’t see through.

The style of painting that I do is called “LOOSE”.  It means that you don’t reproduce all the details.  You draw the viewer in and let them fill in the blanks.  That way they become engaged and involved in the painting.

For any of you that follow my art, you know that I love to paint animals, and I love them to be bold and colorful.  I think this painting achieved both goals.  click here to see my paintings for sale

How I create a Watercolor Painting….Step 2

Once the drawing is made, then you have to turn the photograph, which is one dimension, into a three dimension image.  A photograph is flat, yet, animals and objects are round, square, etc.  In order to create the illusion of curves and planes, you use shadows and light and dark areas.  The next step after the drawing is made is to identify those areas that are dark or in shadow.  Then, those areas that are a medium value and those that are light.  By identifying those areas and inking them in – you can create depth , curves, and planes.  This is shown in the ink sketch.  As you compare it to the original drawing, hopefully, you can begin to see the curves, shadows and depth. This ultimately should create a three dimension painting.

The artist wants the viewer to become intellectually and emotionally engaged with the painting.  They want you to get involved and travel around in the painting, spend some time there , and explore the painting. Use you imagination to see parts that may not be fully developed.  Bring up memories.

The eye tends to follow darks as a pathway or road through the painting. Do you spend more time in the ink sketch than in the drawing?

All this pre-planning in important in watercolor.  There are exceptions to every rule, but, basically, once you apply a color, that’s it.  This is a greatly simplified statement – but you get the point.   You do not have “do-overs” like you do in oil paintings.  In oil, you can layer one color over another.   In the next episode,  I will show the final painting where color has been applied.  YEAH!!

How I create a watercolor painting.. Step 1

 

I thought it might be interesting to follow me as I  work on my next watercolor painting.  This is a behind the scenes look at the creative process- for me, anyway.

First I take a ton of photographs of a subject, honestly, usually over 1,000 images.  Yes, I have a “continuous shot” option on my camera and I use it.  Animals can make a movement quickly and give no warning.  So, if you have to try and anticipate what they are going to do and if it will be a good shot – it’s hopeless.  So, after I take 1000+ shots, then I download them on my computer, and quickly scan through them to decide which might have potential.  I go through several “culling” processes until I end up with 8-10 photos that I think have potential.  Then, I enlarge, crop, adjust the brightness ( to see more of the animals color), darken the shadows, etc all on my computer.  Then, once I have a picture that I think would make a good painting, I usually print a black and white image of it.  I like to print black and white – it kinda frees my mind to explore colors and not be restricted to trying to match what is actually on the animal.  Then, I decide how big of a painting I want to make.2015-07-28 treibs heifers 2-15 003

I try to make all my art so that it will fit in pre-made frames – kinda standard sizes, to keep the costs down.  Once I have decided on the size, then I draw the image onto my paper. This one that I am working on is two black Angus calves.  I took the photographs at Linda Treibs, Fredericksburg.  They had gathered up the cattle into a pen and so I was able to get some group shots.

Drawing of Angus calves
Drawing of Angus calves

Now,  the fun begins…Stay tuned for further developments

And then there were ANGUS!!

I love the challenge of painting black Angus – when you first look at them – all you see is black – but look closer – get a bit of sunlight on them – and their rainbow of color explodes.  Click here to go to my shop to see all my work and make purchases

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Can’t get enough Longhorns!!

“Cubes? – Here I come!”

I have been busy taking photos at Lee and Linda Blackwell’s ranch in Mason Texas and some at Red McCombs Longhorn sale in Johnson City, Texas.  It is just incredible to see these big beautiful Mammas and their babies.  The color patterns on some of the longhorns are incredible- God really used his pallet.  Here are just three of my latest this big cow was a gentle one and really just looking for a handout.  The baby had super coloration and you can see the horns peeping out!  The watercolor original of  featured big one is at Agave Gallery, Fredericksburg .  Prints can be ordered  from my site on etsy

    looking for my baby

Cherokee Maiden
Cherokee Maiden

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