Welcome! This online journal will share my news of new paintings and upcoming exhibits, tips and notes with friends, collectors and other artists. Please visit often and enjoy!

Copyright notice: Photos and artwork images herein are property of the artist; no reproductions allowed without written consent.

Coming soon to this page:

- Latest sketches

Monday, October 26, 2009

Boston Harbor: From Sketch to Final Work

I had meant this study to be more of a step-by-step demo, but I ended up forgetting to photograph more often or more evenly during the painting process, so now all I have is some snapshots of the work in progress. They still provide some insight into how the painting evolved, so here is the development of Boston Harbor:

1. Pencil sketch, fairly detailed. My goal was to practice painting water, and to use a combination of colors I hadn't used before: turquoise and scarlet. I was attracted by the diagonal lines that lead to the main boats. I "invented" some details, such as the figures. In my reference photo, somehow, the scene is deserted.

2. First washes, using cadmium scarlet and cobalt turquoise in various combinations, with some cobalt blue and some magenta as well. I didn't want the sky to be blue, so I used the diluted scarlet for a pale orange hue.

3. I added glaze of cadmium scarlet to unify the distant buildings, and of cobalt turquoise over the scarlet on the nearby buildings, to darken and cool down the color. It was difficult to work the sunlight because this photo was taken in the middle of the day, with the sun high in the sky. It is trickier to define shapes without longer, darker shadows.

4. I added the water very quickly, with loose strokes of a large brush, with cobalt turquoise and a little scarlet to gray it down in shadow or reflex areas. I pulled some of the cobalt turquoise onto the boats as a reflected color. I added darks and other details, using indigo mixed with the previous colors.

5. I got tired, moved on to other paintings and left this unfinished at this stage for a couple of months, until I finally got back to it yesterday. I finished the shapes of the boats and added details in the middle ground (too much I think). I used watercolor pencils to add lines and details and color in some areas, as in the poles, for instance, to finish the piece.
Boston Harbor, W&N watercolors on Waterford CP paper, 22x15

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sketching the Passage of Time...

Miguel Lucas turned one week old today! Christina's prenancy is over, but it was a joyous time of anticipation, and I am glad to look back and find it documented in so many photos and in my sketchbook. It was only a week before the birth that I made this sketch:

And before that, I had sketched her in color, rehearsing with her Balboa group for a dance performance at an event. She was seven months pregnant then.

And earlier still, at four months, when her belly was just beginning to show...

Now we are beginning a new phase in our lives, with many more sketches to come, to mark the passage of time with the scenes that touch the heart and spill onto the paper...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baby Correa is a Boy!

Welcome Miguel Lucas Correa! Our little boy was born healthy and early, on October 15th, at 2:21pm, in Boulder. He weighed 6lb 7oz, and was 19 1/4 inches long. Both baby and mom Christina are doing well, though extremely tired, and dad is super busy supporting them. He is a joy, and we couldn't be happier!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Carrying Brushes in a Palette and Other Tips...

Some fellow artists and students have shown interest in some of the tricks I use for my gear, so I'll start sharing some of them here as well...

1. Drying your brushes: After you wash your brushes, you must take care to hang them upside down to dry, so water will not stay in the ferrule and loosen the hairs. I put mine in a bamboo brush holder, and then turn the brush holder upside down and stand it against the wall or curved, standing on its own. Very simply and effective.

2. Carrying brushes inside a metal paint box: I use a full pan paint box for plein air, and it has room for brushes between the rows of pans. I don't place my brushes loosely into the space, as their tuft would get jammed against the box during transportation. Instead, I place a small elastic band around the widest part of the handle, to make it fit tightly between the rows and stay in place.

3. Carrying brushes inside a folding palette: I found a way to carry a brush or two inside my Holbein metal folding palette, by cutting a rectangular piece of sponge and making a groove in it where the brush handle rests. When the palette is closed, it presses the sponge against the brush and keeps it in place.

4. Gloves for painting:
To paint outdoors in cool or cold weather, you need to wear gloves. The problem is that I found regular gloves were slippery to the brush handles and restricted movement. So I got an old pair of sports gloves (similar to liners for ski gloves) and cut just the tips of three fingers off. Now my painting hand stays warm and dexterity is not affected by the glove anymore. Another benefit is that these gloves hardly take any room in your painting gear of pockets.

That's it for today! Cheers!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An Itch to Sketch...

This is a journal after all, so it is okay to register how difficult it has been to find time to paint the last couple of weeks. Between the extended workload of my daytime job and the preparations for the birth of our first child, time has been scarce. Even the late night sketches have become rare, and I'm itching to draw and paint... I did manage to do a very quick study late the other night, I should title it something like "Moving out..." or "You are making a big mistake."

Study of a back alley scene in Valley City, ND, watercolor on Fabriano hot press, 11x15

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Demo at the Depot Art Center

This week I was invited to do a demo at the Depot Art Center and Gallery in Littleton, Colorado. The event was very well organized and well attended. It was a challenge to paint while avoiding blocking the view of the 20 or so participants! But I enjoyed the experience immensely and the feedback I got was positive. Here is an image of the demo study:

This was painted on a half sheet of Waterford 300g cold press paper, using Yellow ochre light, Ultramarine finest, Cadmium red light, Permanent Carmine, Cadmium yellow medium, from Schmincke; Cerulean blue, Cobalt turquoise, from Winsor & Newton; Quinacridone Burnt Orange, from Da Vinci. The brushes I used were Rekab 320s Kazan squirrel mops, sizes 6 and 8, and Da Vinci Cosmotop Spin synthetic round, size 24.

Some participants were curious about the Rekab 320s brushes: They are not usually available from the major suppliers in the US, I had to order them directly from the US importer Armadillo Art (see the website on my list of Links of Interest to Artists). They are excellent quality and much more affordable than other major brands.

I hope the presentation and discussion were interesting and useful to all participants! I plan to post a step-by-step demo here very soon.