Surprise! – Work in Progress

One of the most interesting and inspirational things to me as an artist is to discover and learn how other artists work.  So for today’s blog post, I thought I would show a couple of photos of my own paintings in progress.

Before I even start a painting, I will do lots of sketches planning out my composition. Simultaneously, as I decide what I want to paint, I will also go through my large reference file of photos for inspiration.  This painting, of the pink flowering tree was a gorgeous tree that was planted at our old home in Pennsylvania. Every spring it would blossom in beautiful pink flowers.  The tree always seemed so loaded down with flowers.  I don’t know the name of the tree, but I knew that someday I was going to paint it.


After I have my sketch completed, I transfer onto my watercolor paper. I am using the Arches 180lb. watercolor board.  Since this painting in about 8” x 10”, I was able to fit another painting on the other half of my paper.  As you can see in this photo, I am able to get two paintings out of just one sheet of paper.


 I always set up my paint tray the same way, starting with the blues, and then moving into the greens, browns, tans, yellows and reds, and back to the purples again. For years, I used a large paint tray but a few months ago, I started to use the little trays with individual paint cups that come with lids.  I have discovered that I am really liking these little paint cups.  It keeps the paint moist longer, and they are easy to clean out just one color at a time if necessary or to add additional small paint palettes when needed.


After careful thought and consideration and several pencil and color sketches later, the painting process can now begin.  I like to plan out ahead of time the lights and darks; the shadow areas, and also carefully think through all of the areas of my painting, especially any areas that seem they may present some difficulty.

Pink_Tree1-copy copy.jpgb

I started painting the background, and then moved forward to the pink flower furthest away, slowly progressing forward, working on the leaves and the flowers as I continued to move towards the foreground.


As I finished up on the flowers and leaves, I felt the background competed too much with the flowers. Everything looked like it was in the same shades of pinks.  I decided to change up the background by adding in lots of washes of dark blues and greens. I created different textures using the salt technique and creating a more dramatic effect to bring out and to have a contrast with the delicate pink flowers on the tree branches.


Now, that I have my painting part finished, it was time to add a touch of humor with my paper sculpture! I created a three dimensional pink flower and a three dimensional green praying mantis all out of paper!  I am really pleased with how the painting turned out.


The title of my painting is, “Surprise!” and is accepted in the Small Works: Exhibition and Sale show that will be held from August 16th, 2013 through January 5, 2014 at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center in Dowell MD.


I hope you enjoyed my painting examples and demo of painting. Hopefully it will inspire you to continue in your own painting journey!  Have fun and happy painting!


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