So, the weekend before last was the Open Studio Tour

My setup…art on the wall, supplies, reference photos, finished cow painting and unfinished dog painting on watercolor pad.

 I got to set up in a gallery at Old Town Artisans (very cool place, highly recommended to visit if you’re in Tucson!  The restaurant there is also very good).  I got to meet some other artists, see a couple of them work, and finish a painting while I was at it.  It was a nice couple of days.

 The trouble with Tucson sometimes is that during the busy season (October – April, basically any time when it’s not sinfully hot) lots of events end up falling on the same weekend.  So this was also the weekend of the big All Souls Day parade, so some streets were blocked off for festivities on Saturday, and that reduced our traffic.  But what are you going to do?  This weekend is a big craft fair, the weekend before the Open Studio weekend was another art show in a nearby town, and then after this you’re starting to get into Thanksgiving…so I get why this was the best weekend for this to take place.

But anyway…on to the painting!  I took progress photos at different steps in the painting process…except when I got caught up in painting and forgot to take pictures.  It happens.

I printed out a bunch of my photos of dogs (mine and others’) beforehand, so that when I got there I could decide what I wanted to paint.  I knew I wanted to do a watercolor pet portrait, though, so I settled on the famous Maxfield (on the right), with my mom’s dog Oscar (on the left).  I had pictures of both of them lounging on couches, separately, so I put them together in a composite.

Started painting light shadows on Oscar…he’s white with brown spots, so I used violet shadows on the white bits.  Also added the darkest darks in Max’s face at that time. (argh, blurry picture…)

Put in his brown spots, added to the shadows a bit.  

Oscar starts to take shape, plus some more shadows on Max…

Around this point I started working on Max’s face, but it got muddy.  I blame the fact that another artist wandered by and commented, “oh man, watercolors are so hard!  It’s so brave of you to use a medium where you can’t fix anything!”  It psyched me out. (or it could have just been that this was mid-afternoon and I was tired and paying less attention…)

Managed to fix Max up a bit, added some more shadows to Oscar.  The dogs are just about done now, so it’s time for…

…the background!  Honestly, the background was entirely invented, I just thought those colors would look nice and set off the dogs’ colors.  Since the dogs have some purple and red/orange in them, I decided to pick some complimentary colors, orange and green.  Although I could easily have picked analogous colors and gone with different shades of red and purple for the background…but my green watercolor crayons were looking neglected, so I felt driven to use them.  My paintings are never complete without green, it seems…

And here they are, finished!  I went in with a little ink pen afterwards…not too much, not solid lines around everything, but a little.  Like my cow painting, I didn’t use ink lines in the background at all, so that the focus would be on the animals.
And that’s them!  I really enjoyed just doing a relatively quick watercolor “sketch” almost…using half the sheet of watercolor paper meant that this and the cow were half the size of my usual watercolors, so they went a bit quicker.  Kinda fun for a change!
Watercolor crayons also have the advantage of being very portable…with traditional watercolor (or acrylic) paints in a tube, you have the big plastic palette with wet paints sloshing around, just ready to spill everywhere if you’re painting plein air (or, er…plein indoors?).  But you can’t spill a crayon!
Since then…I have been literally either moving or working, all day, every day, for about…oh, well over a week.  Moving sucks.  Don’t do it. 😛 But today is my day of rest…Monday and Tuesday are my “weekend” this week.  Of course, I’m still unpacking…but I’ll try to do something slightly more interesting this week to blog about.