Mother’s Day

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Photos by Kellie Trenkle 2012

 

This mother’s day is a special one for me. You see this will be my last mother’s day with one of my children living at home. In July our youngest son gets married and will move out to start a family of his own. After 37 years of marriage, this will be the first time in 36 years that my husband and I will be on our own.

ALONE!

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I know that I will go through a short time of drastic mood changes as I will rejoice with our son one minute then realize I won’t see his cheerful face everyday. When my granddaughter, now 14, walks down the isle as a brides maid looking like a beautiful young woman, I will wonder where the time has gone. My Eldest grandson is serving a Best Man, How cool is that? I know that is going to make me loose it, and I’ll cry for sure when my eldest son leaves with his beautiful wife and my new grandson to head back to Florida after the wedding. But I am so Looking forward to so very much as well! Like my time ALONE with my husband. A second Honey moon so to speak!

We have known so many couples over our years of marriage that focused so much on their children that once the children were gone the marriage fell apart. So we have worked hard over the years to keep our love fresh and growing, and very much alive!

I am looking forward to evenings where we can have a lovely candle light dinner and not have to send the kids away first or worry that they might come home early and mess up our plans for the evening.

I’m looking forward to hot baths where I can completely relax without having anyone stand outside the bathroom door saying “Mom, do you know where my cell phone charger is?” Or outside the locked bedroom door with the same question. LOL! You mom’s know what I am talking about!

I am so blessed to have Four wonderful adult children that love the Lord first and then love us accordingly! Three Beautiful grandchildren, with hopes of more, or as my Dear Friend Thomas Suchy (my daughter in law’s father) says “MANY MORE!”

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all My Mother friends! Those with children of their own and those who are mothers of the heart! May God richly bless you and may you truly saturate yourselves in the love of your children while they are still at home! The time will come soon enough, and sooner then you think, when there are no more little heads to kiss good night, sleeping in the room beside yours!

 

 

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Is it Break Time Yet?

1-14650210_10205737911167379_4653442431967828716_n  I know she’s getting nervous about trying something new when I hear the words

“Is It Break time Yet?”

I would love to introduce to you one of my favorite people on the world, Artist Bobi Reinhart. I have been blessed to know Bobi for a little over 2 years now. We met when I started being an art instructor at Ye Olde Art Shoppe in my home town. It didn’t take long to see that we were kindred spirits and to become quick friends. I just love spending time with Bobi because She is like a light when she walks into a room. She is also an amazing artist. Although she would say to that statement, “Really?”

Bobi has one of those rare gifts of being able to paint a knife painting that up close loses definition, but when you step away from it, it becomes crystal clear and stunning.  She has worked on pretty much a smaller scaled canvas for years. But since her style lends to standing back, A fellow artist gifted her with a larger canvas measuring 18″ x 36″. After having a mild panic attach about painting something that big, she came up with the plan to start the concept small, then enlarge it.

She began working through the composition on a small canvas like she was used to using. I have to say as she was painting the first waterfall on the small canvas board (above on the left ) I was struck with very strong emotions, I nearly started crying as it stuck me as so beautiful a place, that I wanted to go there. Before she was even done with it I offered to buy it; and I couldn’t wait to see her full size piece.

Once she completed the first she did another on a slightly larger canvas the same ratio of the larger canvas she would be painting the final piece onto.

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Since it was a long tall canvas she had to stretch the middle of the falls more to get her focal points where she wanted them. But this was easily done and moved rather quickly.

Now I have seen much of Bobi’s work from over the years and know what she is capable of, so I wanted to challenge her to stretch a little further then her comfort zone. I suggested that she do something in all blues instead of the realistic colors from her reference photo. I showed her a few abstract paintings in the blues to give her the idea of what I was talking about. This added a level of difficulty to the painting because not only was she trying to look at her reference photo but also at an abstract blue painting to remind herself to use only blues. So once more she did a small paintings in the blues to use as a reference for the larger painting.

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Finally the day came for her to start on the big canvas. She was asking for break before class even started, but we all encouraged her that she was going to do great. She decided to start by painting the whole canvas a thin layer of blue then started with her knife work.

She only had time to work on this project once a seek during class time so it took her a while to finish up. I invited her to my studio a couple of times to give her more painting time between classes. I really just wanted more time visiting with her because she is so fun to be with!

For a while she struggled with wanting to add yellow to the painting as the original reference photo shows warm sunlight on the leaves of the trees and the bright green moss on the rocks. In the end she did leave some of the yellow in the trees but replaced most of the yellow in the moss area with lovely shades of teal green. Making the shaded areas of the painting in purple/blues and the sunlit areas in the green/blues.

Bobi is such a caricature. I know she’s getting nervous about trying something new when I hear the words “Is It Break time Yet?”

We all love her so much, that It has even gotten to the point that if she misses coming to class, we all jokingly say, “how will we know when it’s break time without Bobi here?”  

Bobi is such a caricature. I know she’s getting nervous about trying something new when I hear the words “Is It Break time Yet?”

We all love her so much, that It has even gotten to the point that if she misses coming to class, we all jokingly say, “how will we know when it’s break time without Bobi here?” Lets just say we had a lot of break time on this painting!

Yakso Falls    18″ x 36″ x 1″ gallery wrapped canvas $450.00

This piece came together so beautiful. The reflections of the water, the beautiful glowing in the trees. I love the sparkle of the water as it cascades down in to the pool. It is all so peaceful and calming. You should come check it out as it will be hanging at Ye Olde Art Shoppe in Myrtle Creek Oregon for several months or until sold which ever comes first!

 

Grey in Gray

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I have been absolutely slammed with wedding prep for my youngest son’s up coming marriage since returning from Florida to witness the birth of my eldest son’s first baby. Since I was there during the photo shoot (which included this amazing photo) I was quick to ask the photographer for permission to paint any of the photos she was about to take. With delight I was glad to hear her say “I was hoping you would ask that! Yes!”

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Photo by permission of naomilynn.com

Even as I sat on the sofa in my son’s home looking at the photos that the baby’s aunt Naomi took, I have been anticipating painting this photo. My son’s mother in law even offered to get me some art supplies so I could get started. But I chose to put aside my painting and just hold the baby for as long as I was able, before I had to head home to Oregon. SO even though I am slammed with wedding prep, I still snuck in a few hours here and there to paint this piece entitled Grey in Gray.

My students had asked me if I would teach a class on values once I returned home. So I thought what would be more appropriate then a gray values painting of baby Grey. (Even though I would have painting him for any excuse and will be for a long time I’m sure.)

So like always I started by taking my photo into photoshop and turning it into a black and white. Then I had a nice 8 x 10 glossy printed up and printed out a b&w photo copy as well.

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Using my values chart on the photo I then use the photo copy to write the corresponding value on the areas I had just checked. I did this twice as the photo was dark then I wanted the painting to be. The colored photo looked light and fresh but once I transferred it to b&w it was a little darker and I wanted a lighter feeling to the painting. So once all my basic values were charted I stepped them up 2 or 3 values and re-wrote out the corrected numbers on another photo copy.

To avoid any mistakes I then threw away the first photo copy with the original numbers on it. I did not want to take the chance of picking up the wrong copy and getting the values all mixed up on the painting. So then I blocked in the basic values on the different areas of the painting.

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Being that this was a painting of a very soft baby, I wanted the canvas to be very soft as well without a lot of grain to the canvas left. So I primed it again with a layer of gray gesso before beginning the actual painting, then sanded it smooth. This was one of the smoothest paintings I have ever done. I really like having a smooth canvas and it gave the affect I wanted it to have. I did find myself painting and then taking a dry brush and dabbing at it to smooth out and blend colors. I really haven’t done that much before but it gave the skin a very natural soft texture that looks and feels very much like baby skin.

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Once I got all the areas of the painting blocked in, I let the painting dry for a couple of days. Then when I was able to squeeze in a little more time on him I started to put more detail and more subtle value changes in. This was so much fun as I saw with every stroke that my grandson’s face was taking shape. My daughter in Law’s face came together just as quickly and beautifuly. I love this part of the painting as you really do start getting a 3 D affect as you put in more and more values.

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So again, it was time to let the painting rest and dry.

NOTE: I used Golden Open white titanium paint for this painting and mixed it with the regular Golden brand acrylic paint. Acrylic paints dry very fast, but the new Golden OPEN paint will keep the dry time open for a much longer time, giving me the time I need to blend subtle value changes! Which I love.

But unfortunately, this paint reactivates up to and past 3 weeks. Which means that this morning when I went to put on the finishing touches like adding final highlights, instead of adding, it actually lifted the dry color off, creating and very blotchy look, Which I, well, lets put it this way “Hate is a strong word, but I really really , really don’t like you! ” I can’t help myself!  I burst into song lyrics at random points all the time. LOL! i would always rather laugh then cry and that was my option now. So I decided to sing!

So to fix this paint problem, I had to spray the painting with a clear spray varnish to seal off the underpainting, so that nothing would move once I started to put on the highlights and hair details. This worked great. I hope you like it! 😀

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Thank you for taking your time to read about my work process. If you would like to check out my other pieces please click jackielittlemiller.com or check out my Etsy shop by clicking the icon below!

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In Great Hands

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My Son Leigh with his new son Grey- my photo

I just spent two of the loveliest weeks of my life in Florida! No, I didn’t go for the fun in the sun, or to get a great tan. I didn’t even go to Disney World I barely went out of the house. I went and sat in a little house with a lovely family. My Daughter in Law’s parents home to be exact, and just held my new grandson in my hands! It doesn’t get better then that!

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Photo By Leigh Miller

I was invited to come for the birth of my grand son Grey Thomas Miller, who was very accommodating by arriving the day after I arrived in Florida. I was able to help coach mom through the birthing process and was there to see my grandson make his grand entrance into this world.

I have been privileged to coach many a woman through labor. I have seen probably 50 baby’s be born. But it is always more special when it is your own grandchild being born. But to make it even more special, Little Grey Thomas came into this world born in the caul. That is with the water bag in tack. The first thing the midwives said was “Ah, we have ourselves a prophet!” For it is an old wives tale that baby’s born in the caul are prophets!

True or not true, it was a cool thing to be said over my newborn grandson. For we are a family of believers and our prayers have covered and will continue to cover this child knowing our God will bless him through out his life!

 

My time in Florida with Grey was short as I only was able to stay for 2 weeks. I had expected it to be hard to leave him. Which it was! But it was not as hard as it could have been. Let me explain.

Emily’s parents were such gracious hosts. In fact they made me feel right at home from the first moment. Their home was very much like my home. Small but filled with love and laughter.

Lynn (Emily’s mom) apologized that she was not a fancy cook, more then once. What she didn’t know was that I am not a fancy cool either. In fact I am very limited in what I can make, food wise. So something she was embarrassed by was actually a comfort to me, as her cooking was much like my own. LOL! God is so very good.

She also told me “please make yourself at home and go to the kitchen and get something to eat when ever you are hungry! It will bless me to see you going through my cupboards and getting food out of the fridge. I mean it!” I giggled and said “I know you do, and I will do just that Is that is the same speech I give my guests!”

But the most precious part of this trip was that Thomas and Lynn were blessed to have another pair of hands to help with the arrival and care of their first grandchild. That may sound simplistic, but I have seen so many grandparents treat grandchildren as something to fight over and compete for. So not knowing the Suchy’s well before this trip I didn’t know what to expect in that area.But there was none of that in this home, and I was so blessed to share grand parenting duty with them both! I have never felt in competition with any of my children’s in laws. In Fact, I feel that their new family is our new family too.

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Photo by NAOMI LYNN PHOTOGRAPHY

 

My husband and I are glad to share the honor of helping to raise our new grandson with the Suchy family. We are thankful that they are God fearing, God loving people. That is why it was not as hard for me to leave baby grey in Florida and return to my family In Oregon as it could have been. As I told them, I have no worries to take home with me! What a blessing it is to be able to say that.

Yes I cried! Poor little Grey was wet with tears, but then it was over. I know Grey is in great hands, surrounded by people/ family who love him dearly! Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a part of the birth of little Grey Thomas. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of the Suchy family as well! God Bless them richly!

 

 

Zebra Hearts

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It’s valentines week! So I decided you post a blog featuring my most recent piece titled Zebra Hearts. This piece was done on scratch board and the painting with water color to give a little more detention.

This was a really fun project! I felt like a little kid again. I remember making our own scratch boards in 5th grade art class. This Scratch Board is a piece of masonite with a special ceramic coating and then a black ink scratch layer.

I started by tracing my sketch onto the solid black board with a white tracing paper. Since it was stripes I actually filled in the spaces with scribbled white so that I could keep the black and white stripes separated. It may not seem like it bout working with black and white stripes can get very confusing at times. This is the first scratch board I have done since 5th grade but I guess it is like riding a bike, because I never really forgot. I started by taking my x-acto knife and making hair like scratches on the surface of the white marked areas. I made sure to go in the direction of the hairs in my reference photo that I was granted permission to use by Photographer Sheilah Swanson who works at Wild Life Safari in Winston Oregon.

I made sure to make very light and fine lines in the areas where I wanted it to be lighter but not white. the zebra’s muzzle is one of those places. Hear I did directional scratches and some cross hatching.muzzle

The ears had longer hairs in them, and so I simply made longer intentional scratches so that the hair would look natural and lot like fence posts.ear

Adding a reflection in the eye was a little tricky as I really didn’t want a high light just a little bit of a haze to show the reflection of the sky. here again I did very fine scratches and cross hatching.eyes

When I had everything scratched in place I slowly used the flat of the x-acto knife and scraped the back ground away. I think it leaves a cool natural looking background. once that back ground was established I used water color paints to the white surface to give detention. I wasn’t sure it would accept the paint but it soaked right in and wouldn’t life out. so if you do this, build up your colors slowly as you wouldn’t get a second chance to lighten it  back up. Once the paint was dry, which was with in minutes, I scratched out the very white white highlights. As for signing it, well I simply scratched that isn too!signature

Final result is as 8″x 10″ Piece titled “Zebra Love” ready for framing. $250.00.

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If you are interested in purchasing this or any of my art just contact me at Jackielittlemiller.com

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Looking Back

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Have you ever just stopped and looked back on your life to see how far you have come? Do you take time so reflect on what the Lord has done in your life and how you have changed through the years? I love glance back to see where I have been. This helps me envision all the possibilities I could still lie ahead.

I find that I get so frustrated with myself in my art sometimes . For instance this painting above on the right. It is one of my latest pieces. You will remember my struggles to get her face just right. I repainted her face a million times it seemed, before I got it to a place where I was totally pleased with it. Why was this so frustrating to me? Of course my thought process was that I just wasn’t good at painting anymore. Which isn’t true, but it felt true. The actual problem is actually just the opposite. You see, the longer you do something, the clearer you see things. This is actually what drives us to continue on the path of improvement.

It’s kind of like when a person needs glasses. Before I got my glasses I really didn’t know how much I wasn’t seeing. I probably needed glasses years before I got them, but it was a slow process of loosing the ability to see things clearly. Once I got my glasses I was amazed how much detail was in the world that I had been missing before and didn’t even realize it.

In the same way as a beginner artist we look at our original first attempts at art and are pretty darn pleased with our selves. Which we should be! But as we progressed in our skills we start to see colors and details in things that we never noticed before. It’s like we put on a new pair of glasses.  The funny thing is, that when I got my new glasses I didn’t beat myself up for seeing better, I was excited! This is where LOOKING BACK can really help to encourage us. It’s like taking the glasses off for a minute and seeing the blur again.

SO the first picture above was one of the first attempts I made at portraiture. I had just been gifted the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Which I highly recommend. Anyway, the first exercise they want you to do (before you read the book) is to try and draw a portrait. This first portrait is dated 1994, so it’s been a while. This is that same daughter that I drew back then, that I just painted. Of course she was a little girl then and is a grown woman now. I don’t know about you , but I see a huge improvement over the years.

At the time I was a young mother of 4 and didn’t have a lot of time to devote to drawing. If I had been able to work on my art everyday, Like I do now, I could have progressed much quicker. This encourages me because I know that as I spend more time devoted to my art today, the faster I improve. This is very exciting to me.

I hope you will spend some time looking back to see how far you have come in life. Let it challenge you to move forward with expectation and anticipation.

Dream Dancer

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leap-of-faith-8 So you might remember my Leap of Faith painting from about a month ago. This one I did for my Granddaughter who was the subject of the reference photo I used. i really liked the way that painting turned out so I wanted to try it on a larger scale. So I pulled out a 4ft by 2.5ft canvas I have had laying around and started to sketch out the leaper in a larger format to fit the scale of the new canvas.

I wanted this piece to be mostly a knife painting so I added a texture paste medium to my paints so the knife strokes would hold their shape as they dried. Being that the canvas is very large it did take me the whole jar of medium! Wow! But I was very please with how the background turned out.

I had drawn the figure on the canvas before starting and did a base coat of a watered down burnt sienna just to take away the scariness of a blank white canvas. But as I was laying the thick background color paint on the canvas  I kind of lost the edges of the figure so I just decided to cover the whole canvas with background then redraw the subject later.

Once I had the background knifed in I started to rethink the whole waiting till it dried to draw in subject. After all if I wait then the subject will have weird texture in strange places making it not read right. So While it was still tacky I placed the drawing of the dancer on top and intended to just use the indent of the pencil edge to make a trace line, not using any carbon paper as to leave a dark mark. I actually thought that i=this would just leave and slight indent in the paint giving me enough information as to where to place the subject. But when I pulled the paper off the outline of the subject came with it leaving a rough edge.0118171501

This is one of those things that Bob Ross would call a happy accident. I loved the roughness of the edge! In fact I considered leaving the painting as it was, but quickly changed my mind as I still wanted to work more on her. so I scraped out the inside of the outline so that I could start painting the gymnast.

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Here you can see the rough edges around the subject. I think it adds interest to the piece. Anyway as I finished up with the skin tones I realized that this was not a gymnast but a dancer. I’m the artist I can make these kind of decisions! LOL! She needed a pretty flowing dress and some point shoes. What do you think?

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So I started painting her dress. I liked the blue from the background as there was just a touch of it. So I lightened it and made a pretty pastel chiffon dress. This I did totally with the edge of the paint knife and lots of paint. I was very pleased with how it turned out0120171925a

But the next morning I was rethinking it. Though I still loved the dress it just didn’t make the dancer pop! I mean I loved the skin tones and how rich it felt, but the dress kinda made her look, well unfinished, flat, she just didn’t make the statement I wanted her to make.

So I took the photo of her into photo shop and did a quick dress color change on her. Now I am not skilled in photo shop at all and there was probably a much better way of doing it then what I did , but this worked. So I pulled colors from the background and laid in the color into the dress.

After showing these choices to a couple of artist friends of mine I decided on the dark blue dress. I just felt if gave the feeling I wanted and the pop that it needed. My daughter even suggested that I could put some sparkle stars in her dress echoing the galaxy feel from around her. SO I did. And Here she is finished.

Dream Dancer

31″ x 47″ x 1″

Acrylic on Gallery wrapped canvas

$1,000.00

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Once I get a good photo of her so prints I will finish her with a couple of layers of gloss varnish. This is also My first piece with my new signature that you will be seeing on all my works from this point out.!

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God bless your day and Thank you again for following my Works In Progress!

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For my online portfolio click below!

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Quiet Time

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It seams like I have gone from a year long dry spell to an oasis of ideas. Working on several pieces at a time. This painting was so much fun and yet so much of a challenge. I wanted to do her with a loose brush stroke to give it a relaxed feeling as the pose is of my daughter Jenny relaxing and with me and a cup of hot chocolate. As I often do as I am talking to someone I think of how I would mix the colors to paint her face or the color of reflected light that catches her chin. Then I was struck by her relaxed pose and did the mom thing and pulled out my phone and snapped a few quick shots before she realized I was doing so.

 

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SO of course I started with a sketch and traced it onto my canvas as always. I worked on blocking in the back ground and then started on the face. I know I should do other things first but I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to painting faces. I just can’t wait to get at it. This painting proved to me a true test as I lost her face completely a hundred times. well maybe not actually 100 but close.

When painting faces especially portraits that  you want to look like a specific person, the larger the painting the easier it is to get those features right. This painting is only 12″ x 16″ So her face is only about 2″ big. this makes getting subtle value changes and warm light cool light areas a little more difficult. Plus at this size if you facial features are off by a hair width you have a different person interlay.

Also I had a hard time getting her eyes to look up like in the photo. This doesn’t seem to be that bad but even if the eyes are the correct shape it changes the mood of the subject. I wanted the upward glance because it was happy and hopeful. But I kept getting the straight ahead gaze which made her look sad or even one time mad, which was not what I wanted at all. Because it isn’t who my Jenny is. She is fun loving and cheerful and always thinking of new ideas. That is the feeling I wanted to capture.

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Here is a quick run through of all the faces of Jenny! LOL! I know she is blue for a while, It was an underpainting that eventually got painted over also. These are just a few of the many faces. Over the weeks of working on her I would get so frustrated paint over the face and start again, working on something else on the painting until the face painted area was dry and ready to work again. This actually worked great because I had a lot of time to spend on perfecting the other area of the painting that I might not have taken if the face turned out great the first time.

 

Here you can see the purple underpainting of the shadows on the sofa and pillows which eventually got glazed a lovely sand color. It makes it a little hard to judge if you are getting things right when you paint things in colors that they are not going to be, but it is truly the values that matter the most so if they are right everything will turn out fine in the end.

 

It can be hard sometimes as I post my works in progress as I work on them. Sometimes that pressure makes me work harder to get it right, other times it makes me wish I would have kept thins one to myself! LOL! But even with all the frustrations I am totally excited about how she turned out.

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Thank you so much for following my Works in Progress! You support and encouragement are so appreciated!

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It’ Not White

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I am an art instructor at our local Ye Old Art Shoppe , and have been trying to explain to my students that in actuality white is hardly ever pure white. Even thought our eyes perceive it that way. So to demonstrate this I took the below photo and took it into photoshop and pulled touches of color out of it’s surroundings, just so the student could see the true color they were seeing.

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Not only is white not always white, it is not necessarily as light as our mind thinks it is either. You will see here how dark some of these “whites” actually are and how they are not really white at all. We have mauves, blues, and beige, warm gray, cool gray and sand colors; but Wait! Where are the whites?

Making a chart like this is so helpful even to an experienced artist as our minds lie to us constantly. It is nice to be able to hold your color pencil right up to the local color and be able to make the correct decision even if it feels like it is totally wrong.

It will be difficult to trust it and actually put that color down, but until you do your paintings, drawings are not going to read as real.

My students give me a hard time because I am always talking about getting the values (Light and darks) right. Values are the most important thing in being an artist, at least as far as I am concerned. This photo shows us that even a dark gray can appear to be white when it is place where it is surrounded with darker values. In fact if you practice at getting the values right, soon enough when your dark values are right, you will start to notice right away that placing the white beside it is way to bright and to great of a contrast!

Another note to shades of white is that white that is facing a light source will be warmer. Yellows, pinks, or beiges may be used. Those whites that are in shadow or even facing the sky will be more Blues, purples or greens. Depending on that colors surround them will decide the value of the “white” Not white areas. You should practice this by painting something that is white. Paint a white flower, or a white cat! Something that will force you to see the other colors that are in the whites.

This is also truth for Black. Black is hardly ever black. In fact, using straight black will also make your painting look flat and boring. Mix some blues or purples, maybe some reds or browns in with your blacks. Just as white has warm and Cool tones, so should your blacks.

Remember that your mind lies to you. We have an amazing brain designed by an amazing God. This brain fills in the gaps of us so that the brain doesn’t have to work so hard. This is why we see “White” or “Black” when there is no white or black present. Our mind makes it consistent and simple for us to understand so our mind can rest and not burn out by being too stressed.

Once you train yourself to see the other colors in whites, and the blues and purples in the shadows… It will blow your mind! I love it! I don’t look at anything the same anymore. If I am sitting looking at a beautiful landscape, I am marveling at the colors. If I am sitting and talking to you, I am wondering what colors I would mix to get that beautiful reflected light that bounces off the underside of your jawbone or the underside of your brow.

Color and value, shadows and light, they are so very beautiful and so necessary to show case one another. If your artwork is looking a little flat, you probably need to punch your not black darks darker and your not white lights a little lighter.

 

Hope this was helpful! Have Fun Creating!

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Cat Fight

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Wow! I just found out and I am so excited to tell you all that my new Painting “Cat Fight” has won in the Advanced Category on the Facebook CPAL Featured Artist Contest for the month of January. This is such a great honor, as it is an international group of Color Pencil Artists from beginners to experts. The contest is voted on by the members and there is nothing quite like being recognized by a group of your peers. This means that “Cat Fight” will be featured on the facebook banner for a month, plus It will be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine Color Pencil.

Story of creating Cat Fight

My friend Sheilah Forbes Swanson has an awesome job out at Wild Life Safari in Winston Oregon; where she gets to take photos of the animals up close and in person. She has given me the awesome privilege of being able to use her photos for reference for my art. As soon as I saw this photo I knew I needed to paint these girls.

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First I prepped my canvas with Art Spectrum fine tooth colourfix primer on the unstretched  canvas which I had taped to a board. Then left this to completely dry.

Then I started By by graphing out the photo so that I could increase the picture in size.Then I can trace that larger image onto any surface I want to paint or use my colored pencil using a large piece of carbon paper.

 

 

I had done a tiger face earlier in colored pencil in canvas I really liked how it had turned out.So I decided to try that again to make a series.Then I set forth to trace the Cat Fight onto a piece of canvas.

I love eyes! I always start with the eyes, kinda like eating desert before dinner. I just can’t help myself. My reasoning is that if the eyes are not right nothing else matters. This may not actually be true, but it is true to me!

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Here I basically blocked in the face in the color tones and values, then worked them down into the texture of the canvas using odorless mineral spirits on the colored pencil to melt it down into all the diets of the canvas so there wouldn’t be white spots anywhere. This I did through out the first layers of the tigers and background.

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Bit by bit I did the same process on the whole canvas surface, blocking in the underpainting. I then sprayed the entire piece with a textured fixative by Brush and Pencil. This is an awesome product and it made it possible for me to put lighter colors on top of the dark ones. You still have to be mindful to leave light spots light to retain the light in the painting, but it makes it easier to lighten things back up a bit.

Remember that when ever you are painting or using pencils to draw an animal with fur that you need to make you r pencil/brush stroke in the direction of the fur. You must constantly refer to your photo because underlying muscle and bone cause the hairs to shift position as they proceed down the body/ face…i-more-t2

Here I start refining the face and adding the detail. I just wanted to stay on the face and not finish the rest. Her eyes kept calling me back to them. I had to stop and step back from this piece for a while at this point because some of my values had gotten off kilter. Some things needed to be punched much deeper, others needed to be lightened up. at this point everything I do on the cats is done with hair strokes in the proper direction.

NOTE: don’t fence post your hairs. Hair can aim in a general direction without everything going in exactly the same direction.

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Once the values were corrected, and background filled in with shadows punched just a little darker I was done. I could have gone into more detail on the forelegs but I felt that I wanted the focus to be her eyes anyway so I left the rest less detailed.

To give the canvas I nice protective surface I sprayed it with 4 layers of Golden’s Archival varnish with UVLS protection. This you can get in a Gloss or satin finish. I prefer the Gloss, but us a satin until I get it scanned or photographed so there is no glare.

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captivating_Miller_08g                                   See My online Portfolio at jackielittlemiller.com