Sunday, June 08, 2014

Virtual Paintout 16: Liverpool, England!

On my, am I ever behind! 

For the month of April the Virtual Paintout gang went to Liverpool, England. 

It was a blast siteseeing via Google Streetview. So many places I've heard about... famous and not-so-famous landmarks. But when I saw this seaside street all strung up with large colorful decorations, the whimsy of it just tickled me. I chose to paint the Mermaid in the Sky (can click pic to enlarge).



"Mermaid in the Sky"
Liverpool, England
6 x 9 sketchbook
acrylics



And for fun, here's a close-up to see some of the texture 
(can click pic to enlarge):



As usual, anyone is welcome to join the Virtual Paintout gang. Each month Bill Guffey leads us somewhere new in the world, via Google Street View. No obligation, just join in as you have time. All the details are HERE so come and join us!  

Happy Painting,

Retta

Friday, February 21, 2014

Virtual Paintout 15: Washington DC!

The Virtual Paintout gang has been traveling the world for 5 years now! Yay for Google StreetView!

This is my 15th outing with them. Remember, we are not ACTUALLY and physically there... we travel via Google Street View. It is SO much fun, and I encourage anyone to join. There is no obligation. You can do it as often as your schedule permits. Here is Bill Guffey's blog, Virtual Paintout, where you can find all the deets. 

So... for February we "traveled" to Washington DC. It's amazing how you think you are familiar with a place so iconic. Until you really LOOK at it. I totally enjoyed cruising the streets, both the familiar landmarks and the unknown backstreets. And that is how I stumbled upon "my" spot to paint.

I was cruising past the Marriot Hotel when a brightly painted 5 ft tall statue of a Panda bear caught my eye! I laughed, and just HAD to stop and zoom in. Yep... this was it.




The Panda was originally a part of a fundraiser for Arts and Grants Education programs in Washington DC. There were 150 pandas generously painted (for free) by local artists, which were auctioned off at the end of the summer of 2004.

The original artist of "my" panda was Anne Marchand, a prominent and talented Washington DC artist.   Panda was exhibited all summer in Chinatown, Washington DC, before he was auctioned off at the fundraiser.

Painted fiberglass statues like this are special to me because I've done them myself. I painted two 3 ft tall cat statues to help raise money for a cats and kittens shelter. If you'd like to peek at them, here are the links:
 

So... on to the making of Political PandaMonium!

(Can click on any pics to enlarge)


I cropped the original version down to this size:



First I sealed the paper in my sketchbook with acrylic medium, since I was going to be using acrylics and didn't want to risk any wrinkling issues in the sketchbook. 

It's a Super Deluxe Aquabee sketchbook with Heavyweight Drawing Paper, "For use with wet and dry media". I love this sketchbook, but still, it's only 93 lb paper and can't take a LOT of water. 

Here I roughed in a colorful underpainting for all the bushes and flowers behind Panda:




Drew in Panda and underpainted him yellow, for brightness and so I could SEE the design I was about to add. :-)




The first layers of flowers and foliage in the background:




Drew the Panda design in with charcoal pencil, then acrylics. 


Began painting the colors for his design, starting with a darker underpainting (this dark brownish-red was for the red areas). I used a simple "3 value" system. That's where you simply think "light, medium, dark" for each color. By blending and shading, you naturally end up with a lot of variety this way. 

For example: on this section of his finished tummy there are several design elements that are predominately Yellow. 


I let the yellow be the lightest value, using orange and red for the middle and darkest values. At the end of the day though, I usually end up playing around, and adding some purple shadows here and there, white highlights, and whatever strikes my fancy. Whatever works! :-D


Here is Panda in my sketchbook:




Close-up of his face:



And the finished image, Political PandaMonium:

(oopsie, see my goof? Kinda makes me think 
of political goof-ups.. mwa ha ha ha)


Political PandaMonium
acrylics in 6 x 9 sketchbook



Happy Painting,

Retta

Friday, January 31, 2014

Virtual Paintout 14: Cape Cod, Massachusetts


This is my second year traveling the world with the Virtual Paintout gang, via Google Street View.  This painting will be my 14th outing. I love it!

Vevie has decided to stay home for awhile, so I'm "traveling" on my own. And this month we visited Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

As I virtually cruised around Cape Cod, this scene caught my eye. The swing in the yard, quiet and still, as though it was patiently waiting to fly again. It brought back fond memories for me. :-)

Here is the original location I chose (can click on any pics to enlarge):




For my little 8 x 8 canvas, I cropped it smaller:




And as usual, I played with color schemes in Photoshop, and here is my final idea:



Toned the canvas with pink:




Started with the sky, then roughed in the house with vine charcoal:




Worked in layers, putting in the background colors first, then building layers up over it:




The image continues around to the sides:






Some close-ups:






And here is my finished painting:

"Memories"
Cape Cod, MA
8 x 8 acrylic on
wrapped canvas


This painting of the swing hanging from the tree brought back memories and made me smile. I hope you enjoyed it, too. Did it stir any memories for you??

Happy painting,

Retta

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Virtual Paintout 13: Vevie Goes to Venice!


As the year came to an end, for December the Virtual Paintout     gang went to a gorgeous and romantic place... Venice, Italy. Vevie had a blast riding a virtual gondola along the canals. 

Since I was sick ALL of December, I'm tickled I actually finished this painting, even though I'm late getting it posted here.

Here is the original location, looking into the restaurant Trattoria Sempione. I loved the glow of the chandelier, which actually showed up better in other photos, and the greenery and flowers. (click on any pics to enlarge)



I played in photoshop, and decided on this treatment (Vevie had a dinner date with a suave Italian Gondola Cat, and you can see her up above, peeking to see if he has arrived yet):




I didn't get too many wip photos (work in progress photos), but here are a few:










This is a close up of the some of the wrought iron, old bricks and flowers:




And that lovely chandelier:





We can't forget Vevie:




And the finished painting:



"Are You Here, My Love?"
Calla di San Marco,
Venice Italy
9 x 12 acrylic on
wrapped canvas




As always, anyone is welcome to join the Virtual Paintout gang. Each month Bill Guffey leads us somewhere new in the world, via Google Street View. All the details are HERE, so come, join us for 2014!  

Happy Painting,

Retta


Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Virtual Paintout 12: Vevie Goes to Iceland!


Echoes In The Sky

Echoes across time
Whispers of adventure
Sagas retold
Hearts burning
Dreaming
Echoes in the sky


November is now Vevie's 12th outing with the Virtual Paintout gang, led by Bill Guffey (HERE).  The year has flown by! One more month and Vevie's travels are over, for she has decided to retire and curl up in her snuggly warm bed. 
Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)


But for this month of November Vevie traveled, via Google Street View, to Iceland. Brrrr! We ended up in Northeast Iceland, in a place I have no idea how to pronounce:
Noroausturvegur. 

Having been first settled by the Vikings in 874 AD, Iceland is the unofficial protectorate of Viking poetry. Though known as fierce warriors, it surprised me to learn that for Vikings, POETRY was a way of life! They considered it a gift from Odin, and to tell a good poem was to earn one's Viking name.


For my November painting, I chose the following view. It was so typical, with a lone tree and house, a large expanse of land near water. And of course, I couldn't resist adding some Northern Lights!





I played in Photoshop and chose this color scheme, flipped the house to face inward, and added the Northern Lights...




First I toned the canvas with yellows...




Here's the underpainting...




Decided I didn't want the yellow that strong, so washed it over with purples and blues before I went any farther...




Okay, NOW I'm liking the sky! Also worked on the next layers of the foreground and house...




Vevie has joined the scene, the Northern Lights are glowing, and Lo! there are ancient Viking symbols and Rune lettering in the sky. Vevie looks up, dreaming of times gone by...




Though the land is open and sparsely populated, this close up shows the windows of the little house glowing with a friendly welcome to travelers...




Close up of a few of the Viking symbols...




Close up of Vevie, sitting quietly under the night sky, listening... remembering...






And the finished image (can click any pics to enlarge):


"Echoes in the Sky"
Northeast Iceland
9 x 12 acrylic on 
wrapped canvas



Happy painting,

Retta

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Virtual Paintout 11: Vevie Goes to Peru!


For October Vevie and the Virtual Paintout  gang took off for ... Lima, Peru. Hola!!



First, I visited (via Google Street View) a tourist attraction: Park of the Legends. Beautifully manicured, lovely gardens, trees, flowers, water sculptures. Playgrounds and zoo animals for the kids, and a mini Machu Peechu.  Felt too... touristy.

Second, I visited the downtown city. Huge buildings, streets teeming with cars and people, colorful businesses. Felt too... impersonal.

Third, I traveled to the outskirts, scouting for rural beauty. I almost cried at the poverty. Crumbling husks of homes, barefoot kids, shacks stacked up the mountainsides... where people LIVED. Felt too... heart-breaking.

Lastly, by chance, I traveled up an extremely steep mountain road. Along the way, I passed all three types: touristy spots, businesses, and obvious poverty. Yet this road led them all to the same place: the huge stone cross statue called Cruz del Cerro San Cristobal, a famous landmark in Peru. 

This last location made me smile. We are all the same in our Hearts. We all need hope, love, and meaning in our lives . And to help each other get on up that road. Cuz sometimes it gets steep!

And that's why I was originally going to call this painting "Uphill".

It was a joy to paint this from my heart, and not worry about being judged, or about performing. See... this is a Landscape. A Landscape doesn't "usually" have graphic design added! But after seeing this beautiful country and pictures of their culture and art, I wanted to include design work to represent these creative people. Here then is "Uphill, Peruvian Style."

My Google street view scene (can click on any pics to enlarge):


And the "making of" pics...


I played with color 
schemes in Photoshop:



Sketched in with sepia pencil:



 I enjoy the look of the wrap around image:



 For the values I used yellow ochre
and red oxide:




 Decided to start the design first,
to better gauge the colors needed
for the landscape part:



 Fun toning the canvas with 
pink and orange:



Ultramarine blue and 
cerulean blue added:



 Continuing with color and details,
refining the clouds and road:



 Done! and drying on the easel:




 Design close up:



 Cruz del Cerro San 
Cristobal close up:



 And Vevie won't let 
me get away without
her own close up:






"Uphill, Peruvian Style"
Cruz del Cerro San Cristobal
Lima, Peru
9 x 12 acrylics
on wrapped canvas



Vevie (rhymes with Stevie)
my Virtual Paintout muse



Happy painting,

Retta