Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Virtual Paintout 1: Vevie Goes to Slovakia!

I recently joined an online art group called Virtual Paintout. 
Started and led by artist Bill Guffey (his website)  ,each month Bill announces a destination and all participants "travel" to that place together to paint! The "traveling" is done via Google Street View, and we all pic our own spot, paint it, and submit it by email some time during that month for the Virtual Paintout blog.

December was my first month, and my only complaint is: I wish I had found this group sooner! It was SO much fun. Our December destination: Slovakia!

I spent a lot of time siteseeing in Slovakia (what a blast!) and when I found an old tree alongside the road, I decided to use Vevie (rhymes with Stevie) as my model. She is a shorthaired kitty, mostly black, with bits of white at her throat and paw tips... and loves to get into trouble exploring the house. So who better to travel to Slovakia and go on a Big Adventure!

Here is my (and Vevie's) first Virtual Paintout adventure... from the Street View photo to the finished painting:

This is exactly what the original photo looked liked of Hriadky, Slovakia from Google Street View (click on any pics to enlarge):

The same view, only I cropped it and removed the power lines and signs:

I played around in photoshop with different versions, to see what I (and Vevie) liked best. She said this one was her favorite. ;-)

Now for the painting! I started on a mini gessoed watercolor paper, only 4" X 5.5". Drew a grid onto mylar over the pic that I had printed out to make it simpler to transfer the image; and started with a bright blue drawing, using a Derwent Inktense watersoluble pencil. I misplaced my drawing board in my messy studio (blush blush) so I taped the watercolor paper down onto a stiff piece of plastic using blue painter's tape.

Here's a close up of the blue drawing, done fairly loose; after drawing it with the blue watersoluble pencil, I softened it with clear water:

Just for fun, I used vibrant colors (Chroma Interactive Acrylics) for the rest of the underpainting, and sealed it all. Sorry for the glare!

Blocked in the basic color scheme and values here, allowing little bits of the underpainting to peek through:

Painted in the silhouettes here, using combinations of black, blue and paynes gray:

Softened the sky, added highlights to the tree and kitty from the moonlight, and put in the finishing details to the field and background buildings and treeline. And voila! "Moonlight Prowl" is done:

And lastly, a close up detail of Moonlight Prowl:

Now Vevie is asking where we are going in January?!

Participation is open to all levels of artistic ability, and in any medium. So if you'd like to "travel" around the world and paint "on location", then come join the Virtual Paintout! 

Happy virtual traveling,



  1. What fun. Love the fresh opportunity for creativity.

    It's a good day to get out my mosaic project. Hmmm!


    1. Thanks, Anne!
      Looking forward to pics of that mysterious mosaic project. ;-)

  2. Love your interpretation of the Slovakian street view. The addition of your kitty and bird made the scene sensational.

    1. Thank you so much, Jean, I appreciate that!

  3. I love the painting and reading about the process. What you did in photoshop was pretty amazing, too.

  4. Thanks, Mary!
    It's so fun to dink around in Photoshop. You can try all kinds of outlandish stuff, and if you don't like it, just back up a few steps. So freeing.

    This month, for the Virtual Paintout we are "traveling" to the Isle of Man, an island off the coast of Ireland. Gorgeous!!