I have an interesting relationship with painting portraits. A loose, confident application of paint is required in watercolor to keep the paint fresh and clean while an accuracy in the positioning and drawing of the main features and structure of the forms is required to make it convincing. I’m after a balance between the cartoon and photo realism. This is the demo I did during a class I taught at our local gallery.

Watercolor portrait of guy

I’ve been teaching a Saturday afternoon oil painting class at GalleryOne in Ellensburg, WA. We started with a small still life of a lemon…. not so easy, but everybody did great. The second Saturday we got a good start on a landscape, learning to simplify and look for values. Next week we’ll dive into a portrait. It’s an interesting process to figure out where people are at and what they need. I hope I’m doing a good job.

Lemons

Sunny Kiss 10×8 watercolor

We’ve been socked in with winter fog for days. This morning the glorious sun hit the hills outside our kitchen window. I’m trying to narrow down my view in a few small watercolors trying to catch one fleeting effect. An enjoyable hour with morning coffee at the kitchen table.

Snow on the Hills 8×10 watercolor

After being completely focused on the straw bale building project for eight months, I’m feeling a bit burned out. So my watercolors and notebooks showed up and I started to play with some little landscapes again. It feels good to put the brush in the paint. The curves and shadows of nature are endlessly inspiring.

Notebook color sketches

Up in the loft the last straw bales are going in. This area is just above the tub on the first floor so I used conventional stick framing to make the walls less permeable to moisture from the tub and shower. You can see here the extra layer of rock-wool insulation on the outside. Way overkill on the insulation but it was much easier to set these bale vertically than cut them all around the 2x6s and wiring.

Last Bales

The long days of summer 2021 have been spent on this 12 sided “Yurt House”. Our old 30ft canvas yurt gave 20 years service and will be set up as a gathering spot next spring. Now I’m finishing the “brown coat” of stucco on the outside walls of the new building. The cement/lime mix should have enough moisture permeability to let the strawbale walls breath.

East Windows and Stucco walls

I’ve been working out this idea for a while and finally got the under painting pretty close. Then it started peeling off between the gesso and primer. I had to just take the whole thing off.

Peeling off between gesso and primer!

Redid the whole thing in about 2-3 days. Now to let it dry and start the next layers.

The redo of the underpaint