Fun Figures

Had a fun day…no pressure…..going through photographs chosing figures that appealed to me or provided a challenge started the ball rolling.  These are painted on Kilamengro paper, 11×15, a quarter sheet of watercolor paper.  The subject and figures were drawn with a brush…this gives me freedom to think related shapes and eliminate detail.  Hard and soft edges keeps the eye moving from one value to another.   Simplification of the story was major because the  figures are the most important.  I didn’t realize how many selections there were to chose from until I started looking through all my stacks of photos.  Hope you enjoy stepping into the scenes as though you were there…..there is enough mystery for you to imagine your own story……keep painting..JoBeth

Lamesa Figure Class

Is anyone reading this like me…..take a camera or Ipad….and forget to take the photos of your journey.  Well this is the second time I have failed to use the resources available.  Those attending came to paint and at the end of the day produced some great figures.  If those taking the class would send a photo or photos, some did more than one, I will post them.

I draw figures using the same techniques as other subjects. Starting with a proportional lose drawing with little detail is my approach to any subject including figures.  When I am satisfied with the placement of the figure and the proportions I began with light value washes of warm and cool colors….painting around the figure here and there but also using this wash over the figure.  Cutting across the figure anchors it to the background and splatters in the foreground are much more interesting than cuffed pants and shoes..  When the wash is dry the figure gets attention with color and any detail it needs to come alive.  Waiting for the colors to dry I began with background and foreground….letting the previous wash suggest the setting.  Dark dry brush marks finish the painting….lot of fun and for me a challenge…

All About Color

Estelle Howard was an inspiration to me last week in Lamesa.  She painted on watercolor canvas for the first time and her painting was exceptional….this is no surprise for those who know Estelle.  She is 93 and continues to paint in oil/watercolor and anything else that comes her way.  From her photograph of an open air art exhibit, she maintained fresh colors flowing into one another. When the canvas was dry a sketch of the subject was introduced with dark lines using a script brush.  As I previously mentioned my camera remained out of sight and unfortunately I can not share her painting and the paintings of those who participated.

We all have photographs or sketches books laying around without plans….stacks of organized photos waiting for me to go through…thinking ‘not sure what I want to do with this’…I tend to put those in a stack of ‘maybes’.  The photograph below came to mind instantly when Estelle began painting on her canvas..

 As I drove home that day….the image of my photo was rehearsed a million times.  As the tires screeched into my drive and a quick hello to my husband, I was in the studio looking for the photo.  The painting below is all about color….green trees became festive fall yellows and reds. The buildings at the left of the photo where boring and unimportant so more tree color and shapes gave a nice backdrop to the tents.  The painting is  16×20 on Yes watercolor canvas with a warm dominance.  Colors of cool and warm mingle to make their own neutrals.  After it was dry a rigger brush loaded with a dark value is used to sketch my subject…..thoroughly enjoyed this paint time….simplified without the fuss….

Big Spring, Texas

Thank you Big Spring Art Association for inviting me to share my passion.  Special thanks for Jean Money and her efficient organizational skills keeping me on track.  Also thanks to  Lane Bond for making me feel at home.  The evening was perfect visiting with old friends and meeting new artist with like minds.  The below image is the demonstration painted for the association.  It is an interior low key painting taken in an ice cream shop or parlor if you happen to be my age.

Demonstration for class

This was my demo, taught in Lamesa. Students were given 6 different color schemes to chose from. I chose analogous colors of blue, turquoise, blue violet, with the compliment orange. The compliment of orange was to be the color focus around the figures and flower shop. The building and foreground were painted wet into wet with neutrals using the turquoise, blue, and violet keeping whites in check…..while still damp complimentary colors were introduced under the awning…after dry windows, awning, and a figures were suggested with color or light/dark values…calligraphy was added for interest…..

High Key with Mid Values

The paper was dry for washes of carmine, green and orange to be painted around the white buildings, and most of the street. Before the first wash was dry I painted in greens and shadows where they were needed. My plan was to keep the painting in high key (light values) leaving bright whites. It was a challenge to paint the values needed in the beginning as to not disturb them with unnecessary washes over the same area. After the painting was dry darker values where established, calligraphy, and a wash over the foreground street… it seemed to be to light….this is 15×22 using140#Arches cold press paper. Mid values dominate keeping whites and darks connected…..

Still Life Class…

My definition of a still life is anything not moving which just about takes care of most subjects.

St. Francis Hotel, Santa Fe, was my reference photograph. It was actually taken from the sidewalk looking in but I visualized the waiting table from inside.

On Arches #140 paper, I decided on a a low key painting. Wanting the darks to stay as dark as possible it was necessary to paint on dry paper. I used every dark value on my palette….painting around whites and any value that would become a mid value. The shadows were painted at random thinking about shape not actual cast shadow. To finalize, negative darks were painted and calligraphy marks….this was fun and that’s what it’s all about.
The photos below were other’s having fun……or maybe not….

Brenda with one more stroke of green…

Diane’s brush with negative shape

Linda and Donnie comparing notes…

from the palette of Adriana…..

My Scene


Wet the surface of the paper wash on
New Gamboge and Cadimum Orange
over the people….the center of interest..

While paper is still wet quickly
add mid to darker values of cool reds
greens, blues and purples out to the
papers edge. The challenge is to
keep colors edges soft and graded

After the paper is totally dry
shadows are used to define the
subject. The contrast of lights
and darks at the center of interest
are the main players. The dark edges
are out of focus with hints of color.


Calligraphy and final darks where
they were needed…..I introduce
‘Two Please’