Tag Archives: paper

Monday, 4/18/11: Carolynn Wagler

Thanks to guest writer Christina Hugo for today’s post.

Today Carolynn Wagler helped to bring spring to Portland with a watercolor of warm, vibrant, orangey tulips. It was a fitting subject as we sat in the window of Muse safe from the intermittent April showers.

Carolynn came ready with a light graphite sketch of her design, which was from a photograph she had taken at a tulip festival a few years back. It was an image she had been saving, waiting to give it new life in paint. After a few touch-ups with her pencil to define her lines, which would be the map for her piece, she began by masking her whites. Carefully identifying any white detail in her color photo, she mimicked these areas with masking fluid to repel paint and maintain her tulips’soft white tips. The plump blooms were then washed with a wide, wet brush followed by a sweep of lemon yellow. Carolynn then used a blow drier to set the yellow, and already the strong effect of the masking fluid was evident. Bright yellow tulips with sweet white highlights now filled much of the page. She told me that as she added more color the masking fluid would be scrubbed away to blend the white naturally into the petals.

Crimsons, golden oranges, and bluish purples gave the blooms dimension, texture and richness . Thin upward strokes of color brought out the veins and spines of the petals, while a water-charged brush diluted color in other places to give contour and shading, bringing it all slowly to life.

Carolynn used a test palette of watercolor paper painted with her original yellow to see how each new hue would appear layered on the last. On this tiny watercolor laboratory she discovered, through trial, error, and inquisitive patience how to coax her perfect purple from a neutralizing yellow background.

Carolynn has been painting with watercolors for 11 years, but has experience with acrylics and pastel as well. She says watercolor is her favorite because of its fluidity. She says she finds it “a thrill to see what you come up with through the nature of the water and pigment together.” Carolynn’s portfolio is filled with landscapes in all seasons, and expressive faces which portray emotion through bright eyes and flowing features. She is looking forward to painting some of the tropical flora she captured on film during a recent trip to Hawaii. Carolynn teaches pastel painting through Portland Parks and Recreation and she is a member of the Portland Fine Arts Guild.

The last picture below shows Carolynn’s painting at the end of the day Monday (with watercolor paper still taped to board).  We’ll post an update with a picture of the finished piece.  UPDATE:  The last picture below shows Carolynn’s finished painting.

Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.


Thursday, 4/14/11: Terry Street

Thanks to guest writer Sera Stanton for today’s post.

Terry Street is experienced in both traditional  Japanese and Western watercolor painting. Today, she was working in the spontaneous style of Japanese masters. She trained under a master in California and explained how the paintings are “copied” from masters until you perfect the image and can add your own nuances to it. When I spoke to her, Terry was working on an iris.

Terry showed me how she works on both normal drawing paper and on rice paper. “It is all in the energy of the brush,” she said, “the brush does the work for you… and less is more.” There is no going back in traditional Japanese painting. You must think very clearly about where to place your lines and work spontaneously. Like many artists, Terry believes anyone can learn to paint – it’s just a matter of practice, especially in this style.

In order to get a lot of variation, Terry had a large set of brushes. Although she usually only works with one brush at a time, she explained the varying uses of each kind of brush. They were also made out of different hairs, such as horse, otter or badger. To start working, Terry wet her brushes and mixed a few colors of Chinese watercolor. She said that Chinese watercolors are the best for this kind of painting because they have more clay in them, so they don’t run as much when mounted. Using an ink stick, Terry mixed some of her own ink to help mix some darker colors.

Terry’s palette today was “not textbook,” as she put it. She used violet and red and yellow and green to paint beautiful irises and poppies, as well as black to quickly paint a horse  before I left. She mixed the smallest amount of each color together to make sure that they were analogous.

When she isn’t painting on her own, Terry teaches classes. She says that she loves children and her students. Terry says that she has been painting her whole life, partially due to the fact that her grandfather collected oriental art. Truly, Terry knows the patience, practice and play that traditional Japanese watercolor requires.

Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.


Saturday, 4/9/11: Dustin Gluvna

Thanks to guest writer Cameron Hawkey for today’s post.

Dustin Gluvna is a recent Portland transplant, favoring the artistic community here over the bustle of Santa Fe. He used to work on movies in Santa Fe, but he wanted to start drawing again.

I arrive early, and catch Dustin at the beginning of his piece. He takes a break to talk to me about his art. It looks as if he is using a .05 Micron pen, with the larger areas filled in with larger sizes, all drawn on a sturdy sheet of Cold Press Crescent Illustration board. It’s clean and crisp.

He flexes his hands as we talk. “My hand is cramping up,” he admits. “I haven’t been drawing as much as I’d like to. I’m glad for the lack of distraction here, though.” I decide to take an early lunch, and let him work up to a good pace.

When I get back, his initial scallops and swirls have turned into a big black teetering tower. It’s meticulous, with patterns running & flowing into each other that spontaneously turn into architecture.

“I like thinking about how heavy things are, and why someone would build something like this,” he says as he dutifully fills in the support beams of a platform board by board. A catapult or possibly a winch rests on the platform. “I really like architecture, how buildings are designed,” he explains. “I also like how things grow.” He points to where he started, at the east side of the tower, halfway down. “I start with a couple of shoots, and then it grows into a tower with cities on top of a mountain, with a sun and clouds, and birds in the distance.”

As a final question, I ask Dustin what art is. “Art is bringing something out from inside your mind, and letting people feed off of it,” he says. If that’s the case, then the city that he is drawing may very well be of his own mind: full of distractions and asides, but machines that are working away everywhere throughout.

The third picture below is a composite of three different stages in the progress of Dustin’s drawing. The final picture shows Dustin’s drawing at the end of the day Saturday, he’ll give his hand a rest and continue adding details.  We’ll post an update with a picture of the finished drawing.

Click on thumbnails for larger pictures.

Tuesday, 4/5/11: Tara Choate

Tara Choate painted with watercolors today using a technique that made a vibrant, colorful painting, and was also a lot of  fun to watch.  To create the background of her painting, she mixed her paints with water and poured them directly onto the paper (140lb cold pressed watercolor paper).  She picked up the paper and tilted it from side to side to make the colors flow across the surface.  Before pouring her paint, Tara had drawn the silhouette of a stork and filled it in with masking fluid, a liquid that dries quickly to a rubbery film.  The masking fluid blocked the areas of the page that she wanted to remain white as she poured three colors of paint (bright pink, gamboge yellow, and ultramarine blue), one at a time over the paper.

After letting the wet paper dry for a while, Tara removed the masking fluid with a rubber “pick-up,” leaving the white shape of the stork to paint details and shading into.  The process of painting with watercolors can require a lot of patience because if the paper and paint are not fully dry, adding more paint can result in the newly added colors flowing uncontrollably into previous colors.  A wet brush applied to wet paper and paint can also pull up the color, leaving light spots in the painting.  Tara gave each stage of her painting time to dry and took advantage of these breaks to look at her work so far and think about her next steps.

To define the details of the stork’s wings, feathers, and body, Tara used only one color, indigo, to contrast with the white paper that she had preserved with her masking fluid.  Tara said indigo has become one of her favorite colors to paint with.

Tara’s favorite subjects to paint are animals.  Her love for her animal subjects really shows in the vitality and energy she brought into the piece she made today.

Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.

Saturday, 4/2/11: James Franssen

Thanks to guest writer Mesha Koczian for today’s post

James sketches realistic portraits of people and animals. He starts by projecting the image onto his paper (vellum-surface bristol) and sketches the outline and major highlight spots. He uses a soft charcoal pencil with a smudge stick and a kneaded eraser to achieve the varying shades that occur in real life. The charcoal is layered up and taken away creating depth. He goes over the image after covering it in charcoal and adds the fine highlights and details.

James enjoys using charcoal because it’s easy to use and is relatively cheap to buy. He prefers charcoal to graphite because it doesn’t shine. Instead of reflecting light, it seems to absorb it. “Horses are my favorite subject right now, next to people, because I just started to draw them,” explains James. He covers the shape in charcoal with basic shading first then goes over it and defines the shadows and highlights. He uses the smudge stick to spread the medium adding a little along the way. “I like to add the major highlights later,” says James.

“I like to draw from pictures instead of real life because I don’t like to divide up my work into sessions,” He explains, “Sometimes I’ll sit and work on a drawing for 14 hours straight or until it’s done.” According to James, he’s still learning and is just getting the hang of charcoal as he’s only been working with it for 5 years. He hopes to keep learning and experimenting with new techniques and mediums.

(see COMMENTS  below for some clarifications and additional information from James)

Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.


Wednesday, 4/28/10: Jillian Doughty

Jillian Doughty is a quick-witted NW original who’s a mom as well as an artist and commercial photographer. She lives in NE Portland with her husband and two kids and was raised in a third generation SW Washington fruit farm in Orondo. A fine art photographer, she began to dabble in real estate photography over the past year and was surprised to find how well she liked it. As well as assisting people to sell their homes, making extra money for her family, and using her art and design background, she also gets to put her photography skills to good, practical use.

One theme that comes through when speaking with Jillian is her entrepreneurial spirit merging with her resourceful nature. Although she has had no formal art training (she studied fruit tree science in college), her need to create is evident in the many projects she describes. She says that at one point in her youth, her parents were out of staples, and rather than wait for a refill, she began to fashion her own homemade staples. She used a similar resourcefulness when she needed an applicator for ink, and rather than order one, she tinkered with a pen nib and some tubing and created her own ink applicator.

Jillian loves searching through bargain bins, especially to find teapots, saucers and porcelain containers to draw on and sell. This repurposing and upcycling formed the basis for her Etsy shop which sells her illustrated glass and metal designs at http://www.etsy.com/shop/22pages Upon establishing it, the Etsy shop took off so rapidly she had to pare back a bit during the holidays so it didn’t take over her life. The Etsy shop also served as a conduit for commissioned work like that of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. She especially loves the flawed pieces she finds, even in her own artwork.

Today’s work harkens back to her childhood of growing up on a fruit farm. The apple blossoms, she says, that grow for commercial purposes are much more robust and clustered than the ones we see in the urban environment. She brought in a photo of an apple blossom from her family’s farm that she is sketching. A few new things she is excited to try out: textured Strathmore illustration board that erases her pencil drawings well (better than the smoother variety, she says) and a Copic Multiliner pigmented ink pen from Muse Art and Design.

Saturday, 4/24/10: Diane Rios

Thanks to guest writer Sera Stanton for today’s post.

Stenciling is well-known among graffiti and street artists, but isn’t seen a lot in fine art. Diane Rios’ piece stood out today with her multi-layered stenciling technique. Taught to her by Long Beach artist Victor Gastelum, stenciling is Diane’s favorite medium. She was originally inspired by elegant political posters she saw when she was a student in France, but has been living in and inspired by Oregon for years.

Animals, nature and the beauty of architecture stir Diane as a person and artist. She makes the animals in her work relatable to humans, in hopes that humans can identify and respond to animals as an individual, perhaps even learn from them. The serene appearance of her work easily communicates her goals.

Today was the first time Diane had stenciled on canvas. She said she liked the texture it added to the piece and was excited to try it again. On the canvas were three beautifully rendered horses consisting of three main colors and seven layers of paint. Diane’s process was to draw an original sketch and make as many photocopies of the drawing that she planned on having layers, with a few extras in case of mistakes. Non-archival paper was used for the photocopies – “The stencils stay nice for years as long as you lay them flat and don’t put anything on them while they’re wet,” Diane says. She then cuts through the paper where she wants the paint to come through and sprays each layer on top of the other from the base up, waiting for the previous layer to dry before she puts the next one on. Diane likes to add texture by splattering some of the paint across the canvas. In this case, it was a silver paint on a grey horse, which lit up the piece in the light. The way she puts the paint on her canvas is light and careful, with almost no overspray.

Aside from stencils, Diane enjoys drawings, watercolors and monotypes. Right now she is working on a children’s book about a hound dog that wants to be a photographer. Although working at Powell’s takes up a lot of her time, Diane would love to start illustrating magazines and children’s books more often in the future.