Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gallery of Faces - Portrait #4

Morning Smile
It's been a while since I posted something for my Gallery of Faces project.

Here's a little 5 x 7 piece I started a while back and put away for a while. I pulled it out this morning and finished it by adding some darks to her hair, shadows in and around her face, a few strokes to bring out the ruffles in her gown, and finally some "pink" to her cheeks.

It's a watercolor I adapted and painted from a magazine photograph. I especially liked the "smile" she had on her face.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gallery of Faces - Portrait of Cassandra

Gallery of Faces - Portrait #2


For this watercolor portraiture I used a reference photo that I had on hand and used it to place features, coloring and shadows.

Once I laid in the basics I continued to make this lovely dark complexioned little girl my own by adding creative detail in her hair, ribbon and clothing and then I named her Cassandra.

I like the way it turned out.

This 5 x 7 original will be for sale soon in my Etsy Shop at: www.deborahcarmanstudio.etsy.com.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gallery of Faces


Starting today and with my newly completed painting of my grandson, Joey, I decided to challenge myself with the goal of creating a "Gallery of Faces."

I hope to learn a lot from this challenge including the further development of my skills as a portrait artist. I confess I'm excited at the thought of it. I consider myself a "forever student" in the field of art and have always been intrigued by the face and how to paint it. I especially love how the fresh look of watercolor captures those beautiful facial features.

So here is my plan:  I will paint a "face" each week and post a picture of it on this blog. I'll take a few months to complete the task. My medium will be watercolor. I will most likely paint on paper and will probably keep to the 5x7 size in most cases. And I'll leave the option open whether to use pen, watercolor pencil and/or ink in addition to watercolor.

 So there you have it. My Gallery of Faces is now official.  Be sure to comment and/or critique. I would love to hear from you.

P.S. If you have a "face" that you'd like to see in watercolor, click on "Commission a Watercolor Portrait," just to the right, for details on how to make that happen.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vase of Many Colors

"Vase of Many Colors" - Prints available at http://zazzle.com/deborahcarmanstudio*

It's been a while since I've worked on a still life painting. And I truly enjoyed working on this one for many reasons. The beautiful multi-colored hand blown glass vase was the perfect subject. I loved it the moment I saw it.

The second reason I enjoyed this piece is because it didn't take forever to paint. I'm one of those artists who likes to begin a painting and finish that painting in a day. Okay, maybe not a day but at least not a month.

This one took a couple of days. I find that I need to look at a completed (for the most part) painting for a while, see it through "rested" eyes and then make the final touches.

It doesn't always work that way. There are some past paintings that when I pull them back out to work out the "bugs" (very appropriately named because they literally bug me to death), they refuse to be finished and back on the shelf they go. Perhaps they instinctively know that I'm not quite ready to do the job yet. For whatever reason, they seem happy enough to wait until I am.

"Vase of Many Colors" was painted with a medium round brush using quality tube watercolor paint and "Arches" Rough 140 lb watercolor paper.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Fun Time at the Art Fair

Great Music - this was one of the Bluegrass bands that entertained us!

Although the rain kept us indoors, the Music Festival/Art Fair was a fun time for all. The vendors and customers were kept dry and the entertainment was fantastic!

My booth
There are lots of talented folks here in the Nashville area, in both the artist and music realm.

Here are a few shots for the memory book:

Three of my grandkids and me in front of the shoe display

Beautiful Red-headed Woodpecker made from a high heel shoe!
My fellow artist friend, Vickie B.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"FRAGILE" - My Entry for the Decorate A Shoe Contest

One of the fun activities at the Music Festival & Fine Arts Fair being held this Saturday from 10am to 4pm at the Mount Juliet Senior Center is a "Decorate A Shoe" Contest.

There's been a lot of interest and I can totally guarantee some really creative entries. Plan on stopping by this Saturday and vote for your favorite shoe. Votes are .25 each, so pick many favorites and vote often. Voting proceeds go to the Mount Juliet Senior Center.

Here's a picture of my entry. My friend, Ashley gave me the idea to decorate a "Barbie" shoe since I'm on a roll with making "Barbie" furniture anyway. And Amy, my daughter-in-law, gave me the title, "Fragile." That's pronounced, FRA-GI-LEE, with the accent on the "GI." For those "Christmas Story" fans, you'll know just what I'm talking about.

For those interested, greeting cards and postcards of this print are available at:  http://zazzle.com/deborahcarmanstudio*

(Note: I'd like to thank the Barbie who sacrificed her leg to make this possible.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Festival of Art & Music

The Mount Juliet Senior Center, where I attend an art class each week is hosting a Fine Arts Fair & Music Festival, Saturday, June 25 to benefit the Mount Juliet Senior Activity Center. Time for the event is scheduled from 10am til 4pm, plenty of time for any folks in the area to stop by and enjoy the festivities. There will be 5 - one hour music shows, artisan booths (of which I am one), food and drink and even a "Decorated Shoe Contest."

As you probably guessed I'm in the midst of preparing my art work and my "Deb's Doll Room Designs" for display. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


A Mother's Day Moment
"Tattoo Art" ... after all this is an "Art" Blog!
Love you Mom

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pouring Watercolor - A Walk On The Beach

"A Walk On The Beach" - Poured Watercolor by Deborah Carman

Pouring Watercolor - Yes, pouring, not painting. This is an exciting technique that I just recently learned. And yes, it was another one of those workshop sessions that drove me straight to hyperville. Did I mention that I have a hard time giving up control?

Pouring watercolor is exactly that. In my case, three primary colors of Watercolor paint mixed with water in 3 separate containers is what I poured onto a half-sheet of Arches 140 lb watercolor paper.

I first drew my subject onto the paper being very careful not to use any erasing. (It affects the way the paint absorbs.) Then I stretched and stapled, and using artist tape, I taped it onto a gatorboard (thick foam core board). Taping is important because you want to prevent any paint from seeping under your paper.

Pre-planning your pour is necessary with this technique. A few important questions to ask yourself:

Where are my lights and darks?
What two or more colors make what color when they mingle?
When and to what should I apply mask? That's the liquid rubber frisket that prevents an area from receiving color.
What color shoes will I end up with when I miss the tray and pour paint onto the floor?

I must say that after all was said and done I really like the results. A brush could not have achieved what the pours could.

I was fortunate. After my final pour and mask removal I did not have to do anything else. That's not always the case. My poured watercolor,  "A Walk On The Beach" was completely done and is ready to be framed!

I'll leave you with 3 important tips:
1) Mix your paint and water really well. I found a whisk to be very helpful with this. When you think you've got it all mixed and ready to go, mix some more!
2) Masking fluid has an expiration date. Always test it on scrap paper before you apply it. Pour out what you'll use into a little cup and cap the bottle and turn it upside down for storage.
3) If this is your first pour, give yourself a break and be willing to experiment. Learn what the paint will do. And most of all, have fun!

To see a video of artist, Leslie Redhead who has mastered this pouring technique, click here:  Pouring Watercolours with Leslie Redhead 

Credits:  "A Walk On The Beach" was painted using a reference photograph taken by my friend and photographer, Cindy Biggerstaff. You can find Cindy at: http://reflectedmemories.zenfolio.com

Friday, April 22, 2011

Underpainting Workshop Session - Part Two - Daffodil Drama

As I get back to posting, I realize I haven't filled you in on my workshop session on underpainting.

After my first step of wet in wet painting and using plastic wrap to make a really cool design for the background, I then used an overhead projector to pencil a close-up drawing of daffodils in a vase over top.

This was not as easy as it sounds because it is very difficult to see where and what you're drawing! The creative part of this, though, is that you can pick and choose where you want to draw your flowers (or whatever subject). You're not limited to drawing the whole picture just as it is.
Does that make sense?

Once I completed that task, I began painting the flowers, beginning with the negative shapes (the background darks). A good way to do this is to think back to front and paint what is furthest away and move gradually forward, leaving your detail work until last. Easier said than done but well worth the effort!

Here is my finished piece. I'm calling it, "Daffodil Drama," not because it's a dramatic piece, but because I went through such drama to finish it!
"Daffodil Drama" - Watercolor by Deborah Carman

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Winning Hand

"A Winning Hand" - Watercolor by Deborah Carman

My history with card games may not be very exciting but as I stroll through memory lane, it seemed to weave an interesting path through my life. The condensed version goes like this:

As a kid in the 60's, I was fascinated with watching my parents and their friends play "Pinochle" on game night.

My mom taught me "Solitaire" and a comedic cousin taught me "52 Pickup," a game I've since shared with my grandchildren!

Sitting in on a game of "Hearts" as a teenager was the beginning of a dating relationship that I will simply describe as a "mistake from day one."

I learned a fun and friendly game of "Poker" from my father-in-law, and a lively game of "Canasta" from my mother-in-law.

We taught our children "Uno" when they were old enough to enjoy it and they, in turn, taught us "Hand & Foot" when they were grown.

And there you have it.

So, in keeping with tradition, here is a watercolor of my poker-faced granddaughter and her sweet cousin playing a friendly game of "Uno."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Watching Paint Dry

Last Wednesday I attended the first class of an 8-week Watercolor Workshop. We met at this great Art Supply store called Plaza Art in Nashville, TN.

My very first art workshop, about 8 years ago, was with the same instructor, gail McDaniel (that's how she spells her name), well known for her fabulous watercolors and her yearly fundraising campaigns benefiting children's school art classes. It's great fun being under her tutelage once again and learning more of her watercolor "secrets."

In this first session, we learned how to create a beautiful underpainting
for our painting project using wet in wet painting and plastic wrap.
Pretty cool!

But it is more time consuming than I am used to. I'll admit it. I am very impatient. And I was nervous as a cat doing the thing I love, watching paint dry! (Okay, that was a bit of sarcasm). One thing for sure, I'm definitely learning patience with this project.

Even with the hair dryer it wasn't drying fast enough!

But as you probably suspect, I finally got through it and went on to the next step..., which was penciling over top a subject from a reference photo. This is a photo of both first step pieces. I made a warm one and a cool one. The warm one has the beginnings of the daffodils that I'm starting to paint. I'll keep you posted as it progresses.
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Beautiful Bloomin' Blumen

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On Valentine's Day, my thoughtful husband surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

They were freshly cut and just beginning to blossom so I was looking forward to their blooms opening.

The next morning I made a beeline for the sunroom where the blooms had opened quite a bit with more to go...

Twelve days later (yes, you read it right) those gorgeous blooms are still open! I am in awe!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Capturing A Moment

I need to learn to keep my camera with me at all times, it seems.

 Hundreds of "photo opps"  fly by me in a day and what's terrible is I don't even think of them as a good painting possibility until it's totally too late.
I need to work on that.

An artist needs to see a little differently. Some of it comes naturally but it can also be learned.

Here's one moment I did capture and it resulted in this watercolor of my grandson, Lucas and my father. I like the way it turned out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Too Much Time Away

I guess you could call me a "round robin" kind of artist.

I call myself that because I find that I cannot spend all my time, day in and day out on one type of project. Instead, I find wonderful satisfaction in spending a week, two weeks, maybe a month working on watercolor painting. And then after a time, something switches over in my brain and tells me that I need to work on some crafty art project.

That's what happened last December when I was creating doll furniture as a Christmas present for one of my granddaughters. Something took off in my brain and I began this whirlwind of doll furniture making! I was having so much fun, before you know it, I was opening a shop on Etsy to see if anyone else liked it as much as my granddaughters. Six rooms of doll furniture later, here I am.

And like so many times before, I'm starting to get that feeling and the messages in my head are telling me, "...too much time away - it's time for some more watercolor..."

So, all I can say is, "Watercolors, here I come again..."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sit Still and Think a Minute

That's not as easy as it sounds.

Even though my husband and I are emptynesters and the house is child-free most days, I can still get wrapped up in noise, chores and activities that rob me of my "think tank" time.

Grandson, Joey in Thinking Mode
I have found that simply turning off the television and radio is very helpful. Music may be soothing for some but for me, silence is golden.

My artistic dilemmas are often solved when I take the time to think them through. As much as I want to rush and quickly achieve results, it doesn't seem to work that way.

So, as I sit still and think a minute I can take a breath, direct my focus and in time, accomplish the task at hand - my newest masterpiece.

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