Painting Birch Trees

Painting Birch TreesI love painting birch trees; I think it’s a texture thing. Those dark scraggly patches stand out against the pale white-gray bark. Before I learnt how to paint trees I always thought it was so mysterious. How could an artist capture that kind of texture with watery paint? There are different ways of painting birch trees but the way I like gets nice results with a minimum of supplies and effort.

I begin by laying a wash of watery gray along one side of the tree. I use a damp brush to soften the edge and then I let it dry. This creates the rounded form of the tree. To make the texture I make a puddle of dark gray-brown (my favorite mix is indigo and burnt umber) then I apply it with a rigger brush held horizontal to the paper. This allows the paint to skip along the paper in an irregular pattern. The only challenge with this method is once you get started it is really fun so some restraint is necessary otherwise your trees look too striped (skinny zebras anyone?).

We will be painting and drawing trees in my upcoming fall classes. Classes begin in September, I hope you can join us.

This painting is available for sale from my Etsy shop.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!

Eagle

Eagle

I had a lot of fun working on this drawing for hubby’s birthday. It was drawn with colored pencil and pastel on Strathmore tan-toned paper. He is proudly displaying it next to his stork.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!

Kelli

Goldfish Paintings in Chinese Brush

Goldfish - Chinese BrushIn this week’s Chinese Brush class one of our projects will be painting goldfish. It may seem like goldfish are challenging to paint but if you are familiar with bamboo leaves then you are already on your way. I painted the fish with a mix of lemon yellow, orange, and alizarin crimson.

Once you have the brush loaded with color paint the head using 3 strokes. Deepen your colors and paint 2 strokes for the body. Paint the tail with 3 or 4 sweeping strokes. Add details on the body and tail with a dark red and thick white paint; finish the eye with blue and ink.

Once you have a fish or two it’s time to add some context in the form of plants and rocks. I use simple dot strokes for the rocks and small curving bamboo leaf strokes to simulate underwater plants. When the painting was dry I mounted it onto card stock to create a fun greeting card.

Until next time… happy painting!

Kelli

Downy Woodpecker in Colored Pencil

Downy Woodpecker - colored pencil on pastel paperBeginning next week I’ll be teaching 3 one-night drawing classes. Our first class will feature the Downy Woodpecker in colored pencil on pastel paper. Downies are a frequent visitor to Maine and often confused with their larger look-alike the Hairy Woodpecker.

I’ll be demonstrating how to draw our bird as well as all the colored pencil techniques I rely on to create feathers. It is going to be a really fun class; I hope you can join us. For more information on this class and all my other spring/summer classes including how to register please check out my classes page.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!

Kelli

P.S. Don’t have time to attend class but would like a downy for yourself? This drawing and many others are available from my art shop.

April Recap and New Classes

NasturtiumsApril has been a whirlwind month. I just finished a spring show at USM and met so many wonderful people. I am working on getting my cards and notebooks into a new shop and I’ve been teaching several classes in Chinese Brush Painting. Not to worry if you missed a class; beginning in May I’ll be offering new classes in drawing with colored pencil, watercolor and Chinese Brush. Many of the classes are one-night which are perfect to fit into even the busiest schedule. Please take a look at my classes page to find out more information and how to register. Let me know if there is anything you’d like me to offer; I’ll be putting classes together for the Fall very soon!

Cheers!

Kelli