Thursday, January 11, 2018

Portland Bill - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      Just a quick landscape of the Portland Bill Lighthouse and a couple resting boats. I tried phthalo blue for the sky. In mass tone I hate the phthalo colors. But, when applied fairly thin, phthalo blue makes a nice sky. I'm also happy with how the ocean and surf worked -- and how easy it was. I usually struggle with believable surf.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Doodlewash Feature


     I just had a feature go live on Doodlewash, the home of the World Watercolor Group! Go check it out: Anthony Billings Artist Feature

     Thanks, Charlie, for featuring me!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tulips - gouache

gouache, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      Starting the new year off with a little still life I kicked out one weekend. I think it worked out a lot better than I expected. I'm not quite as confident with gouache as I'd like to be. But I'm getting there.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Smoky - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      Just a quick little sketch with some ivory black. I never use ivory black. I've always preferred neutral tint or burnt umber or sienna mixed with ultramarine blue for more organic blacks and greys, and Payne's Gray for deep, absolute blacks. But, this reference photo was screaming for a grayscale treatment and what better way to do grayscale than with a pigment with "no color"?
      And, for general FYI, there are many more ways of mixing greys and darks/blacks including three primaries or two complimentary colors. UM blue and burnt umber/sienna are essentially complimentary colors for the purposes of mixing grey. Using two complimentary colors seems easier to me than three primaries. I try to limit all my palette mixes to two colors as much as possible anyway. And, a two-color grey is easy to warm or cool as necessary. Sometimes I even get the added bonus of a little pigment separation on the paper during drying. I think the look of UM blue and earth tones separating is one of the reasons I picked up watercolors in the first place.
      So, what's ivory black good for? Mixed with a little cool yellow, you can get some nice greens.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Louis Louis - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      This is a little different from my normal shoe still life. Works pretty well, though, I'd say.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Natalie - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      Just a quick, loose portrait of a model from some glamour site. There's very little about this one I don't like -- except maybe the scan. Scanning always adds contrast and washes out some of the lighter spots, hiding much of the subtlety inherent in the real painting. I recently went through some originals and was struck at how much better many of them were than I remember them because I'm used to seeing the scanned file. I'm still trying to figure out an easy method of shooting originals with my camera. Theoretically, I should get a much better, truer-to-life image that way.
       I used a pretty limited palette on this one, yellow ochre, a warm red and ultramarine blue for the skin tones - with just a touch of permanent rose to bring the nose forward. The hair and lips needed a couple more colors and I think the background blue is a loose mix of ultramarine and cobalt. The fewer colors you use, the less chance of mud, everyone always says.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cow #1 - gouache

gouache, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      A painterly cow portrait to go with my rooster a couple weeks back. Cow portraits have been popular for a several years, so I thought I'd try one. Not bad, but I don't think I'll make a career of it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Carricknahowley - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      I'm very happy with this one. It's just loose enough; it's Ireland; the sky isn't completely terrible. I actually found the location through a YouTube clip from a BBC show called Awash With Colour wherein Dermot Cavanagh teaches a celebrity to paint a particular scene in Ireland. In one episode Cavanagh and the celebrity of the week (I don't remember who it was now.) painted this location from a different perspective. I found the location and several photos of it through Google Maps.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Smiling 65 Galaxie 500 - ink+watercolor

mixed, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      My mom had a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 when I was little. It wasn't a red convertible like this one. It was a sensible white four-door hardtop bought just before I was born. My dad drove a little two-door Ford Falcon with an engine that barely fit in the engine compartment. 
      It may sound strange but I'll always associate the grille of the 65 Galaxie with my mom's big, bright smile. I guess it's a mental association akin to pareidolia in which our brains automatically search for pattern and familiarity in an otherwise random jumble of stimuli. It's part of what makes us see familiar shapes in clouds or faces in the burn pattern of toast. I suppose a lot of people see faces in cars - some cars more than others; it's probably the genesis of the Cars animated movies. Maybe everybody thinks of their mom when they see a particular car. I consider myself blessed to get to see mine smiling at me when I see this one.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

St. Paul's - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      This was an attempt at a very loose rendering of St. Paul's in London. It has it's merits. But it could be better. It's from a very old black-and-white photo from the '50s.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sunday Best - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      Now that Horror Month is over let's head back to church. This one was done from an old black-and-white photo. Family photos were taken very seriously at one time. I'm sure this family is wearing their finest clothes to show off one of their prized possessions, their new automobile. I'm pretty happy with this one, though I'd like to have been a little looser.