"Tenacious Tree"

"Tenacious Tree"
"Tenacious Tree" 7" x 5" watercolor-copyright 2013 Tina M. Welter

Monday, November 11, 2013

Finding the Right Angle...

In July, we were invited to go hiking in a wonderful little bit of wilderness near Dresden called the "Saechsische Schweiz" by the locals, or the "Switzerland of Saxony" for those of us whose tongue gets hopelessly twisted around so many "sches"!

I painted a 5"x 7" thank-you card for our friend who graciously took us there.  I was thinking today of how much what you focus on matters to a good painting and to having a good day.  I included the other photos I took of that amazing tree before I found the angle to really show off that tenacious tree growing from the rocks into the air.

I have been having a really hard time in this "limbo land" between Jeff graduating and finding our next direction.  My focus has been mostly on my fear of not having enough money and this doesn't make for a very inspiring future picture.  I am truly searching for a better angle.

So far, my best "angle" is to remember that we have been through many tight times before and things eventually got better.  I am perched on that resting spot today.  I felt good enough to up-date the blog, so that is a sign of a better view already.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Truly Bliss

This painting was inspired by a wedding we couldn't attend.   Instead of going to a wedding, we were flying home to see my Mom because she was seriously ill.   I wanted to do something special for this couple and I knew from the bridegroom that his fiancee loved cats.    

I don't like to use other people's photography because of the copyright issues, but when I saw the photo of those two kittens online, I knew it was the perfect inspiration for this painting.  I tried to find the owner of this photo, the best reference I found is that it was posted on "We Heart It.com" by Laufoo who credited Kerodragon.  So Kerodragon, thanks for the great photo and just so you know, I didn't make any money off this painting since it was a gift.

I loved painting this.  This is what I call "kitten therapy".  Just looking at those sweet little faces cheers me up.  Some people paint images that reflect their pain,  I like painting beautiful stuff to forget about the pain, and for a moment feel the bliss.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Collaboration

I had promised a painting for two dear young friends of mine as a wedding gift.  When I asked what they would prefer, a painting of swans or of the Salt Lake City LDS temple they were married in, the bride sweetly asked if she could have both.   !!!

I was a bit stumped.  I had never considered combining the two, since swans don't regularly wander around Temple Square in Utah.  My first thought was, "not possible", but being a people-pleaser I decided to try and make some sketches.

Imagine my delight when I discovered there was a reflecting pool in front of the SLC temple.  Aha!  I could combine my swans from an earlier painting, "Encounter" with a reflection of that iconic building.  My thanks to David C. Moore for the photograph that inspired me.  Sometimes, two or three heads are better than one.  I love how these ideas combined to create a much better painting.

I would also like to honor my dear parents in this post.  My Mom recently passed away in July, eleven months after my Dad.  They demonstrated such kindness and love to each other all of their lives, truly "Endless Love" represents them.  Thanks so much Mom and Dad.  I miss you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Xeroxed

If you have ever wondered if an artist can exactly duplicate a painting that they have created, then you are in luck, because I am showing a little example of my own exploration into this question.

I wanted to send two thank-you watercolor cards and to "save time" I thought I would try using the exact same reference photo.  The original rose photo is from morguefile.com, a great reference library with images artists can use for free.  My thanks to photographer Cohdra.

I transferred my line drawing onto both cards with tracing paper, so the images were both the same to start.  I started out with the usual light shades first, reserving the white highlights.  The first card, I was thinking more about the dark background.  The second card, I decided I wanted it lighter.  I liked the rose in the first card and tried to repeat it exactly in the second, but I don't think I succeeded in an exact match.  I just realized that I actually deleted a whole leaf on the second card!  Talk about mind tricks.

I think both cards are successful and I had a hard time deciding which I liked better.  Perhaps with oil paint I could be more exact, but it wasn't easy for me to do an exact copy with watercolor paints.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Odd Couple

Does anyone remember the old tv show the "Odd Couple"?  The show was about two male friends, Felix and Oscar, whose wives had thrown them out of their respective houses.  Felix liked his space painfully neat and Oscar was absolutely messy– the tension between the two friends equaled fun for the viewing audience.

When I saw the picture of Dr. Iroh, the cat with the peaceful Buddha smile and Maiyu with her intense, wide open eyes,  I loved the contrast between the personalities of these two cat friends.  I have been purposefully looking for ideas and images that have that productive tension, that "what happens next?" part of the story that keeps us interested and watching to see what will happen.

I tried a sketch first to see if I thought the image would work as a painting.  The arrangement and lighting on the cats could be a challenge, but I did like the sketch enough to consider it.  Thanks again to Jackie Gratton for this cool photo of your cats that inspired me.

If anyone else has some "cool cat" pictures of their own they want to share with me, let me know.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Elusively Allures

Finding just the right photo or idea to get me excited about the "next" painting does often feel like searching for the "Will-o'-the Wisp": "A person or thing  that is elusive or allures and misleads".   I recently spent several hours going through my photo library and then sketching from some images I found on the internet, trying to illustrate some ideas for my next paintings.

I usually prefer to use my own photos.  First, because I don't want to worry about copyright infringement, which is an issue I take seriously and second, I usually get the right light and subject if I take the photo myself.  Sometimes though, it is nice to get an infusion of new images and ideas.

In my search for copyright free images, I found an excellent blog, "Painting My World" by Karen Margulis where she suggested two sites to go to: WetCanvas.com and Morguefile.com.  These sites have images you can pay for and also copyright free images to use for artwork.  (If you use the image unchanged, you do need to contact the photographer.)  Eureka!  I felt I struck gold. 

Along with other ideas, I was looking for cats that had a "story" and this little ghostly kitten captured me and made me itch to get painting.  I loved his silvery-ghostly softness and the look in his eyes that he was ready to disappear at a moment's notice... my Will-o'-the Wisp!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Second Christmas

January was just plain rough.  What I thought was a sinus infection drained my energy all month.  I managed to keep going little by little and finally finished "House Guest" which was supposed to be my Christmas painting.  Jackie Gratton gets the photo credit for the adorable photo of their kitten Maiyu that inspired me.

February came and with weeks of unrelenting grey, I finally got a photo of the painting that was a reasonable exposure during a brief break in the clouds for 20 minutes of sunshine.  I am not kidding, that's all you get and then clouds lock back up for weeks.  I tried some photos when it was cloudy and they had too much of a blue-cast in them.  I just had to wait. 

The sinus infection turned out to be a tooth that needed a root canal...ouch!

This painting was fun to do, just very time consuming getting the lighting right on all the little figures. A good thing to remember for future paintings.   I have Jeff to thank for mentioning to add the star, it really gave it a finishing touch.   I hope you will enjoy a little "Second Christmas" spirit in February.  I know I needed it!