Going My Way (Best Friends)

mermaid painting process with sea turtle
This is where ‘Going My Way (Best Friends)’ started out – a pencil drawing and the darkest shadows sketched in. Notice the extra shoulder on the mermaid’s right (your left) shoulder. ¬†Or was it going to be a wisp of hair? I don’t know; it got painted out in the next step.
This photo is a little darker than the true colors of the painting. It shows laying in the colors of the background. I used a lot of Golden Acrylics Teal, unmixed in the clear water, and on the ocean floor is Golden Titanium White, Blick Pthalo Blue, and Windsor & Newton yellow (I don't know the name, the jar of paint is written in Chinese).
This photo is a little darker than the true colors of the painting. It shows laying in the colors of the background. I used a lot of Golden Acrylics Teal, unmixed in the clear water, and on the ocean floor is Golden Titanium White, Blick Pthalo Blue, and Windsor & Newton yellow (I don’t know the name, the jar of paint is written in Chinese). This step lets me know my silhouettes are correct. I also extend one of her fingers out to give her arm a better line. In the reference photo by @zeroeye on Instagram, her fingers curled under and we couldn’t see them.

A photo posted by Mario & Sel Cisneros (@zeroeye) on

The finished background is somewhat abstract. The sandy ripples are impressionistic and were created with the flat brush.
The finished background is somewhat abstract. The sandy ripples are impressionistic and were created with the flat brush, held with the narrow side vertical and pulled horizontally across the canvas. Ripples on the bottom of the sea floor are structurally similar to the waves on the ocean’s surface, aren’t they! If I put a horizon line in and some baby blue sky this pair could float through the clouds. ūüėČ
The shadows on the mermaid were the most challenging, but I trust my eye and mixed up the color I saw, not the color I thought it should be. And that choice is what gives her good form.
The shadows on the mermaid were the most challenging, but I trust my eye and mixed up the color I saw, not the color I thought it should be. And that choice is what gives her good form. Later I added some warmer tones, but here it’s all about massing the shapes.
I started to give her a rosy pink tail here, like my other popular mermaid painting. But it didn't pop. I love the coloring in this darker-than-reality photo, and will come back to this color scheme later. 'Going my way (Best Friends)' is actually quite a bit brighter and cheerier.
I started to give her a rosy pink tail here, like my other popular mermaid painting. But it didn’t pop. I love the ocean’s coloring in this darker-than-reality photo, and will come back to this color scheme later. Also her hair looks extra glossy at this step- this was the hair the model in the photo had. ‘Going my way (Best Friends)’ is actually quite a bit brighter and cheerier.
And here is the golden mermaid tail getting filled in. Quite a bit better and reminds me of a Koi fish tail. I haven't given her any extra dorsal or pectoral fins but maybe in the future I can have a more elaborate mermaid tail in a painting.
And here is the golden mermaid tail getting filled in. Quite a bit better and reminds me of a Koi fish tail. I haven’t given her any extra dorsal or pectoral fins but maybe in the future I can have a more elaborate mermaid tail in a painting.
Here I'm starting to refine the sea turtle by adding the segments on the shell and adding details.
Here I’m starting to refine the sea turtle by adding the segments on the shell and switching to a smaller brush, still a flat brush.
And here it is two brush strokes away from done. The lighting has blown out the top right but it just adds to the glowing effect of the sunlight filtering in the water.
And here it is two brush strokes away from done. The lighting has blown out the top right but it just adds to the glowing effect of the sunlight filtering in the water.
mermaid honu sea turtle painting
And here is the finished painting, with the mermaid and honu in conversation. It’s called ‘Going My Way (Best Friends)’ and the original painting, or prints, are available for sale at artistkatana.com

Hawaiian Watercolors

red torch ginger lizard watercolors
red torch ginger lizard watercolor
Here is a process photo of the Red Torch Ginger partially finished.
Here is a process photo of the Red Torch Ginger partially finished.

This watercolor was created as a study for the Red Torch Ginger that appears in the Tropical Spirit Mural I am working on.

Would you like to come paint Hawaiian flora and fauna with me? I am going to be teaching on the Big Island. Join the email list for more information as it arrives and come paint with me.

Dreamscapes on Clouds

dreamscape art acrylic painting
Float, a dreamscape where a cloud woman floats on a magic carpet above a green landscape.
dreamscape float woman on magic carpet
Here is how this Dreamscape looked about 3/4 finished. It has the magic carpet and the sun but its missing the defined landscape and I had originally painted the fabric folds. I also wanted softer clouds and more depth.
the hub tacoma wa art gallery wall artist
A few of the Dreamscapes on the gallery wall at the Hub, Tacoma WA during the art show Dreamscapes and Landscapes with Danielle Lusk.
Here it is hanging in my old house when it was half finished.
Here it is hanging in my old house when it was half finished. I always look at my paintings to see how it feels over time.

Painting a Mural The Halfway Point

Mural Art on the Big Island Hawai
Mural art in the Big Island Hawaii.

I am currently painting a mural in Kopoho Hawaii. It is the entire second story of a home that is to become a vacation rental and its a lot of fun and work at the same time.

I am using a four inch roller on the whole thing because I like to use the roller to blend and it gives me time to contemplate the space. The whole room is like a giant canvas for me.

gardenias and pineapple mural hawaii
The pineapples are almost ripe and the gardenias are emerging.

It features a blue sky that wraps the left hand side of the open floor plan and transitions to a golden sky in the kitchen, then to warm reds and purples, a full range of bright chakra colors.

From the stairwell rises a Monkeypod tree whose canopy fills the sleeping space. It will make you feel like you sleep in the trees.

Pineapple bushes flank the center bedroom, and haleconia, anthurium, taro, bamboo, and hibiscus flowers fill the corners.

It is about half finished.

mural vacation painter
Mural here in Puna, Hawaii. This photo was taken before the sunset got moved to another wall.

 

Looking at a Master Artist’s Paintings

Our friend walks across the lawn into the open air kitchen carrying   a stack of books. He had a friend who was an artist. Herb Kawainui Kane.

A Hawaiian artist who painted Hawaii, and what an amazing legacy.¬†His paintings are¬†of old Hawai’i, the romantic paradise,¬†and history like you read about in National Geographic. Historically accurate and visually poetic.

So I peruse these books for a few days and then we are dropped off at Kamehameh Hotel in Kona and there in the lobby is a beautiful display of his original paintings with captions from the books.

These paintings are amazing.

He’s an economical painter, each brushstroke effective, with smooth gradients when needed and the warm red underpainting exposed, too.

Along one clean blue edge a little ridge of paint, the only tiny excess a proof that we are indeed looking at paintings and not prints.

A sunset has a warm red underpainting with pale light blue scudding across and it creates the glowing red light of sunset before the blue sky dissolves. Gorgeous.

Everyone in the painting has brown skin, the dancers and the warriors and the people feel human and wonderful. These are classical paintings. They are very timeless. His lighting is like what if Caravaggio was an impressionist.

So inspiring!

herb kane hawaii artist
Herb Kane’s Hawaiian artwork is so pretty. This one is my favorite.

 

The Moon Goddess Over Greece Painting

moon goddess
Moon Goddess Painting in progress.
radiant heat josan pocket venus reference photo
I took this photo of my friend Pocket Venus, of Radiant Heat, here with her fire spinning nucleus, to use as a reference photo.
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Here is the moon goddess sketched in with Greek inspired scene only suggested.

This is a gallery wrapped canvas which means it doesn’t need a frame, it is ready to hang right up. Black and white acrylic paint create the strength of this painting, and a small touch of silver create the stars, which are small and don’t appear in the photos. This was a commission painting that is now hanging in its new home.

Before it was even finished someone else wanted to purchase it! I told her I could paint a similar painting, and we could put her face and favorite landscape in the painting instead. Something like that would go for $1300, if we are looking at a similar size (36×48″).

Greece artwork painting Moon Goddess
Moon Goddess Over Greece 36 x 48″ acrylic on canvas.

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Montessori Printable Sets

Parts of a flower Monocot montessori
A tulip is a Monocot because it has petals in sets of three.
Parts of a flower parts of a tulip parts of a rose montessori.
These are Printables, ready for your classroom with a custom order from Diamond Montessori.
Parts of a Dicot flower monte
Parts of a Dicot- kids are easily able to absorb new vocabulary. Montessori teaches them the words in a clear and beautiful way.

My friend Ashley and I have been working hard on creating beautiful language learning materials for Diamond Montessori and are delighted to announce they are now available.

 

I’m very pleased with everything I’ve illustrated and Ashley’s writing is perfect for kids, and it’s all to Montessori specifications- beautiful, clear, and straightforward, to inspire little ones to grow and learn.

 

 

Painting Lake Joy Plein Air

When we first moved up to Washington a few years ago, I did these paintings. I was talking about them and couldn’t find them on my website anywhere so I’m sharing¬†them today. These ones sold right away when I shared them on https://m.facebook.com/artistkatana

Original acrylic painting sold for $75
This is the same composition, painted a second time, the next day at the same hour. Acrylic on canvas board, sold for $75.
Original acrylic landscape painting photographed plein air
I painted this original acrylic painting plein air and photographed it inside the scene.
Palette for plein air original acrylic painting
This shows the palette I used for the painting. Cyan, path all blues, titanium white and three greens, burnt umber.
Plein air painting two versions
I used the same palette for the second painting, and this version was smoother than the first day, speaking to the power of iterations and artistic studies.

How to Fix a Dent in Canvas Artwork

I’m incredibly clumsy which is one of the reasons why I really like painting acrylic on canvas. It’s durable and it’s basically Katana proof. Once I even sliced open one of my canvases (how did that even happen?) and had to stitch it up and paint over it.

Don’t worry, a fix for a dent is a lot easier. It just happened to me so I took some photos to share the repair.

I just finished painting a landscape and put it down on a table; I¬†didn’t even see¬†the keys that were sitting on the table. The keys left a dent in the surface of the artwork which doesn’t look good.

An unsightly dent in the finished artwork.
An unsightly dent in the finished artwork. Don’t worry we can fix this. I took a picture with glare so you can see the dent more easily!
Here is the dented canvas from the back. In a previous life it was a demo canvas so I used the back to show an example.
Here is the dented canvas from the back. In a previous life it was a demo canvas. I used the back to demonstrate a brushstroke which is why there’s paint here!¬†

Take a note of that curved line because in the next picture you can’t see the dent.

Repair ruined canvas art by adding water on the back
Just add water to the back of the canvas. It will bead up, so massage it a little to make it soak in. And just like Kelly Clarkson, it’s Already Gone.
The canvas dent is fixed
And now the canvas dent is fixed!