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

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.

 

Painting the City of Angels in Acrylic Paint

I created the City of Angels and it is now licensed to Paint Nite for other Paint Nite artists to teach it across the continent!

Here are the main steps. While I was painting it, I started with a smoggy gray but went back and brightened all the colors near the end (not shown). Learn from my process and paint yours with fully saturated color from the beginning!

paint the background in pale blue acrylic paint
Paint the background in pale blue. I mixed the acrylic paint color on the canvas so that it would streak.
use pthalo blue and titanium white to paint rectangles I use golden acrylics
Using pthalo blue acrylic paint and white (in my home studio I use Titanium white from Golden acrylics), create different shades and layer on many rectangles to create the idea of buildings in the background. It looks grey in this photo but you really want it to pop so use blue.
use black brushstrokes to create the painting ground
Use black acrylic paint to create a fuzzy ground. I start the brushstroke at the bottom of the canvas and let up at the end of the stroke to create blades of grass. Again, this photo is quite desaturated.
palm trees painting
Place your palm trees with blue-black lumps.
paint palm tree trunks in acrylic paint
Pull the acrylic paint in downward brush strokes to create the ragged ends of the palm trees, than use horizontal brushstrokes to create the tree trunks. They can bend and wobble as they grow.
Use green and yellow paint to add the highlights into the grass and the treetops
I missed a few photos adding the green and brightening the blue. Hopefully you didn’t use any black in the background so you didn’t have to adjust it later. Once you’ve got the shadow parts of thee palm trees in, use green and yellow to fluff up the tops of the trees and brighten the grass.

Why Beginners Are Good At Painting

Every week I see people paint. Some beginners, some with drawing experience, some who are artists and some who haven’t painted¬†in years. Their skill doesn’t correlate to whether or not they will create a good painting.

There is something beautiful in each one, the more I look the easier it is to find those moments. They are often surprises; those opportunities where paint suddenly transforms and becomes more than just a mark.

Good painters keep painting until they reach such a moment. Good painters are willing to try something new; they switch gears- sometimes scraping away extra paint and going for another round. Good painters have many rounds of failed moments and they kept working at their art. Good painters sometimes spend hours and hours painting, good painters find painting to be rewarding even if they go unrecognized. Good painters are willing to let their ability, where its at, to be enough to enjoy painting itself. Good painters play with the paint, and fuel their painting with their feelings. Good painters Paint, and the process is the painting.

Good painting is not about achieving photographic images or pleasing every viewer or even pleasing the artist. Good painting isn’t perfection and organization and order.

Beginners are open to possibilities and to play, so beginners are good painters.

 

 

Top Five Books For Learning to Draw and Paint

If you cannot draw or paint to save your life, these are the books you would need to get you out of that life threatening situation.

So if you feel like you don’t have any talent, work your way through this library, one book at a time, and you’ll build up the skills that will make people think you’re talented. Talent is just dedication to learning the skills with a bit of obsession.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Betty Edwards
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Betty Edwards

Edwards has dozens of exercises that will be a creative catalyst to have you going from stick figures to realistic accurate portraits in mere months.

Being Visual by Bette Fetter
Being Visual by Bette Fetter

Being Visual : Raising a Generation of Innovative Thinkers
Bette Fetter 

Discover how children learn to draw and learn to teach them in a way that lets them draw freely and expand their visual thinking. Fetter is both an artist and a Montessori teacher.

Color and Light by James Gurney
Color and Light by James Gurney

Color & Light
James Gurney

I’ve loved¬†James Gurney’s art since I ordered a Dinotopia book from Scholastic in fourth grade. He’s a master of articulating the way color and light change the objects we’re all familiar with, from the way light filters through trees to the reason why telephone wires look black in front of the sky and white¬†in front of dark buildings. You’ll have to get this book to learn more ūüėČ

Figure Drawing for all its worth by Andrew Loomis
Figure Drawing for all its worth by Andrew Loomis

Figure Drawing for All it’s Worth 
Andrew Loomis 

From the golden age of illustration comes the advice from a master artist who breaks down the complexities of the human body so that you can memorize them and understand the anatomy. Absolutely necessary for anyone whose work depicts a human figure.

Anatomy for the Artist JenŇĎ Barcsay
Anatomy for the Artist by
JenŇĎ Barcsay

Anatomy for the Artist
JenŇĎ Barcsay

If you know the bones and muscle structure of the body you can draw any pose from memory. Drawing from memory frees up your compositions and allows you to create more directly from your imagination. This book is the replacement for classical art instruction, as this kind of figure drawing is no longer taught in most modern art institutions as postmodernism made this virtuoso knowledge appear obsolete.

The Paint Nite Process

This May I started teaching for Paint Nite Seattle and I love it. I am so delighted that I have dozens of people to paint with every week and I feel so proud of them when they’re taking photos with their finished paintings!

Paint nite Seattle

On Tuesdays I’m at Casino Caribbean, which has an excellent menu of Chinese food; black pepper beef with bok Choy is my favorite. Our servers are fun and friendly and they remember my drink and make everyone feel happy. They put the Master Painting up on the big screen TVs and projector so everyone can see it! I think that helps everyone get good results and it’s a fantastic time.

Jet city Adeline's paint nite seattle
The Jet City Adeline’s painting – a big group of 11 at one of the events at the Harmon Tap Room!

The Harmon Tap Room at 204 St Helens in Tacoma is also wonderful. The staff is always singing along with the music and they are friendly and helpful and always make sure I eat before I leave and that my sound system is working perfectly. The food is totally comfort food and the place always smells like bread because they brew onsite!

Paint nite Seattle katana Leigh
We will be painting this July 1 at Famous Dave’s!

And next month join me¬†at Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que¬†in South Center and will be painting Nile Sunrise.

 

 

New Brush Pens From JetPens.com

image I love getting mail, especially new art supplies! A good brush pen is hard to find, so when my friend posted one of her lovely drawings on Facebook and divulged her source I ordered a sampler. They arrived promptly from JetPens.com and they were not excessively packaged. One of them came with one ink refill, the other ones appear to be disposable. I’ve loved calligraphy since forth grade when I ordered a Scholastic calligraphy book that came with nib pens and started a small trend in our class. I only wish I spoke Mandarin and Japanese.¬†image image image image image

These are the kind of brush pens that make the best lines.
These are the kind of brush pens that make the best lines.
I love this pen. ;)
I love this pen. ūüėČ
I love the calligraphy and so I copied it the best I could from all the packaging. Apologies - the only foreign language I speak is English.
I love the calligraphy and so I copied it the best I could from all the packaging. Apologies – the only foreign language I speak is English.
I bought this sampler of pens from JetPens.com despite being unable to interpret the words because a friend had told me about them and she has the clear understanding.
I bought this sampler of pens from JetPens.com despite being unable to interpret the words because a friend had told me about them and she has the clear understanding.

Watercolor Mastery ToolKit

I love painting with watercolor, so I’m sharing with¬†you the master painter’s list of watercolor supplies – beyond tempera paint. Its easy to paint beautifully with these art supplies.¬†¬†Tempera paint never mixes into water as beautifully as the sumi-e ink in the opening sequence of¬†Marco Polo, for example.

So spare yourself the disadvantage of poor materials and pick up some Windsor and Newton watercolors and the other supplies on this list.

ART SUPPLIES FOR WATERCOLOR PAINTING

Art supplies

You can buy all of these Art Materials on Amazon. Listed in no particular order.

Painters’ Tape

Tape the edges of your paper for a clean edge and your paper won’t slide around. Painters’ tape is better than masking tape, which will work if you must paint¬†now.

painters tape
Painters tape provides clean lines on your painting surface

Watercolor Paper

I bought Bee Paper 100% Rag 140# Cold Press Watercolor Paper Pack, 50 Sheets per Pack from Amazon and was pretty happy with it. I trust Fabriano brand – Fabriano Studio Watercolor Pad 300G 50 Shts- any thick quality watercolor paper will do.

watercolor paper
Watercolor paper by Fabriano. I also love Arches for commissions and special occasions.

Artist Quality Watercolor Paints

watercolor paint set by Reeves
Reeves watercolor paint set. Upgrade to Windsor & Newton
watercolor paint
A travel kit of watercolor paints by Windsor & Newton. 

 Cheap but Good Brushes

Loew-Cornell Brush Set Value Pack

watercolor brushes
Inexpensive nylon brushes are fantastic.

Nylon brushes are the best ones, this pack has a variety that includes nylon as well. I buy cheap ones at Wal-Mart (the only thing I actually to Wal-Mart for, although I inevitably end up getting other things too :p).

Sketchbook

Draw it first in your sketchbook and make sure your painting will be a success.

I love a good sketchbook and Canson is a very reliable brand.
I love a good sketchbook and Canson is a very reliable brand. I like to pay $8-$10 for a good sketchbook and I always buy the hardcover black ones when they’re on sale.

Canson Universal Sketch Paper Pad 5.5 x 8.5 “: 100 Sheets

Oil Pastels

Oil pastels are dust-free and provide a beautiful outline to fill with fun watercolor washes.
Oil pastels are dust-free and provide a beautiful outline to fill with fun watercolor washes.

Sakura 25-Piece Cray-Pas Junior Artist Assorted Color Oil Pastel Set
The drawing won’t disappear when you¬†start painting, because these pastels resist watercolor. $5.29

Art supplies for watercolor painting

Alpine Meadows Acrylic Painting

With this painting, the smooth, cool blue sky contrasted with the textured wild flowers and fluffy white clouds create depth and a feeling of being on top of the world.

mixing a gradient with acrylic paint.
Paint a stripe of pthalo blue at the top of the canvas. Add white the closer you get to the middle and then mix in more blue and then a little yellow to make teal.I gradient mixed with acrylic paint for a sky.

Here is the finished gradient from dark to light in the middle and then back to dark.

how to paint a cloud with acrylic paint
Then create a small cloud near the top by painting a white horizontal line and stippling white dots into a bubbly cloud form.
painting a horizontal line with acrylic paint.
Here it is step-by-step, first the irregular horizontal line brushstrokes and begin stippling dotted brush strokes upwards on the cloud.

 

The middle of the cloud should be tallest so stipple most brushstrokes in the middle.
The middle of the cloud should be tallest so stipple most brushstrokes in the middle. If you use your fingertips you can get a good effect.
painting a mountain in acrylic.
Using blue and yellow, with a little bit of red to make it darker, Paint a wavery line for the mountains’ edge from left to right, peaking in the middle right hand side of the canvas.
Fill it in with the pthalo blue and yellow mixture of acrylic paint.
Fill it in to the bottom with the pthalo blue and yellow mixture of acrylic paint.
Stipple a tree trunk crookedly straight line with a blend of black, red, blue. blue.
Stipple a tree trunk in a crookedly straight line with a blend of black, red, and blue. It should be most narrow at the top and widest at the bottom.
Some short, curved lines - like the bristles of a mascara wand- become the branches of a tree.
Some short, curved lines – like the bristles of a mascara wand, become the branches of a tree. Add downward strokes for small branches. Alpine trees are short even when full grown.
Stipple green on the branches to create foliage.
Stipple green on the branches to create foliage and needles.
Fill out the spaces on a tree.
Fill out the spaces on the tree with green dots. Add more white and yellow to the little bit of blue to get a light green.
Stipple red and yellow dots and let it blend with green.
Stipple red and yellow dots and let it blend with the green for variety. These are the Indian paintbrushes, arnica and lupines of the alpine meadow. Mix red, blue and white for purple flowers, red and white for pink flowers. Pick your favorite colors!
Keep going adding more green and even some white Until the whole alpine meadow is covered in flowers.
Keep going adding more green and even some white until the whole alpine meadow is covered in flowers.

Instagram Art Update

I post regularly on Instagram so here are some of the paintings I’ve recently photographed.

 

Day two of posting three paintings a day: Kitten Contemplation sold for $97

A photo posted by Katana Leigh (@katanaleigh) on

Three Art Pieces in Five Days: b. Kitten Curious acrylic on canvas board $3500

A photo posted by Katana Leigh (@katanaleigh) on

Three #Art Pieces for 5 days! Day 1: a. Mini Autumn Tree in a Gold Frame $25 free shipping

A photo posted by Katana Leigh (@katanaleigh) on

#Kitchen #Painted! Artlovelight.com

A photo posted by Katana Leigh (@katanaleigh) on