Linda Halcomb's Blog

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March 14, 2019 March 14, 2019

I have mentioned several times that I walk most mornings at Ft Benjamin Harrison State Park. It is the site of an old army base and has wonderful wooded areas and is home to ducks, herons, squirrels, deer and beautiful birds. Did I say deer? There are lots and lots and lots of deer! One Sunday morning I saw 6 deer and less than two minutes later 5 deer. The invasive honeysuckle bushes have been cleared and it was very easy to see the deer enjoying their Sunday Brunch.

So why am I telling you this? For many months I have been struggling with the direction I should take with my painting – realistic, representational, or abstract? Animals, still life, abstract or landscape? I have had success with my abstracts and I still love color so I will continue to paint abstracts but they say you will have the most true success (i.e. happiness!) painting what you love. I decided to spend some time painting animals and nature. I always feel peaceful and happy when I’m petting my dogs or walking in the woods laughing at the playful squirrels or listening to birdsong.

Recently I painted two small watercolors of deer. I started with a loose background over a primary color “mingle” and then painted the deer. I just made up the backgrounds and focused on summer and fall colors.


The deer have slightly different looks and some are definitely enjoying the bounty of the park more than others. It was fun and I just relaxed as I painted. The paintings are a beginning. I hope you enjoy them.

 

February 27, 2019 February 28, 2019

Last fall I took a workshop from a wonderful artist named Sandy Maudlin. She is a painter that uses Yupo as her surface and she typically uses watercolor and acrylic paints in various ways and combinations. Her techniques are what you would call experimental. For her “tape batik” paintings she uses tape to mask her paper as she builds up several layers of color. Her focus is on value (range of light to dark) and she asks her students to start with no more than four values. The color builds up throughout the process and she may finish an acrylic painting with a final layer of watercolor (on Yupo you could not do the opposite!) to achieve the darkest values. The end result has a batik-like appearance.

She starts with a black and white enlargement of the photo you have taken and uses gray scale markers to adjust the image to make a good composition. Then the painting and masking begins…in this image you can see my painting before I applied the darkest values and removed the tape. Looks pretty shocking doesn’t it?

I chose to work with scenes that I had photographed at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park. A de-commissioned Army base, the park is now a peaceful place and I walk there as often as possible. I painted a bridge that runs over a small creek and was not unhappy with the results. As I get older I am more tolerant with myself and value the learning as much as the result. Here is my final painting:


Bridge at Ft. Ben State Park

For more about Sandy look here.

For more about Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park look here.

For more about Yupo look here.

 

February 11, 2019 February 11, 2019

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 9:27 am
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Well we had two inches of snow yesterday but the temperature is rising and rain is due today. What erratic winter weather we are having. Keeps me inside drinking hot tea, reading and planning my next art project.

When I was in Europe this summer I bought a set of watercolor pencils in Edinburgh but I only did one small painting. I was in Paris at the end of my trip and was wandering around my neighborhood (close to the Sorbonne) taking photos. I stumbled on a small church named Eglise – St Medard. I went back to the apartment and painted this small painting in the sketchbook I bought at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I didn’t have a brush so I had to paint with a Q-tip and my finger. The day was bright and sunny but the door was in a partially shaded nook where the sun was dancing through the leaves. It gave me a feeling of comfortable old age and nostalgia. I “cleaned the painting up” by using an ink pen to outline. All in all I enjoyed the challenge even if my door is a little crooked!

Eglise St-Medard Paris Sep 2018

 

 

January 16, 2017 January 17, 2018

Filed under: Abstract,Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 9:43 am
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Brrrr! It is freezing outside…good day to paint…Once again I have been inspired by my blogging friend Barry Combs. Barry did a workshop and taught his students a very practical approach to create abstract paintings. I decided to use the first exercise done during his class which is described here . It is to create an abstract using one color (he used Sepia). Step one is to create a drawing on your paper. Barry used overlapping fruit. I am using AGAIN circles and lines. (PS can you tell I have a degree in math from Purdue University? Love the geometric shapes and am always looking for ways to integrate them in my art!)

 

Sepia Abstract Exercise 1 jan2018

 

 

During the next step you paint most of the shapes with a mid-value mix leaving some white for contrast. Because, again, I had some “felting” of the paper I went over the shapes more than once but I think this is still a mid-value.

 

Sepia Abstract Practice 2 Jan2018

 

During Step 3 I applied a darker value of sepia. Just a tidbit: One reason I did this exercise is because Sepia and Payne’s Gray have always been two of my favorite colors, especially when used together to create rough wooden structures.

 

Sepia Abstract Practice 3 Jan2018

 

Finally you add a fourth layer of very dark color. Barry has taught a very simple, straight forward approach that works well for me right now as I reenter the world of watercolor. I enjoyed creating this little work of art and plan to try the second process described in Barry’s post today or tomorrow…so on to color and scaling up!

 

Sepia Abstract Practice 4 Jan 2018

 

 

 

 

January 14, 2018 January 15, 2018

Filed under: Abstract,Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 10:39 am
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Happy New Year to Everyone! I have been slogging along trying to find time to draw and paint but haven’t been very successful. The weather has been frigid and we’ve had high winds and snow. With the new year I have had lots to do and am struggling to maintain my exercise routine with the nasty weather. Very stressful. I have been sketching with a set of Micron pens with sepia ink but I keep getting distracted and haven’t finished anything. I tried a simple watercolor exercise last weekend and let it get away from me. I just created a lovely painting of mud…quite discouraging!

This weekend I was brave enough to get out my watercolors again. I have a new set of paints that I wanted to try. I did some color testing earlier and found the colors to be nice, even vibrant. I would say my exercise was partially successful. At least I got paint on a brush and finished something!

 

Circles and Lines exercise 01142018

 

You may see more of these “circle and line” exercises since this is an activity I learned from and artist named Judi Betts at a workshop a few years ago and I love it. You work with versions of the three primary colors and I do this activity occasionally because it lets me warm-up before more serious painting, test new materials and learn about new colors and color mixing. I did learn two things.

I used a 6 in X 9 in block of Canson Aquarelle paper. Last weekend I used it and I glazed pure unmixed colors. Some sections had 10 or more glazes. Both last weekend when I glazed my colors and this weekend when I mixed my colors I saw some “felting” or “pilling” of the paper. I think I work too wet to use this paper for my larger works.

I also used a new set of paints. I ordered them by accident but the reds were vibrant during color testing so I want to continue to work with them. They are called MYARTSCAPE artist quality watercolors. The reds are carmine and vermillion which I don’t normally use. What I found, I do like the colors but if I had a blob of paint remaining on my palette it did not reconstitute well after it dried. I kept finding small particles of dried paint in my brush while painting. The paint looked like it was smooth and well dissolved but wasn’t. I had several hard lines streaking through my painting that I had to try to smooth out.

So with both the paper and paint I would say I had mixed results but I guess that’s why I do this kind of experiment. At least my little painting uses warm colors…good to see on this very frigid day.

 

May 5, 2017 May 5, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 6:59 am
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This is the last sketch from my recent driving trip. After my youngest daughter joined me for the last week of my trip I did not set aside much time to sketch. On my last day in Charleston I walked the Battery area looking for manageable subjects. The houses there are beautiful, majestic and complex. I wanted to capture the feeling but didn’t have time for anything too large or impressive. AND I  wanted a house shaded by trees and decorated with sunlight dancing through dappled green.

My sketch was done with my watercolor pencils and crayons using a small brush (probably a #4) on a 6 inch X 8 inch watercolor sketchbook. And, unlike my earlier sketches, I used an ink pen to outline shapes since the sketch is so busy. This paper is heavy but I can’t work too wet or the surface “pills” and becomes hard to work with. I hope you can feel the sunshine! Its rainy in Indianapolis now and I could use a big dose of sunshine and warmth!

 

South Battery Charleston 042017

 

April 30, 2017 April 30, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 10:14 am
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Last Sunday I returned from a driving trip to the American South. I started In Lexington, Kentucky, next visited Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, then on to Charleston, South Carolina and finished in Asheville, North Carolina. It was an interesting and educational look at history, culture, natural environments and my personality. I was able to maintain a relaxed, adaptable approach to my trip (not really my type A norm). I loved the experience and was contented and able to enjoy what could have been a very stressful two weeks.

I have a new sketch for you. I did this sketch at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are remarkable and they have a large woodlands area that I would like to explore further. One focal point is a sculpture made from living plants called the Earth Goddess. It is a huge bust of a beautiful woman with her hand extended and water flowing from it. In April the plants are tan, beige, light green but I understand that the Earth Goddess is very colorful later in the year. I loved it. I did a quick sketch and then touch-up later in my room. The foliage was very complex and challenging in this garden. Again I worked with watercolor pencil and later watercolor crayon on a small watercolor sketchbook. I hope you enjoy.

 

Earth Goddess 042017

 

April 15, 2017 April 17, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 5:38 am
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I just spent a week in Atlanta. It was a wonderful week. I didn’t even get frustrated with the traffic and crowds both of which were HEAVY!!!!! One of the highlights was my visit to Zoo Atlanta and their amazing giant pandas. They have two adults and their funny, furry, fascinating 11 week old cubs. The Mom and cubs are together and Dad is in a separate enclosure (he was pacing and tumbling and rolling). I did a quick sketch of Mom munching away on bamboo. I used my watercolor crayons and a small brush. It was very quick and spontaneous. FUN!

 

Panda Mom Zoo Atlanta 20170410

 

April 9, 2017 April 13, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 6:37 am
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On Sunday I had a fabulous day. I visited the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY and loved it. We had beautiful weather and I was able to wander the grounds to see all of the magnificent horses at my leisure. I saw the Parade of Champions (included Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and Standardbreds). All had won many races, were housed in lush quarters and were made available to see and touch. I also saw the Breed’s Show and was amazed by some of what I saw. The show included 3 breeds I have never encountered. One was America’s one and only draft horse. They are called the American Cream Draft and are a beautiful rich creamy color. There are only about three hundred in the world. Once again we were able to get up close and personal with the horses. It was wonderful to see how gentle the horses were with very small children.

I also took an hour long trail ride that allowed me to go back into the farm, riding around the large paddocks and fields and seeing the horses that were not on display. I had my sketchbook with me and was able to start a sketch that I finished later. I had my Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons with me and used them to fill in the color in my sketch. Much less messy than my watercolor paints. Hope you enjoy!

 

Mare and Foal KHP 20170409

 

 

 

March 30, 2017 April 1, 2017

I always have fun painting my abstracts using watercolor. I use a very wet, spontaneous process and drop paint, spritz paint, tilt my paper and generally just “go with the flow” literally. My new painting is titled Celebration 1. With Easter approaching I have been thinking about all that holiday entails, including Mardi Gras. And that is one of the most exciting celebrations in the world! Full of color, movement and life. That was my inspiration and I hope that you are able to see that I have attempted to simulate confetti falling through my painting.

Celebration 1 03302017

Celebration 1 – 12″ X 16″, 140 # CP Arches, watercolor

 

I am very careful to let my layers dry completely between painting sessions. When I do this you can often see the layers and feel depth. This painting has seven layers of paint. It is painted on Arches cold press 140 pound paper and for this painting I used primarily Dr Martin’s Liquid Watercolors. They come in a dropper bottle and retain their vibrant color as they dry. I gave it a splash or two of white gouache and then grated some watercolor crayon to create the confetti and spritzed with water to adhere the crayon. Now its done…lets celebrate!