Linda Halcomb's Blog

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March 31, 2012 April 1, 2012

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:18 am
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My daughter had surgery so I have been caregiving and chauffering for a few days. I got back to artmaking on Friday. About once a year, I do a class for various non-profit groups that I call Watercolor 101. As all of you know it is expensive to acquire artmaking materials, especially if you’re starting from scratch. I started doing this class for organizations I support, so that people can have a hands-on experience with watercolor without buying any materials. I use materials that I have or materials that the Watercolor Society of Indiana has for Outreach Programs. I originally used a geometric design approach that I learned in a workshop given by Judi Betts. It works really well and generally a small watercolor can be completed in about 2 hours if I have the design predrawn on the paper. I used this approach in the background for this painting. I have my “students” working on a warm and a cool painting at the same time.

Apples and Circles #3 - The background approach was learned from Judi Betts

I want to have a second approach ready. It would need to be simple, straight forward and easy to paint. Also, it helps inspire future painters if the result is attractive. I have been pondering how to live life and what adds fun and value to life. I decided the pieces would have to have something living like a person or a dog as the focal point and that food and drink or nature seem to consistently bring enjoyment to life. I started flipping through magazines because I want the newbies to find three simple people or items in photos in magazines. The idea is to use tracing paper to do a rough, imperfect design from these perfect magazine photos. I did that and then did an initial underpainting using cad yellow, cad red and viridian. After transferring the design to the watercolor paper,  you paint in light washes, glazing to build up colors. With beginners I have found that it is good to finish by outlining with markers – it fixes many flaws and makes a nice finished piece. Here is my trial work – too complicated for a beginner but you get the idea.

WC 101 Exercise

I was fascinated by the idea of a very finished, business woman standing on a street corner eating an ice cream treat. I did not include the hibiscus in the original design but added them later to add color and to tie in the edges of the paper. My mind is focused on the words “Live Life” – how better to live life than with a lovely cup of tea or an ice crteam sundae? We’ll see where this goes…



September 7, 2010 September 8, 2010

Filed under: Collage,Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 5:53 pm
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I am growing in appreciation for art in B&W…in all its forms. Photographs like those of Ansel Adams amaze with their texture and depth, drawings by the Renaissance artists are full of movement and power and abstracts stimulate our little gray cells. I completed another abstract collage and have one more in process.

Collage Exercise 09072010

This one fell into place easily.  I tore the first piece of paper smaller than I wanted so I started playing around with the “left over” shapes and I fell in love with the powerful black shape you see here. Focusing on balance, repetition and line I completed this piece without a lot of struggle. (Maybe I should have struggled more????!!) It was fun and my husband said “I think you’re getting it!”  This is fun and I think it will improve my paintings, even if it is all in my subconcious.


August 29, 2010 August 29, 2010

Filed under: Acrylics,Collage,Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:16 am
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Did you ever do a painting or exercise that looked perfect the first time but you just couldn’t believe it? This happened to me yesterday.  I was working on my second collage in order to exercise the new insights I gained from reading the book by Edward Betts. I used the left over acrylics from the day before to paint a textured background on Bristol Board. Then I used my torn gray scale papers to layout my first attempt at a composition.  HMMM, this looks pretty good. But I can improve it, right? I don’t know this looks pretty good… Well to make a long story short, I could not improve it and I could not recreate it! Of course!  After several hours over 2 or 3 working sessions I created a new composition. It is fine and I do like it but boy was I frustrated that I could not recreate my original work.

Collage Exercise 08282010

I like the simplicity and cleanness of this design. I am doing these exercises on Bristol Board because I don’t like working on it and I am trying to use up the stock that I have. Have a lovely late summer day!


July 20, 2010 July 20, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 8:28 am
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Last week was super busy. My grandson is now in Afghanistan and he sent a “rush” request for things he needed. I made two shipments to him and started a third. We do not know where he is at in Afghanistan but he has moved into the countryside. AND last Saturday we had a shower for the fiance of my oldest grandson. They are getting married in mid-August. The shower was lovely and hosted by my youngest daughter who lives near South Bend and works for Notre Dame University. Her birthday was in late June so we ALSO celebrated that. Whew!!! It was a hectic week.

Ian and Jakob's Fantasy Forest Paintings

My youngest grandsons are staying with me for a few days so we did an art project yesterday.  I saw this activity on someone’s blog and I tried to find it again so I could give them credit but I couldn’t find the post. I thought this exercise was really interesting and created beautiful pieces so we gave it a try.

Jakob working on his Fantasy Forest

Ian starting Step 2

We wet our paper and just painted in colors allowing them to mingle and merge.   Then we drew in the outline of trees and painted the negative spaces. We did this again later and wound up with our very own versions of a Fantasy Forest.

Grandma's Fantasy Forest


February 8, 2010 February 9, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 8:03 am
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I have finished reading the Stephan Quiller book Color Choices but I have not done the last set of exercises. The first exercise asks us to paint the way a scene looks using four different time points during the day. I wanted to paint a birdbath in our side yard when it was capped  by a crown of snow. Well we have SNOW!

Birdbath at 9am

Sunday I took three digital photos of the scene (sorry Stephan the day is too short for four). For me this would be an exercise to work on composition and color.

Yesterday I printed the photos, worked out a composition and painted the first two paintings.  For my composition I wanted to include four elements – the birdbath, the tree, the black trellis and dried hydrangea flowers that were still on my bush. I think the dried hydrangeas are quite beautiful and I leave them on my bush to liven up the winter landscape. All four items are spread out and I had to find a way to compress them to make a pleasing painting.

Birdbath at 2pm

At 9 am the colors are stronger and the shadows more bold. At 2 pm the colors are slightly more subdued but still colorful. I tried to stay focused on the direction of the light and the shadows both direct and reflected. Today I plan to paint the third painting. It was taken at 6pm and is much more subdued and almost monotone. My challenge will be to make it vibrant.


February 5, 2010 February 6, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 9:07 am
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Snow storm outside. All of our activities have been cancelled so I decided to stay indoors and paint. I am starting on a watercolor based on the drawing I did in Irina’s Drawing for Painters class. I think you remember that I took Irina’s drawing class at the end of last year as well. We did a similar exercise. She set out props – a foot on a spring, a wooden candlestick and the mannequin. We picked a landscape and were to incorporate the artifacts in an imaginative way. I picked a photo of a swirling golden, light-filled cave carved by water. The photo was from National Geographic magazine.

Drawing Class Exercise

I incorporated the mannekin since the eroded stone walls reminded me of fabric. I sat the mannekin on the spring and the spring on the candlestick. This was the first of the drawing exercises that I actually tried to paint but at Irina’s encouragement I gave it a shot. It is not a great painting, it is not my favorite painting but it was one of those challenges that I accepted and I’m glad I did. It got me out of my routine, out of my box, stretched my boundaries. Had enough of my “Self Help Speak?” Anyway it was good for me. I had fun since I had no expectations. Here’s the result.

Painting from Exercise


January 9, 2010 January 10, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 1:59 pm
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Well, I worked last night and finished my “Quiller” exercise. I was asked to paint 6 small paintings using Winsor Violet, Manganese Blue and Cadmium Orange. I was asked to make one color dominant, one intermediate and one subordinate and to vary values and intensity. I was reasonably happy with the results with one exception. The violet and orange are SO aggressive that I had a fairly hard time making the blue dominant. I am not sure I succeeded at all in this respect. Any ideas?

Just a note: the house in the third painting reminds me of “Green Gables” on Prince Edward Island. I had exactly the same feeling this painting gives when I was there. This was strictly an accident!

Watercolor Exercise - Triad Color Structure