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 6, 2010 September 7, 2010

Filed under: Acrylics,Collage,Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 5:49 pm
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I have continued to practice the art of collage. Composition…values…abstract…representative…SO MUCH to think about! At this point I am still playing with black, 3 grays and white. I think I have two more collages in me before I go bonkers from lack of color, color, color. Anyway, my latest collage did not emerge organically. I went into the piece with the idea of doing a field of flowers. As my husband said when asked if it looked like a field of flowers. I think I was “sort of” successful.

Field of Flowers Collage Exercise

But a good time was had by all (being only me).


March 11, 2010 March 12, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 8:38 am
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Yesterday was very busy with meetings. I was able to paint sporadically as I ran in and out of the house going from meeting to meeting. I wanted to experiment with the learnings I had earlier in the week so I tried painting Orchid with various materials and processes. In this first painting I sprayed my 140# Arches watercolor paper and splashed on some color after using a small amount of mask to put in some (hopefully) natural shapes. Then I tried to paint an orchid with the Sumi-e brushes and watercolor. My paper was cold press and this paper and the brushes were a mis-match. I would run out of paint right after starting and would lose my stroke. I had to do a final touch-up with watercolor brushes to finish.

Watercolor paper, Sumi-e brushes

For the second exercise I used watercolor paper, brushes and paint. I tried to use the Sumi-e grip and stroke throughout.

Watercolor paper, paint, brush - Sumi-e stroke and grip

I think I’ve decided to focus on learning Sumi-e and delay experimentation. This approach seems like it may be a more efficient use of time.


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 12, 2010 January 13, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 12:45 pm
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Michaelangelo to his assistant, “Draw Antonio, draw Antonio, draw.”

I believe that drawing is the foundation for all art and that you can never study drawing too long or too hard. That said I did not always feel that way. Last year I wanted to focus on improving my paintings. I recognized that color theory and composition were weaknesses for me so I took a drawing and composition class at the Indianapolis Art Center. This class reawakened my love of drawing. I had forgotten how much I LOVED to draw as a child. Since then it had never been a priority – only a means to an end.

Yesterday I started a Drawing for Painters class at the Art Center. It is taught by a wonderful Russian women who has lived in the US for about 15 years. She trained in Russia at their Fashion Institute. The course was 6 years, 6 days a week, 9 hours a day. She studied drawing 3 hours a day. I took a couse from her late last fall and I like her classical, academic approach to drawing. She also paints beautiful jewel-like watercolors.

We had many with no experience at all so we had a simple set-up.

Class Set-up Jan 12. 2010

I made several drawings of this.

Drawing #3 January 12, 2010

I want to remember that this is a class for painters so I went home and painted from one of my drawings. I would appreciate any criticism, advice, critique you are willing to give. I WANT to learn and improve!

Painting from DWG for Painters, January 12, 2010

Then Irina had the more advanced (!?!?) of us draw classic paintings from postcards. I want to try a painting from of these today. I hope I don’t make mud!


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


January 4, 2010 January 5, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 12:52 pm
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Still frigid…still hibernating!

Exercise #3

Back to Stephan Quiller and Color Choices. This book includes a tearout color chart just for watercolorists. I am starting to use it to help me identify colors and complements for my practice exercises. It is very detailed and useful EXCEPT that I bought the book when it was published in the late 80’s and there are many new colors available today. I checked his website and I can buy just a color chart. Seems like it might be a good investment so my “tool” is up-to-date.

Exercise #2

Exercise #2

I am still working on the chapter that discusses the use of analagous colors with a balancing complementary color. I completed two exercises yesterday, once again using some of his examples for my drawing ( I was spending hours developing new “scenes” to use for my excercises! I am saving loads of time using drawings based on his exercises – and they should be appropriate, right?) With these two exercises I complete this chapter. On to TRIADIC color schemes!


Hello world! January 3, 2010

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 4:21 pm
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I love art…art in all it’s forms. I hope to be an artist and the one thing I know – from reading, from discussing, from the gut – is that I must practice, practice, practice. Every day.

But life gets in the way so I am starting this blog because I believe it will inspire and motivate me to practice every day. You will hold me accountable and I hope you share my voyage of growth.

It is January 3, 2010. I made a commitment to myself that I will draw, paint, study, grow daily in 2010. I make the same commitment to you.  So, what did I do on January 1 and 2? Did I let myself down? Did I let you down?

January 1, 2010: I was inspired by the sassy, sidelong glance of a  young woman on the back cover of People Magazine to draw  the “Attitude” ink sketch. It is a preparatory sketch but I have  not decided what I am preparing for – a drawing or a  painting. I do know one thing I have more work to do before  I reach a final image. Older? Younger? Short Hair? Slick Hair? Arms crossed? Holding a coffee cup?

Why ink? Because it is unforgiving and  forces me to be disciplined and a bit more careful.

January 2, 2010: In 2009 I was able  to learn the bare  basics of color theory. I completed all the  exercises in the  book Color by Betty Edwards. Her exercises  were completed  in acrylic which is not my medium so I  decided to read the  book Color  Choices by Stephan Quiller, a  wonderful artist  who paints in primarily in watercolor and acrylic. I have  completed about 75% of the exercises. Yesterday I  completed a simple painting exercise that required the use of green, blue green, blue and red-orange (analogous colors with a split complement) to create a painting that was soft, airy and cool. The drawing is from his book. What do you think? I like the clear, clean color.

I have never blogged before and I am learning the best way to format and organize. I want your comments. No criticism is too harsh, no help will go unappreciated. On to tomorrow…