Author Archives: Nancy Leigh-Smith

Singing

I find black animals a challenge to paint. I took a photo of this Red-winged Blackbird a week or so ago.

I used Daniel Smith’s Goethite (Brown Ochre) for the initial wash of the bird as well as in the background. I’ve had this paint in my palette for awhile but haven’t really used it. It’s more black than brown, but I love the granulation. This version is pretty close to the photograph.

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Blues and Greens

I’ve not had much luck with my watercolours lately.

This piece is one of my better efforts of the last month. I started out  with a bright spring green on my brush making random marks and then added blue. After the first layer dried I tried to make it look like something with negative painting.

It’s an example of having fun with some paint and a brush and seeing where it leads.

 

 

 

Shadows

The snow is beginning to go. There are bare spots in the woods and on my driveway.  The forecast for today is calling for 15 – 20 cm of snow so winter hasn’t given up just yet.

 

I try to paint a snow scene at least once a year. This is my second attempt at this one. It’s from a photo I took a few weeks ago.

Dance

The  individual parts of this figure had been lying around my studio for a couple of years. They happened to be sitting on my desk when I came across the original sketch I had done for the figure.  I had stopped working on it because the way I wanted to do it wouldn’t work with the pieces I had created. Having the parts and the sketch together reminded me of why I wanted to do this piece. So I rearranged my thinking and the pieces and came up with a more abstract approach.

Dance: Front View

It is made with thread machine embroidered onto water soluble stabilizer.

 

Dance: Right Side

Dance: Left Side

Dance: Back View

Birds of a Feather

The Iguassu Falls Bird Park in Brazil is located beside the National Park containing the falls. I photographed these two macaws when I visited some years ago.

I chose to paint this photograph because of the angles the birds made with their bodies, tails and wings. In my photograph the birds looked grey and black even with adjustments to the brightness. The little bit of turquoise that I could see on one of the bird’s head as well as the yellow eye and mustache enabled me to identify them as Hyacinth Macaws. Further investigations on the internet showed their true colours.

Heron

I always look for the heron whenever I drive or walk by Grassy Bay. He isn’t always easy to see, but  he always seems to be aware of me.

 

This watercolour was painted from a photograph taken during one of my early morning walks.

Couldn’t Resist

The other week I arrived at the shopping mall early for my dental appointment. So I had time to look around the shoe store and found something I didn’t need but had to buy.

What is That?

This young fox was playing at the end of my driveway when it stopped to check out something in my yard.

 

He did catch something a few days later. I saw him as he trotted down the driveway with something in his mouth.

 

 

Keys to Drawing

I recently bought Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson after watching Teoh Yi Chie’s review of it on his YouTube channel. I ordered the book through Teoh’s affiliate link on Amazon and have started doing the exercises in it.

 

In the first exercise I was supposed to draw my feet in a pair of shoes with laces but I didn’t have any handy so I put on a pair with individual toes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the next exercise – draw my hand with my fingers directly facing me.

Followed by a green pepper (twice) and my eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last exercise took me the longest.  I find shading with pencil difficult. (Because I hardly ever do it.) I first drew the wine bottle as a blind contour. I did it quickly and used my left hand to mark the paper where things should line up.

I used an HB pencil but I would have preferred a softer one so I could have got some darker shading.

 

 

Plastic, Cheese Cloth and Sea Salt

I recently made these 12 cards from 1 large piece of 140 lbs Fabriano Artistico cold pressed watercolour paper. I divided the paper up using masking tape and painted each section. Some were done wet on wet, others wet on dry. I tried various techniques. I placed plastic wrap scrunched up on several. On two I placed some cheese cloth; on one I sprinkled sea salt. These were all left to dry as well as the three I left alone. After the paint dried I removed the plastic wrap, cheese cloth and salt. One of the ones with the cheese cloth had no discernible effect. I touched up some of the paintings with a second layer and splattered some paint on some. I then removed the tape and cut the sections and glued each one to a folded 1/2 piece of 8.5 x 11 card stock. I had printed the backs of the card stock with my name etc. before cutting and folding them.

These are a gift for a friend with whom I exchange handmade gifts.

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