Friday, December 11, 2015

Green Heron, Watercolor

This next project is being painted with permission from the photographer, Peggy Coleman. A good friend of mine saw this award winning photo on line and asked if I could paint it for her. It is a green heron. They are not very big, but from this photo and the way the wings are spread out, you would think they are enormous.

I have had several people mention that they liked seeing the progression of the painting like I did with my painting of Canal St. So, I have decided to keep doing it.

Here is what I have so far.

It took me a while to mask out all those feathers to keep those beautiful light highlights that they are know for. And the green water with the reflective ripple effect... not my strong suit. 

But, I think its pretty darn good so far. 

Update: 1/25/16

I finished this painting this past weekend. Here is the project in pictures...

I started by practicing painting feathers...

Here is the sketch with the liquid mask on the white part of the wings.

I started with the green "Swampy"water background.

First layer of color on the bird...

Darker layer of color...

Mask removed, details touched up, and signed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Progress of my Canal Street Painting

Canal Street Trolley, NOLA

10" x 8" Watercolor

Above is the final painting. Below, you can see the progress as it is completed.

This is the progress of a painting I have been working on for the last few weeks. (In this busy world, I set aside Friday mornings to get together with some friends and paint. So, some paintings that could probably be finished in a day or two, take me a few weeks.)

In September, my husband and I vacationed in the city of New Orleans. What an amazing place. The history, architecture, music! My husband, a budding photographer, took his DSLR everywhere, and I have been helping him "process" the 2000 + photos using Lightroom and Photoshop. One of my favorite shots was a photo of the Canal Street Trolley in the distance. The sun was starting to set, and casting pink and gold glow on the buildings. The famous street lamps of New Orleans where just coming on, and the city was becoming more active after the daytime heat.

I decided to paint that scene.

I originally posted it on my Facebook page,

But to my shock, I found out that some of my friends (yes, people my age) still don't have a Facebook account! So, I was asked to post them on my blog too.

Canal St. Trolley New Orleans painting -01
Perspective Sketch of the trolley, buildings and lamps. I used masking fluid to protect the light points.

After drawing this composition out, I made the mistake of starting with the lamp posts since they were such a prominent feature in this painting, So I am forced to work the background around them. Not an easy task in watercolors. the black/indigo keeps bleeding into what ever I paint around it. However, I just learned a cool "hack" around this dilemma. Carefully coat JUST the lampposts with Modge Podge! It will repel water and watercolor once it dries completely! HOWEVER once I did this, I can not CHANGE them, i.e. fade them out, or add additional color to them. Such is the price for not planning past the initial sketch!

I added the tops of the trees, and people getting off the trolley. I also underpainted the shadows of the storefronts on the right hand side.
More details to the trees, and storefronts on the right.
Next time I hope to finish up the left hand side buildings, cars and people. Stay tuned!
.... DONE... See the finished painting at the top of the post.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Embossing Machine

I am so excited! Here's why...

I had been wanting an embosser for a while and had done the homework.

There are 2 big name competitors when it comes to (folder) embossing. (Not to be confused with powder/heat embossing.)
  • Sizzix - 
    • Big Shot
    • Texture Boutique
  • Cricut
    • Cuttlebug
I didn't need anything fancy. I already have a Silhouette Cameo cutter (which I absolutely LOVE, by the way), so I didn't need it to die cut...just give some texture to some of my cards.

The Sizzix Big Shot has a wider opening that lets you use larger embossing folders like the 5" x 7" size, and it also is big enough to take large die cut dies, However it was too large for my tiny crafting space and limited storage space. It also came with a fairly big price tag too.

The Sizzix Texture Boutique was small and simple. It uses the standard A2 embossing folders (4.5" x 5.75" (Large enough to do the entire front of a note card.)

The Cricut Cuttlebug can accommodate the A2 and the larger 5" x 7" folders like the Big Shot, but it is not quite as big and bulky.

I had decided that for my needs, the Texture Boutique would work just fine. So, I had been keeping my eyes peeled for holiday sales.

A few weeks ago, I saw an e-mail from my local  Stampin' Up! demonstrator mentioning the sale going on to make room for all the new holiday scrapbooking and stamping kits. And the Stampin' up version of the Sizzix Texture Boutique was on clearance! I got a SWEET DEAL - less than $25 even with shipping!

But, when my Boutique arrived in the mail a few days later, I realized that I had no folders to test it out with. Thankfully a friend and fellow crafter, Liz Carlin, let me come by her craft studio, and "play" with her folders and die cuts. I brought paper scraps and my embosser, and she had a huge storage bin of folders!

I am going to use this one on a flip card I'm putting together for Halloween. I tried adding some black sparkles but then changed my mind. (I haven't removed them all in this picture, as you can see.) I think it might look really cool with BLACK card stock as the base.

Well, that was 2 weeks ago. Since then, I have been scouring the the internet for deals on A2 embossing folders. My eBay find just arrived from Canada today.

It is a two folder set: Dots/Zigzags and Flowers.

I tried them out on a few different papers that I have. The first is a heavy 140 lb professional watercolor paper. (I had some small pieces that I had used to "practice" a wet into wet blending technique before applying it to a large painting. They were completely dry and had been sitting there just waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.)

The other two are Canson 98 lb mix media paper scraps. One is plain the other I used a chalk pastel to emphasize the embossing image.

Unfortunately, embossing does not make for good photography. You can't really see the texture here. Especially not on the thicker painted watercolor paper. Take my word for it, they are great!

I also found another deal on eBay a few nights ago. That one should get here early next week.

I'll post more pics then. Please be sure to check out Liz's crafting blog too. ( She is so creative with so many different materials! Until next time...Keep Calm and Keep Crafting!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wes Waugh Teaches Wet Into Wet Watercolor

I wanted to share a watercolor workshop that I enjoyed the other day. Mr. Wes Waugh painted Grandfather Mountain and explained his wet into wet technique  before the Newell Hendershot Watermedia Exhibition opening reception at Sycamore Shoals Historic Site. In less than 3 hours he created a watercolor painting start to finish. His bold color combinations and knowledge of the medium, and subject matter is inspiring.

Wes Waugh can be found on Youtube.

Wes Waugh can be found on Youtube for more educational watercolor presentations.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Watercolors, Cats, Dogs, and Lakes

This is a picture of my latest painting that I just received back from the Summer Art Show at Sycamore Shoals Historic Site. It had been on display for a few months.
Green Eyes by Kimberly McCarron

I also did one of my dog, but I don't think it came out quite as good. Although some friends convinced me to use it in my Aussiedoodle T-shirt design on Zazzle.

And the very latest, hot off the drawing board... Life is Better @TheLake. I really liked doing this painting. It is so inviting and relaxing. I liked it so much that I used it in a few different product designs including a really cute note card.

I have a good friend who has been very sick lately and in and out of the hospital. He saw a photo of the unfinished painting, and told me he liked it because it reminded him of the movie "Beaches", So, I am giving him the finished painting... I just need to find a nice frame.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Lacy Butterfly Card with Cutting Machine

I finally got a chance to really play with my new Silhouette Cameo Machine. I had purchased it about 2 months ago, and haven't had a chance to use it until recently.

I made this pretty butterfly lace card for my MIL's birthday. (She loved it, BTW.)

This was not a very difficult design, as I purchased the cut file from their online store. It was, however a very delicate cut. I had a problem with the paper ripping, especially at the very thin cuts where the blade had to change direction.

 I was using some pretty card stock that I had in my stash. It was off-white with some colored speckles woven through it. I am not sure of the weight, but it was about the thickness of a nice business card. 

I slowed down the cut, and adjusted the pressure to the blade. In the end, the blade setting was at 3 with a ratchet blade. The speed was set at 3 cm/s, and the thickness at 33.

I just used some scrap paper for the 3 small butterflies. about an inch and a half  sq. each.  and two larger pieces of 2 of the same scrap paper pieces for the larger center butterfly. I used a hot glue gun to attach them.

The "Happy Birthday" text was done with the sketch pens, and then cut out, and stuck onto the front of the card with foam squares.

For the inside, I used the print and cut feature. I measured the space from the butterfly cutout to the inside fold and made a rectangle that would fit in that space. I typed the saying using kissmekissme font, and using the print and cut, I printed it to my HP printer. Then loaded it into my Silhouette machine and cut out the words inside the rectangle.

I found a pretty velum envelope to put it in, to keep it protected in the mailing envelope.

This is the final result. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WVAL Summer Art Show

Just wanted to share a quick announcement. The Watauga Valley Art League is holding its 21st annual art show at the Sycamore Shoals Historical Site from June 28 to July 26, 2015. The People's Choice awards will be announced at 2:45 pm on June 28th during the Artist reception. (This means if you want to vote on your favorite artist or artwork, you must do so on June 28th between 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm.)

I don't understand the reason for not allowing more time for the public to view and vote on the entered pieces, but that is just the way of things.

There will be lots of beautiful works of art from local artists and WVAL members. (There will also be snacks, and refreshments) PLEASE COME BY DURING THE RECEPTION and VOTE!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Handpainted Decorative Mailbox

A friend of my husband asked if I would paint a mailbox for her. She wanted to use it as a focal point in her flower garden.

 I have 2 more sides to do.

This was a fairly easy project and hand painted mailboxes are a wonderful way to beautify your home or garden.  You, too, can make a beautiful, hand painted mailbox... even if you have never picked up a paint brush! I sketched this one freehand before painting it, but you can find some excellent stencils to make your design if you rather go that rout.

What you will need:
  • Mailbox (obviously) - This one was purchased by the person who asked me to paint it. A simple, metal white or black one works well.
  • Sandpaper or steel wool
  • Multi-Surface Indoor/outdoor acrylic paint (in whatever colors you like. I used FolkArt brand - Red, Blue, Yellow, Black and White. Mixing any  combo of these 5 colors, can make pretty much ANY color you need.)
  • A clear coat sealer spay paint. (I used Rust-Oleum American Accents 2x Ultra Cover Gloss Clear, because it is fast drying, non-yellowing and UV Resistant- so it will protect my "art" from fading too!)
  • Optional spray base coat - (The mailbox was white. I wanted a colored background. The easiest and fastest way to achieve that was with a spray paint. I used Rust-Oleum American Accents 2x Ultra cover for wood metal a plastic and more, in Satin Aqua)
  • Paint brushes - various sizes - you can get an inexpensive pack of 6 or so at Walmart.
  • Stencil and Blue Painters Tape (Optional)

Step One

Prepare the mailbox surface with the steel wool. Lightly sand the shiny gloss paint of the mailbox to make it dull and scratched enough to allow our art to adhere properly.  You don't have to remove the paint/finish, just scratch it and make it dull - not glossy.

When you feel you have sufficiently scuffed it, wipe the mailbox down with a damp cloth to remove any paint dust, and steel fibers. Allow to dry.

Step Two (Optional)

If you plan to paint the background a different color than what it originally came with, this is the time to do it. Take it outside and use the colored spay paint to cover all sides evenly.

REMEMBER: Spray paint tends to "drift in the wind" so, be sure you are far enough away form any surface that you do not want speckled with paint.

Let each side dry completely before touching it. I made the mistake of adding fingerprints! Which made extra work... had to sand them off, and re paint that spot!

Step Three

If using a stencil, lay out, position it on the mailbox and secure with tape. 
Or if freehand sketching use a light pencil to gently draw in your design. A #2 Pencil worked great on the satin finish of the base color spray paint I used. But on some surfaces, you could use a dry erase marker.

(By the way, you cam make some really beautiful stencils with adhesive vinyl and a craft cutting machine like a Silhouette Cameo. Its on my Art Project TO DO list.)

Step Four

Paint your design. Either paint in the stencil, and let dry before removing the stencil.
Or hand paint your design using the Acrylic Paints.

Here is a little color tip...
Add black or white to make these colors lighter or darker.
Play with the amounts of each color in the mixture to get variations of all these colors... i.e. add more blue than yellow to get a bluer green etc.

Have fun with it!

Step Five

Let the acrylic paint dry completely - I know it dries pretty quick, but I would let it stand overnight, just to be sure.

Take your masterpiece outside and seal it with the clear coat spray. I did two even coats all over (even though the Rust-Oleum label said that it covered 2x better!)

I painted the flag too. If you do not want to paint that, be sure to cover it with painters tape before painting to keep it "drip free".

Two Major Updates

I know it's been a while since my last post, but I have some exciting news to share today.

First, my painting "Chasing Moonbeams", that was entered into the show at the Johnson City Community Theatre during the run of the play "Like Kissing Moonlight", sold during the theatre's silent action. The auction was a charity event to raise money for the much needed renovations to the building. I am so very excited that I was able to sell one of my paintings and help a great cause in the process.

Prints and note cards of this painting are available at Fine Art By Kimberly.
Or by clicking here....
Please take a stroll on over. You will find tons of great products showcasing my artwork.

Second, I got my Silhouette Cameo a few weeks ago. It has been on my wish list for a few years, but at the time, I didn't have an art room, or any place that I could use it without disrupting the entire house. Since moving South in 2013, I have been pecking away at getting rid of art supplies and craft items that I don't need or want anymore, to make way for new toys! (It is horrifyingly amazing how much STUFF two people can accumulate in 10 years!)

We are finally settled into our new home, (for the most part) and, we converted the extra bedroom into a home office/art room that my husband and I both share. So, after two years of collecting cutting projects and Silhouette tutorials on Pinterest including Scrappbooking projects, and paper-craft (cards mostly,  I can now start making them! So, keep an eye out for some really cool papercutting posts.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dog Days Album

I just ordered an 8x8 dog themed album to start a book for our new member of the family. Saphira is a 3 month old  Aussiedoodle. We took her home at 9 weeks old, and she has doubled in size since then. I figured it is about time I start putting some of these pictures into a scrapbook for her.

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