Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Here you can see a few different levels of finish in the chair. At the top there's basically just one ugly wash. Some cool things going on there. Bottom right some refinement. And on the left getting much closer to looking finished.

Monday, December 26, 2011


I think both of the pieces are pretty much done as far as drawing is concerned. Tomorrow, I'm going to start throwing some paint down.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Random Progress shot.

I was thinking I rarely put up a pic half through refining a drawing. So here's a random pic. I'm currently working on the wrinkle's in the shirt. I tend to transfer my sketches onto the watercolor paper very loosely. Takes about three minutes to loosely transfer. Using a 3B or 4B pencil is nice because you can get a fairly dark line without pressing too hard. It's quite easy to erase as well. 2B is nice for continuing my refinement. With these two pieces I'm working on I'll try to post up more frequent progress shots as I feel I haven't been posting as much.

Happy Holidays :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Traveling Artist

One great thing about being an artist is that one can work while on the move. We can enjoy a bit of sight seeing, be inspired by fresh scenery, and not feel too lazy or neglectful with our art. Win.

When I'm traveling about I try to consolidate as much as possible. Depending on where/who I'm visiting I may or may not have to bring certain things. For example, if I'm visiting another illustrator, there's probably a lot of things I wouldn't have to worry about. Especially an art desk and lighting.

For long term travel I do have a fold up art desk that barely meets the baggage size requirements. The original desk top had to be replaced with a tiny piece of plywood. I've also tucked my art lamp into my luggage before. To be quite honest it can be somewhat of a pain in and around my rear side. So if possible I try to work around the desk and art lamp. If I'm on a long term road trip room isn't much of an issue. A lot of art stuff can fit into a car. I've even packed up my printer before. Quite helpful.

I recently landed in New York and here's what I fit into my luggage:

-art, sandwiched between two pieces of gator board. I also brought scrape pieces of watercolor paper to test my colors on. After unpacking, I adhere my paintings onto the gator board and use it as an art board.

-paint tubes, I put these in ziplock bags. I've had some leak out before. My theory is the change in pressure while in flight affects the tubes...or gremlins. Or both.

-brushes,, I usually tape these to some thick stock paper and roll it up forming a tube to help prevent bending of the tips.

-small tupperware container, for holding and keeping my paints moisturized.

-water container, you can obviously use just about anything. But some are better than others.

-spray bottle, to mist my paints and to wet the surface of my paper. And spray people in the face.

-pencils, small sharpener, kneaded eraser, I actually brought my electric sharpener with me because I'm in the beginning stages of two pieces and figured it would save a lot of time and trouble.


-watercolor palettes

-lighting, I didn't want to pack my lamp on top of all my other supplies esp if I didn't have a desk to attach it to. What I ended up doing is bringing a pack of neutral temperature light bulbs. I was basically hoping I could be resourceful enough to figure out something that works. I think I did alright.

-and lastly a ladder.

This list will be a bit different for everyone. I'm sure I'm missing some things and there are probably some other things I could've done without. I ended up buying an extension cord for the lamps because there wasn't one available and I didn't think I'd need to bring my own. Perhaps next time I'll remember. If not that will be my ninth extension cord. There's usually one thing or another that I have to purchase after landing.

I've also heard a certain fellow illustrator has a technique down pat for transforming a hotel bathroom into a studio. Makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Next time on Muddy Colors "Muddier Colors- Unlocking Hidden Secrets of the Lavatory.....and then relocking it and throwing away the key forever". Stay tuned.

For anyone interested here are the two sketches I'll be fleshing out while here.

I decided to upload a progress shot before hitting the sack. Hopefully, there aren't too many that have already checked the post. Apologies for the late addition.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Progress

I have a few different pieces I'm currently working on. Here's what I've been spending my time on the passed few days. As you can see I have my photo ref posted up. If you're not into using photo reference or find yourself struggling with figurative issues, drapery issues, any other issues go get some reference. I highly recommend taking your own reference. This is consistently my most offered advice to art students besides "do art as often as possible".

One thing I've been doing lately which I find helpful is making a very low res version of my color comp that breaks down the image into large blocks of color. It makes for a nice palette guide.

I focused a lot of my initial time doing wet on wet washes on the background. I knew I wanted the background to be fairly dark and chromatic. Having these large dark areas blocked in early helps give me some relative sense of value for the figure and the rest of the piece. Painting on an all white surface can be rather misleading. Context is important and can often make things look dark enough when they should probably be darker. As you can see I've started in on the figure though she has a long way to go.

Monday, December 5, 2011

In progress...

It's been awhile since I've posted something new. I'm working on a few different pieces right now and staying quite busy for my next show in March. In this piece I've been focusing on the hair today. It's coming along well but will probably have to be adjusted after I put more work into the coat. There is always some back and forth at the end of a painting as things change. Hoping to finish this one soon and get on to the next one.