Posts Tagged ‘watercolor’

Fall is that one time of year where the squirrels seem to be extra busy. I see them everywhere! Collecting their acorns and getting into trouble. I hear that they have to bury extra acorns because they won’t remember where they put most of them. So if they just put an acorn everywhere, maybe they or one of their friends will be lucky enough to find it by accident.


This squirrel was painted with watercolor and colored pencil on hot press watercolor paper.  I like the hot-press for fur because it doesn’t allow for much bleeding of the colors. The edges of every stroke stay sharp, whereas cold-press paper allows for fuzzy edges and bleeding, which is better for landscapes or large blocks of color. Hot press paper also eats a lot of the color up while the paint is drying. You can put down a stroke, which looks dark and vibrant while wet, but as soon as its dry it suddenly looks dull. This means layering is essential for building up strong colors, but neutrals are easier to control. In this case, I didn’t want my colors to get too bright because squirrels’ fur is neutral. Even if I made a mark that was a little too red or a little too blue, the hot-press paper helped to de-saturated the colors slightly as I painted, and left me with a very crisp and clean result

You can get your very own print of this little guy for just $7 through my Etsy store! 

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The other night I finished a painting of a leafy sea dragon. I saw one of these beautiful fish a week or so ago on TV and decided that it would be a really fun thing to paint. I hunted down a couple of different reference pictures online, and from those, drew out an original pose and composition.

The painting is mostly watercolors on cold press paper. I worked from the background to the foreground, laying washes and building up shadows one layer at a time. When the painting was nearly complete, I went in with colored pencils and outlined areas that I wanted extra separation in. The end result looks a little like a shadow box: flat layers built on top of one another to create an illusion of depth. You can view this and more of my work by visiting my website: Shaunart.net This painting is for sale as a print on Etsy!


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Here is a commission that I finished some time ago for a custom Christmas greeting card. This portrait of a house was done in watercolors on cold press paper.

As always, I worked from a photograph. Starting with a sketch, I refined the drawing and transferred it onto my watercolor block with tracing paper and graphite paper. I did an outline in ink, which is especially helpful for geometric objects like this, and then I went to work with the paints. Most of the piece was rendered in watercolors, but the stars and lights were added in afterwards with colored pencil. You can view this and other commissions in the commissions gallery on shaunart.net

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Here is a fun painting! Like my others lately, it was a quick one to finish, taking only a day and a half to complete. I wanted to try something really whimsical and free-flowing, while still defining the form of the face. I had a lot of fun with it, and I think I am slowly getting this loose-ness out of my system. It is really fun to experiment and I think that this period of loose experimentation will help me paint faster in the future, even when I am working tightly.

I notice that when working in only two colors like this, it is harder to get an accurate representation of the piece out of my scanner. Or at least I notice the differences in the colors more. I am not working with the best scanner in the world here. In fact, its a very basic home model. Fortunately I have a lot of know-how in photoshop and can, with lots of tinkering, get my pieces to look pretty close to the original.

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I have given my studio a permanent home on Shaunart.net with its very own page! Complete with address, visiting hours, directions, and postings about upcoming events. The page is small right now but it is sure to grow and change. Check it out at: http://www.shaunart.net/pages/the_studio

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Two new sketches

Here I have two pieces just added to the Sketch book gallery. Done back in the Spring as practice for field sketching, the first is a watercolor sketch of the Hog River in CT on a rather dreary day. The second is a copy in watercolor of a Hopper master landscape.

Both have a permanent home in the sketchbook gallery on shaunart.net

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Here’s a little painting that I did a while back but haven’t had a chance to talk about. This is my Blue Chameleon; he is done in watercolors on cold press paper, and took about three hours to paint.

He is currently in a cute little green frame along side my turtle mascot, which is in a matching green frame. The two of them will be hanging side by side at my open house this Saturday, Aug 4th, at 122 Western Ave, Lowell, MA 01851, Studio #527, from 12-5pm.

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Another painting from senior year that fits with my thesis on art for the theatre, this is a retro-styled poster for the musical Chicago.

Here I am show-casing the main character, Roxie Hart. I wanted to add several elements from the musical, such as the stage, and Chicago night life in the 1920’s. But because the women in Chicago are deadly, I also added some jail bars into the set.

Painted in watercolor and colored pencil on cold press watercolor paper.

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Part of my senior thesis project was to do a series of three. I chose to do a series of three portraits, of three women, in three different modes of costume, interacting with three different classifications of animals.

The first portrait is of a woman in a tradition costume. A garment invented in the distant past, worn today for celebrations or special occasions. All three paintings started with photo reference; each model dawned the appropriate clothing, and was photographed either outside or in a studio setting with adequate lighting. The next step was to do a final sketch, transfer to illustration board, and finally, begin painting.

Each painting consists of a liquid acrylic under painting, watercolor, and colored pencil. The second panting is of a a woman in a contemporary, normative mode of costume, or as most people know it–street clothes.

The third and final painting in the series also happens to be a self portrait, to fill another requirement of my senior thesis project. Here I am wearing an obscure, decorative form of costume, or the sort of stuff that most people think of when they hear the term costume.

One of my favor animals since childhood has been the Komodo dragon, but I can’t fit one of those on my arms, so I settled for the Australian monitor lizard instead. It is closely related to the Komodo dragon, and is just as smart, but a lot smaller.

You can view this and other brand new illustrations in my color illustration portfolio.

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This painting is more concept art, but this time for the musical “Into the Woods.” This musical, if you haven’t seen it before, takes all of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and combines them into one great big story. Cinderella is a major character in the play, and as you know, her mother has died and she is forced to live with her evil stepmother and step sisters, having no fun being deprived of her right to attend the ball/festival. You may not know, if you are only familiar with the Disney version, that Cinderella doesn’t have a magical godmother, but instead she has a magic tree. You see, when Cinderella’s mother died she was buried at a gravesite in the woods. Cinderella visited that grave everyday and cried there, and her tears watered the ground, prompting the slow growth of a magic tree. On the night of the festival, the magic tree speaks to Cinderella while she is sobbing over her mother’s grave, and offers her a dress and slippers with which allow her entrance to the festival.

To execute this painting I dressed a friend up in garb from my extensive costume collection, and photographed her under a beautiful vine covered tree. The whole painting was done in watercolors, except for a few small details in the magic bubbles which surround the tree.

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