Monday, June 09, 2008

DIY Painting Demo

We're having a 4-day heat wave, so my brain is cooked. What to post Monday morning? The first thing I do is look at my "Inspiration Board". Do you have an inspiration board?
Many of my inspirational pics come from DOMINO magazine like these two delightful setups. I choose the floral still life on the left to paint. The pile of books will come later.
Plus Stef in Chicago keeps me supplied with beautiful teapot shots and they inspire me to paint a new miniature blue and white teapot.
Next step I set up a matching still life with my minis. 
People ask, "What's with all the minis?" I can rearrange them anyway I like and play with the lighting in a way I can't, while sitting in Angelina or Mariage Freres. Plus no waiter is leaning over me, wondering when I'm going to give up my table.. It's just me and the minis.
Some people ask, "How can you paint from such itty biddy minis?" After I pick a setup I like, I put it on the desktop and it becomes my touchstone to check what is where.Next pencil doodles of the setup.
Mix up some colors for the first washes. Before I go to bed I lay in the warm shadow patterns, always checking the big picture. The clock says 11:48 PM = Bedtime The blue bird of happiness. First thing I do in the morning - lay in the cool shadow washes on top of the warm, at around 5ish am. I'm fairly unconscious at this point and that helps. Et Voila!Your assignment for tomorrow is bring in your finished watercolors, Class. And I don't want to hear the cat knocked over your alarm clock etc.

Ooops...just added a revised version after looking at the rough loose one and the finish...Is this better? Your vote is requested.


  1. Anonymous9:05 AM

    Oh I love to see how that is done.
    Domino Magazine has aa lot of insp.
    things in and take a look at Victoria
    Magazine. They brought it back and I
    see an awful lot of tea cups and other good looking things.

  2. This is one of your best posts ever. I loved seeing how you come up with your paintings using your minis. Fabulous painting too. Love the subject matter and colors.
    Never heard of Domino Magazine tho.
    Is it an on line thing or an actual magazine? Thanks for sharing how you get a painting going.

  3. Great behind the scenes tour!! Love-love-love it!
    And, Teach, will you accept finger paints?;-)

  4. The "Copenhague Design" crockery is one of my favorites. The day I have a bigger kitchen, it will be on the first place on my whish list!

  5. Anonymous9:52 AM

    I cannot tell you enough how much I love my treats each morning...
    We in Philly are experiencing the same heatwave...

  6. DOMINO Magazine is a "shelter" magazine for the home stuff CRIS>
    Looking at the demo, I'm loving the stage before the finish. Wouldn't you know it. Never satisfied :( But I would not have noticed if I hadn't posted it. Next time I'll do less "finishing"!

  7. I love seeing the painting process explained. I'll have to post this in my blog Acuarela!

  8. Thanks for showing how you arrive at the final picture. J'adore les minis - especially the bird.

  9. Anonymous11:11 AM

    You really do the most out of the heath wave, don't you :-)
    I love the white and blue straw teapot. Is it Royal Copenhagen?

    I used to have a board for inspiration, but I don't right now. May be it is time to set up one again.....

  10. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Thanks, your site just keeps getting more interesting each day. My whole junque (sewing) room is an inspiration. Unfortunately, it is a bit overwhelming so I had rather just see what you have created. What brand of watercolors do you use in your palette?

  11. Ooh, kind of post...yummy!!1 As delicious as a trip to Laduree.
    Good morning. Stay cool. Maybe you need a mini paddling pool for dips to beat the heat. The mini menagerie says oui.

  12. Anonymous12:19 PM

    What a truly wonderful way to work, or as you might say, magnifique!
    (That is using your minis to see how things lay out, shadows fall, etc.)
    And I should learn from your example and make a routine of working on my art instead of fitting it in here and there.
    Love your paint box also.

  13. No funny remarks today. I love this, it's amazing to see how you do it. Bravo!

  14. Anonymous1:39 PM

    The scale between minis and pencil, screen as magnifying glass, real time between sketches and finished watercolor... thanks for your "how it's made", Master? Mistress? Maître.

  15. Anonymous1:50 PM

    thanks for showing us a little bit of hoiw you work, of course it is breath taking beautiful as usual.

  16. I'm loving them both, and I do watercolors! Just love to see the paint colors on the paper!

  17. I find myself sideing with Lila, Carol. I like them both. The first one, methinks, is just a wee (as in mini) bit "crisper, and has just a bit more "punch" in the little pieces of pure blue you've scattered about.
    And I love the composition, as so often happens when you take me for a little walk through your paintings via those diagonals jutting here and there.
    Each is lovely.

  18. Anonymous9:35 PM

    I prefer the softer flowers in #2, but loved the drama of the shadows in #1. Also the stronger cup content colors in #2. But never mind all that, I learned a lot from this demo. Now I know why I'm such a lousy painter: I can't stay up late enough to put the shadows down. 10 pm MAX!!!! As for the early morning, Detective Oswald demands his constitutional in the park. Anyway, how about I just submit more jewelry or wildflowers tomorrow?

  19. Anonymous10:05 PM

    I like the bottom one you added. But liked the first one just fine before I saw this one.
    The last one is softer in the photograph.

  20. Anonymous2:49 AM

    I LOOOVE this post with your art proceeding!

    Remembering Feb.(was it March?)2007.
    Your working and displaying objects to/in/with light was interesting...

    Those last 3 watercolours are delightful !!!

  21. i think about starting one because i always have so many magazine clippings, catalogs, random photos... i get inspired to make desserts by the most unusual things... stay cool!

    This was a good lesson for me too.
    Normally I whiz through the loose washy, early stage to the more finished end stage, losing in the process, some of those nice, loose washes and the sense of the watercolor having it's own way.
    I'll try in the future to slow up a bit and reserve the looseness of the early phase.
    THANKS! :)

  23. My British friend Charlotte serves tea with the "Copenhagen" china, her grandmother was from Denmark.
    So there, I was already smitten with this post, when I arrived at the blue bird of happiness' first wash, then the next, and when I finally let my eyes take in the "finished" picture, I was like "oooooooooooooooh" all over the screen, salivating over the keyboard, whatnot. Oh goodness gracious, now I know why you have to get up so early, start painting while still in that state between sleep and not-quite-awake! Simply divine inspiration put on humble paper. Did I already mention .... oh well, you got me ...

  24. Hi Carol,
    I've been admiring your work for a year or so. But yesterday I was at my interior designers shop (Anna Spiro from Black & Spiro in Brisbane). She has just hung two of your watercolours in her backrooms. Can i just say how fantastic they look. So now i'm on the hunting for a few of your beautiful works too.

  25. Your paintings are so cool. They make me smile.


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