Vancouver Island Storm Painting, With Video

This is another one of my paintings from Vancouver Island, the area where I grew up:

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Chesterman Beach, 24″x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

This is a scene from Chesterman Beach in Tofino, and was featured in this article from Luxury BC.   I filmed video of this one and made it into a speed painting, so you can see the whole process:

Around halfway through you can see me using masking tape to make the horizon.  For this painting I used a limited palette of mostly Carbon black, Payne’s gray and Titanium white, with some Smalt hue and Ultramarine blue to add color to the sky.

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Juried show in Palo Alto: Landscapes, Seascapes, Urbanscapes

I’m excited!  One of my new paintings, Wonder, just got accepted to a juried art show in Palo Alto for the month of October.  This show is at the Pacific Art League gallery and is titled Landscapes, Seascapes, Urbanscapes.  The reception is on October 10 from 5:30-8pm, and the show will run until October 31.

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I spent a bit of time this afternoon getting the edges touched up and applying some protective polymer varnish to get it ready for the show. This painting is in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print, and the original piece is for sale through Pacific Art League.

Also, as of today I now have 10 followers on WordPress!  Thanks for helping me get my new blog started.  You’ll notice I just added a Like button on the sidebar for my brand new artist’s Facebook page. Help me get that one into double digits too!

Camping In the Sierras, Finished Tent Painting

My husband and I love backpacking, and we have spent a lot of time camping in the Sierra mountains.  This is a painting that I made from photos after one of our week long trips.  We camped one night in the Big Five Lakes region of Sequoia National Park:

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Still, 24″x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

I took some artistic license with this painting composition, since we didn’t actually camp on this rock (we follow Leave No Trace principles and don’t set up our camp too close to water) but I wanted to have the tent reflected in the lake.  Instead, we ate breakfast here to watch the sun rise, and I knew I wanted to paint this scene when we got home.  Here we are in our dorky camping clothes standing where the tent is in the painting; you can see the same peak in the distance.

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Vancouver Island Sunset Painting

This is one of my paintings from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  I grew up in Port Hardy, at the northwest tip of the island, which has the most amazing beaches.  Even though I have moved many times since then, the northwest coastal climate always feels most like “home” to me, and I have painted many scenes from this area.  This painting is from Tofino, a place further south down the island:

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Vancouver Island Sunset, 22″ x 28″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

I’m calling this one a sunset, but to me it could be either the glow just before dawn or just after dusk. Here are some detail closeups with the scraggly trees on the rock against the colors of the sky:

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Tofino

I find it’s tricky to get the right combination of blues, yellows and pinks in a sunrise or sunset without it looking too bright.  A little bit of pink and purple go a long way.  I always end up starting with too much color, and then blending in some white to take it back.  Glazing medium can be really helpful for skies, because it slows the drying time of your paints and allows you to blend for longer while you’re figuring out the right balance.  Acrylic paints dry relatively fast (especially in a hot dry climate) so mixing in a few drops of glazing medium on your palette helps to buy you a bit more time.  With most of my skies, I don’t have a plan of how they will look when I start painting, I just begin with colors I like and blend directly on the canvas.

I usually do skies in one sitting, as quickly as possible, and then let the canvas dry for a few hours before doing the rest of the painting.  This is one of those paintings where I find my Sta-wet palette really helpful, because I can keep my same color mixes wet and use them later.  After painting the sky, I used the same colors (blended with black and white) to paint the water:

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One thing that helped me was to visualize the water getting lighter in shade as it gets closer to the horizon, with the lower beach being dark and the water at the horizon (farthest away from the viewer) fading to pure white:

Tofino

You can buy this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  The original painting is for sale on my website.

Getting Started: Other Painting Supplies

Welcome!  I’m posting a series of tips for beginner artists, based on my own trial-and-error experiences as a self-taught painter. 

1. Paints   2. Brushes   3. Painting Surfaces

4. Other Essential Supplies

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Most of your supply budget should be spent on good quality paint, brushes and canvas, in that order. You don’t need a lot of other stuff, but here are some essentials that you should have before you get started. (Again, I’m posting examples and pictures from dickblick.com, but I am not affiliated with them in any way.)

1) Water bucket

There are a lot of fancy artist’s water pails out there, but you really just need a big jar or tin.  Don’t use a coffee cup or drinking glass or you’ll end up drinking the paintwater when you’re not paying attention!  Change your water in your jar often and never let your brushes sit in the water.  This brings us to…

2) Rags and Apron

I like to have a dedicated painting apron (and sometimes an old button-up shirt as well) to cover my clothes.  Acrylic paint will permanently stain clothes if it dries on.  Again, it doesn’t have to be a special painting apron, but you should have something.  I also like to keep a few rags on hand (old t-shirts work well) to keep under my water bucket to absorb drips and provide a place to rest wet brushes or wipe off excess paint.

3) Palette or palette paper

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You’ll need a place to mix wet paint.  I personally never liked using the traditional hand-held wood or plastic palettes because they’re a pain to clean.  To save hassle and water, I recommend using disposable palette paper (or in a pinch, glossy magazines) when you’re starting out.  When you’re done painting you just peel off the top layer and throw it out.  Disposable palette paper is ideal when you’re just getting started, but see my recommendation #7 below when you’re getting more serious. Continue reading

Finished Snow Painting: Solstice

I just finished this painting yesterday:

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Solstice, 24″x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2014 Kathryn Beals

This is from memories of winter camping in the Sierra mountains with my husband.  I actually started this one a few years ago, got frustrated and put it away.  I dug it out yesterday and tried again, and I was much happier with the result this time.

I originally made the tent way too big, so I painted over it with the dark blue/black, let that dry and then painted it in again in a smaller size.  This is one of the reasons I love painting in acrylic – it’s easy to fix mistakes.  I should have taken progress photos, but this artist has a great tutorial that shows a similar fix.

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Finished Starry Night Painting: Beyond

This is one of the new paintings in my night sky series:

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Beyond, 24″x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2014 Kathryn Beals

I like to have a personal symbol in my landscapes to lend an emotional connection to the scene.  This time instead of a tent, I painted a rowboat.  This is a lake in British Columbia that I used to visit with my family.  One night when we were camping, I went out in the rowboat with my brother at midnight and watched the stars.  It actually looked very much like this, and in moments when I need calm, I like to imagine this place.

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Getting started: Painting surfaces

Welcome!  I’m posting a series of tips for beginner artists, based on my own trial-and-error experiences as a self-taught painter.  

1. Paints  2. Brushes

3. Painting Surfaces

I’m continuing my series on acrylic painting for beginners.  Once you’ve chosen your paint and brushes, you’ll need something to paint on.

As a beginner, it’s difficult to decide how much to spend on your painting surface. On the one hand, your painting is only as durable as what it’s painted on, and it makes sense to spend a little more money on ensuring your time and effort aren’t wasted on a poor quality surface. On the other hand, you might feel more free to experiment if you don’t have a big expensive blank canvas staring you down.  It’s up to you.

I do feel that it’s more important to invest in good paints and brushes, so most of your money should go towards these. You can always start out with a few canvas panels and work your way up as you get more comfortable.  (I’m showing examples from dickblick.com but I am not affiliated with them in any way.)

Canvas Panels

Blick Canvas Panels

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