Tuesday, December 6, 2011


"A Vintage Bulb"
8.25" x 10"

(what this painting could look like framed)

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Well finally I'm posting again. Good grief! I apologize for the delay. It gets a little hectic around here at the holidays -- lots of cleaning and decorating to do. But alas, here is my latest. I make my own Christmas cards every year and have them printed over at catprint.com. Once I get that all ready, I'll post so you can see the finished product. It's always exciting. I also make cards for my dad to use too. It's a fun tradition. And I love seeing my paintings in miniature!  :)

Just in case you're interested, I took some pictures during the process of this painting. Because the photographs were taken at various times of day, the colors may be a little off -- especially in the second step image.  That one is a little heavy on the red. But other than that, this will give you an idea of what goes on "behind the scenes." Have a great day!

After drawing my image on the watercolor paper, I masked out some of the "glitter" areas on the bulb and a couple small highlights. Then covered the painting in wet-on-wet washes of Alizarin Crimson Hue, Cobalt and New Gamboge.  

Next I added a couple washes of local color -- adding the green for the "wallpaper" and leaves. I also added a few more shadows on the bulb as well.

More details . . . In this step I started to build up the values, adding depth to the cloth and bulb.

More local color, worked on the leaves. Oh! . . . and I mustn't forget those circles on the "wallpaper!"  I cut out a small circle stencil and used that over and over again on the background.  Call me crazy!

Here I added more detail and value to the bulb.  I like working on Fabriano hot-pressed paper because it allows me to "push and pull" on my paintings.  (That's what I call it) . . . I add and most importantly, take away, scrubbing out areas that may get too dark.  At about this point I carefully added some Alizarin Crimson to the bulb making sure not to paint areas that I'd want to pull color out from later on as this pigment stains.  

Final details!  I added some green to the shadow under the holly leaf in the foreground, played with the cloth a little more, and obviously layered and layered color over the other leaves.  I also eliminated the masking fluid from the bulb and worked on the "glitter" design - scrubbing out color and picking out small highlights with an X-acto knife after the paint was dry.  While I work I make sure to keep checking the overall values and their relationship to each other within the entire painting, I assess and adjust what I think needs more work, giving additional depth to each item.

I hope you found this "step-by-step" informative!  (Oh and if you click on any of the images, you can view them larger . . . and you can sequence through the process which is kind of cool.)  Ok that's all.


  1. Beautiful Kara. :) I love the glitter on the ball. And seeing your process is very cool, so glad you shared that! And I can't wait to see your Christmas card. I've been meaning to do that for, like, ever but just haven't.

  2. It's very pretty Kara.....thanks for sharing your process.

  3. Je découvre avec délice votre blog et vos merveilleuse créations. Un travail très talentueux, je vous félicite et je m'octroierai une prochaine visite...
    Gros bisous.

  4. Great piece and I truly admire your fortitude doing allllll those circles....love seeing the phases of the process too. Have a good Sunday.

  5. Like the images of this work in progress. Thanks for sharing.


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