Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 14, 2008 Reference Photos

Flight Risks

by Cathy Hegman

Reference photos are good for generating ideas. I am fortunate enough to have a son that takes great photos. Reference material should be copyright free or if not you should obtain permission to use the photograph. More often than not I like to include animals in my work . My son, Thomas Hegman takes really nice photos of animals and has quite a few, so when I need one I call him and inquire about a particular animal that I need for reference. The bird series of paintings continues, but I am trying to incorporate different birds in the series so I decided on penguins.In the above painting the penguins are residents of the Memphis Zoo and Thomas had photographed them on a trip to the zoo last summer. I was particularly intrigued with the idea that my son, Thomas, is a pilot and the penguins are flightless birds, it gave me the perfect title of "Flight Risks". Thomas has photos online here is the link: Flickr: coolhand3011's Photostream, you can contact him if you would like to do so.

I used color to express the emotion I wanted in the painting. The emotion I was after was happy anticipation. I used warm hues of orange and yellow in the background to contrast with the normally cool climate of a penguin. You might have noticed by now that I love contrast in all aspects of my paintings, I find it gives the painting both cerebral and visual intrigue. I also challenged myself to paint these black and white birds using intense color and no black. The darkers values of the deep blues and purples form a solid connecting shape in the painting, giving is stability. The white that appears on the penguins is the lightest value and it works to lyrically lead your eye through the painting. The human eye will look for contrasts in values in a painting and will seek out like values. This is a good point to think about when you are planning your value study.

The use of color and value in the shapes that make up the painting can give your design the additive it needs to project the emotion you are after.

This painting, "Flight Risks" is watercolor and gouache on gatorboard. I have an article coming in the August issue of "Watercolor Artist" that explains this technique in detail.

Now, I am off to paint in my studio. I have had the urge to paint some canvas lately, so I am sure it will lead to new ideas and challenges. I just unpacked a shipment of wonderful acrylic paint from Nova Paint. I highly recommend them as they are very economical and extremely nice paints. If you would like to order some for yourself, the link for Nova paint is I am trying some new colors and I am anxious to see what they inspire! I will post the results next week!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.


Thomas said...

Hey, that's a nice write up about the colors and the play between them. I never really thought about it before in that painting. I'll have to explore colors use like that more in photographin' !

Nancy Standlee said...

Cathy, My Watercolor Artist magazine came yesterday and I read your article first. I love your colors and want to study more about gouache. I've taken workshops with Carla O'Connor and Donna Zagotta. For some reason your website was not working this morning. Have you used Strathmore Plate Bristol? I've ordered some but haven't tried it yet. Again, great article.

Karina Rose said...

Hi Cathy,
I saw your art in Watercolor magazine and want to say I just LOVE your work! I've only been painting a few years and have been struggling to build by skills to the level that I can express what I'm trying to, but when I "grow up" I want to be just like you! I love the combination of mediums, the bright color, but you pull it off in a way that isn't cartoony. Your subjects are light hearted without being silly. Realistic yet abstract, cerebral yet full of feeling. Planned yet spontaneous. So Cool! My last child just left home as well and we just moved to a semi rural area in Oregon to start this chapter of our lives. Well, happy painting! You have inspired me immensely!

Cathy Hegman said...

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for the kind words about the article in Watercolor Artist Magazine. I loved writing it and sharing the technique. I have used Strathmore Plate Bristol and it is a good paper board and you will enjoy it. Bristol if very forgiving and easy to work with. I use the Strathmore Bristol and I use Multimedia board as well.
I appreciate you checking my website. I checked it as soon as I read your comment and it is working fine. I don't know why it did not load for you. Please try it again and I hope it works for you this time. Thank you again for the comments and taking the time to view my website.

Cathy Hegman said...

Dear Karina Rose,

Thank you for the nice complements on my work! It is nice to have your peers enjoy your work and especially nice when they take the time to write you and let you know. I know you will fill your hours with expressive painting now that the last bird has flown from the nest.
Art is such a wonderful path to be on and the journey is never dull. If you are beginning the journey, somewhere in the middle, or near the end, always remember to enjoy where you are at that moment.
I am so honored to have been an inspiration to you and I am sure I will be reading articles from you in future issues of Watercolor Artist! Happy Painting!