Not Happy About This

Holidays are over. The family has all gone home. Tomorrow is the last Caturday of the year. Mr Prince is not happy about his party hat.

Last Caturday 2106 -watercolor and gouache 8" x 8" by Serena Fenton
Last Caturday 2106 -watercolor and gouache 8″ x 8″

What’s That?

Last week, my darling daughter reflected on the passive nature of my cat paintings. Well, cats do sleep something like 22 hours a day. But that might not be a good enough defense.
Poking through Pinterest, I was inspired by the Blockheads series by ceramicist Jennifer Bernhard Hatfield. This is what happens when a Blockhead stalks a cat.

After Thanksgiving Comes Santa Cat

Santa Cat came to visit today as I was trying to get back into the swing of things after Thanksgiving.  watercolor and gouache.

And time spent wondering why gouache turns so muddy when blending ‘primaries’.  Could be a sure sign that my ‘starter’ kit was just that: a starter.  I should probably toss the remainder and upgrade to a full set of the luscious paints by M Graham  Wonder if Santa Cat might drop something beneath the tree?  Hmmmmm

Santa Cat #1 - watercolor and gouache by Serena Fenton
Santa Cat #1 – watercolor and gouache

Crookshanks – a Portrait

While I am off at the movies, Crookshanks is keeping an eye out for Fantastic Beasts. Crookshanks’ portrait was this week’s #colour_collective  challenge, with sea blue wallpaper.

Crookshanks, watercolor, gouache and watercolor pencil 8"x 8"  by Serena Fenton
Crookshanks, watercolor, gouache and watercolor pencil 8″x 8″

Blue-Eyed Baby (Circus Cat #6)

As I’m working on this cat series, I’ve been viewing cat photos from the local animal shelters, which is a dangerous pastime.   There are so many beautiful cats out there, needing good homes.  But I am resisting visiting them and adopting them Painting only!

Circus Cat #6 - Blue Eyed Baby - Gouache on paper; 8" x 8"  by Serena Fenton
Circus Cat #6 – Blue Eyed Baby – Gouache on paper; 8″ x 8″ by

Golden Circus Cat

It’s Caturday just a little early, and I’m continuing my circus cat series.  Here’s #5. The background was selected for this week’s #colour_collective challenge, in brilliant gold; gouache and watercolor.

The gold watercolor from a jar of old, now discontinued, watercolor pigment that was made by Daniel Smith.  Sadly, they appear to no longer sell the pigments or the metallic dry powder.  I will have to use the remaining 18 grams wisely – of find a new source.

Circus Cat # 5 - Gouache and watercolor; 8" x 8" by Serena Fenton
Circus Cat # 5 – Gouache and watercolor; 8″ x 8″

Circus Cat #4

It’s a cat’s life.  Sleep, eat, sleep, chase the dogs. If only there weren’t these little hats. And posing for paintings…

Circus Cat #4 - watercolor and ink 8"x8" by Serena Fenton
Circus Cat #4 – watercolor and ink 8″x8″

What Happened??

Taking a break from my ongoing circus theme, just to ponder the last few days and what happened in this election.  Days like this definitely make you think.

What Happened? Gouache painting by Serena Fenton 8" x 8"
What Happened? Gouache painting – 8″ x 8″

Circus Cat # 3

With a background color chosen for the  #colour_collective challenge, using #moroccanblue, this is my third in the circus cat series.

The cat is watercolor.  I was asked on the previous cat painting how I got the fur strokes.  Those are done with a rigger (or liner) brush. There’s a bit of ink around the eyes and the nice flat background is done with gouache.

Circus Cat #3 - watercolor, ink and gouache 8"x8" by Serena Fenton
Circus Cat #3 – watercolor, ink and gouache 8″x8″

Spike the Circus Cat

Nope, Spike is not happy at all about being forced into a clown hat and then forced to pose.  What a cat has to do for his dinner…

This foray into circus cat painting began with watercolor, with acrylic paint used for the opaque background and highlights.

Spike the Circus Cat, water media 8.5" x 5.5" by Serena Fenton
Spike the Circus Cat, water media 8.5″ x 5.5″

Circus Cat

Working on more circus animals, this time: cats!  Background color determined by the week’s color for the  colour_collective challenge.  They named it  #maygreen .

Most of the work is done in a mixture of water media: watercolor, watercolor pencils and acrylic.  I like the idea of acrylic, but the final patina is never what I hoped.

Circus cat - water media 5.5" x 8.5" by Serena Fenton
Circus cat – water media 5.5″ x 8.5″

Circus Dogs

Since I am still struggling with Papier-mâché, but in love with circus performing dogs, I decided to just paint some of my dogs-in-mind.  The problems with paper mache is both the tools – Papier-mâché is inherently lumpy and the artist – I was working too small, so the lumps look like craters and mountains (see photo

Circus dog #5 water media water media .85" x5.5" by Serena Fenton
Circus dog #5 water media .85″ x5.5″

below).  Hence I decided to commit some of the animals that I am thinking of to the painted page.  #5 is my first shot.  The painting is a mixture of watercolor paint and pencils, then covered with ink and acrylic paints.

 

top layer - paper mache clay - circus dogs by Serena Fenton
top layer – paper mache clay – circus dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this is heavily inspired by a quick trip last week to the NC Renaissance Festival and an acrobatic troupe, Barely Balanced. (They really do need a dog though.)
Barely Balanced - acrobats at the NC Renaissance Festival

Barely Balanced - acrobats at the NC Renaissance Festival
Barely Balanced – acrobats at the NC Renaissance Festival

Barely Balanced – acrobats at the NC Renaissance Festival

Jumping Jack Russell

Fall is here.  The weather is gorgeous and it is a great time to get outside with the dogs.  Below is a quick pen and watercolor sketch of a jack russell terrier.

Jumping jack russell - ink and watercolor by Serena Fenton 5.5" x8.5"
Jumping jack russell – ink and watercolor 5.5″ x8.5″

Flowers and Bees

A summer’s preoccupation in watercolor.  I am slowly coming to appreciate the massive variety in bees.  How did I not see it before??

Buzz- watercolor 8" x 8" by Serena Fenton
Buzz- watercolor 8″ x 8″

Excavations

Working in the garden lets me consider what all is going on underground. This is a quick reflection on the unseen.  Acrylic on watercolor paper.

Excavation - acrylic on watercolor paper 12" x 12" by Serena Fenton
Excavation – acrylic on watercolor paper 12″ x 12″

African Violets

I have been using watercolor paper as the background for this series of acrylic paintings.  The paper has a nicely smooth texture for the paint that makes slide onto the paper.  I can then build up lots of color as a glaze layers.

African Violets -  acrylic painting by Serena Fenton 8" x 10"
African Violets – acrylic painting; 8″ x 10″

 

Hollyhocks

Summer in the South is an almost tropical experience.  Everything grows and grows and grows.  I used to be completely lost in the colors of the flowers, but now I find myself becoming intrigued by the patterns of the foliage. This painting experiments with both.

Hollyhocks - acrylic painting 12" x 12" by Serena Fenton
Hollyhocks – acrylic painting 12″ x 12″

Threesome

Continuing experiments with acrylic paints.  I have been using matte medium, since I don’t like the sheen and plastic-feel of acrylics.  I could use Acrylic gouache, but I am not wild about the lack of intensity of the colors in most acrylic gouache – and there is the cost.  Why is acrylic gouache so darned expensive???

Threesome - acrylic painting 18" x 24" by Serena Fenton
Threesome – acrylic painting 18″ x 24″

I Spy

Cats tend to assume that they are invisible, but if you look hard, you can still find them.  This painting is in acrylics.  I am intending to do some larger works on canvas and gouache just won’t work for that, so I am staring to learn to use acrylics.  Transparency is the biggest issue.  Gouache gives lush rich color.  Acrylics seem to take many many coats (and I am reportedly using the ‘good stuff’ – Golden artist quality).  There’s a learning curve, definitely.

I Spy - acrylic painting 8"x10" by Serena Fenton
I Spy – acrylic painting 8″x10″

Dense Foliage and Wildlife

Summer in the South means that everything is green and thriving.  I grew up on the desert, dodging tumbleweeds and squinting into the glare.  The richness and color of a Southern summer just amazes me.

Southern Summer - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Southern Summer – gouache painting by Serena Fenton

Here’s Looking at You, Kid

Bluebird fantasy landscape.  This is what happens when you watch your bird feeders for too long..  The birds are no longer worried about me.  They just watch right back.

Looking at You - gouache painting by Serena Fenton
Looking at You – gouache painting, 4″x 4″