Welcome to the artist's blog of Pat Howard! The Painted Prism is an inspiring and inviting Watercolor Painting Studio -- full of workshops, demos, paintings (finished & in progress), photos, projects, lessons, and other watercolor news and helpful information.
The first full month of Spring was busy and productive -- another portrait commission, an art show reception, a finished painting that I'm happy with -- even a visit from the Easter bunny.
Portrait of Gianna
I was asked to do a portrait, for my friend, Maureen, of another one of her darling grandchildren . . .
After sending Maureen a photo of the finished painting, and getting her okay -- I matted and framed it, before shipping it to her.
It looked so good propped up on my table, next to the peach dahlias, I wanted to keep it . . .
Visit from the Easter Bunny, on that Sunday morning . . .
He was so little, I would have missed him out in our yard, if it hadn't been for his glowing ears . . .
My recent paintings -- finished and still in progress . . .
Rainy Day on the Piazza San Michele, 22 x 30, watercolor by Pat Howard
Here are a few photos of this painting, in progress . . .
and a Floral that I'm working on (working title is "Grapes & Roses") . . .
EAA Colorado 2015 Spring Art Show
I was excited to have two of my paintings accepted into the Colorado Spring Art Show, in Evergreen, Colorado . . .
At the Flower Market, watercolor by Pat Howard
Morning at the Farmers Market, watercolor by Pat Howard
My husband, Alan, and I decided to drive to Evergreen to attend the opening reception,on August 24th . . .
I was in good company -- there were so many beautiful paintings and sculptures -- in many different mediums.
Even my husband (on the right) enjoyed himself. (He's been to a lot of these . . . )
We spent the rest of our weekend in Denver, visiting our kids and grandkids, before heading back to Durango on Sunday. It normally takes about 6-1/2 hours, on dry roads. But, this is what we encountered a few hours into the drive . . .
The road ahead was closed over Red Hill Pass, so we had to head back northeast towards Denver. Then, after 30 minutes in that direction, the road was closed on Kennebec Pass. So, we took a detour -- East, then South around the mountains, then finally West to Durango. After 9 hours, we were home.
Springtime in the Rockies! (Today, it's a sunny 74 degrees in Durango.)
Painting portraits is the most rewarding work I've ever done -- but, it's also the most intimidating to me and seems to cause me the most anxiety. This is still true, even after 20 years of painting portraits and about 15 years of painting commissioned portraits for paying clients.
But, I continue to paint portraits for people, because as I said, it is so rewarding for me to see or hear the reactions from the satisfied clients, who are either my friends, or who have become my friends through this process. I paint many different subjects -- flowers, still lifes, landscapes, cityscapes -- and I show and sell them in galleries and other venues. But, no one has ever cried over one of my floral paintings, or hugged ME after buying one of my cityscapes.
I do many portraits of my clients' children and grandchildren. And, sometimes, like my favorite portrait painter, Cecilia Beaux, who was my featured woman artist for April -- I use my own family and friends as models.
To me, making a portrait is more than just painting a face . . .
While drawing and painting the portrait, I get to know the person -- even if I've never met her or him.
I work from photos. If I don't know the person, I work with the client to find the right photo of theirs.
If I do know the person, I take my own photos -- lots of them . . .
I also really enjoy doing Action Portraits of young athletes:
Occasionally, I am honored to be asked to paint a portrait of someone's deceased loved one --
or a loved one who is still very much alive:
Beginning a portrait is easy . . . but a good drawing is essential.
I work from the general to the specific . . .
Painting a portrait with more than one subject is challenging . . .
But, I start them all the same way -- with a drawing, and then some light washes.
Then, I start to develop each subject separately . . .
Each subsequent step takes more time, thought, and energy. . .
After sending the photo of the "finished" portrait to my client, I was asked if I could change the color of the hair of the girl on the left. (There are certain things you just can't do with a watercolor portrait, at this point. But, luckily, I thought I could adjust it.)
Nailed it! She was happy!
Getting a good likeness of your subject is THE most important requirement for a commissioned portrait! And, when I do, EVERYONE is happy!