Hi All Artist Hearts,
Happy New Year to everyone!  I know this post is long overdue, but I have been recovering from an emergency surgery on my neck for a severe infection and tumor.  Only a few months earlier I began losing the sight in my left eye and was diagnosed with Retinal Vein Occlusion.  We pray the disease won't cause complete blindness and end my painting days. At least I was so blessed to make it home from the hospital 2 days before Christmas.
Kale rose crop Watercolor by Jan HowlettPlease know that I have not forgotten you all, I was just not able to work on the website.  I may yet face another surgery, but we are trusting that it won't be necessary.  Although 2014 was a difficult year health-wise, I am finally back on track and strong enough now to continue this series for at least another while. Painting small details has become a challenge with impaired vision.  Thanks for your loyalty and patience. 

Kale, Watercolor photo cropped part showing earth and potting soil, Stage 5 by Jan Howlett
This photo, taken before my surgery,  is a cropped portion of the painting in order to focus on the earth and planting soil at the front of the Kale plant just as it was in the garden at the Trading Post.  You can see the little bits mixed in with the earth giving it a unique visual texture.  I was able to lay in a base of soft golden browns in various tones from light to dark to capture some of the light and shadows beginning to form.  The bits were either scrubbed out and outlined with their tiny shadows in a dark brown, or later, when dry, lightly touched with a Watercolor pencil to lighten some of the surfaces on the bits to catch the sunlight without disturbing the paint underneath. 

I have enjoyed painting in the background shadows between the garden rocks.  I make sure I do just some of the areas at a time and then for a change of pace move on to other parts of the painting.  That way I can ensure that the shadow patterns and shapes don't all look the same. After doing the rocks so close up for too long a period one can lose their perspective all to easily. 

I mentioned in my last post that the flowers in the pot may have to be minimized and put into shadow to avoid their commanding too much attention away from the Kale.  Well I have started to neutralize their colors preparing them for the shadows as you can see in the photo below.  I have also darkened more of the background on the left side of the garden as well and teased out the green paint to show emerging leaves from the shadows.  I've added a little more of the gorgeous burgundy colors into the center of the Kale.  So it is really developing nicely.  I can hardly wait now to start working on the rusted inner bowl of the Cream Separator as well as the sidewalk and doors leading into the Trading Post on the right side of the painting.

Cropped Kale Watercolor by Jan Howlett Stage 5 photo
Until next time, happy painting.