Deanna Williamson, Stray, 6 x 4, colored pencil, 2017, therightpink
Deanna Williamson, Stray, 6 x 4, colored pencil, 2017

The house we used to live in had a kitchen window overlooking a big back yard with shade trees and grass. It was like a mini Peaceable Kingdom with all sorts of birds, squirrels, butterflies, and lizards going about their business. Ducks and rabbits also resided there from time to time. And a few stray cats who were mostly “peaceable” but had to be monitored to make sure they didn’t eat anyone else in the kingdom. Sometimes as we looked out the window, the animals would stare back at us. One day the cat in this drawing decided to hop up on the window sill and have a closer look. I took a picture of her with my Android camera and worked directly from the phone screen image to create this portrait.

As I mentioned in a previous post, smart phone cameras are wonderful resources for artists. You can keep a whole gallery of images to work from. You can crop awkward compositions to balance them and you can use the edit features to get creative effects.  I used a color enhancement setting on the photo for Stray and tried to capture the effect with my colored pencils. I liked the result but think it would have looked better on smoother paper.

Below is a small painting of the same kitty. Or a close relative.

Deanna Williamson, Dinner Buffet, 7" x 5", acrylic on canvas, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Dinner Buffet, 7″ x 5″, acrylic on canvas, 2016




Deanna Williamson, Locust Shells, 11" x 8.5", pen and ink
Deanna Williamson, Locust Shells, 11″ x 8.5″, pen and ink
Deanna Williamson, Birch, 7.5" x 11", ballpoint pen, 2014
Deanna Williamson, Birch, 7.5″ x 11″, ballpoint pen, 2014
Deanna Williamson, Tree Study, 8.5" x 6", pencil, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Tree Study, 8.5″ x 6″, pencil, 2016

The previous post was about taking a closer look at our surroundings in order to find subject matter for the sketch book.  Whereas that post dealt with seeing potential in the ordinary, this one is about seeing detail. Georgia O’Keeffe once said, “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time- like to have a friend takes time.”  The drawings above are about the practice of taking the time to see the smallest details. Details can be color, line, or any number of things. These are primarily about surface textures.

The ability to see and render texture in a convincing manner is key to realistic drawing and painting.


Deanna Williamson, Mushrooms 1, 6" x 6", watercolor, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Mushrooms 1, 6″ x 6″, watercolor, 2016

Here are the last two mushroom paintings I did while on vacation with the kiddies. The big red cap in Mushrooms 1 was a challenge because of the little white dots on the top.  These had to be left unpainted. Some masking fluid would have come in handy here but I didn’t have any with me. (Confession: I’ve actually never tried masking fluid.)

Deanna Williamson, Mushrooms 2, 6" x 6", watercolor, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Mushrooms 2, 6″ x 6″, watercolor, 2016

Mushrooms 2 is the final in this series and, in my opinion, the best.

Like the first 4 mushroom paintings, these were done from copyright free photos I found on Pixabay.