Island Lake Sunset Video

Since I usually do portraits, I've been enjoying the change of pace with the landscape commissions I've had lately. This is my video of the painting of the Ontario sunset:

Island Lake at Sunset

This is another new landscape painting. I combined two photos to make a painting of an island in a lake in Ontario at sunset. Here's the finished painting:
Lake Island Painting by Kathryn Beals
These are the starting photos, one of the sky colors and one of the island:

Here's a closeup of the trees on the island:

I put in some subtle backlighting on the foliage to distinguish it from the dark land on the shore. I'm working on a video of the process.

Lantern Glow

This is one of my new landscape paintings, Lantern Glow:
Waterfall Painting with Fireflies by Kathryn Beals
The client who commissioned this painting wanted a mix of fantasy and reality, with some meaningful personal details. The painting is loosely based on a waterfall in West Virginia. We wanted the waterfall as a main focus, with signs of warmth and life.

Here's a detail of the glowing lantern next to the waterfall:
Waterfall Lantern Painting by Kathryn Beals, Detail
This is a detail from the other side, with a bridge and sign that captures a special memory:
Waterfall Bridge Painting Detail by Kathryn Beals
I like the magic feeling to the painting. This reminds me of another
firefly painting I did a long time ago from a dream I had as a little kid.

Light in the Desert

This is one of my new landscapes, which I named Light in the Desert. This is a painting of shadowed sand dunes under my classic night sky.
Light in the Desert Surreal Incarnation Painting
I like having multiple styles, and this one is definitely towards the surreal, abstract side. Here are some detail shots:
Light in the Desert Painting Detail
You can see the canvas texture in this one:
Light in the Desert Painting Detail
I've just posted this painting to my main print store, my Etsy store and my card store if you want to order a print.

Sheltie Portrait Video

I'm all finished my portrait of Binx, the sheltie from Dogster. Binx won his portrait in a contest on the Dog Blog. Here's the finished portrait:

Binx's mom suggested a burgundy background, and I think it looks good with his coat colors.

I filmed video of the painting from start to finish, and sped it up into a 3-minute "speed painting" with music. If you want to see the video in higher resolution, I recommend clicking on the YouTube icon on the bottom right of the window, which will take you to the video in YouTube. Then click on the HQ option on the bottom right. Here's the video:

Migraine Aura

I've had severe migraine headaches on and off since I was 11. I've usually kept quiet about it, but I've come to realize that for better or worse, it's been a source of artistic inspiration. True migraines are a neurological condition, and in 1/3 of sufferers they cause the hallucination of a c-shaped "aura" at onset. This hallucination is surprisingly similar between individuals - almost always a jagged, scintillating "C".

A few years ago, I painted my migraine aura, superimposed on black. When I see it, it's superimposed on my regular field of vision, like looking through a broken windshield, and it moves. Although I don't like my migraines, I find them interesting. Many of my more surreal, dreamlike paintings are based on migraines. Here's my migraine aura painting:
Migraine Aura by Kathryn Beals
You can see the same color scheme and rounded moving design in many of my paintings. For example:
Surreal Northern Lights PaintingWinter Northern Lights Painting

Foster's Finished Portrait

I've finished my portrait of Foster the Boxer. Here's the finished portrait:

Boxer Dog Portrait, Finished

I filmed the painting from start to finish and sped it up into a 3-minute speed painting. I painted the portrait over several sessions, but made sure to wear the same shirt and use the same lighting so it would look seamless. I recommend watching the video in High Quality (HQ) by clicking on the YouTube icon in the bottom corner and selecting HQ on the bottom right of the controls.


Boxer Portrait in Progress

I've been working on my portrait of Foster the Boxer. After transferring the sketch to canvas, I started by painting in a pink underpainting to map out Foster's facial features. Next, I added the black markings on his face, his nose and eyes:
Foster's Underpainting Foster in Progress
Once I was satisfied with the overall proportions, I started on the detail. I made the underpainting pink so that it would show through the white of his fur here and there, and create a deeper look. I imagine that Foster's skin is probably pink underneath his coat, so this helps me visualize the way his face and neck wrinkles would look.

During the first stage of adding solid color, I like to work quickly with a medium to large brush, so that I can blend colors together on the canvas as the paint dries. At this point in the portrait, a moderate amount of detail has been painted in, and the fine adjustments and fur texture remain.

After painting in the coarse detail, I like to stop and let things dry, then do the fine detail in a few hours or the next day. The fast dry time is one of my very favorite aspects of working in acrylic. The dry time can be lengthened with the use of acrylic blending medium (sometimes called "retarder"), but even with blending medium added, acrylic paintings dry much faster than oils.
Boxer Dog Painting in Progress

Sheltie Portrait - Binx

Dogster dog Binx is the winner of the Dogster Dog Blog dog portrait contest! Here's Binx, a Sheltie and Service Dog:
Sheltie Dog PhotoSheltie Dog Photo
I'll be painting Binx in a head-shot pose, so I made two head-shot sketches:
Sheltie Dog Portrait SketchSheltie Dog Portrait Sketch
Once we've made the final decision on the sketch, I'll start painting Binx and filming video of the process.

Boxer Portrait Sketch

I'm working on a portrait of a boxer named Foster. I made two sketches of Foster in different head shot poses, and decided on the side profile. I like the cute markings on his mouth and nose.

Boxer Dog Portrait Sketch
Dog Portrait Boxer Sketch

Evening Tide

This is a painting I did in 2006. This is a picture of two boys digging a dam in the sand on a beach in Tofino, British Columbia. I'm from Vancouver Island myself, and I love the northwest coast.
Painting of a Sunset Tide in Tofino, British Columbia
Below is a detail shot where you can see a bit of the canvas texture. I made the area around the boys' heads a bit brighter to indicate dusk and draw focus to them.

Prints of this painting are available in my Print Gallery.

An Unexpected Tribute

I heard today about the sad passing of a friend's dog. It reminded me of a strange and meaningful aspect of one of my paintings that I discovered long after I had finished it.

Last year, my in-laws lost their yellow lab to cancer. I loved him like he was family, and he was even in my wedding party. I was with him when he passed and I still miss him. He was the first dog I ever painted, long before I became a professional artist:

Yellow Lab Painting
In the last few weeks of his illness, I was thinking about him a lot while I worked on my paintings. One of my current commissions was of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Painting of Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach
I didn't notice this until after I had shipped the painting, but many people pointed out that you can see his face in the rock:Dog's Face in Haystack Rock

New Book Drawings

I'm illustrating a children's book written by my father-in-law. The story has a ferret narrator (here and here) and features a family preparing for a new baby in the midst of a move. My sister Gillian modeled as the pregnant mom in the story, a week before her own daughter was born.

Here's another drawing of Gillian as the mother in the story:

Pregnant Woman Hanging Laundry

Here's the ferret narrator, dreaming up mischief while she rifles through the laundry basket:Sketch of Ferret in Laundry Basket

Here's the younger daughter holding the ferret:
Sketch of a Girl Holding a Ferret


Leave No Trace

I'm proud to announce that Beals Studios has partnered with Leave No Trace, an international nonprofit dedicated to environmental stewardship and education. As a Small Business Partner of Leave No Trace, I will be donating 10% of card sales profits.

As a backpacker, Leave No Trace is a cause that is close to my heart. Travis and I always do our best to follow Leave No Trace guidelines when we're backcountry camping. I really like that Leave No Trace focuses on providing wilderness access and education to kids. Leave No Trace is science-based and apolitical, and works with many different types of land users - not just hikers - so we can all share the backcountry.

When we're out on trips, I'm impressed with how well other users look after the trails these days. People voluntarily pack out their own garbage, leftover food and even toilet paper to reduce their impact and respect others' enjoyment of the park. Leave No Trace has been educating people on the importance of this since 1993, and I believe that what they have done is working. I did a lot of camping as a child, and I'm sure that parks are cleaner now than they used to be.

Travis and I have done dozens of trips in North America, and he takes many beautiful photos of the places we go. Here I am on the West Coast Trail of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Sierra Mountains of California:
Kathryn Beals West Coast Trail Kathryn Beals Pacific Crest Trail
I sell my landscape cards in packages of 12 in my print store, or in mix-and-match packs of six in my Etsy store. I also sell wholesale lots of full-size painting greeting cards and postcards to outdoor retailers. My new wholesale cards will be produced by an eco-friendly printing company that uses wind power, post-consumer materials and vegetable based inks. 10% of profits from all my cards will go to Leave No Trace.

If you're interested in making a tax deductible contribution to Leave No Trace, please visit their website to donate.

Dog Portrait Contest

It's time for another dog portrait contest on Dogster's Dog Blog. I love working with Dogster folks, and I'm giving away a free 16x20 head-shot portrait on canvas. The Dog Blog editors will choose the winner, and I will paint the winner's portrait when the contest ends on Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. To enter the contest, visit the contest post and leave a comment telling what you will do to celebrate Adopt-A-Dog month and help shelter animals. You need to be a Dogster member to enter, but it's free to join if you're not already.

If you're thinking about ordering a portrait, you can do a free Portrait Consultation here. Previous Dogster dog portrait contest winners Winnie, Mollie, Missy and Zeus:

Corgi Dog Portrait Bloodhound Lab Dog Portrait
Poodle Dog Portrait Bullmastiff Dog Portrait
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Sketches of my sister

I've been working on illustrations for a children's book. This is a story of a young family going through a difficult time before the birth of a new baby.

My beautiful sister Gillian helped me out by posing for the drawings of the pregnant mom in the story. Her own baby girl was born a week later. In the book, the mother of the family runs an animal shelter in the country. She's about to give birth to her third child.
Sketch of a Pregnant Woman by Kathryn Beals
The ferret narrator (and comic relief figure) is shown here watching her clean:
Sketch of a Pregnant Woman by Kathryn Beals

Jolanda's Painting Video

This is my new painting video of Jolanda, an Australian Cattle Dog from Dogster. Jolanda is a very talented service dog. You can click on the video to view it in HQ mode in YouTube, or keep reading below to see detail shots of Jolanda's painting in progress.

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The New How I Paint

This is the launch of the new and improved How I Paint. The format is similar to the old blog, but redesigned to match my new Portraits and Landscapes sites and make navigation easier between the three.

The new version of the blog now supports comments on blog entries. I'm in the process of migrating all the archived How I Paint posts from the last three years, and when it's finished, you will be able to read and comment on old entries in the new format.

We're still working on the new blog. Please contact me at the bottom of the page if you have any problems with the site.

Thanks for visiting!

The New Portrait Site

I've just launched a total redesign of my portrait site,
I made this one myself and I'm very proud of it.

Dogster dog Byron is the new main mascot. He is a professional service dog, and I love his expressive eyes. I think this painting best represents the style I try for in each portrait; a blend of realism and expression.

Italian Greyhound Dog Portrait by Kathryn Beals


Yellowstone Speed Painting

I've been working on my series of paintings featuring parks in Canada and the US. This painting is based on Yellowstone National Park, from a trip we took to a cabin in Montana with our friends last May.

As usual, I recommend you click on the YouTube icon in the bottom right of the window to watch the video in YouTube, then click the HQ icon to see it in high quality.


Chesterman Beach Video

This is my speed painting video of my Chesterman Beach painting from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. My sister Gillian took the photo while she was camping there with her husband. She and I grew up in a rural area north of here on Vancouver Island. It's a beautiful place.

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Chesterman Beach

This is my new painting of Chesterman Beach on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. My sister Gillian took a photo of the beach while she was camping there last winter, and I thought it would make a nice painting.

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More Ferret Sketches

I don't usually draw much, but I love drawing ferrets. They have such unique, spirited personalities. Our ferrets loved nothing more than stealing socks. Here's a ferret in the laundry basket:

Ferret Sketch - Laundry Basket

Ferrets also love to dig:

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Ferret Sketches

I've been working on illustrations for a children's book written by my father-in-law. It's a nice story about a young family preparing for a move while awaiting the birth of a new baby. It's based on a story from my childhood.

The family in the book runs an animal shelter in the country. Parts of the story are narrated by their pet ferret. This ferret loves to cause trouble and steal things, and does a happy dance when she's victorious. She's my favorite part of the book. Here are some sketches of her in action:

Ferret Sketch - Stealing Sock

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Montana Painting Video

This is a landscape I painted after last month's trip to Montana. I took a photograph at my friend's cabin and then painted this when I got back to California. The forest cover in this valley is growing back after a large fire swept the area 13 years ago. Now that most of the mature pines are gone, the forest canopy is open, and much more of the mountain scenery is visible. The area is very green and filled with birds and wildflowers.

I taped my work and sped it up into a 5 minute speed painting:

I'm getting a little better at my video technique, though I need to learn how to paint without standing in the way of the camera. You can see the lights flickering as I move around the canvas, blocking the different spotlights. I'm just happy I haven't backed up and crashed into the tripod yet.

You can see much more detail in the video if you click through to YouTube and select the HQ icon on the bottom right to view in high quality.

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Mollie's Painting Video

I've finished my portrait of Mollie, the winner of the Dog Blog's photo contest on Dogster. For the first time, I filmed the painting from start to finish. I sped up the footage into an 8 minute "speed painting" and posted it on YouTube. Check it out:

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Sabrina and Ollie's Finished Portrait

I'm finished my portrait of Sabrina and Ollie in the lupines:

Poodle Pit Bull Portrait by Kathryn Beals

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Mollie the Bloodhound - Sketch

I've made a sketch of Mollie for her portrait. Mollie's mom and I chose this photo of her:

Here's my sketch of Mollie:

Bloodhound Sketch by Kathryn Beals

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Three Dogs at the Park, Finished Portrait

I'm finished my portrait of Copper, Kensy and Logan. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I painted in Copper and Logan first, but Kensy was more of a challenge. With the help of Kensy's mom and some additional photos, I made small changes to the original until I got a good likeness.

Here's the finished portrait, and a closeup of Kensy:

Dog Portrait by Kathryn Beals

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Congratulations Mollie!

Mollie is the
winner of Dogster's Picture Perfect photo contest on the Dog Blog. Mollie is a rescued Bloodhound/Pointer mix from Ontario, Canada, and she beat over 100 other entrants. What a great smile!

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Win a Portrait on Dogster

This week, you can win a free 14" x 18" head-shot dog portrait, worth $300, on Dogster's Dog Blog. The contest is open to all Dogster members. If you're not a Dogster member, it's easy and free to sign up.

To enter, just
visit the contest post and leave a comment. The Dog Blog editors will choose a winner on April 27, 2009.

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Bernese Mountain Dog in Progress

I've been working on my portrait of Copper, Logan and Kensy. I began with Copper and then painted Logan. Here's Copper and Logan together:

Dog Portrait in Progress by Kathryn Beals

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My New Etsy Store

I've been working on my Etsy store. Etsy is a neat online community where artists and crafters sell handmade items. My store has several of my original landscapes for sale, as well as 8x10 prints and mixed packages of cards.

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Saatchi Gallery

I've entered some of my previous landscape work in the Saatchi online gallery. There are thousands of artists there showing their work from all over the world.

Saatchi Gallery Profile

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Sabrina's Pit Bull Portrait

I'm working on my portrait of Sabrina and Ollie. I worked on Ollie last week, and now I'm adding Sabrina before painting in the background. You can see a printout of Sabrina's original photo taped onto the canvas for reference.

Here's her portrait so far:

Pit Bull Dog Portrait in Progress

Like Ollie, Sabrina has many complex colors in her coat - greys, purples and browns. I used a similar mix of colors to Ollie's portrait, but with more yellows and warm browns. I started with a purple underpainting:

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Three Dogs at the Park, Sketch

I'm working on a portrait of three dogs relaxing in a field. This portrait has an extra-long aspect ratio at 12"x24", so I chose poses that would fit well into the space and make room for a nice landscape background. Here are Copper, Logan and Kensy with their family:

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Ollie and Sabrina, Sketch

I rarely get to meet the dogs and people I paint, so I'm thrilled to be painting two dogs I know very well, Sabrina and Ollie. Sabrina is a Pit Bull/Weimaraner mix and Ollie is a Standard Poodle. Both dogs are service dogs. I painted Sabrina several years ago before she retired and passed on her job to Ollie.

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Painting of Sparky the Betta Fish

This is a portrait I painted for myself of one of my own pets, my beloved betta fish Sparky. Sparky lives in deluxe accommodations in a filtered, planted tank. Although it doesn't show up in this photo, when I take photos of him from slightly below, he makes a perfect reflection in the tank surface.

I wanted a square, semi-realistic portrait of Sparky looking fiesty and happy. This was my first ever fish portrait. Here's Sparky:

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Diesel the German Shepherd, Finished

I'm finished my portrait of Diesel, the german shepherd. Here's the finished product:

German Shepherd Portrait by Kathryn Beals

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German Shepherd Painting in Progress

I'm working on my portrait of Diesel. Here's the most recent progress:

German Shepherd Dog Painting in Progress

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German Shepherd Portrait, Sketch

This is my preliminary sketch of Diesel, a German Shepherd:

Sketch of a German Shepherd by Kathryn Beals

I'm going to be painting a head and shoulders portrait of Diesel. I like the way he is looking away from the camera. He has a beautiful coat.

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