Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunflowers, shoes and pears

Above is a small watercolor that I just finished. It is from a photograph of Jerusalem Artichoke flowers I made a couple of years ago at Massasoit State Park in E. Taunton, MA. The Jerusalem Artichoke (one of its many common names) is a native North American sun flower. The roots were eaten by Native Americans. The plants bloom in September with lots of tall stems and showy yellow flowers. 

Anyway I did the ink drawing of the sunflowers while I was on vacation in Chicago over Christmas but waited until I got home to work on the watercolor portion. I find it slow going to paint flowers, these took more than one session with paints and brush to reach a point where I felt they were done. The painting is small, post card size (4 x 6 inches) on heavy (120lb) watercolor paper done with my Travel sized Winsor Newton watercolor box.  

I have mixed feelings about using watercolor, I like the results when I can get the look I want, but don't really like the process. But maybe that is just my lack of skill. My technique is to use thin layers of color to build up to the final results. Not for me the one stroke of the brush and calling it done type of painting. I admire those who can paint that way, but it doesn't seem to work for me. 

These next two images are me working on my still life's. This time with shoes. The one above was done with Derwent Graphtint pencils. They seem to be a cross between watercolor and graphite pencils. I have about a dozen of these in various tones that were a Christmas present a couple of years ago. Anyway, I draw with the pencils first then apply water with a damp brush and watch what happens.

A couple of years ago if someone had told me I would be drawing shoes again I think I would have thrown something at them. When I was taking classes at the Community College it seemed like every instructor wanted us to draw shoes, so I drew shoes, and more shoes and then again more shoes until I was totally sick of shoes. Now here I am a few years later finally willing to tackle the subject/object again. They are after all complex shapes and readily available, who knew.

Same shoes but a different day and slightly different pose, this drawing was done directly with ink using one of my technical pens.

This time the subject was pears, I actually used the same pear just different positions for these drawings, the one above was done with the Graphtinit pencils and water. Because these are being done on cheap sketchbook paper you can see where the paper has wrinkled from the water, with the scan it gives an interesting visual effect.

The pears above were first drawn with pen and ink then scanned into Photoshop where I added the colors and grey shading. Colors aren't totally realistic as this was a Bosc pear, but realism wasn't really my goal I just wanted to play and see what I could come up with. There are about 4 different colors on each pear, does give them a bit more depth then I would see otherwise.

Above is another photograph from my walk the other day. I need to get out with the camera today as we now have about 6 inches of cold snow on the ground. If I get back over to this park I may take another photograph of this piece of art work. Brockton doesn't have a lot of municipal artwork but there is some scattered here and there.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome. Hope anyone reading this who is in the Northern hemisphere is staying warm this cold winter.