Saturday, February 22, 2014

Another ATC and Chipmunk finished

Again I have a slightly misleading image as my first one today. This is another ATC (Artist Trading Card) so the image on your screen is probably larger than the actual card. ATC's are 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size. This one was done on Canson's 140lb Watercolor paper cut to size.

This is from another of the WetCanvas pen and ink monthly challenge reference photographs. I did this first as a pen and ink drawing, but I really love the colors so decided that it would be fun to make an ATC painting of it. Combination of watercolor pencils and pan watercolors, though I did sketch it out in graphite and then outlined the basic elements with pen and ink prior to painting.

This drawing is really 8 x 7 inches, so in reality much larger than the ATC. Not sure if it is totally done, but I think so, at this point any changes are going to be subtle. I spent several hours yesterday, looking and making slight changes until I felt I  had done all I could/should. Work at that point was mostly adjusting values in some of the shadow areas.

I use a ruby beholder to check values in my drawing against the reference photograph. It is a technique used by quilters to check fabric values as the red nullifies all other colors and all you see is value. I find it a useful tool when making my animal drawings. It is way too easy to think you have graphite in the drawing the same value as the reference, but really don't, only the relationships are correct, but darkest dark needs to be still darker.

The drawing which I am calling On The Fence, is from a photograph I made last summer at the Trailside Museum in Milton MA. People were feeding the ducks and the resident chipmunk population had arrived to get their share. This little guy posed on the lowest fence rail long enough for me to snap its photograph.

Done entirely with graphite, various hardness starting with a 7H and working up to a 2B, but most was done with the 2H, HB and B grades. Base is Stonehenge paper. This is a redraw though the first time I drew him it was a fairly quick drawing in one of my sketchbooks.

Between the watercolor ATC and the chipmunk drawing I haven't had a lot of time to work on other projects, but I did spend part of an evening doodling in my sketchbook, thought you might like to see the kind of things I doodle. Mostly plants/flowers but there is one snail in there, not sure where he came from. Sometimes these doodles become a larger project, so I don't feel that I am wasting my time doing them.

I made this photograph the other day out of one of my windows. For some reason a bit of snow had stayed on the railing and created this icicle. I made several photographs of it, but find I like this one with sunlight on it the best. Needless to say it is long gone. We have been in a warming trend for the past several days, (well at least during the day) and have had at least an inch of rain so the icicle is history.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gourds, more gourds and a flower

Back a couple of weeks ago I made a pen and ink sketch of 3 gourds from various reference photographs. That drawing reminded me how fun it can be to draw gourds and their odd shapes and bright colors. So I visited the WetCanvas photo reference library and downloaded several more photographs of gourds. Using one of those references I created the above colored pencil drawing.

I first drew the gourds in pencil, then outlined them in ink and finally added color using multiple brands of colored pencils. I didn't spend a huge amount of time on it. I am still working on my Chipmunk drawing, so am saving time spent working in detail for that. Still I am not displeased with how this came out. The bowl is a bit wonky but I think I managed to give some feeling of depth and roundness to both it and some of the gourds. Drawing was done in my sketchbook.

While I was drawing the gourds in the bowl I thought it might be fun to make a bookmark using various gourd shapes so drew the above image. The three gourds were taken from different reference images so their position is my composition.

Bookmarks can be tricky to design as the are long and narrow, and I find I prefer the image to be vertical, after all that is how the bookmark will be viewed when in use. Gourds which can be long and narrow seem to be a perfect subject.

Done first with pen and ink I then added colored pencil to the image. Of course it still needs a bit of work before it is a finished bookmark, but so far I rather like it. To be honest I like this one better than the last couple I drew with the heart motif.

The above image is slightly misleading as this is actually a small watercolor ATC (Artist Trading Card). Pretty simple, and fairly quick to draw and paint. I used my watercolor pencils for color on this one, just applying enough water to active the color.

I am currently reading a book on Watercolor painting, Painting in Watercolor by Kate Gwynn. It is part of the Artists Handbook series and was published in 1982 so it is old. Still watercolor techniques and methods haven't changed much from then to now. I think there are now more watercolor pencils than there were back then, but otherwise paints, papers and brushes are pretty much the same. Book is from the library, and the only one I saw on that particular visit.

I have also been spending a lot of time in the WetCanvas watercolor forums, reading threads that have to do with selecting colors for a pallet, various papers to use, and other technical aspects of watercolor painting. The end result is I have watercolor painting a bit on the brain, didn't feel like working on the other piece I have in the works so did this little guy.

It is in a way killing two birds with one stone as the Sketchbook Challenge blog theme for February is Windows. So here is a little watercolor of a plant sitting in a window. loosely based on one of my cyclamens (I have 2, one red, one pink) that are sitting in my northern exposure bedroom window.

I am thinking about painting some more Watercolor ATC's, they are small so quick to paint, but also allow some practice with watercolor.

I made this photograph last week prior to our latest snow storm, and on a day when we had some sun. These are just grasses in an open lot, but I rather like the color/value contrasts, with the browns of the grasses against the white of the snow and then there are the shadows, a cool/warm color pallet if I ever saw one.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Animals and a Laundry-mat View

Happy Valentines day to all. Not a holiday I usually make much of as I don't have any of the usual suspects to celebrate with, but had some images I could post so decided to go ahead and update the blog.

The cat in the above drawing may be familiar as I used a photograph I posted here for reference. Done with graphite in my sketchbook I didn't spend too long creating this fairly quick sketch of a sleeping cat. Since this photograph was made we have had a couple more snow storms and the open grass is now covered with at least a couple inches of snow. Poor cat will have a harder time finding a good spot for a nap outside, though it was above freezing today and we did get some rain yesterday/last night, they are forecasting more snow tomorrow. Winter this year seems very long, it has certainly been a real winter with snow and cold.

Above is another of my pen and ink drawings of the WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum February Challenge photographs. This one obviously a Rhino. I sketched it out first with graphite then used my technical pens to add lines and shadows. Body is a bit too long, but I am rather pleased with the head.

What strange ears Rhino's have, a bit like pigs ears but longer and more tube like. They really are the strangest looking animals, too bad people seem to think their horns are magic, this is a species that when extinct won't leave anything comparable alive on Earth.

Above is a sketch done with a brown ink pen of a row of washing machines at a local laundry-mat. Not the best drawing, but does sort of look like the machines I was looking at this morning while waiting for my load of laundry to finish. Clean clothes are nice, just wish I didn't have to haul them around to get the deed done. There weren't many others doing their laundry this morning so I had to draw machines and not people, maybe on another occasion I will have people to draw.

I made this photograph Tuesday evening. You can see the almost full moon rising over the top of a church. I am not sure which denomination build this church, looks like Greek or Eastern Orthodox to me, but it isn't an active church, meaning no congregation is currently using it for services so there isn't a name to offer a clue.

The sky behind the church was pinking up as it was getting close to sunset, rather odd that it was so colorful as this is an eastern sky and the sun was setting behind my back.

I will say I would be happier with this photograph if it didn't have the electrical/telephone wires, but I couldn't have gotten this view of the front of the church with the moon if I had moved to another position. I suppose I could use Photoshop to remove them, but I was a bit daunted by the bricks in the church, and decided to not spend the time even trying.

I am still working on the chipmunk drawing, it is coming along, but not done yet.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bookmark, pen and ink and a dwg. start

Haven't seemed to be very productive in past few of days. I did manage to do the above pen and ink sketch of a braid of garlic. Just drew it with one of my technical pens and am fairly happy with how it came out. At least it looks like a garlic braid to me.

Did manage to work on a new heart bookmark. It is actually a replacement for the bookmark I posted in my last update, I had a moment of inattention and when I came to, I realized I had punched the hole for the tassel braid at the bottom of the bookmark instead of the top. So started over, even though this one will be too late for Valentines day. Ah well such is life, and I wasn't totally happy with the other one any way so I guess it isn't the worst that could happen.

I prefer the hearts drawn on this one to the other, but am not sure about the background. I realized I didn't like the little circles with the hearts, or maybe it was the all over grey color that didn't appeal, whatever I decided to try something different. Simple lines that said they needed some further decoration. The only problem is I think the background is now overpowering the hearts. Maybe I will try for a third, don't they say third time is the charm?

While I was coloring this bookmark with my colored pencils I did notice that the temperature in the room seems to affect how well the pencils will lay down color, the warmer it is the easier it is to apply the color. The other evening it was cool in the apt. and I seemed to have to really use pressure to apply any color, today (with sun coming in the windows) the apt. temp is higher and the color seemed to just flow on without that much pressure. Something to think about, but not something I can totally control, oddly enough it was the Polychromes which are oil based that seem the most affected.

I have two in-process projects, one is a new watercolor that also has some ink work on it, and the 2nd is this drawing of a chipmunk. I have drawn this reference photo before in my sketchbook, but this one is on good paper (Stonehenge) and I will take my time with it. So far just the outline of the chipmunk, and some work on the fence posts.

One thing I have been doing is spending time on the WetCanvas Watercolor forum and reading about mixing colors with watercolor paint, what colors are basic and that Artist grade is usually better than student grade. Oh yes that my portable watercolor box probably contains student grade pans. I now have a list of colors that I need to think about purchasing if I am really going to continue to explore watercolor. Also on my next visit to the Library I may look to see if they have any books on watercolor painting.

From a walk the other day, this tree with snow on its branches. Our weather has been consistently cold so we haven't had much melting from the snow storm last week. This photograph was made a couple of days after the storm and you can still see the snow on the branches, haven't been out so am not sure if I would still see snow this way, it is certainly still on the ground.

That it is for today, a bit more text than art, but I think all of go through such cycles, anyway comments are welcome.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Watercolor Still Life and stuff

Above is my watercolor version of a Wetcanvas Pen and Ink Forum Feb. challenge photograph. My last update included by quick pen and ink version. I am pretty happy with this watercolor version, esp the onions on the left.

Done entirely with Winsor Newton watercolors, no pencil, no pen and ink, well except for the signature. The actual painted area isn't that large, only about 6.5 x 5.5. Painted on cold press 120lb Canson watercolor paper. This is new territory for me, and one I am not entirely comfortable with but feel it is a good move. There are going to be more watercolor paintings in my future.

Since valentines day is only a week away I thought it might be fun to make a bookmark with hearts. So far this is what I have accomplished, pen and ink with colored pencil. I used a variety of pencil manufactures and several different reds and pinks.

Background is ink circles, it is faster to do then stipple but gives me a grayed surface which I sometimes want. Over that I added some white colored pencil to add some texture. I don't feel quite done with hearts just yet, something is sitting just out of sight, so will have to play around with this theme again.

Above is another of the Feb. Wetcanvas challenge photographs done in pen and ink, just a quick sketch of this Bird of Paradise flower with a tree in the background. I see lots of errors as I didn't draw it in pencil first just went for the ink. Done with the 00 Technical pen in a sketchbook.

I love Bird of Paradise flowers, when I was in High School I had a friend whose family actually had a potted Bird of Paradise that would bloom for them in the middle of winter. For years I wanted a plant of my own, but was never able to get any of the seeds I could get my hands on to grow. I should mention that we were living in CT. no where near the the tropical environment that is the native home of these flowers/plants.

This photograph is from the other day, as I was on my way home I saw this little bird sitting in the bushes outside a neighbors house, not sure of the species, but I was surprised to see it out and about in the falling snow. It's feathers were all fluffed to help keep it warm, even though the day wasn't that cold.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ink Work, more Still Life's

I hope you aren't getting bored by all the still life's I have been drawing as above is another one. Had some fruit on hand along with this wooden bowl so thought it would make a good subject. I don't spend a lot of time on these just getting straight to it with my technical pens, mostly the 00 (.30) though occasionally a larger nib.

Often I do one pencil version and then an ink version, I didn't bother with the pencil version of this set up.

For the above I just drew outlines of a couple pieces of fruit in various positions, not an actual arraignment, just something I put on paper. My plan was to scan it into Photoshop and then play.

So above is the outlined fruit in the black and white image with color added in Photoshop. I am much happier with these pears than the ones I did a week or two ago. For one thing the color is more accurate, Bosc pears are more brown than yellow/green. I am also trying to use more shades of color on each object to add the illusion of depth.

I don't spend a lot of time on these, partly because I want them to have a slightly unfinished look. For me that is one of the problems with computer graphics, colors are often too uniform without the shading you see in real life or in non-computerized paintings.

Another drawing from WetCanvas monthly challenge photographs. The above image is from one of February's selected photos. It was a quick study and I am not totally thrilled with it, though there are parts that I like.

I rather like this photograph so am spending more time with it by attempting to translate it as a watercolor. So far no ink, I am just using paint. With my method of working it is a bit slow going so I don't have a finished painting to post today.

The above photograph is from yesterday. The weather reports yesterday were all about the snow storm we are supposed to be getting tomorrow (6 to 10 inches) and nothing about the snow that was falling out of the sky for most of the day. It didn't amount to much, just a couple of inches but still... It was a fairly warm day (temp around 32 degrees) so the snow was wet and sticky. This photograph shows a neighbors tree and bushes with their decoration of snow. I know it doesn't look it, but this is a color photograph, just most of the color was leached out by the grey conditions.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.