Tuesday, April 26, 2016

More Watercolor and ink with some pencil sketches

Above is another of my studies using a watercolor wash background and then ink on top. The ink this time was Acrylic Indigo Blue with a dip pen. This is OK, but not what I am looking for so I have another in the works, but the inking I want to put on top of the next one is taking more planning. For the tulips I used a couple of my reference photos, but the end results don't quite do it for me. Might  have been better if I had put leaves in the background, but by the time I realized that it was too late.

Spring is arriving, the world is turning green around me, the flowers and butterflies are starting to emerge for the season. After seeing photos of a Kestrel on the facebook bird group I belong to, and knowing that there are some spring flowers that bloom in the Oak Wood, I took a trip over to Daniel Webster. The flowers were just budding so not as far along as I had hoped, I didn't see any of the Kestrels, but I did see one of the Osprey who are again back on their nest stand, and I think I saw a blue bird pair. Not a total loss but not the most successful visit either, so there are no photos, and least none I want to share. I did sit out at Fox Hill for a bit and drew the nearest tree and the line of power poles above. Done in my sketchbook with one of my technical pens. The view is open fields and wetlands, a perfect spot for Kestrels and Osprey.

I also went into Boston last week, hoping for some beautiful blooming trees on Commonwealth Ave., nada, I was either too early or too late. Even Boston Garden didn't have a lot of trees/shrubs in bloom, only one or two trees, again too early for some trees and too late for others. On the bus driving in I made the above sketches in graphite, fellow passengers.

I also visited the MFA, my main goal was to look at the Techstyle Clothing exhibit that I have been walking through but not really viewing. The clothes are very out there, and I found myself a bit impatient with some of what they had on display, totally unwearable unless you weren't going to sit down for hours. I am neither young enough or thin enough to even dream about wearing that stuff even if I had some place to wear it, which I don't.

Anyway I took the time to revisit some galleries that are old friends, Late Egyptian period, and then some early Greek statues and wares. The above sketches were made in those galleries, the woman from a relief panel, the small vase from an actual alabaster jar, and then a bust in the Greek gallery.

Spring is coming to the Fens, you can see the weeping willow is starting to green up a bit, actually it is yellow since it is starting to bloom. Anyway I just like this photo so I thought I would share. Hard to believe this is in the middle of a fairly large city, but it is.

Another trip last week had me driving down to Myles Standish State Forest in Carver, MA. I was looking for butterflies, and found several but I also found this, Trailing Arbutus, our state flower. I had never seen it in the wild before so I was thrilled when I made the ID. There was a lot of white blooming bearberry (a low ground cover) in the area and if I hadn't realized that some of the white I was looking at was different I might have missed it. That was a very good day out, two new Elfin Butterflies for my list and the Trailing Arbutus.

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

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Watercolor and Pen and Ink Experiments

The above is an outgrowth of some of the exercises I have been doing from the Bert Dodson book Keys to Drawing with Imagination. The exercises I did are below. The first was the butterflies in silhouette, then since it is spring I got the idea of doing the same with a tulip shape. I was looking for some contact between shapes and I thought the tulip shape might be easier to work.

Once I finished the silhouette mode of the tulips I went on to the 2nd part of the exercise, which was to draw the images in contact and then darken the background or do a reverse silhouette. Since I had been playing with some new watercolor (to me) paints I though why not put the tulips on some painted water color paper. Above is the finished drawing. The tulips with just a darkened background didn't have a focal point, so I picked one of the tulips and added some details. Sort of OK, but I am glad this was an exercise and something I was more invested in.  Paper here and in the 2 other works on this page is cold press 6 x 6 inch Fluid Watercolor Paper that I purchased in block form from Dick Blicks last summer.

Original exercises for silhouette mode with pen and ink. I actually think I like the butterflies better, but I couldn't get the contact areas to work smoothly so used the tulips for the reverse exercise.

I purchased some additional paints, and wanting to see how they would work with one of my other paints did another wash study. The colors are Hansa Yellow Medium and Quinacridone Rose along with turquoise. The yellow and the rose are my new colors. This is another wet in wet wash which I started with the Hansa yellow in the center, then added the rose and finally the turquoise.  When it dried I thought it would be fun to add some ink work, and decided to keep to the circular theme. I drew 3 overlapping circles (using a roll of tape as a template) and added ink using my technical pens. No particular look in mind up front, I just wanted  to use various fills/textures. When I finished the outer rings I added the inner circle. Circles were drawn with pencil and then inked.

Not wonderful but kind of fun. and I do like the colors, might have been better if I had overlapped the colors a bit more, but I didn't want to muddy them which can be a concern with watercolor.

 OK at this point I was on a roll so I painted a third sheet, using the yellow and the pink but adding some purple instead of the turquoise. There is also a bit more color overlap in the wash with this one.

For a reference I selected one of the WetCanvas pen and ink forums challenge images, and using acrylic black ink and a dip pen drew the flowers in over the wash.  I did pencil sketch the outlines of the flowers first, mainly for placement but details were all done with the pen. This one I rather like, and think I need to play around with this technique a bit more to see where it can take me. Maybe I will use one of my own flower photographs next time. Maybe by the time I finish a series of these I will be more experienced with wet in wet watercolor washes.

Wednesday I took the bus into Boston for a visit to the MFA (wanted to finish viewing the Megacities Asia sculptures) and then a walk through a different area of Boston for photographs. I ended up walking the Rose Kennedy Greenway from the North End to South Station, there are some additional photographs on my Facebook page if you are interested. Anyway I did my usual on the bus ride into Boston and made this sketch of a fellow passenger. I did do other sketches but I liked this one the best. Done in my small sketchbook with a Copic Fineliner pen the .1 tip.

The above photograph is from my walk yesterday. I finally found some spring daffodils that hadn't been badly damaged by our snow and cold weather of over a week ago. I just thought these were pretty and the photo came out well. Oddly enough daffodils can be a bit hard to photograph.

Also from my Boston trip yesterday, this is the Christian Science Mother church. I am photographing this through the stand of trees that they have planted on one side of Christian Science Plaza, I like the tunnel to the left along with the still bare branches and blue sky. The reflecting pool is still empty so the plaza wasn't the best location for photos yesterday, not to mention the cement mixers that were doing something toward the front of the church.

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

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Drawings and Pen Exercises

Well that resolution didn't last very long. What I am writing about it the resolution to make a graphite drawing a day for 30 days. I managed 4 days then got sidetracked. Oops. Here are the last 2 drawings I did manage to do. One of my bottles of Acrylic Ink, in one of my small sketchbooks with various graphite pencils, I think HB, 2B, and maybe a 2H, but I can't really remember at this point.

Above is a piece of Ginger Root. I use a slice of fresh ginger to flavor my evening pot of green tea so I usually have some of this on hand. Again in my sketchbook with about the same range of pencils.

The day following this I got more involved with doing the exercises from the Dodson book Keys to Drawing with Imagination and let the graphite drawings slide.

Above is a sheet I put together of some of the exercises I have been doing. The top left was my attempt at what Dodson calls a tangle, lines are supposed to overlap, run over and behind. I found this type of "doodle" to be quite tricky to do. I certainly can't do them mindlessly. Maybe with a lot more practice I could, but since I don't entirely see the point of putting myself through that struggle I think I will just let that type of doodle slide.

The Upper Right page was me attempting Geometric doodles, much more my thing, and more like doodles I have done in the past.

The lower left sheet was done using what Dodson called a wave, I just enclosed it and repeated in in a spiral instead of across the page. Another type of doodle that I am more used to doing. I like drawing organic type shapes.

The last sheet in the lower right hand corner was from a different exercise, using Building blocks to make shapes. I didn't do a lot of these, though perhaps I should have done more, but again I felt comfortable working in this manner.  I have more exercises done but I will save them for the next blog update. Instead I wanted to write above my latest trip to visit Boston's MFA.

Last week we finally had another sunny day (we have had lots of clouds and some rain the past 2 weeks) so I made the trip into Boston on Wed. My goal was to visit the Museum of Fine Arts to take in the new exhibits and to wander around Boston with the Camera. The wander around Boston part was successful though there weren't as many trees/plants in bloom as I had hoped. Still it was just the end of March and there isn't usually much blooming at this point. Then on to the MFA.

At the MFA I was able (because I am a Member) to do a preview viewing of the new MegaCities Asia exhibit. Artists represented are all from one of the huge Asian Megacities. Many of the works were created with "found" objects. One made up of bags sort of melted together, another was old doors and windows, another bamboo and rope, another of molded and painted migratory birds. The one thing they all have in common is they are large. One area was given over to moving sculptures (made by the same artist) that cycle between movement and staying still, when they move they make noise so when all of them are moving it can get fairly noisy, sort of like a city depending on time of day.

While I was visiting the exhibit a couple arrived with stools with I think the intent to sketch one of the artworks, I thought it might be fun to sketch them with the artwork just beyond. Which is what you see in the above drawing. Below from a different angle is the construct that he/I was drawing. The "sculpture" is made up of purchased everyday objects, brooms, bags of food, an umbrella, cans of soda. The one thing they have in common is that they are predominantly green. I didn't even try to detail the sculpture in my drawing, I would have been drawing for hours, so all you see is a suggestion of some of the objects along with a rear view of a fellow artist. The pair didn't stay very long so I have a feeling they found the subject a bit overwhelming.

This is a view of the same sculpture I attempted to sketch in the above drawing, but from a different angle. Just wanted to give you a better idea of a very visually confusing structure.

There are several other new exhibits at the museum but I will wait to write about those after my next visit, which should be soon.

The red fabric flower above is also part of the Megacities Asia exhibit. There is an air blower at the base that inflates and then allows the petals to relax a bit when it stops blowing. The on/off cycle of air makes the flower seem to breath, add some wind and you get quite a bit of movement. This sculpture is placed on the lawn outside the museum. Sure hope no one attempts to mess with it.

Since it was still March when I visited Boston most of the blooming flowers I saw were in planters or window boxes. This box contained mostly white tulips with one pink one to liven up the mix. I am sure the pink was an accident but I enjoyed seeing it. White tulips lit by the sun. Happy Spring to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere.

That is it for today. As I understand it the MegaCities exhibit is on Tour and Boston is just one of the stops on the Tour, it will be here until July 17, but I am not sure where it goes next, or even if it really is on tour my MFA Preview Magazine really doesn't say. In the meantime all comments are welcome.