Monday, July 25, 2016

The Moleskine Journey - A step forward and some shameless pandering.

I've been wanting to do a lobster for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.    We don't often get the chance to use a lot of red so I made the most of this one.

This was an absolute joy to paint.   All Moleskine lessons learned were applied.   Plenty of water and plenty of paint.  Let the stuff puddle on the surface, keep painting quickly and don't expect much blending.  In fact this one was more like drawing with paint than anything else.

So the shameless pandering?   Well this was painted to be part of World Watercolor Month on facebook.    I've noticed that the paintings that get the most attention are :

  - brightly colored
 -  have a lot of contrast
 -  are not too detailed (phone screens are small).
 -  have an immediate impact (no fussiness).

Think I've covered all bases there.

And of course the gratuitous action shot.

The Moleskine Journey - Ducks!

Good contrast here and am fairly happy.   

These action shots seem to be very popular on facebook right now and I don't want to be left out.

The Moleskine Journey - lightbulb moment

Something clicked here (even though there are proportion problems with the drawing).  This is almost entirely done with quinacridone gold and a mixture of ultramarine and burnt sienna for the darks.

The secret -  plenty of water and plenty of paint.   Let the stuff puddle on the surface of the paper and it will move around (or let you move it around) for a fair while.  

For the first time this felt closer to painting than fighting.

The Moleskine Journey - doubt sets in.

I went into these gouldian finches highly confident and, as usual, was still optimistic after the initial drawing was done and was starting to paint.

Something got lost along the way and they all ended up a a bit paint by numbers.   Never mind.

The Moleskine Journey - Polar Bears

Well this one was rather ambitious.   I'm still on the Moleskine learning curve and this would have been tough under normal circumstances.

The Moleskine Journey - Vegetables

I started off painting the scissorwing in my A4 (roughly 8x11") Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.    This turned out well and so I came back to it for my next assignment - vegetables.

I've often complained about the paper in the Moleskine sketchbooks because, although the paper is thicker than standard, it isn't really watercolor paper at all.     Proper watercolor paper has some absorbency to it and once the paint is down it will carry on blending with whatever is around it.  This is a large part of the charm and challenge of watercolor - the damn stuff has a mind of its own.   This paper though - you put the paint down it basically stays there unless you go in immediately and coax it around.   And you have to do this quick as the paint dried almost instantaneously.

So it's frustrating.   But I've decided to go with the flow and work with it rather than against it.    And this sketch came out quite well considering I was trying many different things in various parts.   The garlic and the onions were the most satisfactory - simple glazes of color with a few darks drawn in with paint at the end.   The left hand tomato is as close as I get to overworked but I was pretty happy with it.  The stalks in the top right were great fun.   Put in very quickly and almost drawing with the paint here.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Guinan Cock-of-the-Rock

Well this certainly is colorful.    I'm actually pretty happy with this.  The face has just enough detail to draw the interest and the wispy feathers on the wings came out pretty well.


A very (~20 minute) sketch in the moleskine to try and keep up with facebooks world watercolor month.   Very pleased with this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Birds again - Dusky Lorys, Lesser Bird of Paradise and a Blue Heron

Dusky Lorys.   the last time I attempted  highly colored birds it was less than successful.  In fact come to think of it there have been multiple terrible attempts.

For instance :

and let's not forget

In comparison the dusky lorys came out pretty well.

In contrast there was also a blue heron - a little more subdued.

finally for a bonus bird I dashed off a quick lesser bird of paradise.  This is done in a 5x7 sketchbook with a waterbrush and pans.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kittery Point - Day 5. Howells House.

Last day before we left and something a little different.    This is the house we were staying in -Howell's House.    This was built in 1870 and was the summer home of William Dean Howells who was the editor of the Atlantic Monthly.  It's a wonderful place.   

But what of the painting?  As I started drawing it became apparent that this was going to be much more complicated than I'd first thought.   I tried pretty hard to get the proportions right and almost succeeded.  If you didn't have the house in front of you you wouldn't notice any difference.

It came out ok considering the complexity.  Weak foreground as usual - I keep meaning to go back and put some darker shadows in to focus back on the house. 

The drawing - feeling good.

Starting in on the house.  Not feeling too bad...

Finishing up (with James coming out to investigate).