Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wishful Thinking


We went away for a few days and I wanted something more portable to work on so I took a little break from my truck. I had a picture of our neighbour's cat on the fence and I felt with the addition of a bird it would make a great picture.
Our bird feeder is set up in the branches near the fence and our new neighbour's cat has discovered it. At first she would come over and move along the ground under the feeder but that proved very unsatisfactory and of course our little dog would see her and chase her away. Then she discovered the fence!! Now she can get very close to the feeder and best of all she realizes that the dog cannot touch her up there. He of course is very upset about that. She now gets very close to the trees and the feeder but as yet she has not figured out how to make her move onto the branches. The birds are aware of this and will flit and flirt about just out of her reach and tease her something terrible. Watching all of this has been very entertaining for us.
The Artist Forum's Challenge # 13 is "A Sense of Spring, Nonfloral". I thought that this picture might be an interesting addition to the challenge. The Challenge is in the All Media Paint-Off section of the forum if you would like to check it out. http://forum.artistsnetwork.com

Monday, March 16, 2009

Moving On


This is a great old truck that Steve and I found out in the bush near Harrison Hot Springs. It was in the middle of a pasture covered with blackberry vines. I loved it because it has a crank, wooden wheels and is definitely way before my time. I painted it first as a small miniature and then in pen and ink just to see how it would work as I was adding chickens to the scene and changing the season of the picture. (The original was taken in February and everything looked gray and dead at the time.) I started the picture last summer and then had to abandon it and so now I am returning to it. This has proven difficult as I have had to figure out my color palette for it (I don't use the same colors all the time) and I was not happy with the grasses that I created with the frisket when I did the background. I tried a few things on the background on the left side of the truck and I decided I could work things out so now I am back on track.
The original work was laid out in pen and ink and then I worked with watercolor to develop it. As you can probably tell the background was done wet-on-wet adding more and more foliage as the paper dried. I must admit I really fell in love with that part. The foreground it only roughed in as I will develop it with watercolor washes but leave a spot for my chicken.Well I will get to work and let you know how things are going.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Driftwood Shoreline


Well things went very well at the class. Everyone loved trying out the ink and watercolor combination. For some it was a very new experience and for others it was using things in a different way. The drawing part did prove to be a challenge but we dealt with it in several ways. Some drew first then painted as I often do while one or two tried painting first and then went back and did some inking. That too can be very fun and produces a completely different kind of picture. It was a very successful day.
I loved my picture so much that I quickly got at it and finished it. I was very pleased with the results.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Driftwood Shoreline


Something new has come up for me and it is proving to be a challenge: teaching a class on ink and watercolor. It doesn't sound too hard but to demo and have the class achieve something in 2 hours can be a challenge. My style requires a lot of drawing and many new artists are not confident with their drawing skills so I needed to find something they would be able to draw fairly quickly so they would have time to paint. I picked a picture of the shoreline as driftwood can be very forgiving when you draw it and it really takes on a new life with ink. I prepared my picture so it would show the three stages of my process for my demo: painted, inked and drawn. I really wanted to show how the cross-hatching can work with the watercolor to provide texture to the picture and that black ink can work with the softness of watercolor. I do find that putting in such strong black areas with ink really helps me to get darks in my watercolors and prevent that washed out look. (I know that is good for some things but not everything.) I am sorry to see that my scan did not pick up my pencil marks that well but I was trying to show that the pencil is used for defining the shapes and very little detail. The detail is done more with the ink however here again you do not want to draw everything. The ink on top of the watercolor is darker than the ink under the watercolor so by putting your marks on at different times you are able to get several values with your ink. Of course there is nothing stopping you from reinking an area already inked and of course that will often happen as you want to bring something forward more or make it stand out. If you are trying this technique have fun with it, the best part is inking after you paint and working with the flow of the watercolor on the paper. I will let you know in my next blog how things went with the class.