Thursday, April 28, 2016

Whoa!! Catch the Creative Spirit!! - Plein Air & Drawing Tips for the Sketchbook

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Tired of the confines of the studio? 
Wanting to to make a break?  
Run with the wind and let the colours flow?  

Definitely how I feel in the spring.  Don't get me wrong, when the rain falls in January I am happy as can be.  My brushes are wet, my colours are flowing and my pencils are dancing. Ideas are flying. I can't even begin to keep up!  Being up all hours finishing a piece is just part of the mix.   But . . . . When the sun shines and the temperatures rise, I am done!!  With my sketchbook in hand I am gone.
Little Tree Standing - ink and graphite - love the view of the Coastal Mountains from Vancouver Island.  This is at Bennett's Point, just south of Campbell River.

To really catch the light, and be ready for action one needs to be prepared and travel light.  In my last post "Getting Loose and Free" I talked about the free and lively line you get with a pen and adding watercolour to the mix.  But there are other combinations that can be quick and dirty too! 

You can have lots of fun with a pen and pencil.  Yes, just a nice 2B graphite pencil.  The ink gives the strong line and dark tones and the graphite gives a quick, beautiful range of values that will seduce even the most hardly disbeliever.  Trees, logs, birds, water, all come alive with this combination. Sometimes I sneak in a 5B for it's really rich tone.  Using it means you get great darks but still keep the texture of your paper.

High Tide Mark - Ink & Graphite - A quick sketch while beach combing on Texada Island. 

With your pen work you can quickly capture the main ideas of the area, then use your pencils to shade things in.  I love to do some crosshatch as well. When you put graphite over the crosshatching you get intriguing texture.
Detail from Little Tree Standing - the crosshatching in the shadow areas with graphite shading gives energy to the shadows. 

However, the real pleasure is in the pen work.  You will find that your pen is full of energy, dashing about on the page.  Your mark making will become loose and free.  You won't worry about shading as you know you can jump in with a pencil.
Detail from Little Tree Standing - Let the pencil and ink work talk to each other, going outside the lines gives a greater value range and more interest to the work.

When you add the pencil, don't feel that you need to shade every little thing.  Like watercolours (see last post),  the graphite can be inside and outside of the lines giving a loose and free flow to your work. I love that tension created by the line telling the story but the shading echoing it rather than religiously following every stroke.
Long Beach, west coast Vancouver Island, BC.  - Capture the Memory!

Your good friend, your sketchbook, is waiting, grab a pencil and pen and hit the streets or bush, wherever you like to sketch.

Looking for a starting point?  I will be happy to set you up.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art. Your sketchbook will soon be full of great memories and inspiration for the winter. 

In my next post I will have a few more ideas for that sketchbook of yours.  It will soon be crying out  for a lot more attention!

For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

Special Note to Fraser Valley Readers: 

The big Spring Show of all my new work is happening this week, Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1, 10-4pm at Mandeville Gardens, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby, BC. Come down and say hi.  (and of course pick up a new piece for your collection.)

 Be sure to like and share my posts.
You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)

 Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Getting Loose and Free - Watercolour Painting & Plein Air Tips/Techniques

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Loose and Free!  Running with the wind.  Do you wish sometimes you could do that with your work? You know just letting your senses flow and colour happen.  Strange words from a realist, wildlife painter like myself but when the sun shines I am drawn in two directions: capturing my animals and letting it flow.

Lakeshore Trees - Ink & Watercolour - Sketchbook 

The answer to the dilemma: a sketchbook, some colours, a pen and a passion to create!!

Your sketchbook is your friend, it captures your special moments, your explorations, your thoughts.  It takes you into places you have never been before!

Your sketchbook doesn't have to be lots of 'stuff' - Keep it Simple

My sketchbooking work is always changing but my two favourite books right now are the top book which is more watercolour based - a moleskin 5 1/4 in by 8 1/4 in. and the mixed media book also the same size.  I find the different formats inspire me in different directions. I always carry a 2B pencil, kneaded erasure, .03 pigma pen and a paint box of some kind.  This is a new one I am trying out and having great fun with it.  It is a Koi Water Colours Pocket Field Sketch Box by Sakura. It even comes with a small water filled brush that fits in the case.  Skaura makes a bigger case but I wanted this small one.  So far I am finding the colours working well and really forcing me to do some colour mixing!!

Working in a sketchbook is very freeing.  The pressure of producing a masterpiece is gone.  You can be in the moment, work small or big, sketch or write, try new materials - anything goes.  Don't think it is all about fun! Many sketchbook pieces have become a study for future work and a learning ground for new colours, materials and styles. You always learn something new when you create.

Lakeshore - watercolour & ink - Sketchbook

Loose Lily - Watercolour & ink - Sketchbook

One of my favourite combinations is ink and watercolour.  A pen flies across the page, lively and free. It has its own way with paper, so unlike a pencil.  Try dropping in colour to bring out the darks and then drawing after.  There is a sense of excitement as the line and colour jostle back and forth, both trying to grab your eye and take control. Fun to do and works up fast!

Get a sketchbook, create some memories, treasure the moment or try something new.  Your sketchbook, your friend is waiting for you.

I love working with a sketchbook, in my next few posts I will tell you more of what I like to do in my book.

If you would like some instruction on getting your sketchbook started, working with ink, watercolour, graphite and/or coloured pencils, just give me a call.  I would be happy to set up a drawing session with you.
For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
 Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What’s Going on Back There? - Painting Tips - Backgrounds

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

 I blame it on my kids.  They were the ones that started me on it.  Starbucks Caramel Frap.  Warm weather is happening and nothing is as nice as an ice cold Caramel Frappuccino.  (Well I am sure there are few other things but not at that price!)   These refreshing moments don’t just happen.  Everything is planned, measured, shaken, stirred, whizzed and presented.  Just like my picture “Still Green”.  
STILL GREEN - watercolour - part of my Chickadees in the Garden series

You know how it works.  You have your plan.  In my case, I am working on a series “Chickadees in the Garden”.  My challenge is to find things in the garden that my little chickadees would be interested in.  Then find a place for them to ‘be’.   For “Still Green”, I was thinking of those warm summer days.  The garden is in, things are growing fast and furious; it is a sea of green.   (Hence the thoughts of ice cold Caramel Fraps whirling about in my mind)  My tomatoes are getting bigger and bigger each day and soon they will be that rich, luscious red.  Nothing beats a ripe tomato still warm from the summer garden. Okay, I admit, I am totally ready for the warm summer weather.

My main ingredients were ready.  But what do you do with the background?  You don’t want all that detail.  You don’t want all that green. But it can't be left just plain.

Lessons can be learned from that frap. 

Once the main ingredients: milk, espresso, and caramel syrup are in your container, it is the ice that does the magic!
Here are my Main Ingredients: tomatoes, stalk, chickadee and a few leaves.
I assembled my ingredients first.  I wanted to see what colours I could push into my picture to extend the idea of ‘green’.  These colours became my ice. Working wet into wet I dropped my colours into the background.  I let them bang and crash together, mix and mingle, shove and jostle about.  Then dry.  There is no time to fiddle.  Remember that shot of expresso - 10 seconds and its dead. That wet into wet is the same way.  Get in and get out.

 our paper will dry quickly so no time to rework things;  hard edges and mud are waiting to happen.  As I drop my colours I am thinking a dark by a light, a light by a dark and a mid-tone  by mid-tones to keep them from taking charge.

Still Green with background colours dropped in. 

Once it is dry, time for the topping: a puff of whipping cream and a drizzle of caramel.  Ahhhh. . . It’s Ready!
My picture is nearly ready too.  Those bits of colour are now suggesting a branch, a leaf, or more fruit. Now they need their puff.  They are too bright.  I can push them back with light glazes of Ultra Marine. That light blob beside the tomatoes on the right suddenly started to look like another tomato behind it. (not on finished piece above)   It is amazing what the power of suggestion will do. This is the Magic of art. I did a few more small glazes to push some areas further back, my drizzle of caramel and then "Still Green" was done. 

Try some colour dropping in your background, use the colours that are found in your subject.  Let them crash about and see what they suggest.  Get your magic working.  Any try a Caramel Frap, if you haven't had one.  They are good.
See another example of backgrounds and the power of suggestion here. (My March 19, 2015 post.)

Have you got any secrets for finishing up your backgrounds? I would love to hear them.  Backgrounds always seem to be a challenge.

For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
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For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

 Be sure to like and share my posts.
You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Out on the Streets - Watercolour Painting Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY
Rainy Day Vancouver - Watercolour
A strange place for me to be!!  I am a wildlife artist as you know, not really a city girl.  But here I am surrounded by people, cars and tall buildings.  Learning how signs, lights and poles can be the ‘jewelry’ that brings your painting alive.   Is this a nightmare, will I wake up?  Well actually this isn’t a dream; I am taking a 3 day class with Rex Beanland, from Calgary, “Urban Landscapes, Fast and Loose” in watercolour.   Really doesn’t sound like me, eh? 

Not a nightmare, I paid to be here!! Not a blade of grass, tree or piece of driftwood in sight!!
Rex, is great with his urban landscapes and is not afraid to populate his pictures with people and cars.  You know, the things you like to leave out but wish you could put in.  He even has people in the foreground, not just suggested way in the back.  Well I want people in my pictures too.  Not walking on the street but deep in the forest on the trail or hiking over the dunes, even picnicking by the river;  just involved with my environments.  Rex’s class seemed just what I needed. 
Rex hard at work

It was awesome!  We started off working just with people and cars.  As you can see from my practice pieces, people and cars are just shapes.  As long as they have a few details the suggestion is there and they work.  When you break that barrier you can make people do anything, just suggest the shape, add some shadows and you are away!! 
I even painted a crowd scene!!

Cars are just a shape with a bit of detail

From people we advanced to tall buildings and great washes on dry paper.  Here I really stepped out of my comfort zone.  I realized I use small washes, easy to control and lots of glazes to sculpture my subjects.  I was not ready for that ‘big’ wash and I really didn't know 'Mr. Bead' that well.
It took a bit of practice before Mr Bead would even show up!!
I was not a friend of ‘Mr. Bead’- that wonderful line of water at the edge of the wash as you move the brush across the paper.  Mr. Bead  and I had a bit of a false start but we have become good friends. 

My First Street Scene - Watercolour
People and cars really are just shapes!!
We worked very hard, Rex is a taskmaster, completing 2 large pictures and getting a 3rd underway.  I certainly learned how valuable those bits of jewelry are: a stop light, a street sign even a few street lights really bring depth and life into the street scene.  I know this has real implication for me. 
The power of suggestion is strong; I really don’t have to draw every little thing.  Although I like too!!  Finding a balance of suggestion and detail are so important.  That bit of detail seems to give so much meaning to those suggested areas.  Very powerful stuff!

You can see more of Rex’s works at rexbeanland.com.

So even if you love the trees, the beach and the trails getting out on ‘the streets’ can teach you a few new things.

Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)

For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

 Have a great artful day, Wendy