Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bringing Scotland's Edinburgh Castle to Life - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Of course, you can't go to Scotland without going to the Castle!!  The Edinburgh Castle sitting up above the city on it volcanic rock, calling everyone.  It is certainly on our list.  So of course I needed to paint it.

Why now you ask? Why not wait til I am there?
Well first of all I will doing some drawing on site but probably much smaller or only parts of the castle.  Don't forget, I am not traveling with other sketchers.  (My sisters read my blog and are probably already wondering how long I will be stopping to draw.)  You may be traveling with sketchers, and have lots of time but most travelers are not.  So adjustments must be made.
A Must Have, the Edinburgh Castle in my Travel Journal 
Let's draw the castle . . .
For me the view of the castle overlooking the city is the most striking.  That was my focus.  And that is your first job. Pick the thing that interests you the most and start there.  I know for a full picture you often start with laying in the horizon and move around creating a great picture, paying full attention to composition and everything. But we are not in the studio, light's changing, trains are waiting and life is moving on. A sketchbook is about catching the moment, responding to an impulse. Jump in and draw.
Layout of the Castle - note the guide lines using my Watercolour pencil. 
 I use my Watercolour pencil (59 Golden Brown, Derwent Watercolour Pencil) to give me some lines of reference.  Just a roof line, cliff edge, and any special spot that may be hard to nail right away.  No detail.

Now grab your pen and draw . . .
"I can't do that, what if I make a mistake".  I know for some this will be a very hard leap, and so do it in stages.  Your goal is to move as quickly as possible to pen.  A free loose pen stroke, not tracing a line, has so much life to it.  Often we obsess on a line that is 'not right' but really, it can be a bush, a bit of shading or get lost in the paint.
Ink work nearly done.  Drawing could be considered done at this point. 
Keep the detail at your focal point . . .
Again, don't worry about all the windows, the focus for me is the cliff area.  If you do a quick visual check you will see your eye slides over the other parts of the castle and rush to the cliff view.  Suggest the rest and keep it simple.

Add some colour . . .
I love coloured pencils for color mixing.  They really invite you to mix a few colours!
Close up of the colouring with the pencils. Note the mixing of colours as I fill in an area.
The castle walls are drab gray but there are bits of golds, blues, rusts, browns and more.  Add some colour.  Here you can be quick, don't worry about being too tidy.
Colouring in the castle with the watercolour pencils.  At this point they act just like any coloured pencil. 
 Pressing hard puts more pigment on the page and gives a darker colour, pressing lightly gives soft colour.
Castle complete using the watercolour pencils dry.  It could be considered complete at this point. 
Now the Magic . . .
Bring your drawing to life.  Add your water and blend your colours.  I love the soft wash of the watercolour contrasting with the dark crisp lines of ink.  It gives me a thrill each time. (I use a water filled brush to blend my colours.  Quick and easy)

Close up: plain pencil colouring on the left and blended with water on the right

  Don't forget that  as things dry you can go back and add more colour if needed. You can see from my final picture I darken my shadow areas to really bring my castle to life.
The Castle is ready, complete with a caption!!
Where are you going this year?  Have you got your journal Revved up and Ready?  My last post had more ideas to get your adventure started.  See Revving up your Journal here.

Update on travel bag. . .
Special thanks to reader Tehani's advice to checked out the Dollar Store.  They have an amazing collection of strong mesh bags in several sizes. It works great; everything fits and I can see my pencils for quick selection. (See more on organizing your materials here)

Spring Shows are coming up fast . . .
 Sunday, April 23, 10-4pm,  Artswest Spring Art Show and Sale, . Sullivan Hall, 6306 152 St. Surrey.   Original Art, cards &  prints by local artists.  Raffle for an Original Piece of Your Choice and Light Refreshments.  Lots of opportunity to meet and talk with the artists. More info www.artswest.ca

 April 28-30, 10-4pm each day, Paints’n Bloom Show & Sale, , Mandeville Gardens, 4746 Marine Dr, Burnaby. Featuring Artists Wendy Mould, AFCA & Audrey Bakewell in Support of the Alzheimer’s Society of BC.  
Pre-Show features: Beginner Watercolour Class, Wed, Apr. 26. 3:30-5:30pm Creative Cards Class, Thurs. Apr 27, 1-3pm, $35each  All supplies incl. Register Now: Contact Me to register.

Great Opportunity to get some help with drawing: My  Drop-In and Draw Sessions  for May are Monday, May 8 & 15,  10-12pm.  Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Me.

 Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

Special Offer: 3 Horse Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop.  Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them. See the story of their creation here.

 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Revving Up Your Travel Journal for Excitement - Drawing and Painting Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

On your Mark, Get Set, Go! The race is on, up into the air then down into the water.  Glide,  kick and stroke.  I can still feel the excitement and focus at the beginning of the race.  When I was younger, I swam competitively for several years, the breast stroke was my specialty.  It was a sad summer day when my 14 year son could beat me in a swimming race.

Travel Journaling is very much like racing.  You find your spot, pull out your gear and 'go at it'.  The excitement of place and time is very much there.  But the moment is fleeting; a bus to catch, the light is changing, your friends are waiting.  They all call for you to move on.
Start your book with a BANG!!
 Like racing, journaling does not start there. . . .

There is prep to do first.  You can imagine the days I spent at the pool, swimming lengths, practicing starts and turns, breathing exercises and more.  Success in Travel Journaling requires prep as well.  Each trip has its own requirement.  My upcoming trip to Scotland requires  a small lightweight pack.  My last post, Time to Crack Open That Travel Journal, talked about putting a mini kit together.

Once Your Materials are ready now it's time to  Revv Up your Journal . . .
 Prep your book with a few treats to enjoy on your adventure:

A Title Page to create the mood:
This really personalizes your book, it also starts to build on the anticipation of the trip.  I choose a rock formation to feature on my title page.  It is a prominent structure on the Isle of Sky and part of our day trip.  Notice my business card in the corner.  It is a good idea to put your contact info on the front or back page of your book in case it gets lost.
Churches on the River Ness - Imagine we will walk on that bridge, really soon.
 A Map to track the adventure:
I found this a really valuable exercise.  When I first starting looking at plans for our trip I was overwhelmed.  Everything was new to me.  Once I drew my map I had a really good idea of where I was going. This is also where I discovered the painting kit I had originally planned to use was not going to work out.  (See last post)
Striking a National Note with the flag.
Pictures to spark your couriousity:
This has turned into an awesome activity. I went online and found a few pictures of places we will see on our trip. I have used these pictures to draw in my book; spacing the drawings throughout, roughly in the order we will be traveling.  Now, I can hardly wait to see them as I already have intimately knowledge about them.
Symbols make great decorations
 Little touches to tantalize and intrigue you on your trip:
Flip through your book and prep pages with colour, lines or shapes of any kind.  I used some of the symbols of Scotland to decorate my pages.  Who knew the thistle was so important to them.  And of course, how can you not have a drawing of bagpipes in your book!! When you are trying to catch a quick sketch on site, having a shape to fill instead of a whole page, makes it totally doable. After all, my sisters are not going to wait, that long for me.

Scottish Book without bagpipes?! 
Once you have prepped you will be so ready for your trip . . .
You will not only know more about your adventure but more importantly you will know your materials. You will feel confident in pulling them out at a moments notice and 'getting down to work'.  But most of all you will already have this great journal underway that makes you feel good whenever you open it.

Even simple shapes add so much to blank page.  They invite you to write or draw something.
Do you prep your Travel Journals before a trip?  What things do you do?

Want help with your pictures?  My next post is on my medium - ink and watercolour pencils - Edinburgh Castle.  I can't wait to go there!

Great Opportunity to get some drawing help: 

Come join me at the Expressions Art Gallery, Maple Ridge.  There is only room for 3 people at each session so contact me to register.
     Drop-In and Draw with Wendy Mould, 
Monday, May 8 & 15,  10-12pm & 1-3pm
       Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Wendy 

 Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

 Special Offer: 3 Horse Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop.  Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them. See the story of their creation here.

 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Time to Crack Open that Travel Journal - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

It is pouring outside, I know,  but the weather will improve, and soon!   Time to get organized for travel. 
Getting Ready for my trip adds lots of excitement to even a gray, cold, rainy day.

My big trip this spring is off to Scotland with my two sisters.  This is our first big trip together, a girl trip, can hardly wait.  My Great, Great, Great Grandfather left Scotland around 1856 and after trying his luck in the Gold Fields of California and the Cariboo ended up the Alberni Valley on the west coast of British Columbia in 1860.  He was later followed by more family members.  We want to trace some of our roots.  My one sister has done a great deal of research into their life in and around Edinburgh, Scotland.  And as you know, things are verrrrry old over there.  Some of the original buildings, churches and things are still there from their lifetime.  We want to see them.  The most exciting thing is a posting station that that my grandfather worked at is still standing, it is now a posh restaurant and B & B.  We are going to have lunch there!!  Really neat, eh?!

My goal on this trip is to do a bit of sketching.  The idea of drawing some of those old castles, the streets in the old city, the open highlands; they are just calling to me.  However, the challenge is to keep my material portable, easy to set up and lightweight.  We will be travelling by train, walking and a few tours.  No car with a big back seat to throw supplies in.  Everything must be in my day bag.  See what I mean, a real challenge!!

So, where are you going? How much can you bring/carry?  This requires some thought.  

After lots of trial and error, I have finally put my kit together. Here it is:
Bag, pens, pencil, brush, book, eraser, watercoloured pencils, sharpener (Left to Right)


1.     Book: To celebrate the occasion I bought myself a Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Zeta Series, 8.5 x 5.5 inches.  Softcover.  Pricy but I wanted something special.  My favourite urban sketcher, Liz Steel, always talks about these books. 
Note: Max is an active member of the Art by Wendy Team and has already 'dog-earred' the corners for me. 

2.  Pens/Pencils:  I love ink and watercolour, as many of you know, so that was my first choice.  03 Micron Pigma Pen (2) and a Staedtler pencil.  The pens are great, permanent ink, dry quickly; you can put down a wash almost right away and nothing smears.  I find that with a light hand I can get some thin lively lines and with pressure good dark ones.  I like the Staedtler HB pencil as it has a nice vinyl eraser so one less thing to pack. 

3. Kneaded eraser: can't go anywhere without one

4. Pencil sharpener: a small portable one which I keep in a little plastic bag.  Takes no room and keeps the shavings until I find a place to dump them.

5. Piece of folder paper towel: I usually use my pants to dry my brush but I find it hard to test the color on my brush with my pants.  And laundry will be limited so . . .

6. Water filled brush: This brush is large enough to carry a good supply of water and has a great point for painting with.

7. Container: here I am still stumped.  Right now, it is a ziplock bag but I would like something a little 'nicer'. 

8. Watercolours: This is where everything fell apart.  You definitely want to try things before you leave. 

My plan was to use my Sakura Koi paint set, 12 colours, very compact even comes with a small water filled brush that fits in the case.  I thought it would be great.
I decided to do a map of our trip in my book and try things out.

Big Surprise Here. . . .and not a good one!
Paint works but didn't more around as easily as I would have liked.  

The map turned out okay but I found the watercolours hard to work with on the type of paper in my book. Big disappointment. I took a step back.  Left it for a bit, looked at my other sketchbooks.  Not happy. 

Decided on a new approach.

I have lots of Derwent Watercolour Pencils so I tried them.  Liz talks about using a watercolour pencil for layout rather than a graphite one.  I decided to give it a try.  I also wanted to limit my colours, again, thinking about keeping the kit to minimum.  I choose: 67 Ivory Black, 32 Spectrum Blue & Golden Brown 59 (Layout) and got to work on Dunvegan Castle on Isle of Sky.  One of our stops on our tour. 
Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Sky, - Ink and watercolour pencils
It was awesome!! I loved the way the colours mixed on the paper. They dried quickly allowing a quick application of a second layer to refine my shadows. Best of all, the paper is thick enough it doesn't go through so you can use the back of pages as well. As a side note,  I really enjoyed the format of the page and the way it laid flat for working.  So I am ready to sketch.  (Well except for my carry case, but that will come.)
Pack up into a nice little pack.  Don't forget an elastic to keep it all together. 

Getting materials together is one part of getting that Travel Journal ready but there is more you can do.  Next post, I give you some tips to get that Book fired up and ready for any of your travels this summer.

Do you have some favourite things you like to take when traveling with a Journal?  What do you use for a 'container'? 

Great Opportunity to get some drawing help: 

Come join me at the Expressions Art Gallery, Maple Ridge.  There is only room for 3 people at each session so contact me to register.
     Drop-In and Draw with Wendy Mould,
April 1, 
Tues, April 4, 10-12pm & 1-3pm
       Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Wendy 

 Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

 Special Offer: 3 Horse Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop.  Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them. See the story of their creation here.

 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Horsing Around with Pen & Ink - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Or The Road from Inspiration to Reality

Step One: Inspiration
My road started off innocently enough.  I was planning my card rack for the Kilby Historical Site, Harrison Mills, opening on the Easter Weekend.  They have lots of family events and I thought my doodle cards would be of interest there.  I decided I would would add a few animals to my pack.  I drew a rooster first and then decided I needed a horse.
Don't you find new projects always start this way, with a simple idea.

Let's Ride, Little One & Free Spirit - 5 x 7 each, Pen & Ink
Step Two: Gather resources
Again, simple.  I looked through my reference file and find an interesting horse shape.  That's when the trouble started.  I found lots of really interesting shapes.  Now, as many of my readers know, I love to draw and I really love to draw with ink.  Doodle patterns with wildlife is a real passion for me.  (See my true confession here!)  Still I felt I could keep myself in check and just pick 1 horse to work on.

Step Three: Begin work
This to me is the high point of any project.  There is a sense of excitement in the air, you are powerful, nothing can stop you.  Don't get in my way, I am going for it.
I decided on my horse, Let's Ride, the top horse card, in my picture above and got right to work.

Step Four: The Midpoint
This is a strange spot in the creation process.  The project is underway, but somehow things are not quite as planned.  The excitement seems to have fizzled out. For me it is the step back point.  Time to regroup.

Yes this even happens with my favourite things, doodling with ink.

My horse was half finished.  Doubt starts to creep in. Will he look as good as my other projects? My patterns are all looking the same, I need new ones.  How am I going to finish his face so it won't be lost?

Definitely a time to regroup.  Study. Reflect.

Step Five: Moving Forward
Ah! New plan in mind. Excitement is building.  I am off.  Out of my way.
Yes, I tried a few new things and found some patterns I liked.  Suddenly I was on fire. The next thing I knew,  Let's Ride was done.
Free Spirit all done!!

Step Six: Follow Up
The spark was still there, and the fire still burning.  I couldn't stop with just one!  My mine was bursting with new ideas.  I was jumping out of bed, rushing to my studio and busy planning more.  Before I knew it, Little One and Free Spirit were finished.  Ahhh. . .  I felt much better.  The pace of life slowed down a bit.  Well, until the next idea hits.

Not sure how many more doodle animal cards will be on my Kilby Rack this year but there were certainly be 3 horse cards there!!

Is your Road from Inspiration to Reality a rocky road with lots of Ups and Downs?  Do you have pictures half finished, waiting . . . . ?   What do you do to regroup?

Special Offer: All 3 Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop: WendyMouldsArt.
Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them.

Great Opportunity to get some drawing help: 

Come join me at the Expressions Art Gallery, Maple Ridge.  There is only room for 3 people at each session so contact me to register.

     Drop-In and Draw with Wendy Mould, AFCA:    

      Tues, Mar 28, April 1, Tues, April 4, 10-12pm & 1-3pm
       Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Wendy 

Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Challenge - Simplify Complex Backgrounds: Drawing & Painting Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

The Challenge: Simplify the Complex
 You hear this all the time when it comes to drawing and painting.  What does it mean and how does it work?  The big question.

Meet my Log Mates
I was visiting Riefel Bird Sanctuary last fall. It was one of those gorgeously sunny, cool days. Walking the trails was a treat.  Birds and ducks were gathered in all the sunny spots, feeding on the bits in the soft mud.  Others were basking in the sunlight.  It felt so warm it seemed like we were back in summer.  This pair was tucked away in their own special pool.  I really loved the way the logs enveloped them and the long grasses created their own special safe place. I wanted to capture it in a painting.
Log Mates - 12 x 16 Watercolour - Available
There was the challenge. . .

Yes. Painting the heron and duck is my forte, even the logs are quite manageable. But the background grasses - the problem.  I wanted to do more than just suggest the background.  The mesh of grasses really created their wall and I wanted them to be there. The painting percolated for a while till I had a plan. 

My Plan . . .

Lay in a wash and then add frisket for grasses.  Then add more washes and repeating as I went. Seemed like a good plan so I started.  

First wash went well. Dropped in all the colours I planned to use, keep the value light. Let them mix and mingle.  Great things happened.  Started with the frisket.  I knew right away I was in trouble. This was going to be too fiddly and detailed for a background.  I needed to work with bigger tools to get my grasses, create some depth and still keep it simple. 

I grabbed a wax stick. (Clear wax used for canning)  This gave me wide strokes to simulate the grasses.  It was easy to simulate the gentle lines of movement.  The wax resist meant I could get broad strokes but still lay loose washes over the whole area.  This would keep me from fiddling and getting the background too detailed.  I was away.  Glazed with my colour again.  Added more wax grasses.  Glazed again.  Waxed some more.  
Details of  Log Mates - Bottom left corner shows the first wash. Top area is after 2 more glazing layers. 
After 5 layers I had enough value changes to give my grasses depth: Nice little dark holes among the branches but still lots of light blades.  I then touched up a few areas close to the water's edge and close to my birds to give a sense of tight detail.  It was done.  I was very excited with the glowing reds and yellows in the grasses and way the grasses became lost in their reflections.  It all helped to create this tiny little world, hidden in the bushes.  My Log Mates were done.

Oh, what about the wax, you ask?  
I placed paper towels over the waxy areas and ironed with a warm iron.  It lifts off nicely.  A wax resist doesn't give you a crisp, clean line like frisket but maybe that is a good thing.  In my case I wanted things soft and muted, after all it is the background.

For more information on painting backgrounds with glazing see Painting those Pesky Backgrounds 

See more on the story of Log Mates here.

Do you find complex backgrounds a challenge to simplify?  What works for you?


Special Opportunity to get some drawing help: 

Come join me at the Expressions Art Gallery, Maple Ridge.  There is only room for 3 people at each session so contact me to register.

     Drop-In and Draw with Wendy Mould, AFCA:    

      Tues, Mar 28, April 1 Tues, April 4, 10-12pm & 1-3pm
       Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Wendy 

Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, March 2, 2017

How to Lift your Watercolours - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

I know the purpose of painting is to put paint down.  Get the wash going, mingle the colours and let the magic happen.  Ahhh. . .  Life is Good.  Don't you just love those moments?

Funny though, that is not the whole story.

My work is about wildlife.  So there is lots of loose mixes of colour at first setting the scene but tight detail as I zoom in on my subject.  And you know, I need that detail.  My chance to draw. I can't let the watercolours have all the fun.
Using my scrubbing brush I gently work the paint to lift off feather shapes
The Power of the Life is one of the tools I depend on. My painting, Log Mates, is of a Great Blue Heron standing on a log, with a Mallard Duck at his feet.  They are basking in the warm winter sun in a quiet slough .  I want him to have fluffy, soft feathers where he has curled his wing up near his head.  To do that I have used a series of glazes and lifts.
After the lift area dries I go in with several layers of glazes and refine the shape of my 'feathers'.  This creates several layers of colour/values.
In that chest area, below his head I laid a light wash of colour.  When it was dry I used my scrubber brush (see more on my brush here)  to gently lift off colour for 'white' feathers mingled in the mass of feathers.  When the lift areas were dry I then refined the feather shapes with a few more light washes.
My heron is now ready for me to finish the work on the background to really make him pop.  (Note I did a bit of lifting to reshape the top of his head as well.)
 This gave my feathers:
- hard and soft edges
- many different colours/values for my white feathers
- gave me a 'white' feather tone that was read as whites but darker than my pure white areas.

How does this 'lift' work?

First of all:  it's the paint.  Watercolour paints can be staining colours and non-staining colours.  A staining colour like Prussian Blue or Hooker Green settles quickly into the top layers of your paper and will not lift easily when dry.  Non-staining colours like Permanent Rose or Aureolin Yellow tend to settle more on the surface of the paper and will lift easily when dry. 

Secondly: its the paper. Some paper will break down when you scrub it with a wet brush while other paper works well.  See my last post "The Secrets of Watercolour Paper".  When I was first learning how to paint, I did not know about the secrets of the paper.  I couldn't understand how the instructors on the tutorials were doing what they were doing. With the right paper and the right paint you can scrub that paper almost back to white.  You are never getting white again.

Third: it is the scrubber.   You.  If you are removing paint to develop texture you are relaxed and working carefully.  If you are removing paint to correct a mistake you can be frustrated, impatient and pressured.  Relax.  Wet your scrubbing brush, not dripping but wet.  Gently work the area watching to see if the paint is mixing with your wet brush, blot with paper towel.  (kleenex may leave lint) Review your progress. If  there was little change, repeat. You may have been a little timid.  If you got a lot off.  Let things dry, and examine the area.  Remember, watercolour is darker when wet.  Repeat as needed. 

Using the "Lift" can be a valuable tool in your kit: Lifting off the ripples in the water, softening an harsh edge or creating a mixture of textures.  It is more than just a remedy for fixing a mistake.  

Do you use 'a Lift' in your working process?  What is your favourite lifter?  

Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

Special Note to Artists: 

The Work of Art Conference  Saturday, March 11, 9-4pm  - 6 Sessions + Lunch, Arts Council of Surrey, Newton Cultural Center, Surrey, BC.  

Sessions focus on very specific Marketing Skills:
-  My Presentation: Creating a Strong Online Profile
-  Using the News media as a Promotional Tool
-  Grant Writing
-  Navigating the Publishing World
-  Business Plan Development.

Great opportunity to learn some new skills.  $25 Register by March 8, $40 after that.  Call 604-594-2700 to Register.

 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy








Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Secrets of Watercolour Paper - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY - Etsy Shop Now Open

Buried deep in your studio are Secrets.  Waiting, yes waiting for you to find.  They are little treasures that once found, will change your work forever.  Their simplicity, Their magic, can turn the simplest art piece into something special.  

My last post on painting backgrounds (see here) was all about lifting and glazing with watercolours. Lifting off a bit of colour can soften a spot, lighten a colour or just clean up an edge. Glazing is almost like magic changing a colour, to something no tube of paint can produce.
A PEACEFUL MOMENT - 3 x 4 Ink & Watercolour

My little picture "A Peaceful Moment" grew out of my practice wash from the last post.  That flower looked so lonely I felt it needed a butterfly.  And the background wash worked out so well I decided to finish it.

That's when I realized my mistake.

I had not talked about the paper when I talked about the lifting and glazing.  All Watercolour paper is not the same.  Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Lifting and glazing is not for every type of watercolour.

The Secret to Success is about the paper.

My practice piece was done on a Student Grade 140lb hot press paper.  Nice smooth surface for drawing with ink, holds the colours well for light glazing and gives intense colours.  However, when it came to lifting, I was in trouble.  The surface started to breakdown with even the softest touch of my scrubber brush.  (see brush here)  The Arches 140lb hot press paper, my normal paper, and the one I used for the main piece is stronger and will take that light scrubbing.

Here is the issue:
You want to practice but having the right paper does make the difference.  It all depends on what you want to do:
  • wet washes that mix and move on the paper
  • lifting and correcting
  • glazing over your colours
  • dry brushing
  • mixing ink drawing or other mixed media
  • working large
  • working small

The list goes on but let's start here. Disclaimer: I refer to the Artist Quality brands of paper most readily available here and that I have worked with. There are other good quality brands that may be more readily available in your area.  The point is, check your paper, it may not be designed for what you want.
Types of  Paper: (Lto R) Paint Book, Illustration Board, Paint Block, more Paint Books, Behind: Sheets of Arches 140 lb & 300 lb paper.

Paint Books,
 usually have 90-140lb paper in them: paint will lift off nicely, colours will be bright, they like drybrushing, nice surface for mixing ink drawing and watercolour;   will buckle with a wet wash, hard to glaze colours as the under-painting will lift off easily.

Illustration Board: rigid, wont buckle, lovely surface for drawing on with ink first, shows the watercolours off well;    doesn't take a really wet wash, likes dry brushing rather than glazing, not easy to lift off colour

Paint Blocks, Arches 140lb paper: strong paper for lifting, mixed media, wet washes.  The block hold your paper flat so if it does buckle with the wet wash it will dry flat afterwards;   hard to work on more than one picture at a time, surface is a little rough for detail ink drawing
 
Arches 140lb (300 gsm) Paper:
Cold Press:
strong paper, takes a good wash, lifts and glazes, takes mixed media, easy to blend edges;   rough surface for detailed drawing in ink, larger pieces will buckle if too wet,
Hot Press: great for drawing on with ink, brighter colours than Cold Press, good for layering colour with a dry brush;   grabs the paint so not good for really wet washes, lift carefully as a more delicate surface than the Cold Press, hard to blend edges

Saunders 200lb Paper: excellent paper to work with, holds the water well for washes, stays wet longer for adding those soft details to the washes, doesn't buckle with ta wet wash;   a slightly cheaper alternative to the 300lb paper, can be hard to find as many places only carry the 300lb paper.

Arches 300lb (638 gsm) Paper: the top of the line, does everything you want: lifting, glazing, wet washes, mixed media, wont buckle;  very expensive for practicing, a little rough for detailed ink work,

Each type of Watercolour Paper holds its own bag of tricks.  They are secrets waiting for you to discover.  If you treasure them and use them wisely, your work will flourish.  Ignore them to your own peril.

What is your favourite paper?  What are its secrets that make it work for you?

Yes, I will get back to that more detailed background I promised but before that, we need to talk paint and  Lifting and Glazing,  Yes more secrets there.  See you next week.

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Special Note to Artists: 
February is Marketing Month for Artists, time to really work on your Business Plan. Join me for a full day of getting ready to make 2017 your Best Sales Year ever.  

All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There -  March 5, 10-3pm.  This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy.   Out of Towners  & Skytrainers give me a call and we can set something up.

The Work of Art Conference  Saturday, March 11, 9-4pm  - 6 Sessions + Lunch, Arts Council of Surrey, Newton Cultural Center, Surrey, BC.  Sessions focus on very specific Marketing Skills.  My Presentation: Creating a Strong Online Profile, other sessions: Using the News media as a Promotional Tool, Grant Writing, Navigating the Publishing World, Business Plan Development. Great opportunity to learn some new skills.  $25 Register by March 3, $40 after that.  Call 604-594-2700 to Register.

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 Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Painting Those Pesky Backgrounds - Painting and Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Somehow you run into trouble on every picture.  You have a great subject, you definitely know how to paint but What to do with the Background?

It can't be too dark. Too light. Too busy. Too plain.  Don't you just want to give up!!

Take heart, you are not alone.  This is something every artist struggles with.

Flowery Treats for Hummingbirds - Watercolour, 7.5 x 9.5 Available
Flowery Treats for Hummingbirds started out in one of my favourite ways; an ink drawing of my flowers.  I love the combination of ink with watercolour.  But what to do with the background.  Blackeyed Susie flowers are not very helpful.  They stand up tall, well about their foliage so you can't sneak that in the background.  You are just on your own.

I like to start with layers, just like in my drawings. 

First I lay a light wash of all my colours for the flowers and background around my flowers. (note my small sample piece below.  Sorry I got so caught up in my original picture I forgot to take those early shots)  No, I didn't use frisket, just wet everything and laid down colours letting them mix or not on the paper.  I let this dry.  I don't use a blow dryer at this point as I want the paint to do it thing.  Don't worry if you get a bit on your subject, use your scrubber brush to gently work the colour off when it is dry and do the same to tidy up the edges.  Note the soft scrubbing done on the lower stem.
Sample: First wash with all my colours - 5 x 7
Once this was dry, I drew in my hummingbird.
Again I used my scrubber brush to lighten up my bird but did leave some colour.  The hummingbird is going to reflect the colours in the picture so I needed it to have some of them in his body.
My Scrubber - a #8 Chisel Blender.  Firm enough to shrub the paint but soft enough not to hurt the paper. 
Paint your Flowers (Subject)
At this point I stopped and painted my flowers and my hummingbird. It is much easier to see what is happening in your subject when you don't have the white paper all around.  Also it gave me a check that I have all my colours in the background. 

More Layers added to the background
Yes, you can add layers and layers to the background.  But there are a few simple rules to follow. Make sure it is totally dry before you start.  Use a soft wet brush to wet the area first.  Make sure it is wet enough to skip over the surface.  You don't want to be dragging the under painting around. Then glaze over the background with your paint.  I like to use thin layers each time rather than one thick one as I like the underlying colours to show through.  Very similar to the shading we did in the drawing, adding the value in layers rather than pressing hard and going to the darkest dark all at once.  (See the last post series on Drawing A Seagull with Pencil for more thoughts on this)

Watch what is happening
As you add each layer, watch how your colours are changing.  They are talking to you.  I like to study it after each layer in different lights.  The colours become very rich with the other layers shining through.  As I get darker I also begin to leave some areas light.  For those areas I used a wet brush to keep the edges soft as I moved from glazing to non glazing areas.  If you leave dry edges you will have sharp edges in the background once everything dries.  

Finally Flowery Treats for Hummingbirds is complete!

Are backgrounds a problem for you? Do you have a few tricks that work well?
My next post has a very complex background with lots of tall grass.  Certainly a challenge to work with that.

Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

Special Note to Artists: 
February is Marketing Month for Artists, time to really work on your Business Plan. Join me for a full day of getting ready to make 2017 your Best Sales Year ever.  (Still one or two spaces left for each day)

All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 10-3pm.  This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy.   Out of Towners  & Skytrainers give me a call and we can set something up.


 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Drawing A Seagull - Part 2 - Painting and Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY
Welcome back
Today is the exciting part of drawing: Bringing that seagull to life by shading him in.  If you haven't drawn your seagull yet, follow along step by step in my last post here.
My Seagull - note my materials and the ipad screen for reference
To start, organize your materials:

(moving left to right) I have kneaded eraser, 5/8 inch blender, 1/4 inch blender, 3B pencil, soft watercolour round brush size 4 (dedicated to drawing), F pencil & 2B pencil, a paper to rest my hand on, a drawing chamois and my 1 inch brush to clean my work. And of course a value scale.  I keep my little 10 point scale in front of me. #10 the darkest and #1 the white of the paper.   (If you are making one, be sure and use the kind of paper you are drawing on as it will give you the right information for your paper)

When I return to a drawing I like to warm up a bit before heading to critical spots.
I like to lay in the darks first 
So I am going to start with my wing area. Every artist has their own method to start, I like to lay out my dark areas first and then fill in with my lights.  I am using my 2B and putting down a 5 Value for the darker areas on the wing.  Then very lightly, about a 3, I shaded in the whole area.  By doing the darks first you can just shade lightly over everything without worrying about stopping at edges.

Next take your blender and gently shade over everything.
Blend from dark to light to soften all the edges
 I use a circular motion so I don't end up with unwanted lines. Note the smooth texture as you flatten the tooth of the paper.  Also note how you drag the dark areas to the lighter areas as you go.  Now taking my kneaded eraser I lighten up the areas that are too dark. With my 3B I go in and touch up any of my darks bring some up to an 8 or 9.
Lighten and touch up time.  Keep that shoulder area soft and light


Now I head for the legs and feet.
The legs can be left unblended as their texture will contrast with the soft the feather area


You know how I love those knobbly little legs.  Using a 3B I pick out the darks. Then using my F pencil I lightly fill in the legs and feet.  Again picking out the lights with my kneaded eraser.

Finish up the tops of the legs and the underpart of the wing.

Take your smaller blender and load up with graphite.  See my scribble on my paper under my hand.  That is where I load my blender and then shade in the tops of the legs and under the wing.  Again, using small circular motions.

Now the head.

Go slow here, work in layers rather than hit the darkest dark right away
I feel warmed up and ready for precise work so I head for the face. Again first working on the darks of the eyes and the beak.  Note the beak is really only a 7 in the shadow area and the top part is about a 2.  I save that for my blender.  Once the eye and beak are done I take my blender and draw in the darker shadows. I follow that up with a soft brushing to blend the edges of my shadows.  At the lightest part of his head, really soften your line so the light can come into his head.  It really intensives the idea of the white.

Just the belly to go now. 
The light pencil area is only in the darkest part of  the belly.

The belly has some real darks in the shadow area.  I know, hard to believe when you are talking about white. But it will probably be an 8 or 9 in the darkest part by the time I am done.  It is important to think in layers and not rush to your darks.  I first laid a light pencil shading to the darkest area.

Sometimes it seems like nothing is happening but be patient and build up the layers

Then using my chamois I rubbed the graphite in.  It is important to get rid of all the pencil lines.  Now loading my chamois, just as I did the blender I build up layers on the belly.  You can add some more layers with your pencil but lightly as you do not want to leave any lines.

Final touches

Once I have the main belly area done, I take my blender to tidy up the edges.  With your finger in the chamois it is hard to do the small detailed areas and to finish up the edges.  Note that light shadow under his beak as it helps to convey the roundness of the belly.

The logs
Tidy up the belly and move on to the logs, the end is in sight!
As you probably guessed, I first drew in my dark areas with my 3B.  Then followed up with my 2B lightly shading over the logs, individually. Now I am using long strokes to shade as I want to simulate the grain on the logs.  Areas that I wanted to 'bump up' a little darker I glazed over with my F pencil.  Note: To really make your seagull 'stand' on the log, pay close attention to where the feet and log meet.

Your done!! 

 Looks good.  What is your favourite part of the drawing?  I love my little knees but I am particularly happy with how his face turned out and I love my logs.  I can really feel the smooth texture of those weathered logs.  (Remember, positive thoughts before that mean old critic gets in there.  See my post on 3 Ways to Turn Drawing Despair into Action here. )

 Take the Plunge and start drawing!  If you want some help I have several ways to help:

1. Zentangle Doodle Card Classes:
Thursday, Feb 16, 1:30 - 3:30pm & 6-8pm Expressions Art Gallery, Maple Ridge.
Saturday, Feb. 18, 10:30-12:30 (FULL) & 2-4pm. (1 Spot Left) Art by Wendy Studio, N. Surrey   $30 Supplies Included. We will be working with mice and owls on our Zentangle Doodle Cards  (you knew I would have animals somewhere) Contact Wendy to REGISTER

2. Buy a few of my Zentangle Doodle Cards and start  Colouring. See my collection here.   They are fabulous fun, just imagine how special your cards will be when you personalize them like that.  Those special people in your life will cherish your cards.

3. Private Drawing Lessons -  2.5 hr sessions in my studio, flexible scheduling to fit your schedule. 3 lesson package $225. Beginners to Adanced are welcome.  Adults, Teens and Younger Students. ( $35 for 1 hour sessions for younger students.) more info here

Special Note to Artists: 
February is Marketing Month for Artists, time to really work on your Business Plan. Join me for a full day of getting ready to make 2017 your Best Sales Year ever.  

All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 10-3pm.  This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy.   Out of Towners  & Skytrainers give me a call and we can set something up.

Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!

 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 on my blog)
 Have a great artful day,
Wendy