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