184. Midwest Farmhouse in Early Spring

I haven’t had time to do any artwork for the past four or five days, and I can feel it.  Colors, ink, brushes all feel like aliens.  To counter this, I watched a Peter Sheeler video – his pen work is phenomenal – delicate, spare, assured.  The same may be said with his usage of color.  With this in mind, I went ahead and did this.  The inking is okay; I didn’t do any drawing in pencil, but went straight ahead with a Micron pen.  From there, I applied color and tried to keep it simple, but my usual messy style took over.

183. White & Blue Flowers

After a lot of watercoloring, picking up a pen and using ink to draw feels really relaxing.  Adding watercolor to a pen drawing doesn’t need a lot of color, but it does require a bit of thought about light and shadow.

I thought about a daisy study of Peter Sheeler’s on YouTube – I remembered how very little color he added to his ink drawing of the daisy.  With this in  mind, I put in some greys and grey-blues.  I tried to apply the same concept to the blue flowers (which I want to call cornflowers, but don’t think they are), and to the grasses and leaves.  Below is my ink drawing, done freehand without a pencil sketch beforehand.  I am rather pleased with both – my inking skills are improving, as, perhaps, are my watercoloring skills.  Less is more has become more of motto than before!

182. A Loch

Up front, I use Pixabay frequently for their fine, royalty-free photos, whether as inspiration, or as an image to be painted.  Here, I used an image of a loch (found under the search term “loch” – how clever!).  I loved the vantage point and tried to catch it.

Here, the sense of being up above the rest of the world, in a field of flowers, on a beautiful day, is so well done in this photo, I just had to be there myself.  Scotland is one of those countries that is mystical and magical, and views like this only touch the tip of its beauty.

The daisies were especially challenging – so bright and white!  Negative painting and thin washes hopefully express them fairly well.  The DOF was another challenge, and it is a natural tendency to not leave well enough alone . . .

181. The Artist’s Palette

Today I am entertaining myself by watching watercolor videos on YouTube, along with ones on ink drawing, sewing, and whatever.  As I watch – looking up here and there from my practice – I decided after a couple of pages it was time to draw.  Why not an artist’s palette with watercolors waiting to be used?

179. Orange Slices

Today, an ink study of orange slices on a bit of peel.

I am / was trying to do a bit of watercolor painting every day, but I find that such commitments, while good, can be stifling.  Drawing is integral to painting, and it is a pleasure to do in and of itself.

I’ve been working on the exercises in Alphonso Dunn’s Book Pen & Ink Drawing Workbook, so an ink drawing after exercises seems like a good thing to do!  I know I certainly enjoy drawing after the practice.  It’s also relaxing and, I find, a good way to loosen up for a painting session.

In addition to using Dunn’s book, I am also working through Tom Hoffmann’s Watercolor Painting:  A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium.  Right now I am working on simplifying forms and determining the 5 shades of grey – the lights and the darks – in pictures.  I am not very good at that, so combining his exercises along with ink drawing, I think it may sink in.  Then, let’s see if it can be applied to paint.

Thus, a dose of vitamin C for painting health!

178. Winter Sunset

I took this picture awhile back in the local botanical garden.  It is an oak against the sky, with the Santa Monica range in the distance.  In the photo, the tree is silhouetted against a yellow sky, and the foreground is mottled with dried grasses.  The California oak is not deciduous, but shows leaves year round.

The process here is along the lines of yesterday’s post, and is more successful I think.  It is very simple.  The steps I took began with a wash on the entire paper (8×10) in raw sienna.  The mountains on the left were done next using a bit of sap green with the raw sienna, followed by some cobalt blue for the darker range.  After that, the lower half of the painting had a wash of a greenish color, later followed with a darker green of sap green and cobalt blue.  The tree and brush in the center were of burnt sienna and cobalt, with perhaps a bit of ultramarine as well.

That’s it.  Fairly successful in moving from light to dark, general to specific.  The simplicity of the subject matter makes it an easy painting to do – yesterday’s fig tree through the window was more complex, and accordingly more difficult.  I really wonder if I will ever successfully paint complex scenes, such as a forest and creek or a city street filled with cars, people, buildings, and whatever – rather daunting, actually.