Watercolor Pencil Studies

Even though I am trying to be a good patient and wear my splints all the time, it just isn’t possible.  I am still limping around, too, so I am not doing much hiking as my knee still hurts from the fall.  Rather, I am on the patio in the warm afternoon sun, away from those dangerous dogs!  I had a few pictures, a bit of imagination, and some watercolor pencils.  I decided to try them out in some rather different ways to learn how to better use them.

Above is a Black Phoebe.  They live in the trees around here.  Their feathers are darker om the head, and their faces are not quite so fat.  I tried to get in line detail and then used a fine  brush.  Darkest blacks were from an ink brush.

Next, just a simple Japanese maple leaf, no lines, only pencil and water.  I laid it on pretty thick, but it is still paler than what I would like to see.

Finally, Queen Anne’s Lace.  Here I wanted to draw into negative space, so what better subject than white flowers?  I used ink, and for the paler flowers in the background, I dipped my brush in water and took color off the pencil tips before painting onto the paper.

Broken Bones & Painting: False Fronts

Two days ago I was cleaning the kitchen up, even to the point of cleaning the oven and stove top – huge job for a Sunday morning.  The other half was on call all day, so it seemed like the perfect time.  We weren’t able to join family that day, so do something useful.  All was going well until one of the dogs lay down behind me, and when I turned around, over I went.  I took a standing lamp with me, fell over the arm of the couch, smacked my arm and hand on the treadle sewing machine, and ended up on my back.  I knew my hand was messed up – it hurt!  Off to the urgent care to have 3 questionable fractures, one in the wrist and 2 in the middle finger.  Monday confirmed fractures, but only 2, both chips.  Not too bad.  But, now I am all bound up with a splint on my finger and one on my wrist.   My right wrist.  I am right-handed.  Oh, woe is me!

Happily, my dog was more surprised and less damaged than I.

Spring break and the plans are to do all sorts of fun things.  Like paint.  And that is what I have been attempting to do today.  It is not easy to draw a straight line or hold a brush, much less type, with normal dexterity.  In a way that is really good as nothing can be considered “serious” when nothing is feeling coördinated.  There is a real disconnect, like when your face is all numb from anaesthesia at the dentist.  Believe me when I say drawing in  splints make straight lines somewhat improbable.

And here are the results, pictures taken step by step as I waited for things to dry.  I was on the patio whilst painting – someplace relatively safe as the dogs aren’t allowed in this part of the yard.  The focus is on imagined shadows, not great art.  Click to see larger.

Light Industry, with Nil Rocha

I did another study, using a video produced by Nil Rocha.  As you can see, he has a style similar to Peter Sheeler – and a lot of other urban sketchers:  ink and watercolor.  Although it looks easy, it is deceptive.  It is far more difficult to achieve a good contrast study, meaning, a good light-dark balance.  I found that out with yesterday’s study with Peter Sheeler, and especially with this one.  I think I need to work out the values before I begin inking in lines.  Blah is far too easy to achieve!

Above, in color.  Below, converted to black and white in Lightroom to check out contrast.  Sadly lacking!

I’ve had a cold for the past week and it’s really hard to get creative with sniffles and a fever!  Following videos is a good way to learn, but more importantly they have helped me realize that I must push, push, push to show good contrast.  Middle tones are easy to create, as are lighter ones, but getting the truly dark ones is far more challenging for me than seems logical.  Something to think about . . .

Palm Tree in Hawaii, with Peter Sheeler

Peter Sheeler does it again – another video to learn from.  This is from Hawaii, and as Peter notes in his video, he has never in his life drawn a palm tree.  I actually think this might be a banana tree – we use them as decorations in my neighborhood.  This doesn’t matter, though; Peter’s mastery is what I wanted to learn from.  My take below.

My contrast is nowhere as attractive as Peter’s.  I am a bit more muddied.  Part of it is because I am not using either Sap or Hooker’s Green, both which I prefer to Viridian, which is part of the palette I pulled out to use.  My own preference is Hooker’s, as it is a wonderful green to add yellow or blue, for brightening or darkening.

Another comment, this is some of the Bee 6×9 paper I bought.  A bit of a sizing issue seemed to be “felt” in a couple of spots on the paper.  Still, for quick studies, I am not faulting the paper at all – I have been enjoying using it.