Today I have a lot to do, so I thought the best way to start the day would be to do another watercolor pencil drawing. As I have little to no experience using them, the only way to learn is to use them. I am making a pencil sketch in a sketch book, and then filling in layers of color before beginning to wet the colors laid down. The idea is to replicate glazing to a degree. When I reach a point I like, then I wet a brush, and move from light to dark, maybe moving the brush in a given direction, or not. Then, more colors, more wetting, and so on. Below is the final result.
I am not sure that by themselves watercolor pencils are capable of strong contrast. It seems lines – ink lines – may be helpful. Or, the pencils themselves can be used in conjunction with other water media, such as watercolors or acrylics or gouache.
Here is the series I scanned in as I moved along. Click on the pencil drawing to start the series, beginning to end.
I decided to do a quick watercolor pencil sketch before I got ready for work.
First the shape, then the laying down of colors. The point of this was to be quick! I just chose colors I thought would work – about 5 or 6 pencils.
Final result. I used a small round, and worked the lightest areas and moved into darker. Where I needed more contrast or detail, I used the pencil in the watery areas.
Total time: about 20 minutes from beginning to end. Below is each step.
Layered watercolor pencils
Some random sketches from the weekend in pen and ink. Cats just make me laugh. People, not so much. Well, yeah, they do, but cats are infinitely more amusing.
This morning I was feeling restless and unfocused while I was drinking my morning coffee. I wanted to do something, but have felt all scrambled this week, partly because routines have changed in the later part of the day and are rather disruptive of the normal routines. So, something mindless. Then I saw my ca. 1810 pewter inkwell with its ceramic insert. The decision was to draw it using the dip pen sitting nearby. Well, grogginess and a general inability to draw circles are the result – ovals are even harder – and perspective? Well, the results speak for themselves!
I was rummaging through the files on my desk, and came across a collection of sumi-e ink, ink and color, and watercolor or acrylic paintings I did a long time ago. Some of these are “aceo” size, which measure 2×3.5 inches, and others are other papers. I used to sell these on Ebay, too. Maybe I need to go through and scan some more – it’s like tea and madeleines – memories and reminders.
There is always a fear of overworking things . . . and sometimes things don’t work out quite how you hope. In general, I like the drawing, but not all areas painted. The bee turned out far better than I ever expected, and I am pleased I could catch the colors through its wings.
I am not done with this painting yet. I think I want to do something with the bee . . . but I’ll wait a bit to see what I think. I find scanning my work really brings a fresh eye to it – easier to critique when on the monitor than when it’s on the table.
I did this first layer of colors in the gloom of the evening, after work. I was tired but had played out some of the painting earlier in the day in between whatever I was doing. I used a small brush and deliberately tried – and will continue to try – a delicate approach. Both the bee and the borage have a lot of fine hairs which I want to express and preserve. Looking at the scan shows a need for contrast in the center of the flower, along with on the bee’s back, behind the eyes. In these areas, I will be working on glazes to create better contrast, and I hope a better sense of depth. As it stands now, the whole painting is rather flat and nondimensional to my eye.
I am trying to do something everyday when it comes to drawing or painting. Some days only allow for morning time, and that is when I did this drawing of a bee in a borage plant. Today, I used a dip pen, my ca. 1810 pewter ink well, and iron gall ink. I have never drawn a bee before, and using a dip pen and focusing on the shapes, rather than what I think I see (thank you, Sharon, for that great advice!), produced fairly decent results. I’m rather afraid to draw anything that requires a bit of realism as I really doubt my abilities to do this. Practice is needed here!
Borage is a lovely plant, covered in fur, with beautiful blue flowers. If I recall, it is an invasive plant, and one best kept contained in a pot. I had some in my dog free zone (DFZ) this summer amongst the lilies.
As an aside, I’m getting used to using a dip pen, which is really a rather nice skill to have as I don’t have the big blobs I used to get; I know when to refill the well and dilute the ink with water. Something we don’t think about in this day and age of non-dip pens.
After doing the work and pre-work for the Mesa, Sunrise painting, I was feeling pretty burnt out. It was an intense experience as I needed to exercise restraint. So, a loose drawing of echinacea did the trick of clearing my brain.