139. Inktober #22: Expensive

Hopefully, back on track with Inktober!  I’m not even going to try to do the ones I missed.

This is a combination of ink and Inktense pencils, which I haven’t really tried to any degree.  I started out with just a simple ink drawing, then I used the pencils, laying down pigment with different amounts – light and dark – to see how it would work to create tones.  It did a pretty good job, I think.  Certainly something to continue to play with.

Below is the ink drawing followed by the pre-wetted Inktense pencils.

138. Cold & Cloudy

Inktober continues apace, but I have been going 100 mph for the past week.  No time to focus on a theme.  This morning, though, I thought about cold mountains and winter – where I live, it’s in the mid-80s to low-90s, and I could use a bit of blustery weather.

Here is a mountain – inky for Inktober

And here is the same scene, in cold and wintry colors.

I used to do a lot of Chinese painting, and I tried to incorporate the clouds in a  rather Chinese-painting fashion, in ink and watercolor.  Hints, not direct; subtlety rather than blatant.  I’m not sure if it worked for the clouds between the mountains, but I definitely like the chilliness and fogginess of the scene overall.

137. Tomatoes Gouache

These last few days have been hectic – appointments, rushing around getting things done, cooking for a bunch of people.  As a result, Inktober has (hopefully) temporarily fallen to the wayside.  Despite the craziness, I wanted to do something, paint or draw something, and thus, some Tomatoes Gouache, recipe for which is quite simple:  tomatoes and gouache; to make, just paint.

I wouldn’t eat them as the fiber content is not quite the right kind.

Cheers!

132. Inktober #11: Cruel

I wasn’t going to do “cruel” for Inktober – too much cruelty in the world as it is.  Then, I saw these mushrooms!  Fly agaric mushrooms are beautiful, poisonous, and the fantasy mushroom of dreams.   I’ve seen them a few times, and they are incredibly beautiful.  In their beauty lies their cruelty!

This is a combination of the type of drawing and painting I have been doing of late.  Because these mushrooms are so vibrant, it doesn’t do them justice to just use ink.  So, inking pens after an underlying pencil sketch, and then slow, light layers of watercolor, and then more pen.  I’m rather pleased with the results altogether.

124. Apple

Scanning a painting is a bit of trick – here, you can see that the scan had some dark shades in the corners, not reflective of the smooth, bright white of the paper.  Fixing that issue changes the actual colors, which in this scan are much closer to the actual painting.  So, here is the imperfect scan with perfecter colors.

This was probably the most challenging of the 3 botanical paintings I have done so far.  The highlight in the apple was a challenge, as were all the spots and stripes.  The colors I used were all labeled as transparent on various websites, and they included yellow ochre, lemon yellow, Payne’s grey, permanent alizarin crimson, quinacridone burnt orange, lemon yellow, and nickel azo yellow.  Manufacturers varied to include W&N, Daniel Smith, and M. Graham.

What I have found that seems to pull the final painting together is to place a large, light glaze over various areas of the painting.  For instance, on the left I used a pale yellow-orange glaze to pull the warm tones of the painting together; on the right, I used a combination of alizarin and orange and grey to create a cooler contrast.  In the high light, I used a very light yellowish-alizarin mix.

120. Gourd

Keeping along the lines of the pear I painted the other day, using a workshop / sample class from Anna Mason, I decided to take a prime point from her lesson and apply it to a gourd.  For me, the most important takeaway point was to settle the lightest and then move to the darkest, filling in the midtones once these two painting extremes are settled.  And then settle these again as the painting progresses.

Traditional watercolor dictates paint from light to dark.  For me, this is elusive.  It may be difficult for me as I have no depth perception (yeah, really!  I still function!).  So, this one little step helps me here – will it help doing plein air or other subject matter?

Finally, I am slowing down.  The pear I did earlier this week, and today’s gourd above – and even the pumpkin from the other day – took a couple to several hours.  It meant looking carefully, seeing light and dark, texture, gradations, and so many other things.  It will be interesting to see how these lessons affect future painting endeavors.

116. Podocarpus

Our backyard was filled with about 18 trees, far too many for the allotted size.  We had 5 trees removed and the remaining pruned backed.  Eventually all but 2 will be removed, roots dug out, stumps ground down.  I don’t know what this guy was thinking when he put in all these trees – I had neighbors I didn’t even know I have stop to tell me how much nicer it looked and they had “told” him he was putting in far too many.  We can actually see the sky at night!

That said, after the crepe myrtle, I moved onto the podocarpus, which are rather lovely or ugly trees, depending on my mood!  For now,  I’m just doing simple things – not that these leaves were simple.  The leaves of the podocarpus in our yard have leaves that grow in clumps, rather like bamboo in shape, but totally not bamboo.  Still, the leaves may be painted with the tip of the brush, a bit of downward pressure, and then a rise to complete the shape.

I tried to paint around highlit areas – making a leaf or leaf shapes with green, and then working toward the darker areas.

I keep forgetting what a challenge watercolor can be, but it makes me so happy to do it, whether or not I am especially successful!

115. Crepe Myrtle

For the first time in weeks, I have had the wherewithal to paint.  These past few months have been rather nuts, and the mental space to focus on the simple pleasure of painting has not been mine to enjoy.

This morning, I sat down under the big umbrella in the back yard, pulled out my iPad, and took a few pictures of some low-growing crepe myrtle branches and flowers.  A water brush, a sketch book, and no expectations.

Parts are good – parts not so good – contrast is lacking – but I am feeling pleasantly surprised about this small sketch.

More tomorrow!