WWM #17: Music

I am the least musical person in the world.  I cannot carry a tune.  Singing voice – well, let’s just say a bit – lots of bits – better is to be desired.

I can read music.  I took piano lessons.  When I practiced the piano, the dog would sit at the back door and whine to be let out.  When my sister practiced, he would curl up in a ball under the piano bench – if he had been a cat, doubtless he would purr along.

However, despite my own inadequacies in the music department, I really like music.  When I was a child, a family friend, Boris – who fled Tsarist Russia after the October Revolution (being a prince) – was a wonderful musician.  He played the balalaika and sang melancholy Russian songs.  A balalaika, a song bird.  Here is to music in all its forms!

Kingfisher (Drawn with Iron Gall Ink)

This morning I did a quick sketch of a kingfisher using iron gall ink using a dip pen.  As you can see, there is a bit better variability in lines than when drawing is done with a quill pen (see yesterday’s post).  Both have qualities I really like – expressiveness, boldness, delicacy.  As I am used to using fountain pens, a dip pen is no problem once I learned how to control the amount of ink on nib.  What must be remembered is how to load the nib, and as nibs are all different, a bit of testing on scratch paper helps.

At present, I am deciding if I want to colorize this drawing – which is why for now, it is not!  If I do, I want to use very dilute but vibrant colors.  It is my hope that the ink will shine through the paint without my having to re-ink parts of it.

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.