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.
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 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.
If I could, I would spend my days gardening and painting. There is nothing more satisfying than planting flowers and herbs, watching them grow, inhaling their fragrance. The simplest things can be the most wonderful.
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.
Today has been a day of frustrations. Nothing seems to be going right. Everyone has those days, yeah, I know, but I rather other people have them, not me! But, they do serve a purpose in that they do make you realize … something.
That said, let’s get on to the negative painting scene. It is not easy. I think to create a painting like this, practice and experience play an important part. Practice is what I keep doing. And then I reach a point where I am just irritated beyond measure, and need to break loose. I’ll come back to practice, but by nature, I am a gaudy color lover, and having a monochrome study makes me feel trapped. I wonder if others feel the same way. So, pink daisies, a la the hydrangea, and I am ready to go nuts. Here they are – the first round.
And then the second one from this morning . . .
Some success. And then I did the third layer . . . and had to just mess with it as I was ready to scream. Part of it was just frustration in that I didn’t really like this process at all. Maybe it’s not for me. In the end, just playing with some colors on my palette, some which I just recently got. It was a total color mess – so lines were added. It’s sort of cheery, but it also reminds me of what I cannot do.
The good news, no mud. It’s kind of fun. But I also know what I want to accomplish, and doing this stuff is not going to get me there. The colors are fun, and good practice, but I also know that my impatience and scatterbrained-ness don’t help me, either. Ongoing practice will improve my skills, I hope. So, I keep playing.
A part of me wonders if / when I reach my desired “look” if I will become extremely boring to myself.