Trees, Shadow, Snow

This morning, in a room only lit by the light of my monitors, and a half-drunk cup of coffee at hand, I decided to go ahead and watch Peter Sheeler’s video above, and try to do a painting.  I dragged out a bowl for water, a few brushes, and my travel palette.  I sort of know where my colors are, so what the heck – paint and draw away.

I pretty much followed what Peter did, but obviously his work is better than mine.  Despite that, I did learn a few more things.  One thing I have always liked – and will continue to like – is ink with color.  Using a limited palette is also fun as it really helps you keep yourself under control.  I think – remember, it was dark, and I was only half of cup of coffee into my morning! – I used yellow ochre, quin gold, a bit of viridian, a bit of alizarin, indathrene and ultramarine blues, and burnt sienna.  Some of these were just little dabs because I couldn’t see very well, but the main colors were the sienna and blues.

That said, below is a scan of my painting before putting in the final lines.

Objectively, it’s okay.  There are some nice areas, and there certainly is some white space (yay!  white space!), which is why I am focusing on snow painting practices.  Some good light – dark areas.  A nice bleed or two.  Other areas are dreadful, such as that greenish area on the mid-right side.

Below, the inked in version.

Frankly, I like the final one better as there is more definition.  Now – finish that coffee and jet off to work.

Have a fun day!

Barrel Cactus, Aloe, and A Plant Named Audrey

Living in Southern California, we don’t get winter like other parts of the world.  Plants are green and living, not in dormant states for the most part.  In a botanical garden, one of the real pleasures is seeing the sheer variety of plants!  Last Friday, besides trees, I also did a barrel cactus, some red aloe (I think they are aloe), and a huge succulent that I always call “Audrey” from that strange and lovely life form in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Barrel Cactus . . . these look like a weird squash.

Red Aloe . . . no lines!

Fortunately, these Audreys do not require feeding!  Nor do they sing.

Under the Pines

Yesterday morning I met up with a friend, to chat, drink coffee, and sketch in the local botanical gardens.  The day was warm and sunny, and before you knew it, 2.5 hours had passed.  She did some wonderful pictures of cacti and tree branches, using only colors from a very tiny paint box!  Me, I need pen and ink to feel confident enough – I am still trying to make watercolors look like watercolors, instead of ink with colors.  I do like the ink-and-color thing, but I know I want to master solid colors.  So, after inking on site, I went home and filled in some colors, and more ink, and more colors, until I hope I got what looks like dappled light on rocks and cacti beneath some pines.

Being curious as to whether or not there is decent light / dark, I thought I would convert it to black and white to see.  Results are below.  I may go in and paint the bushes behind the rocks a bit darker in the center an to the right.

Cliffs at Mesa Verde

I had a brainstorm the other day:  Why not use vacation photos for drawing and watercolor subjects?  I certainly do have a bucket load of photos.  And, last summer we went to a lot of historical and beautiful places as we wandered through parts of the western U.S.  Here, a view from a cliff in Mesa Verde National Park.

Colors include indanthrene blue, quinacridone yellow, organic vermilion, burnt sienna, cobalt blue, phthalo green and Carbon Ink in a Pentalic watercolor book.

Yosemite: Reflections at Mirror Lake

This is a view of Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park and some artistic license with color thrown in.  Here, I used a sumi-e brush and watercolors.  Yes, lines.  No mud.  This is the first picture, other than my pencil cup, that I really like since I started this project.

I began with a photo, then drew in some lines, used the ink brush to create the bones.  Then it sat overnight and in my sleep I imagined how I would paint it.  Parts worked out, parts didn’t.  After the colors were applied, I went back with my sumi-e brush and redid some original strokes and then added others to create contrast and so on.  Colors include phthalo blue, indanthrene blue, organic vermillion, hansa yellow, quinacridone gold, Hooker’s green, carbazole violet, cerulean blue, and ultramarine blue.

Apple Apocalypse

Up front, not too thrilled with these apples.  I was working on trying to get an apple to look like an apple in a painterly manner, hoping against feeble hope that I could make them look like apples without the lines.  Didn’t work.  On the other hand, mud is not present, and there are some nice bleeds of color.  I worked too wet, which is also why a lot of the problems exist.  I wonder what apples will look like in a year . . .