More iron gall ink and opaque watercolor. The watercolor is a small set of 24 “Angora” pan paints, probably meant for children as the colors are nontoxic and bright. Sets come in groups of 14 colors to 36. When I was a kid, I had a set of pan paints my mother bought for me – my sister had the same – and I just loved them. The set my mother bought was transparent watercolor, but diluted enough, these are equally transparent. There is something that I always love about paints in a pan – I think it is because it is more play than serious.
I have become enamored with the Great Sand Dunes National Park – so much to see, so many seasonal variations. Here, winter and snow on the dunes with clouds dropping down between the dunes and distant mountains. The river is cold, and there is a dusting of snow in the high desert plants. Winter is at hand.
Another sketch from a photo I took, this one snapped out of the rear car window! Having a camera can get some great stuff when you don’t have time to stop every 5 minutes.
This was my initial sketch, done with a quill cut with a finer nib as well as done with more attention to detail. After the sketch dried for a few hours, I laid in the watercolor. Some ink was still damp even after a couple of hours drying outdoors and blotting. Below is the original photo.
I am rather enjoying sketching as part of my morning routine. Today’s sketch is still in Independence, California. There is a trail that connects the native plant garden to a small park, Dehy Park, and I think I took this picture along the pathway. I found the repeated curved rhythm of the trees to be utterly charming – I expect the wind has a lot to do with the way the trees are bent.
Anyway, I decided to not use my Micron pens, as I have for the past three days, but to use a quill I cut myself from a turkey or goose feather and my homemade iron gall ink. First, I sketched the grove.
Then, I let the ink dry – or thought I did! – before adding the watercolor. Areas of ink were still wet. One of the drawbacks of iron gall ink is that it does take a bit of time to dry. The wet ink messed up some of the paints by blending in with the colors, muddying them.
Once I noticed that I decided to use dots and such with the watercolor, especially for the foliage toward the top of the trees. I dabbed the paint on, in between the black, inky branches.
I mixed colors with a water brush, stronger than the paler colors I have been using, and just applied them. The effect wasn’t too bad. In between the leaves I used blue, again, tapping the paint in, avoiding the dark of the ink.
After the paint dried, I went through a second time with the iron gall ink, both with the quill and then a defunct water brush. I think it helped out, but overall, the sketch is still quite messy, and certainly not what I intended. What I do like is the sense of dappled sunlight in the leafy canopy.
Takeaway points: First, the ink needs to dry before applying the watercolor paint. My quill has a wider tip on it than your standard dip pen, and thus makes bold lines. However, a bit more care could create a better combination of lines, and perhaps render the sketch more interesting. Adding brushwork and stronger lines after the first ink and paint applications helped to strengthen some areas. After I did that, I went about the morning chores while the sketchbook dried outdoors in the morning sun. I had to wait an hour at least – and then, the scan of the final sketch!
Above is the first in pen and iron gall ink. Some watercolor, too.
First watercolor, on cheap paper. No lines.
On Arches 140 CP. No birds – they all flew away.
Given I haven’t done any watercolors for weeks, I decided to begin with pen and ink – not thrilled with results. From there, straight watercolor without any preliminary drawings or pencil lines. Got me loosened up and made me remember how much I like drawing and painting in any format except maybe acrylic and oils.
I think an abstraction in watercolor is on tomorrow’s agenda.
It’s chilly here with rains to begin at midnight. Snow is on the mountains outside the valleys around me. I miss the smell of a winter of snow and pine, in the eastern woods, Rockies, high desert. This is a simple morning sketch, iron gall ink, a water brush, some watercolor to recall the wonder of a mountain winter.
Oh, I am so, so, so far behind with my Inktober 2019 drawings. What can I say? I will say that other diversions have been there, mostly enjoyable ones.
Okay, on to our Inktober 2019 drawings.
I thought of “Don’t tread on me,” tire treads, shoe treads. Guess which won.
So many things came to mind for treasure – people you love, family, health, and piles of pirate gold. I think that last one is the easiest to draw.
As Halloween and Samhain draw close, ghosts and hauntings emerge. As a kid, dressing as a ghost was always a favorite for trick-or-treat. A ghost family portrait, complete with the bunny ears / devil’s horns so popular in our family photos.
If you didn’t grow up in the 50s, the mask and hat may mean nothing to you. If you did, perhaps you remember the TV show The Lone Ranger. It was my favorite show when I was a kid. We all wore cowboy and cowgirl outfits, complete with masks and six-shooters filled with rolls of caps. Bang! Bang! We all imagined riding horses over the wild hills, chasing bandits. I found Tonto especially cool because he was an Indian, played byJay Silverheels(even his name was great!). There were several people who played The Lone Ranger, but the one I remember is Clayton Moore.
Interestingly, I remember the actors’ names after all these years!
And if you want to ramble about PC-ness, go somewhere else . . .
I still have #12 Dragon to do, but that is going to take a bit of effort. Hopefully it will work!
Here, playing more Ketchup, but not too far behind. I also returned to a better bit of paper, the same sketchbook that contains the first seven of this year’s Inktober. Much happier with paper, pen, and brush. Especially the paper!
#13 Ash: I thought of a tree . . . an ashtray (ewww) . . . a fire (as in what we had over the weekend, which was awful) . . . but decided on a different natural crisis: the volcano! Shades of Mordor, shades of hell.
#14 Overgrown: So many things can be overgrown, but I like the idea of an overgrown, abandoned railroad track. There is something romantic and nostalgic about these, as well as something very sad.
I am rather enjoying the density of the iron gall ink. It makes me think of India ink, but it is so much easier to use. If I remember correctly, India ink does not lend itself well to dilution with water, but the iron gall does beautifully.