35. Pewter Inkwell, or Distortion in the Morning

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!

33. Bee & Borage – The Sketch

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.

24.1. Village Windows

Well, I don’t live in an interesting old village, but I think I could quite happily.  Suburbia just doesn’t make it when it comes to interesting lines, stones, and such.  Macadam and stucco and neatly cropped lawns are my daily world, so I always have to run off someplace else!  Not that suburbia doesn’t have its good points, like modern plumbing and electricity, but it’s not that visually exciting.

Okay, so I got our my Faber-Castell watercolor pencils.  I have a tin of 60 that I have been meaning to try on a serious level.  So, here is the first layer.  I used iron gall ink on a dip pen for the lines, and then just a quick scribble of pencils to lay down the basic colors.  Next, I will wet the pencils and let it dry.  Then, off to work. Bye!

19. Lines of Bodie

Today I ventured out on my own, influenced by practice sketches by Peter Sheeler and his videos.  This is from a photo I took in 2016 up at Bodie, California, when it was moving toward noon on a hot, hot day in August.

I rather like the composition, particularly the lines of poles marching over the hill in the distance.  If you ever have been to Bodie, you know it’s a long drive down a long and bumpy washboard road.  The telephone poles and lines emphasize the town’s isolation.  As far as painting the subject matter, I started out with a line drawing, painted, and then came in again with the ink pen.  It was so, so, so hard to not try to draw and paint every line and rock.  Simplification was a big challenge for me.

As I painted, I worked hard to recall what I have learned doing the practice studies.  Keeping things simple also meant keeping the palette simple, and the brush choice as well.  I started out with sky in Cobalt Blue after wetting it down with a big round brush.  Then I kept myself isolated to a dagger brush – first time to use one, too.  The remainder of the palette included Quin Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Sap and Hooker’s Green, and by accident, a tad of Indrathene Blue.  The paper is 5×7 Arches Hot Press and taped down with a 3M painter’s tape with specialized edge-sealing qualities, which really worked to keep the tape from pulling up as it got wet.

Overall, I like the lack of mud and the contrasts I developed between light and dark.  Pen and ink come to save the day again!

16.3 Holiday Cards: Fallen Leaf

Once again, a demonstration from Peter Sheeler which I used for a card for my sister-in-law.

Peter’s is far more masterful than mine!  Who’d have thought a simple leaf could be so difficult?  I went in afterwards and inked in some extra lines and put a frame around the picture – the leaf looks like it is floating in space.