202. Negative Painting Practice

Negative painting is easy in concept – paint dark paint around a lighter object – but hard (for me at least) to put into practice.  You can see what I mean above – the light trunks are depicted by darker colors painted on either side of them.

The one above is the simplest, and nicest.  In the upper flowers, I found myself shaping the orange of the Peruvian Lily into the yellow above it to create the shape of the flower.  The same with the darker colors against lighter ones.

Below, a gallery of what I did the other morning – most are rubbish, but the concept is what I was working on, not producing a beautiful painting for all to enjoy!

Painting requires practice, as does anything you wish to master.  It can be rewarding and frustrating as hell.  The key is to be aware that progress is made with each step, even if you don’t see it or feel it.  It oozes into your brain and muscle memory.

Ooze, ooze, ooze.

 

179. Orange Slices

Today, an ink study of orange slices on a bit of peel.

I am / was trying to do a bit of watercolor painting every day, but I find that such commitments, while good, can be stifling.  Drawing is integral to painting, and it is a pleasure to do in and of itself.

I’ve been working on the exercises in Alphonso Dunn’s Book Pen & Ink Drawing Workbook, so an ink drawing after exercises seems like a good thing to do!  I know I certainly enjoy drawing after the practice.  It’s also relaxing and, I find, a good way to loosen up for a painting session.

In addition to using Dunn’s book, I am also working through Tom Hoffmann’s Watercolor Painting:  A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium.  Right now I am working on simplifying forms and determining the 5 shades of grey – the lights and the darks – in pictures.  I am not very good at that, so combining his exercises along with ink drawing, I think it may sink in.  Then, let’s see if it can be applied to paint.

Thus, a dose of vitamin C for painting health!

167. Lines

Every now and then an outstanding artist and instructor shows up on the scene.  When they write books that are accessible and practical, it’s even better.  Alphonso Dunn is one such person!  He has a personal website, a YouTube channel full of information and wonderful tutorials, and two fantastic books.

The workbook was published after the simple guide, but is used in tandem with the exercises found in the workbook.  Besides using the two together, head over to YouTube for a really great set of instructions.

Today, rather than paint, I finally sat down and did some exercises from Dunn’s books.  The exercises were on lines – direction, shape, shift.  It takes a bit of patience and time to understand what may be going on.  I had to think about how I had my pad of paper, how far up or down my fingers were on the pen, whether to use my fingers, my wrist, or more of an arm movement.  In many ways, doing these exercises made me think of learning printing and cursive back when I was a sweet young thing.  Lines, repetition, thinking about how to do things, and doing them over and over.

Skill is bought with repetition – but repetition of itself is rather dull.  Rewards sure help!  Thus, a few drawings – one of a hat from Dunn’s book, and one of a Christmas cactus on my patio.  In each, I used straight lines, or slightly curved ones.  I thought about light and dark, repetition and straight or curved lines, or placing more lines over ones already laid down.  

To aid with the line studies, I ruled pencil lines onto my sketch paper.  It helped.  Sometimes I also drew vertical lines, or extra horizontal lines, either in pencil or pen.

Nothing like a pen in hand to make me happy!  Altogether a pleasant way to while away an afternoon.  I shall continue!

164. Sky and Water

More practice using wet-in-wet in varying degrees of paper dampness.  Again, this is Canson XL watercolor paper.  In my opinion, as a student paper, it is one of the better ones, having a pleasant texture as well as a responsiveness to water and color that other student papers lack.  Here, the final picture is not the point, but the laying in of washes, lifting colors, and other techniques – the practice, not the product.

As I said yesterday, I have not really taken time to learn about the paper.  This is important when you paint in watercolor – each paper has its own personality.  Once you are familiar with it, it becomes intuitive.  In my crazy life, I finally have the time to get acquainted with my paper.

Yay!

101. Field of Flowers

Up the coast a way is a town known for its flower farms – a big industry locally.  The climate is varied, so a lot of different flowers may be grown, both for florists as well as seed.  Agriculture isn’t all cows and Brussel sprouts!

This was a fun study – I did a lot of lines as a practice exercise (I forget about lines because I have color to use – in ink painting it is so much about lines) and decided to focus on lines as the raison d’être for the painting.  Wet lines, dry-brush lines, wash and lines, wet on dry, dry on wet, etc.  Dots, too.

 

93. Lines, Shapes, Shadows

I had to take a day off from painting as my head was swirling.  This seems to happen whenever I do a lot of any one thing.  My brain feels overloaded and I need to do something to break out of it.  Then it settles down with sometimes clarity or a nagging little sense of something different, good but not completed, if that makes any sense.

Today’s focus – this morning in poor light – I decided to look at white space and dark space.  Neither results are spectacular but what I do see is shapes in this pictures.  Corners outlines, curves, straight edges.  I also like the merging and blending and granulations I see.  Other than that?