139. Inktober #22: Expensive

Hopefully, back on track with Inktober!  I’m not even going to try to do the ones I missed.

This is a combination of ink and Inktense pencils, which I haven’t really tried to any degree.  I started out with just a simple ink drawing, then I used the pencils, laying down pigment with different amounts – light and dark – to see how it would work to create tones.  It did a pretty good job, I think.  Certainly something to continue to play with.

Below is the ink drawing followed by the pre-wetted Inktense pencils.

138. Cold & Cloudy

Inktober continues apace, but I have been going 100 mph for the past week.  No time to focus on a theme.  This morning, though, I thought about cold mountains and winter – where I live, it’s in the mid-80s to low-90s, and I could use a bit of blustery weather.

Here is a mountain – inky for Inktober

And here is the same scene, in cold and wintry colors.

I used to do a lot of Chinese painting, and I tried to incorporate the clouds in a  rather Chinese-painting fashion, in ink and watercolor.  Hints, not direct; subtlety rather than blatant.  I’m not sure if it worked for the clouds between the mountains, but I definitely like the chilliness and fogginess of the scene overall.

132. Inktober #11: Cruel

I wasn’t going to do “cruel” for Inktober – too much cruelty in the world as it is.  Then, I saw these mushrooms!  Fly agaric mushrooms are beautiful, poisonous, and the fantasy mushroom of dreams.   I’ve seen them a few times, and they are incredibly beautiful.  In their beauty lies their cruelty!

This is a combination of the type of drawing and painting I have been doing of late.  Because these mushrooms are so vibrant, it doesn’t do them justice to just use ink.  So, inking pens after an underlying pencil sketch, and then slow, light layers of watercolor, and then more pen.  I’m rather pleased with the results altogether.

124. Apple

Scanning a painting is a bit of trick – here, you can see that the scan had some dark shades in the corners, not reflective of the smooth, bright white of the paper.  Fixing that issue changes the actual colors, which in this scan are much closer to the actual painting.  So, here is the imperfect scan with perfecter colors.

This was probably the most challenging of the 3 botanical paintings I have done so far.  The highlight in the apple was a challenge, as were all the spots and stripes.  The colors I used were all labeled as transparent on various websites, and they included yellow ochre, lemon yellow, Payne’s grey, permanent alizarin crimson, quinacridone burnt orange, lemon yellow, and nickel azo yellow.  Manufacturers varied to include W&N, Daniel Smith, and M. Graham.

What I have found that seems to pull the final painting together is to place a large, light glaze over various areas of the painting.  For instance, on the left I used a pale yellow-orange glaze to pull the warm tones of the painting together; on the right, I used a combination of alizarin and orange and grey to create a cooler contrast.  In the high light, I used a very light yellowish-alizarin mix.

120. Gourd

Keeping along the lines of the pear I painted the other day, using a workshop / sample class from Anna Mason, I decided to take a prime point from her lesson and apply it to a gourd.  For me, the most important takeaway point was to settle the lightest and then move to the darkest, filling in the midtones once these two painting extremes are settled.  And then settle these again as the painting progresses.

Traditional watercolor dictates paint from light to dark.  For me, this is elusive.  It may be difficult for me as I have no depth perception (yeah, really!  I still function!).  So, this one little step helps me here – will it help doing plein air or other subject matter?

Finally, I am slowing down.  The pear I did earlier this week, and today’s gourd above – and even the pumpkin from the other day – took a couple to several hours.  It meant looking carefully, seeing light and dark, texture, gradations, and so many other things.  It will be interesting to see how these lessons affect future painting endeavors.

119. Pear

One of the absolute best things about having a blog, on any subject, is that the world comes to you and, if you look, those who read and look at what you write often provide support and care and concern.  Even if you haven’t met, relationships develop.  There are a lot of people who inspire me, and who send me off in other directions.  Reading others’ blogs, too, even if they don’t read mine, are still forms of connection in areas of common interest.

Today, I want to thank Breathing Deeply because she has said some very encouraging things – but, more – she has mentioned on her blog that she is taking classes online from Anna Mason who is a botanical watercolorist.  Well, I have seen Anna Mason’s work.  She is a self-taught botanical artist.  Botanical art is detailed and realistic, and in some ways, not really what I aim for.  Anna’s work is refreshing and beautiful.  And, she has online courses.  A free one to show you her teaching style, one in which she walks you through how she approaches a simple D’Anjou pear.  Clearly stated, simply done, I decided “what the hell!” and dived in.

I think I might sign up!  I really enjoyed what I learned, and to my way of thinking, perhaps a realistic approach will slow me down when it comes to painting.  I am hasty and careless, don’t think ahead as much as I would like to when painting.  My impatience leads to frustration.

So, thank you Breathing Deeply for your kind words and for your own bloggy inspiration, and to Anna Mason for providing a very nice approach to painting.