Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Continous line

All of a sudden, continuous line became the topic of the day. When I attempted to sketch like this in the past, I gave up after 30 sec - too hard, too wonky ... too much of the wrong thing indeed ...but now I cannot seem to do it differently.

I covered the pages with gouache to hide the original sketch and/or multiple mistakes. My first sketches had lilliputian proportions - I stared too much at the objects I guess and not enough at the page. I became frustrated with the initial choice of subject - a complicated crystal fruit bowl with a lot of carved details - and I switched for something more familiar.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New pens

After loosing all my fountain pens in Brazil - and throwing away all the old ones from when I was a child - I went out and bought new ones *sigh*. I got a coral Lamy and a Noodler's flex. The lamp was sketched with the Lamy with Noodler's grey ink - this is as much detail as I can squeeze in an object. My hand was sketched with the Noodler's with J Herbin brown ink. No idea why I bought this ink I do not like it one bit, it does not even look like brown. I might try mixing it with Noodler's. One of the sketchers in Brazil uses a mix of waterproof and non-waterproof ink in his pens. When a wash is applied, the line is still maintained.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Charles Reid and flowers

"Forget the water in watercolors" says Charles. And rightfully so. He says the color has to be pure as close as possible to the color in the tube. Water on the brush should be sufficient to pick up the paint and not to dilute the color to the extent of a shapeless wash. Hmmm ....

I got a get-well bouquet of flowers from work and I decided to sketch it knowing full well that I cannot paint anything involving greenery. I used continuous pencil line to sketch the main shapes of the plants and tried to maintain the value as I saw them and to use as little water as possible. This last part was not as hard considering that the sketch is small.

Overall, this is better than the first attempt to paint these flowers. Still a long way to go to be able to say I can paint greenery ...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Charles Reid and veggies

I go back and forth between two of Charles's books - Watercolor secrets and Painting what you want to see.  I had an aha moment reading about shadows. I am always struggling to make shadows as dark as possible. The results are never satisfactory. Charles says it is about values not about chroma.
The shadow has to be the correct value in regards with the rest of the painting. It does not have to be dark because there is a rule that says shadows are dark. There is also a mixing of colors between the object and the shadow (lost edges). So I decided to give this a try and I went looking for something to paint.
The content of the fridge provided the subject and here is the result.

I like it much better. I did the pencil sketch in one continuous line and I also tried to vary the shadows - warm vs cold.

The shadows below were darkened and cooled arbitrarily. The washes also looked weird so I decided to try again using watercolor paper this time (this sketch was done in the Canson multi-media sketchbookl multimedia is misleading in this case because it does not take wet media very well)
This pear was painted on a scrap of watercolor paper that already had some wash on it. 
I used guache on the background. the shadow is still very dark, there is a sharp edge between the pear and the shadow, but I find that colors blended better on the fruit. 

This whole shadow thing makes so much sense... Thank you, Mr Reid! I wish I could sign up for one of his workshops next year, but with the way things are at work I cannot make any commitment that has to do with spending money ...and at the same time I do not feel that my skills are good enough to justify attending that workshop. Maybe the year after ...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Room without a view

I spent few days in the hospital and these are the sketches I did. The room I was in had no windows - they were covered a while back and nobody seems to be planing to do anything about it. Pretty creapy if one has to spend more time in that room. On the bright side, that is the short surgery wing so I am assuming that patients there are not supposed to spend more than few days in the hospital. 

Anyway ...I had very good care, but I sure was happy to get out of there ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Contour drawings

I got my hands on one of the older books by Charles Reid. That motivated me to try again sketching with one continuous contour line and concentrate on the shadow. Some trials were more successful than others, but overall the experience was surprisingly positive. Previous attempt were more of a struggle and in fact I gave up ... but I will try again more often.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Texture exercise - I used pencil, pen, twing and watercolor pencil.