Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell to 2010!

2.5"x 5.75" pencil and watercolor. You may not believe it, but this makes me very happy! I have nothing to say that would pick this apart. I find this strange since I didn't spend a lot of time trying to get the sketch right. I was watching videos while painting it over the course of about three days, finishing it just this morning. Why did it take so long? Well, I definitely could have finished it in one sitting, but after I started and liked the direction it was heading, and because I didn't want to mess up, I would stop until I had a better idea of where to go next. Normally I'm much more impatient! I used a photo on morguefile by Scott Liddell as reference.

Last week I reorganized my studio. I have a new bookcase which has doors on it so I can hide the clutter. My desk now has space available! I don't have to balance everything on top of something, waiting for the first bump to make it all crash down! All of my scraps of watercolor paper were put into a tin. For some reason, I find it so much easier to work on scraps. When they turn out okay, I glue them into my sketchbook.

This woman on top was a copy of a painting by Don Andrews, which came on an insert in one of my Cheap Joe's orders. I liked the painting and put it on my bulletin board. The dove is from imagination. Both are pencil and watercolor. Sorry for the bad scan. I put my hand on it half way through and didn't realize I messed it up until putting it up here.

Not much to say here, except that he was from imagination. Obviously the chords on his neck wouldn't be so thin! (That is something I just noticed!)

So, how did you do on your resolutions in 2010? Me? Not so good! Not only did I not double the number posts of 2009, I didn't even equal them! I did sell something though. Though, it was for Ripple and the money went to a charity instead of me. I was close to being published, but unfortunately, that didn't work out. I'm really not good with resolutions. Something in me wants to rebel and do the opposite. Or is it that I make resolutions I'm not so sure I really want to make?

This is another sketchbook page that I've glued in some drawings done on scraps. The bird is from imagination, again. The woman was sketched while watching a video. The face behind her was a bronze statue. She was blond, the walls were white. Obviously I just made everything the way I felt like making it! (Gray box is just me blocking out some of the words!)

Well, I wish everyone a happy, healthful, and creative 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Learning some fun-damentals...

The top picture here started as a simple sketch on some scrap w/c paper (scrap paper seems to be the one thing that gets me painting!), done while watching a video. One thing that always get me while sketching a moving person is that one side of the face seems to always be drawn from a slightly different angle than the other. The results are sometimes like this, with one side drooping. This doesn't bother me though. It is in pencil and if I had wanted to I could have corrected it. My main interest here was playing with my new brush and the newly reorganized palette. And practicing grays and browns. (I made that brown myself! So proud... Only, I don't remember how I did it!) The background was not sketched in and just sort of...happened. Even though the whole scene seems kind of STATIC, I do like this one. It seems like Uncle Fred just posed for a snapshot or something.

This one really makes me laugh. I had fun doing it, don't get me wrong. It's just that I approached it in true 'Raena' fashion. You see, it was an exercise in the book "The Complete Watercolor Course". One of those books that I've not read, only looked at the pictures. I decided to do the first exercise, and wouldn't you know it, I only looked at the pictures. So, I missed a few things and the results aren't quite right. I might try this one again, this time reading first!

Neither of these is very large, only 3"x4". They curled up as they got wet which made holding them interesting. And while they weren't very serious studies, I had a great relaxing time. This is how learning should be!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Enjoying My New Brushes!

I'm really enjoying these new brushes, especially the da Vinci Maestro! What a lovely feeling it has! This top one is based on one of our family favorites, a black and white photo of my dad. I guess he was about four or so. I began with a pencil sketch, adding the watercolor; but, I didn't like it for some reason, so I added the ink. I didn't spend a lot of time fussing with the sketch and probably could have focused a little more on the hands, but I like it. It would be worth revisiting for a more serious painting sometime.
This one is from imagination. I love the feel of the brushes so much that I picked one up and just started putting down some color. This is what came out. No pencil first and only added a few lines when it was done: a line separating the lips, two dashes for nostrils, and lines defining the eyes. May be a few anatomical errors, but it was actually fun to go in without the pencil. It felt more like I was sculpting her face, than drawing it. The results surprised me, and I may try doing this more often.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rudy's Crowd, Revisited

Do you remember this sketch from last year, here. Well, I thought I had destroyed it when I went to add watercolor. I stopped before getting very far at all. Sometime during the last year, I realized that sometimes paintings go through ugly stages. I would probably have approached it differently than I did in this particular case, because of all I've learned, but I think I managed a save here. I know there are spots still not painted...but I liked them so they stayed. This has ended up in a frame on my wall. So, yes, it's a good night! (I should mention that the woman on the left was my Sketchcrawl partner, Cecelia. )

Also, I just received an order from DickBlick. I bought a da Vinci maestro travel brush, one piece of Fabriano Artistico 140lb cp paper to try, and a watercolor sketchbook, which I wouldn't have bought if it didn't come with a #2 escoda travel brush. (My first two pure Kolinsky sable brushes!) I'm WAY excited and I can't believe it got here SO fast! I have to give my kudos for DickBlick. There was a mistake in the address during my paypal processing, so it was shipped all the way to Idaho. Where I no longer live. They were so great about resending the order. They were pleasant to deal with, and I received it two days later!! Great customer service!! (Oh, and I've done a little playing with the brushes....LOVE!!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another doodlie-type post...

I know you're completely surprised to see a drawing of my hand--I just never do that! It is a modified contour that I went back and added some details and color to. Ignore the writing. I had some drawings above it that I had copied from other artists' sites. I really don't like posting stuff that I copied, so I cut them out. This was done on scrap w/c paper and will be pasted into my sketchbook. ('My Molie' is completely random. I'm not sure where it came from, but this is not a Molie!)

I actually don't remember where or how this came about. I often sketch while doing other things. I was testing out a technical pen I was just given and then testing the solubility of the ink. It's a simple sketch, but I like it.

This was done while watching a video online of how to paint trees with two colors. The two colors I've used are lemon yellow and prussian blue. I went back after the fact and added the lines with the same technical pen. This was an interesting exercise. Now, if I can just remember to do it like this! Sometimes I learn these things, then promptly forget to apply them.

This is a sketch of a sketch that I did. I was still playing with the technical pen. Messed up on the hand a little, but I liked the way the mouth and the nose came out. Splashed on the paint and called it Self-portrait #12 of 100. I'm moving along very slowly on this project. It's a good thing I didn't set a time limit!

All of these are on scraps of the canson XL 140 lb watercolor paper. I'm working on getting to know the paper a little better since I had such a rough start with it. I've got too much of it left to let it go to waste!

PS Thank you to all my new followers! I always try to find the blogs of all my followers, so I can follow you too. So, if I've not done that, it is because when I clicked your icon, it didn't give me a link. If you have a blog you would like me to see, please send me an email or a comment! I like to share the love!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Turtles and Sea Gulls

I did quite a few paintings this summer with sea gulls and sea turtles, during the Gulf oil spill. It has been awhile since I've looked at them, and now with fresh eyes, I see that the gull above needed more shading on the underside. I like the shadows under the turtle and the folds on his neck. This is just a piece of the whole, but the composition was still bad overall, which is a shame because I really love how the turtle turned out. Composition is really something that shouldn't be overlooked. (pencil and watercolor)

This one has better shadows on the gull, but I think the turtle's shell looks a little flat. It could use some highlights in there. You can also tell that I spent a lot more time on the turtle, and then just threw in the background. I'm pretty lazy like that! ;D Oh, and the tail of the turtle really does hit the edge of the page like that. Another composition mistake. I'm really learning some things this morning, aren't I? (sepia and black micron 01, watercolor)

I love the turtle on this one! He looks sad. He has depth. The gull again doesn't have enough form. (but of course, that is easily fixed!) And, he's right smack in the middle of this page. Anyone know any good books that deal with composition? It should probably be a picture book since I rarely read the words to any of my art books. *Sorry, laughing at myself here.* Do you know how many art instruction books that I have that I've only flipped through, looking at the pictures? One day, I should sit down and start to really tackle them. That famous 'one day'! (sepia and black micron 01, watercolor)

It is interesting to go back to your old work and look at things with a fresh, analytical eye. No, I don't have a problem with my inner critic. Inner critics have a purpose and as long as it isn't telling me to give up because I'll never be good enough, then I think it is working in my favor. When I point out mistakes, or things I struggle with, it is because I am learning from those situations. Inner critics can be your friend, if you let them. I am at peace with mine.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trip to the Cemetery

That pressure of posting three times in three days has me going. I just couldn't let the day slip by and miss number four! Last year, as one of my new year's resolutions, I had decided to post twice as many times this year as I did last year. Well, that didn't happen for me. In fact, I need to post ten more times this month just to be even with last year. More than that though...and I BEAT last year! (trigger the Rocky theme song, please)

So, I did this yesterday. I went to a cemetery with my mother, who needed to take a picture for someone on a site called 'find a grave' or something like that. (She does genealogy.) I figured it would be a good sketching opportunity. Did you know that it only takes a few minutes to take a couple of pictures?? Well, I rushed through the sketch, sort of in a panicky way, knowing any second it would be time to leave. This rushing feeling made it hard to concentrate and I flubbed up on the folds of the robe. Wasn't happy with the sketch, but threw some paint on last night to see if I could make it work. It was really difficult to tell what was what (fold lines versus shadow lines) and I basically just guessed on everything. The gray color I used was a mixture of everything that was already on my palette. Thinking I was done, I wiped off the palette, only to see that some of the shadows didn't get dark enough.

One thing that I know I didn't get right, is that I drew the hands a little too normal-sized. His hands were HUGE! Big Fred Flinstone hands! But in the end, I like it.

There, four-for-four!! :D

Friday, December 3, 2010

Some doodles on scraps of paper

After making my last sketchbooks there was a few scraps of paper left over. The one above is 3.5"x6". My blog name and the quotes were written first; then I found an awesome photo over on morguefile and added it to the middle. (photo by keyseeker, ref. # 671269) I was watching a movie while painting this and didn't expect much, but I really like it and now it is glued into my larger sketchbook, along with the following sketch. Pencil with watercolor. (Though I used a black pen to do the pupils.)
This was also done while watching that same movie on another scrap piece of paper. It is about 3"x3". Used sepia pigma micron 01 and watercolor. I think she looks a bit like Nancy Drew. I mean, she has that there is a mystery to be solved, don't you think? Maybe the guy behind her on the right is one of the Hardy Boys.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Moleskine collaboration with Dan, Page 2

This was incredibly difficult for me; I really struggled with what to do. My imagination is a rusted out, 1967 model. The gears don't run smoothly. If Dan hadn't mentioned that he didn't think it looked finished (and I agree), I probably would have just started a new page. My first inclination, and don't laugh because it is REALLY boring, was to add floor tiles and ceiling fixtures.

I thought a lot about what Dan's wife had mentioned...that the dancer didn't really match the 'big band' type of music, so I thought I would make it about music itself. Music and it's ability to transport us, make us feel alive. I painted the music bars yellow to show that it can bring light into our world. I thought of writing a quote at the bottom, but couldn't find a single one that I thought would go well. If Dan wants to do something else with it he is certainly welcome. Otherwise, I'll keep looking around and add one later. (Any suggestions?) Maybe I should just add some grass or something??

One of the ideas behind our exchange is that we would challenge each other. This was certainly a challenge for me! Part of it was connecting the big band with the colorful girl. I thought long and hard on how to do that one! The other part was in the composition. Dan placed his band right smack in the middle of that space. I'm not sure how well I've handled that, composition being a weakness of mine, but I did enjoy, through gritted teeth, working through it.

You should see this in person. I have to say that Dan did an excellent job on that band. Each person has such a unique face. The details are impressive!

New Sketchbooks and some older sketches

Remember the sketchbook I made? The paper wasn't folded with the grain and as a result it was all a bit wonky. Also, I hadn't realized I knicked the spine, which began to fall apart after being carried around in my purse. It was very heavy! So, I tore it down and made these three sketchbooks. The material is just some I had laying around from an old project. The rings are 1", not the really big ones; and I used Yes! paste for the glue. The small one pictured with the cover open is identical to the largest one, and they all have an envelope glued into the back. These are incredibly easy to make--I made all three the same day! But what I really like, is that I have no fear because there is always the possibility of removing a page. Or adding. Or even selling one! I'm not embarrassed to have someone look through it and as a result, I'm taking it everywhere and actually getting it out to use!

This is a failed experiment that for some reason, I still kind of like. Paul Wang, Hong Kong correspondent for Urban Sketchers, had a few pictures of his pre-painted pages along with the finished pages. I love his color so decided to give it a go. Well, what was supposed to be a light red wash turned out much darker than intended because I was sitting in the sun on a dry day and as I touched the paper it seemed to dry on contact. A wash was next to impossible using my waterbrush. I left it with the red wash over my sketch for several weeks before deciding to add more color and see if I could make it work. Since this scan I have actually gone back and touched up the trees some. They look better, but I'm too lazy to rescan. The sketch was done while waiting in the truck at Lowe's, during all that recent construction.

Another sketch from Lowe's parking lot, done back in Sept; and a sketch of mom's car in her garage. Never went back to paint them, but I'm not interested enough to bother with that. Maybe one day I'll get the urge.

And of course, what sketchbook doesn't start with a page like this? (for me, anyway!)

These three sketches are the first three pages of the larger sketchbook pictured above. I've also added some loose drawings that I didn't want to get lost. So far, I'm really liking the freedom I feel with these sketchbooks! (The sketches in this post were all in the sketchbook before I tore it down to make the smaller ones.)