Testing Another Sketchbook

Yes, another. This is the one I’m using for June’s 30 x 30 Direct Watercolor challenge… it’s the Arteza 5.5 in. x 3.5 in. landscape watercolor sketchbook that I purchased from Amazon. $14.99 for a pack of two… I believe they’re only sold that way.

Update: I just looked and they’re $13.98 for two through Amazon… at that price you can try them without guilt!

This small size is perfect for painting on the go. And it’s quite thick at 80 pages. As comparison the popular watercolor Moleskine has 60 pages.

You can see in this view of the bottom of this book that as of this afternoon it’s just over halfway filled.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the binding stands up when the book is full.

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019

#30×30 Direct Watercolor 2019 Part One

Today is the last day of June which means it’s also the last day of the 30×30 Direct Watercolor challenge for 2019. Marc Taro Holmes created this challenge last year to prompt artists to think of shapes instead of line when painting with watercolor. Marc requested that when we posted our art on social media we tag it with #30x30DirectWatercolor2019.

I’ve painted a piece every day this month so I guess it’s about time I shared. These are in a very inexpensive 5.5 in. x 3.5 in. landscape format watercolor sketchbook by Arteza. This book has quite a few issues which I’ll go into later but I’ve enjoyed working with it this month as I adapted my painting style to work with this paper.

Poppies in my garden… I’m happy with the buds but the flower? … not so much. I forgot to leave white bits.

Whelk… I like how this more textured side of the paper allows for watercolor “magic”, a term popularized by Australian artist Liz Steel.

Poppies revisited.

Garlic done by starting with negative painting of the background, as I did with the whelk above… and only when that was dry did I go in to paint the bulb and roots.

People practice… something I should be doing at least once a week so it doesn’t seem so daunting.

Lucky bamboo. This turned out better than I expected… besides, it’s always fun to practice mixing my own greens.

Sunset. We’ve been decluttering old photos and this night I tried my hand at capturing the feel of of this before it was tossed.

That’s it for part one… stay tuned, there’s more to come.

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019

My 2019 Fake Journal Video

Again this April I participated in IFJM – International Fake Journal Month.

My eighth year… whew!

Not only do I love the process of creating the journal, I also love making these video flip-throughs… getting better photographs, picking the music, all of it… I only wish you could page through it yourself but this is the next best thing.

If this video doesn’t play you can also watch it through YouTube.

If this piques your interest be sure to check out the daily postings of my 2019 Fake Journal starting with this post on my dedicated Fake Journal Blog: SkylarkKarma.wordpress.com  … that way you can easily read my character’s daily current event haiku (haikus?) and see closeups of the images.

Hope to see you there!

#2019IFJM   #IFJM2019

A Few Process Photos

When I started this portrait I had to keep reminding myself to take it slow and stop now and again for photos… success!

Again I used just a few pencil guidelines as reference for my first light watercolor washes.

After they dried I put in the background wet in wet.

It seems I’m always waiting for paint to dry but I love the look when it dries naturally. I have a heat gun I could use but then the background would dry before the paints had a chance to mingle and create the beautiful mottled surface.

Next it was time to add more skin tone glazes and figure out how to portray beard stubble… I dabbed the color on with my finger!

I really need to see if I can correct that left eye… the inner corner should be a tiny bit lower.

More layers to suggest his laugh lines and it’s time to stop before I start fiddling. I peeled off the artist’s masking tape… signed it… dated it… and done.

Pencil and Watercolor in an 8 in. square HandBook Watercolor Journal. Portrait of a muse from Sktchy.

First Stage

Starting a portrait can be intimidating. I’m often left wondering how and where to begin. How do I want the finished project to look? Do I want to use pencil or ink for the basic drawing? Do I want the coloring to be subtle or bold? What to do first?

Here I quickly sketched her in pencil and then put in light washes for her skin tones and shadows before putting in the background wet in wet. I decided to aim for bold.

It’s fortunate I remembered to stop and take a photo. I so often get in the flow, keep painting and only when I’m finished think how a few early photos would help me as a reference for techniques I could use when starting another project.

I had masked off a frame using 1/2 inch artist’s tape which allowed the painting to have a nice crisp edge as it floats on the page. It’s definitely a technique I’ll be trying again.

You’ll see… I’ll share another on Monday. In the meantime, Happy Groundhog Day!

Pencil and Watercolor in an 8″ square HandBook Watercolor Journal. Portrait of a muse from Sktchy.

Sumo Mandarins

When it’s cloudy, cold and windy and summer’s only a memory I seek respite by enjoying one of the best gifts of winter.  It’s the season of fresh sweet citrus.

I was inspired to pick up these two Sumo Mandarins at our local co-op particularly because they still had their leaves and stems attached.

Subjects for my next watercolor experiment? It was their destiny!

I hear they’re usually larger than my two but they’re as delicious as advertised. Thank goodness the season is young.

Wheels of Watercolor

I’ve long been a fan of online art classes and Sketchbook Skool in particular so you can imagine how excited I was to sign up for their brand new watercolor class, Watercolor Rules and How to Break Them. I’ve loved adding watercolor to my drawings and sketchbook pages but I’ve often wanted to dive deeper into the whys and wherefores of the medium.

Signing up was a given.

After waiting impatiently all summer I finally started in last week with our first assignment… learning about colors and pigments by mixing and creating color wheels from the paints in our palettes.

My palette contains both a warm and a cool version of the three primaries along with a few neutrals and a surprise color or two. One evening I sat down and made my color wheels using all the combinations of those primaries… the neutrals and surprises will have to wait.

I think my favorite wheel is the cool yellow, cool red, warm blue… the one on the right in the image below. It makes slightly neutralized yet natural oranges and greens as well as bright violets.

But as you can see, there are more lovely mixes in each of these wheels.

There was also an additional but optional homework assignment to paint a still life without the safety net of an ink or pencil under-drawing… and create it using only three primary paints. I just couldn’t limit myself to those three and found myself sneaking other colors into my mixes.

I foresee pomegranate seeds on my salad now that they’ve done their modeling. Delicious!

Color Me With Watercolor

I spent July continuing my watercolor portrait practice. These two were inspired by fellow Sktchy member, Lauren Arno, who challenged us at various times during the month!

And… in just over a week I’m also going to take her online watercolor class through Sktchy. I’ve always felt there’s no better way to expand my repertoire than by taking classes.

Color me happy!

Portrait Retrospective

Where does the time go? This morning I realized I haven’t posted in over a month and yet I’ve completed 2 additional sketchbooks since then.

I guess I’ll start in by showing you a few of my favorite portraits from May and one from early June. All were drawn from photographic references posted on the Sktchy app by other creatives. You’ll see I often switch things up by sometimes forgoing my beloved ink lines and instead choose to sketch in pencil before I paint. There’s a different feel to each of these methods but I enjoy them both.

This month watercolor was my only constant.