Cloud Illusions

Ah… the ability to paint believable clouds… that’s my ultimate goal, but for now, it’s a struggle. 

As you can see… the frustration was getting to me. 

It’s important to just keep working. 

Clouds are all about the mix of hard and soft edges and decreasing their size as they near the horizon.

So… I’ll keep practicing because… with apologies to Joni Mitchell… I really don’t know clouds at all.

(I may be concentrating on clouds but this might just be my best tree yet!)

Update to Going Negative

I remembered where I got the idea to do multiple views of a subject using its negative space. Yes, it was Koosje Koene, but it was in the recently updated Free Sample class on the new Sketchbook Skool site.

If you haven’t yet taken a class from Sketchbook Skool, this is a great way to taste what they have to offer… and did I mention it’s FREE?!?  Just sign up and give it a whirl.

And if you took the Free Sample course a few years ago, sign up anyway.  As I said, it’s updated with brand new material.



Going Negative

Today’s practice was drawing this stool four times with four different media but each time using the negative space as my guide. The negative space is all the gaps created by the intersections of the legs and rungs. 

From left to right… Fountain pen with Platinum Carbon Ink, Koh-I-Nor Magic Pencil, Derwent Medium Wash watersoluble pencil, and Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils.

I was inspired by Koosje Koene’s negative space video… try it yourself!

Ooops! I can’t seem to find a direct link but you can check out her blog for other cool stuff!

Sunset Series Saga

It’s February and even though it’s been fairly warm here, we have had just enough cold and snow to remind us it’s still winter.

I’ve been dreaming of warm sunny days, walking the beach, and watching the sun go down over crystal blue waters. A vacation or holiday… I don’t care what you call it… realistically, I have months to wait before that’s even a possibility. 

Several years ago I found myself in the same situation and found Laure Ferlita and her online classes where I took her watercolor class: An Imaginary Visit to th Beach. Fortunately, I’ve been following her blog, Painted Thoughts, and saw a link to her online watercolor sunset workshop at a very reasonable cost of ten dollars

So began my sunset quest.

My first… painted along with the video. 

Then a few days later I thought I’d try going it alone. I used different pigments and tried to be faster. It’s okay but I see too much color blending (the green) in the water. 

#3 was better but I didn’t leave enough skips as I painted the sun’s reflection in the water. 

I thought I had enough but all these masked off rectangles were just screaming rigidity. I needed to try one more… fast and loose in a vignette style. I made too much use of my Signo Broad white ink pen for my liking but I’m still pleased.  I’m less sure about the vignette style.  Now that I’ve done it I think I prefer the masked rectangles instead. 

I enjoyed my practice and now feel comfortable enough to try these methods on some of my own sunset photographs in preparation for the days when I again can paint plein air as I wriggle my toes in warm sand. 

In a Slump

When I feel uninspired and have stopped creating for a few days I rely on a few trusted methods for breaking out of my slump. I often try out new tools or pre-paint some journal pages, but the most reliable slump-buster is to draw a prompt from Danny Gregory’s EDM list

Whenever I feel blocked I remember my plan to eventually work through all 328 prompts.

This is No. 121

I’m not out of the clear yet but I’m going to keep at it. As Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

Sketching the Sketchers

Our local college, Dartmouth, has closed its Hood art museum for two years as it renovates and expands. In the meantime they’ve created an exhibition space in a previously empty storefront downtown… cleverly named Hood Downtown. Last Thursday night they had a “Sip and Sketch” event featuring noshes and drinks. (White wine, ginger ale, Perrier…nothing with color in case there were was an “incident”.) 

The museum had set up two beautiful 360 degree still lifes for us to draw. I briefly thought of sketching the objects but instead decided to sketch the sketchers. My subjects were so intent on their own work they never knew they were models!

The Hood, like many other museums, has a policy of allowing only pencils for drawing in its exhibition space. That’s okay by me… the humble pencil is a powerful tool!

If you’re in the area be sure to see the current exhibit, Bahar Behbahani’s Let the Garden Eram Flourish. It will be on view through March 12, 2017. 

Here’s just one of Ms. Behbahani’s stunning works… Adorned With Pillars (mixed media on canvas). 

Greenhouse Caladiums

There’s nothing better on a cold winter morning in the northern hemisphere than a trip to a greenhouse to soak up the warmth and bask in the green.

The Murdough Greenhouse at Dartmouth College hosted our plein air group yesterday morning. Every time I visit I’m struck by how fortunate we are to have this space and the vast selection of blooming specimens. 

I chose to paint this Caladium specifically because of its coloration. As you can see… pink and green… complementary colors. Could I paint it without creating big blotches brown?

My patience was tested as I had to wait for each consecutive layer to dry, but that’s exactly why it’s so great to paint with like-minded friends. We caught up on events and admired each other’s works. 

I love Thursdays!

Toys Are Us!

As we come to the end of January I figured I’d share some of the art supplies I’ve been playing with. 

Remember my childrens quality multicolored pencil?  I like it so much I’m putting the artists quality Koh-i-noor Magic Pencil on my wish list. 

See how the colors run the length of the pencil… that means that you need to rotate the pencil as you draw to get color variation. The Koh-i-noor has the colors all swirled together. I’m betting that will be even more fun!

I also bought a new white ink pen… a Uni-Ball Signo Broad. I’ve had nothing but trouble with the previous incarnation Signo pen but this one is a winner!  The barrel on the newer pen is opaque while the barrel on the “inferior ” pen is translucent. It may be coincidental but I thought I’d mention it in case you’re thinking of getting one for your arsenal. 

Lovely opaque white ink. Here I’ve layered it over many layers of watercolor. 

We have a lovely new stationery, card, and art supply shop in the area… POST… in White River Junction, Vermont.

I bought myself a few Palomino Blackwing pencils to try and the corresponding long point sharpener. I’ve heard so many glowing things about them I just couldn’t resist. Now that they’re sharpened I need to make some time to test an experiment to see which level of hardness I prefer. 

And finally… I found out that it’s possible to sketch on my phone using only the Note app and my trusty index finger. 

See ya… gotta use some of these things and go make some art!

Rainy Day Sketching

It was too cold and too rainy yesterday to sketch outside. I suppose we all could have sketched in our cars but that defeats the whole purpose of getting together!

Lucky for us, one of our fellow artists has an old Victorian home overflowing with interesting objects set up in eye-catching vignettes. No matter where you look, there’s something to sketch… even some Christmas decorations. 

I didn’t have time to add color to the larger spread and now I’m not sure I want to. I do have a reference photo but……..

Sometimes it’s better to leave well enough alone. Besides, that was yesterday. Surely I can find something to paint Today!