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.

Three Favorites

There are times when inspiration just isn’t to be found and you’re at a loss for an interesting subject. I know this intimately and I believe every artist goes through this at one time or another.

The essential question is how to escape the vortex. My tried and true models are always available to draw… I have three. My feet (slippered, socks, or bare), my hand (or hands), and my face (either a mirrored self portrait, from a photo, or from my imagination). Any one of these can spark an illustration and memories.

March was a month of reflection… but at least I wasn’t at a loss for a model.

Favorite February Portraits

March has been packed and I realize I haven’t posted my favorite portraits I drew from Sktchy! No big commentary ahead… just a few quick notes.

I love portraits, especially when I can draw hands too… it’s a double challenge.

In this portrait I used watercolor pencils… steep learning curve but so much fun when faced with a model with pink and purple hair. It turned out better than I thought it would… I shut that inner critic up!

I’m also trying to work on figure proportions… now I want pink and black striped socks.

… and see… there’s a portrait in there too!

Sktchy and Me: 2017 Edition

You’ve heard me talk before about how much I like the Sktchy app I have for my phone but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is or how it works.

Here’s a blurb from the Sktchy website:

What is Sktchy?

Sktchy is an artist’s best friend. Find drawing inspiration in an ever-updating gallery of reference photos. Upload your own photos so other artists can draw you. Discover and connect with amazing artists from around the world. Share your creativity in a fun, supportive community. Bye-bye, creative block!

What if I’m not an artist?

Even if you don’t call yourself an artist, you have creativity worth sharing with the world, and Sktchy is a fun, no-stress way to get started. The Sktchy community welcomes and includes artists of all skill levels, from gallery-repped professionals to amateur doodlers. No matter where you fall in that spectrum, Sktchy is for you.

Sktchy is definitely my go-to site for artistic inspiration!

After a slow start I ended 2017 by creating sixty five drawings of human and animal portraits along with a few landscapes. I was inspired to make a slideshow of my entire 2017 Sktchy work after a few of my friends did the same.

Just under two minutes of fun… I hope you enjoy it!

If the embedded video won’t play please use the link to view it through YouTube.

It’s A Dog’s Life

Today I realized I posted only once in November and I was in danger of not posting at all this December. Just laziness I guess because I’ve been working in my sketchbook daily.

Lately I’ve been drawing dogs using photos people have generously provided through the Sktchy app. I sit on the couch with my sketchbook after dinner and relax with my pen and paints… a little added journaling and I’m off to bed, unwound and de-stressed… and dreaming of dogs.

Summer Concert Sketching

Ah, summer.

Here in the Upper Valley summer means it’s outdoor concert season and outdoor concerts are perfect for sketchbooking.

Two weeks ago my friend Sonja Hakala, a fabulous writer and photographer, sat next to me at the Chad Hollister concert on the Quechee green. As we listened, I sketched the scene and assumed Sonja was focusing her lens to capture the crowd as usual.

Just imagine my delight when she sent me these great photos of the spread in progress and blogged about it too!

dana draw 1 8-17

dana draw 2

dana draw 3

Here’s the final spread… notice the stickers! I LOVE STICKERS!

img_2254

Thanks Sonja!  It’s been a great season.

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. 

Oddly Comforting

After this week of upheaval I again tried to put my life and these times into perspective. Enter Carl Sagan and his Pale Blue Dot speech.  Just hearing it again inspired me to reflect, revitalize and create a journal page honoring my… and I hope… our resilience.

Thank you Ken Takahashi and YouTube for this wonderful video.

 

That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

Thank you Carl Sagan.