Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29, 2009 - Day 19

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

OK, I admit it - I was completely blocked today. I did not want to paint ANYTHING. I discarded every idea I had as being too difficult or too time consuming. So I wimped out and did one of my "Rainbow Reflection" paintings.

I was taught the technique by Alan Mark Cross. He does very vibrant watercolors using a wet-in-wet technique. Here is the link to his website:

For this technique saturated color is randomly placed on damp watercolor paper and while it is still wet areas are scraped off (sgraffito) using a palette knife. The scraped areas naturally form the highlight and the areas where the paint puddles form the shadow. Everything else is mid-tone.

That's all there is to it. Completing a painting like this one only takes 15 minutes because the paint and paper dry so quickly. There is no correcting or second guessing. There isn't time for it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28, 2009 - Day 18

Da Vinci watercolor in Burnt Sienna (#205) on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

Flipping through my watercolor instructions books and I picked up "The One-Hour Watercolorist" by Patrick Seslar. This is a fabulous book that not only shows you how to create a painting from reference photographs but also time saving techniques like using a limited palette for example.

This sparked my imagination and I decided to re-do yesterday's painting using only one color. I chose Burnt Sienna because it gives the painting an antique look. Using this color turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be because it is a staining watercolor and does not lift off easily or cleanly. In my first attempt I painted the sky way too dark but when I tried to remove some of the color I wasn't able to get much off and what remained had a grainy look to it.

I was able to complete the painting on my second attempt. I liked the look of it so much that it has inspired me to create a painting for the eBay group ACEO ~ Art Cards Editions and Originals for the September theme week which is "Harvest Festival". I am going to paint a picture that I received from my aunt that was taken in the 1940's or 1950's of a swather mowing wheat. It should look really nice in the burnt sienna.

The ACEO theme week it is a monthly popularity contest where a theme is chosen. The artwork must be 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches and it must be listed to sell on ebay on the 1st of the month. The art cards are listed for 7 days at a starting price of $4.99. The person with the most unique bidders wins a .jpeg award. There is also "People's Choice" where the members of the group vote on their favorite ACEO. It's fun and it is a good way to spark your creativity.

I will post the link to my ebay listing on September 1, 2009 if the painting turns out to my satisfaction :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 27, 2009 - Day 17

Da Vinci watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencils on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

Very hard to decide today what I wanted to paint. I knew that I wanted to stay with a landscape but really didn't have any ideas. I went back through my old reference photos and found this one.

It is so much more difficult to paint something well when there is little emotional attachment to the outcome. When I am interested in painting something it flows from me and I think that emotion shows in the painting. Today's painting though was just a technical exercise.

In a way though, I think days like today will improve my skills more because when there is no emotion involved in the process I tend to over think and subsequently overwork the painting.

Either way it will be interesting to see how my art progresses through this whole process and where I will end up as an artist.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 26, 2009 - Day 16

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Bockingford cold press paper

Off-white border added

Picture frame added

Today I once again had to re-do my painting. This time it was because my frisket was old and rather than peeling nicely off the sails it was sticky and gummy and just smeared. Note to self: do not use frisket that is over 2 years old - it doesn't work!

When I redid the painting I cut masking tape to fit the sails and boats and painted over that. It worked rather well but it was fiddly trying to cut the masking tape to fit. I couldn't use pencil crayons on the sails because I wanted to tint them in places to indicate shape.

My photo editing program has a lot of different picture frames that I can add so I decided to post the painting today without a frame and then with a plain off-white edging as well as a picture frame with matting.

It is true what they say - the frame makes the picture. Unfortunately I don't have the option to change the frame or matting color. Maybe I can download more from the company's website. I haven't decided yet whether I should change all the pictures in my blog to include a frame or if I should just leave them as is so that it is just the painting that you see.

I think I will keep the pictures unframed - that way the size that you see on the screen is approximately the same size as the original painting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 25, 2009 - Day 15

Da Vinci Watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencil on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

I am determined to improve my landscape paintings so today I tried this painting taken from a reference photograph that I took while on holidays.

I pulled out my watercolor instruction books and started reading up on techniques. One technique is to use wax crayons, candles or pencil crayons in place of frisket or masking. Since watercolor paint does not cover wax those areas remaining lighter in color than the surrounding paint.

I used white pencil crayon to draw in the tree trunks and a light brown pencil crayon for some of the shoreline. The clouds were created using a bunched up tissue to lift out the still wet watercolor. The lines in the water were lifted out while still wet using a tissue wrapped around a bank card.

After it was all said and done I wasn't pleased with my painting so I decided to paint it again.

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

The only things I did differently for the second painting were to use frisket to mask the trees and I used a utility knife to scratch out highlights in the water and along the shoreline. It was more difficult to get a nice thin line with the frisket so I think I will continue to use white pencil crayon in the future.

I discovered that after it was all said and done that there really wasn't that much difference between the two paintings. I like the background hills and trees better in the second painting but I like the foreground land and trees better in the first painting.

My biggest frustration today was trying to calibrate my scanner to accurately scan the greens and blues. They are pretty close but are just that little bit off. The greens aren't quite green enough and the blues aren't quite bright enough. Perhaps I am being too picky and the color difference is only noticeable to me. My scanner is very old though so maybe a new scanner would be more accurate.

Tomorrow I am going to try another landscape. I just don't know which one yet.

August 31, 2009
Looking back at these two paintings I now like the first one much better than the second one. Just goes to show that sometimes you need to step back and not look at a painting for awhile in order to really be able to see it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24, 2009 - Day 14

Da Vinci watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencils on
140 lb Bockinford cold press watercolor paper

This painting is a compilation of 2 photographs taken by Twitter personality MiraclesGoddess (also known as JoAnn Skywatcher). I absolutely love her amazing nature shots so with her permission I attempted to paint the deer picture that she took and I combined it with her misty mountain picture

As usual, I am not satisfied with the results but attempting this painting (and failing) has really ticked me off. I love nature and I love beautiful landscapes. It really annoys me that I can't paint the subjects that I love to my satisfaction. I have 351 paintings to go and by the end of my art project I WILL be able to paint landscapes and animals that I can be proud of.

So be prepared for a LOT of ugly paintings :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23, 2009 - Day 13

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

Another day with very little time to paint. I chose this painting mainly because it would be easy to do. Tonight I am so uninspired that I don't even have words to write a decent blog. I just am so unhappy with the quality of my work right now. I don't know what I am going to paint tomorrow but I am sure that I will be unhappy with the result!

Growl! Snarl! I would type the symbols for swearing but right now I can't even remember those. What I need is a fuming little emoticon. That would express my foul mood appropriately.

Deep breath . . . OK . . . I am calm . . . I am tranquil . . . I am centered. Tomorrow will be a better day. I won't be rushed and I can take the time to really plan what I want to paint.

What I really need to do is plan a series of paintings. At one time I wanted to paint the endangered animals of Canada. Perhaps I should try that. Or maybe I can do a series of peppers . . . I am really good at painting peppers. Or maybe a series of metal objects . . . painting shiny things is always fun. Hmmmmm . . . I will have to think about this tonight and see what transpires tomorrow.