Monday, February 26, 2018

Zentangle With Watercolor

Several years ago I taught zentangle to my middle school aged students.  I really enjoyed the unstructured nature of it.  Basically,  it's just doodling- you know, like you used to do instead of paying attention in school.  Who knows why I haven't played with it more, but I didn't till now. 
As this has grown and traveled across the paper, it needed an egg.  There are seeds and seedlings, it needed an egg.  Maybe it's spring peeking around the corner, at least in my little corner of the world.  Growth, renewal- how artsy fartsy can I get?  So, I got an egg.

Recently I started messing around on a spare piece of watercolor paper when I wanted to be in the studio but didn't have time to get into a painting.  I've just added to it as I felt the urge and didn't worry about a theme or what direction it was taking.  I am in love with the idea of working in free manner, of letting an idea evolve on paper instead of planning every. last. detail out first.  Who knows, I may be on to something?  Whatever it is I'm doing, I am looking forward to adding bright, loud color to it.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by- Alice 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dignified, A Grisaille Landscape

Using a grisaille underpainting not only makes for an interesting look, it pretty much gets the majority of the work of a painting out of the way in the first stages, at least in watercolor.  Drawing and laying down the underpainting of this took much more time than adding the color did.  
Before I began this morning I washed the paper with yellow ochre to tone it and help the painting have unity.
For several days I've been pondering on how I wanted the finished piece to look.  What made this subject interesting to my eyes was all the peeling metal and the wood underneath the old buildings; the tiny details.  I've also been thinking on my desire to suggest foliage rather than trying to render it in perfect detail and decided that I could add little details to the building shapes and just suggest the foreground and background.  I'm much happier with the results than some of my other landscapes.  
Dignified, watercolor on cold pressed Arches paper, 16" x 20"

So, here stands the finished piece.  Adding colors to it took about 2 hours from toning the paper to the last brush stroke.  I like working this way, like the contrast between the soft foreground and sky against the hard edges of the building shapes and like working over well defined light and shadow shapes.  

Thanks for stopping by!  Alice  

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Landscape With Grisaille

Ever since I finished the painting Agave Grisaille, I've been itching to try it again on a landscape.  Last weekend I finally began that process.  I'd like this piece to be a bit moody and subdued, so after the ink has been laid down to my satisfaction I will tone the paper as well. 
Beginning this painting with a black to grey tone underneath might add a distinct look to it.  May not, too.  We shall see!

Since I'm using pen and ink along with brushing on the Higgins pigmented ink in my under-painting, I guess it's a mixed medium piece and not purely watercolor.  It really doesn't matter what it's called though, I'm just excited to see what this turns out like.  Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Drawing Angles, My Version

While travelling through South Dakota this past December, we came upon what to me was the perfect grain elevator.  My favorite of all the delicious old grain elevators I've ever seen.  It was far too complicated to sit and draw out on the spot in the few minutes we had to spend there, so I took several photos of it and we hit the road again.  It's such a bummer to travel on a schedule.  
My photo, printed in black and white, trimmed and ready to refer to.
Since then I have gone back to look at those pictures often, wishing I could spend a few days in that lonely, abandoned place. Since that's not possible, I finally decided to work from a photo and see if I could reproduce the feelings I had there.  Not ideal, but better than nothing.  Besides, the little painting I did last week helped me work out a plan and it's time to get after it.   

These are my building drawing tools- different types of rulers give me options when finding the right angles to draw.
Because I like my paintings to begin with original drawings, I had a problem. This old building has been added on to so many times that there were about a billion planes and angles to sketch out. So, I began by printing out a picture and tracing the outside lines with black pen so I could clearly see them.  Then I cut out a section to easier measure the angles with my rulers.  If I keep the print on the lines I put on the paper, I can hold a ruler to the angle I'm trying to understand and slide it to the place I want to draw. 
The t-squared ruler is my favorite for getting everything lined up the way I want it.
What I get is an approximation of the building in the photo, but not a picture perfect version, which is what I'm after.  If I get too picky then I find myself tied to the photo and get all uptight about copying it exactly.  Printing it in black and white frees me from worrying about getting the color "right" as well.  The drawing is my own and I'm free to choose whatever colors I want.  The picture is only a reference point.
Now that the basic shapes are in place, I can erase all of the lines I don't need, and free-hand the rest of the composition.  Too bad I'm out of sick leave at work!  I'd much rather be in the studio today.  

Of course, now I have an eraser job to do because I drew it all out on the watercolor paper.  Like a genius.  However, I am getting excited to start dropping in the colors, so I will think about that while I erase.  To me, part of the fun of this process is thinking about what the next steps will be- the anticipation of it all.  So, here I go, anticipating!

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Friday, February 2, 2018

Somewhere In South Dakota

Don't you just hate it when your internal alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. on days you could have slept in a bit?  This morning I just gave up and came out to the studio.  In keeping with my attempts to work simple, see shapes and paint fast, I sketched out my composition with little detail and waded in.  
Somewhere in South Dakota
Watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper
7" x 10"
It took an hour and a half and kinda looks like it, too.  However, the goal in my mind won't happen without a lot of work, and that's just what this is; another bit of work.  I know it'll add up to new ideas and inspiration at some point.  

Thanks for stopping by- Alice