Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Snow Sketches

While waiting to pick up the kids from school, I have been doing a bit of sketching using my Altiod Palette and a tiny (3.5" x 5.5") sketch book. I keep these in the car, but today I decided to bring them home for cleaning and to scan a couple of the sketches. Here they are. The top One I call "Dropped it"; the bottom is "Plum Tree Park".
These are really tiny sketches. So one is forced to stay loose and enjoy the quick process.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Traverse Sketch/Study

Still studying Winslow Homer, and inspired by his work, I have created this sketch/study. This is not a copy of any of his work. It is an original and I intend to make a full sheet painting of it as soon as I am satisfied with the color, depth and composition...which I am not so far.

I need to do a grading on the mountain trees. My initial problem is that I wanted the light to go from cold in the valley to warm on the top, but without letting the warmth of the top bring it forward. With grading the color, I think I can counteract that...or can I?

The foreground water should be much darker. On sketch paper, that was not possible, but I can do that on better paper.

Composition? I have to sleep on that a bit. Pin it on the wall and look at it some more. I am not sure if the red canoe is right or if it's placement is correct. I know I want a human element in this vast wilderness. I want it to be tiny to dramatically show the scale of the scene.

Green? 'nough said!
All thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

After Winslow #2

Ok, This was not good, but I am learning what he did with the water. I shouldn't paint after a long rough day, but I am so excited with this porject I can't help it.

((After Grand Discharge, Lake St. John)) Butchered, but I think I will try this one again soon.

Monday, January 22, 2007

After Winslow #1

I'm treading very lightly here. But after weeks of not touching my brushes, I decided to plunge in (excuse the pun) and try walking in Homer's shoes.

I am reading an excellent book: American Tradition In Watercolor" And was just itching to try a Winslow after looking at his turbulent seas.

Admittedly this is just an tentative sketch, but it felt exhilarating to try his method. I think I will do more of this!

Winslow Homer's Pallete

Another great watercolor artist is, of course, Winslow Homer. Here is his pallete:

Antwerp Blue
Bone Black
Burnt Sienna
Burnt Umber
Cadmium Yellow
Chinese White
Chrome Orange
Crimson Lake
Green Earth
Hooker's Green
Indian Purple
Indian Red
Indian Yellow
Prussian Green (a mix or Prussian Blue and Gamboge)
Payne's Gray
Scarlet Lake
Vandyke Brown
Warm Sapia

As you can see, Homer's Pallete, as opposed to Sargent's is decidedly cooler.

John Singer Sargent's Pallete

I am always interested in finding out the colors that great artists use. Not that duplicating them would give one their ability to use them, but just knowing the pallete is a great insight into the works.

So here is Sargent's Pallete:

Alizarin Carmine (Newman)
Brown Pink (Newman)
Burnt Sienna (Newman)
Cadmium Yellow Pale (Newman)
Cadmium Yellow #2 (Newman)
Chrome Yellow (Newman)
Cobalt Blue (Newman)
Gamboge (Weber)
Lamp Black (Winsor and Newton)
Rose Madder (Winsor and Newton)
Ultramarine (Schminke)
Vandyke Brown (Newman)
Scarlet Vermillion (Winsor and Newton)
Deep Vermillion (Hatfield)
Viridian (Winsor and Newton)

This is mostly a warm pallete with 3 or 4 cooler colors only (Alizarin Carmine, Cobalt Blue, Rose Madder, and Viridian) I am so glad to see Lamp Black there. I love the color and its effect. A much better choice than the other blacks out there. It has a lovely texture and granulates beautifully.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

2 sketches

2007 is starting slower than expected. I haven't painted a single thing so far, and my sketches are nothing to write home about. Which begs the question: Why am I posting them here? Don't know! Here are two anyway.

The shelves were done from bed in ink. The kids were so focused on the computer game. It was easy to sketch them!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Notes from my 2006 sketchbooks

I am getting ready to put away my 2006 sketchbooks and thought I'd take some of the ideas that I jotted down in them and put them here over a few posts. These are quick notes. If you have faced the same problems you will know what I mean by them. If you don't, post a question and I will answer you in more details.
  • To blot a perfect straight line, cover a ruler with tissue paper and blot out color while it is still partially wet.

  • In water remember that you have both shadows and reflections

  • Use a dipping pen for details. Fill the nib with watercolor by feeding it from a brush.

  • Paint at an angle, but also be ready to tilt the painting to drive color. Never fix your board to an easel or table and lose the ability to drive color by tilting.

  • Start by painting the shadows when working outdoors. They are fleeting.

  • For best shadows work or take stock photos in early morning or late afternoon

  • Yellow traps pencil marks. You can't erase what is under yellow.

  • Work with two brushes; one for color and one for clear water and lifting.

  • When making swatches or color studies work with two brushes. Fill each with a color and feed one from the other for off page mixing.