Posted in drawing, painting

100-Day Project: Days 6 through 12

For this week, I worked with a very nice selection of Bill’s photographs.

I was drawn to this one by its lines, texture and geometry. To bring those characteristics to the fore, I used pen and ink to render the cross.

DAY 6:

Day 7: Adding Sumi ink wash.

Photograph Two

In looking at this photograph of waterlilies, I got the impression that the leaves and blooms rising above the water line looked like actors on a stage, with the flat lily pads as the audience. To emphasize this impression, I used mostly pencil, and a cool wash to the background; warm, bright paint to the subjects.

Days 8 and 9:

Photograph Three.

Bill’s close up of a wood duck was begging for another paint swatch study. So that what I did on Day 10.

First, I brightened up the image using photo editing software. Using my watercolors, I discovered that it took eleven different pigments to match all the different colors of this bird. And after I finished the swatches, I was in love with wood ducks. So, I proceeded to paint him.

Days 11 and 12:

That finished out my week. Looking back at what I had done, I noticed that most of the work was realism. I’d like to challenge myself to try for more abstract images in the next week.

Posted in painting

Watercolor Wednesday: Rust

This rusty car was our assignment at the art association open studio last Wednesday. I think I got a pretty good likeness of the photograph. The hardest part was deciding when to stop.

I used a palette of raw sienna, burnt sienna, cerulean blue, cobalt blue and ultramarine blue. Painted on Fabriano Studio cold press paper.

Posted in painting

Watercolor Wednesday

I have been saving this image from Unsplash for the time when my skills were sufficient to paint it. I think I’m ready now.

There are several challenges:

  1. Painting the pink flower with shading and without losing its delicate transparency.
  2. Making the background black enough while keeping the crisp edges of the foreground.
  3. Rendering the texture of the leaf in the foreground

It took me a few days and several stages.

Pencil outline of the flower and underpainting of the leaves. I added some colored pencil on the foreground, but these lines completely disappeared under subsequent glazes.

Before I proceeded to the next layers, I reserved the edges by coating them with masking fluid.

First layer of paint on flower and background, second glaze on leaves.
Second layer of paint on flower and background. Once it dried, I rubbed off the masking fluid.

Final painting. To render the curves of the foreground leaf, I decided to add a dark color band which doesn’t exist in the original photograph. I used a blue Prismacolor pencil to draw in the delicate veins which are visible between the large ribs.

I like the glowing look of the flower. The crimson petal tips really come forward visually. I’m happy with the foreground leaf. I’m wondering if I need to darken the leaf in the background.

Maybe I will wait a day and see how I feel about it.

Painted on Fabriano Studio cold press paper with Winsor yellow, quinacridone magenta, alizarin crimson, prussian blue, viridian, gold green and sap green.

Posted in painting, quilting

Scrappy Sunset

I am having issues with realism. It’s not what you’re thinking. This isn’t about reality. I have a firm grip on my personal reality, and also on the wider reality of life in the dysfunctional 21st century. No, it’s about trying to portray realistic images in my artwork. My dissatisfaction began to grow as I learned to paint with watercolor. All the instruction I have received so far focuses on rendering what I see in the real world. Specifically, I’m taught, how to paint in a manner that emulates three dimensions of shapes in the real world. It’s not going well. And now my dissatisfaction with painting has spilled over into my work with fiber, leading to a muted feeling about all my work.

When I began to experiment with fiber, I was inspired by the work of Gustav Klimt. Klimt began his training in applied arts. This influence shows in his paintings,which are filled with decorative surfaces. It’s the opposite direction of realism. He takes the human form and renders it as a surface, with delicate textural coloration. The rest of his canvas is bursting with a riot of color and pattern.

It is time for me to return to my first impulse about fiber art and make an abstract work. I’ve chosen a sunset as my subject. This photograph is one I took about a year ago during one of our trips to Wisconsin. My intention is to boil the sunset down to its essential lines and colors, sew strips to a backing fabric and then apply decorative stitches. I’ll use hand-painted scraps of cloth leftover from other projects.

I started out by making a rendering in crayon, placing an emphasis on the angular lines.

After working out the number of strips I will need, I scaled up the image to size, which will be 18 by 12. Next I assembled the fabrics.

I realized that I will need to paint a few more pieces to have enough grayish purple for all the clouds in the scene. So I found a few white and gray scraps that will be painted.

I also made a pattern in full size on butcher paper. I don’t have a photo of it for you, and it has already been cut up. As I made the pattern, I winnowed down the detail even further to get to the essential lines of the sunset. I am using muslin as a backing fabric. Work will proceed from the most complex strip (the sun) outward, first down and then up. After a few hours, I had the lower half assembled.

After getting to this stage, I felt a palpable sense of relief.

Tomorrow I will finish painting the fabric and assemble the rest of the piece.