Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not Your Average Watermelon

I'm taking a class with Laure Ferlita called "Artful Journaling". The goal of the class is to develop confidence and skills in journaling. Materials are watercolor paints (limited palette) and a waterbrush. Our second assignment is to paint from a reference photo. Laure had a very nice technique for painting this slice of watermelon, and I'm very pleased with the variation of color that resulted. Not so happy, though, with the rest of the painting. The hardest part for me was working with the waterbrush. Perhaps I need to squeeze continuously while painting -- I found that my ink dried far too fast. Additionally, it wasn't as easy to clean my w/brush as I'd expected. (I've been using w/brushes for about 12 years, having purchased my first one at a Chinese store in San Francisco last century. But I've never attempted to use them the same way I'd use a regular w/c brush. I've thought of them as mere sketching tools.) I ended up using TWO brushes... one that had no regulator, so once it was held upside-down, the water slowly came out; and my frustrating brush, which I used to mix paint. Wish I could dig up my other w/brushes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

SIxty Years of Marriage

Congratulations to my parents, who just celebrated 60 years of marriage. That's an achievement, no matter how you look at it. Enduring love, an example of loyalty, strong values, and commitment. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Oh yes, I also painted a planter. The real one is a bit more squat than this, but I'm pleased with this pen-and-ink work.

What Color is Orange?

Orange is a mix of warm red and warm yellow. Red and yellow. This flower was an extremely intense orange color. It wasn't red, yet it had a depth of color that I haven't been able to replicate. Tried it with watercolor pencils and plain w/c. It's a challenge to capture just the right color!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Watercolor Paints!

Well, whaddya know. I found my travel set of watercolor paints that I left here last summer. How nice to have them again, with their freshness and vitality. To get back into the groove, it was time to paint each square. On the paper, that is, not on the paints themselves. Ha ha ha. Once that was done, and I was beginning to feel comfortable with a w/c brush in my hand, it was time to attempt a ginger lily. Well, it's obvious that my Sharpie pen had to come to my rescue. Sigh.

Two Chairs in Companionship

Not what one thinks of as a "beach photo", but these two chairs captured my attention my second day at the beach. They seemed like old companions, contentedly looking out to sea. In fact, the sea is just a matter of yards away from them. I was also struck by the sheer difference in color of the grass beside and beneath them. It was a challenge to capture, as my eyes kept telling me, "green", while my mind insisted that there was enough difference and enough contrast that the colors simply couldn't be the same.
The shadows were also intriguing in themselves. This could make a pretty nice abstract painting some day. I kept thinking about my friend Vicki's Adirondack chairs... this pair is the best I could manage!

Very faintly, on the right side of the paper, is the outline that I drew of colorful clothespins on a line. Again, potential for a very nice, colorful painting. I didn't have time to put in color (my friends and family returned too soon and interrupted me), but I've got a couple of very good shots that are inspiring. I just need to work at it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Holiday At Last

It was time to put the long weeks behind me. The heat and humidity hit me when I came out of the airport. I'd forgotten what August in Barbados was like! No worries, however: beach, sun, relaxation... Yes, I could take advantage of all of these things to create mental space from work and renew myself.

The first day (Saturday) at the beach house was great, but I hadn't yet calmed down enough to paint or even reflect. Everyone went out on Sunday morning, leaving me with my thoughts and my art tools. The view was just stunning -- turquoise-azure-deep blue-aquamarine colors in the sea; sand a beige-yellow ochre color. Lots of photos, just one sketch to capture the colors I saw. Amazing how a sky that's ultramarine blue can provide such cool and transparent colors in the water. Faber-Castell colored pencils.

I love crotons, their range of colors, vibrancy, and almost whiteness where the sun hits a glistening leaf. Created the background of oranges, reds, and a bit of green with pastel pencils (Derwent); used my colored pencils on top. Interesting technique, but I'm clearly still out of practice! Still, this is a journal where I record my impressions. I have enough memories and photos to develop a painting if I want to do so.

When the others returned and were sitting on the verandah, I took the opportunity to sketch my nephew (no resemblance at all -- the eyebrows make him look much older than he is) and my cousin's husband's hat, which fascinated me with its texture and shadows. Then I tried to sketch him under it, deliberately not trying to attempt his features. Is the hat too small? You bet! It needs to be wider than it is. Next time, I must LOOK at what I'm drawing.

Sleepless Night

Over a month since I posted; so much to write. Started building up my creative zone by digging out my keyboard (only 5 octaves, but hey...) and rediscovering the joys of the piano.That energized me so much that I couldn't sleep that night! And I started the countdown towards my vacation -- nearly two weeks in Barbados with family, friends, and REST.

I'm trying to keep this journal as a record of my activities, especially those that build energy. Of course, it would help if I continued reading Cathy's book. I'll get there. Right now, it's posting time.

Watercolor pencils.