Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another portrait progression

Where have I been, where have I been!! ??

Just been preparing for our summer getaway to Jamaica and the watercolor class I'll be teaching. Sadly, that has taken quite a bit of time way from actually painting. And painting more and more is equally important in preparing to teach. So it goes.

Well I have yet another portrait in progress. I seem to have about a dozen or so that I keep shuffling around in my studio, starting one, putting it aside and starting another. I'm quite good at getting the first few washes and colors down on paper, and then I begin to get anxious. Finishing is the hard part. But I'm determined to finish ALL of them in due time.

So without further adieu, here's the latest, shown in two steps -- I began with a pencil drawing this time, rather than using an ink sketch..........

The colors are a bit bizarre, hmmmm? And I've avoided working up the background which I really need to figure out. Negative space is equally important to the positive space, yet I've given it short shrift. I"m liking the face, however -- here's close up....

Ok, more to come very soon!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lobster Claw - no shells! A Workshop Exercise...

I've been working on some materials for the Watercolor Workshop this summer and made this painting of a beautiful Heliconia flower, aka Lobster Claw. I painted it as an example of Wet-on-Dry glazes. That is, the paper is dry, not pre-wetted, so the paint tends to hug the paper, stays pretty much right where you place it.

If you take a close look at portions of the painting, you can see the layered glazes. I worked from a lighter glaze first, which is typical for watercolor work, then let them dry. I often have to work on several paintings at one time, putting one aside to dry and working on another until I reach a similar stage.

Looking closely, you can see which layers were placed first, such as the pale yellow and very pale green. These were followed up with the deeper orange, then the red, for the flower itself. Likewise with the greens -- stronger and deeper greens were glazed over teh initial pale layers.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Here's Another Interesting Progression

I've drawn dozens of pen-and-ink line portraits this year and have slowly begun to push them further along with watercolor. I've shared just a couple here already (Shara, Tasha, Jube) and have some more today.

I find it a a real eye-opener to take the black and white line drawing into a different place. The addition of color is not always successful and it often exaggerates what may have been slightly "off" in the original drawing. Then again, it can also give a rather simple sketch some real punch. Never knowing where I'm going to end up is both exciting and terrifying -- I'm constantly in fear that I'm going to "wreck" something that was perfectly acceptable in its original state.

But risk taking has its own rewards.

I drew two different line drawings of the same subject, the first was done with a rapidograph ink pen which has a very controlled flow to the ink:

So I laid down a preliminary wash on this one -- it was looking ok:

And then I kept on glazing and laying down colors. And I'm afraid I may have totally overworked it. I don't know if I can salvage it. I may have to do the old run-it-under-the-faucet routine and see what happens. It's just too overworked at this point BUT there are portions of it that I like:

So I put it aside for a while, just to have a fresh start with something else. And I took up the second drawing I'd made of the same subject.The second was done with a bamboo pen dipped in ink and the result is much greater variety in the line, it narrows and thickens and even disappears in places:

I tried to take a much lighter hand to this one, having learned something from the first version. This one is much more pleasing, tho I still have a few areas to work on:

Much more fresh, no? So totally screwing up a painting was worth it, because it freed me up to try something different with the next.