Monday, November 21, 2011

I have found I really enjoy working in a series.  When I find an image I love, I want to play with it in all different media and see where it goes.  With my Patara Rose series (see previous post "Some New Art"), I worked in all different sizes in pencil, watercolor and colored pencil sketches. With this series, I did all three in 9"x12" format. 
This little series comes from a small flower my boyfriend picked and put in my hair while we were in Alicante, Spain, a year and a half ago.  When we got back to our hotel in the evening, I took the flower out of my hair and saw it had started to wilt in the most fascinating way. It wasn't drooping like a sad little thing, it was closing in on itself. I took several pictures right away, because I knew I'd want to draw it later :)

The first image I did was a detailed pencil drawing. Drawing with pencil (not charcoal, although I like that too) is really my favorite medium. I love how you can get such delicate detail with a pencil.  It caters to my artistic OCD ;-)  Again with this pencil drawing, I didn't blend. I just built up the image using light pencil strokes, almost like sketching. You build up the layers slowly with sketchy hatch marks. The pencil does the blending for you. I don't usually like blending with fingers or tortillions very much because it makes the image look too flat. You can get so many ranges of textures without blending. Doing it my way may be more time consuming, but it's really worth it.  For this picture, I used mostly my H pencil with an HB for the very dark areas.  
After I did this pencil version, I decided to do the next one in colored pencil, since I had never really worked in colored pencil before.  I have a gorgeous set of 96 Prismacolors in a nice box and when the new colors came out, I bought those little sets too. I figured it's time to use them!

( I just love those adorable little tins of pencils! God I am such an art supply nerd...) Anyway, this is my first ever colored pencil art. I used a colorless blender a little (only a little) with this one, because I wasn't used to colored pencils yet and I think blending them looks better than blending with graphite pencils. Maybe once I get a better feel for them I won't need to blend so much. I used a variety of blues and purples on the petals. I wasn't worried about being so exact with the colors, I only wanted to have fun with it. For the green parts and the stem was another variety of greens, browns, yellows and blues. I kind of go about my color art like I do cooking. I don't follow the recipe exactly and I don't care what the exact colors are. I get the general idea and just go from there with what I feel like. 
After doing these two versions, I wanted to do one in acrylic paint and loosen up a bit. The first two were very precise and I wanted to do one that was more of a "free spirit" :) I use Liquitex acrylic paints. I used to paint with oils when I first started. (I really love the smell of oil paint. Is that weird?? Oh well, who cares.)  I was living at home still and painting in my bedroom, since college students don't usually have their own studios ;-)  I didn't like the solvents involved though, especially in the same room I have to sleep in, so I decided to switch to acrylic.  Acrylic paint doesn't smell as good as oil paint though...Anyway, I don't remember the exact color combinations I used but the background is Turquoise Deep. It's a very transparent color so you need several coats of it to get it dark, or add a little white to make it more opaque. The rest is a variety of purples, blues, greens, browns and yellows. I can't say I'm honestly in love with my acrylic version and I'd like to re-do it (someday...) but here it is anyway!
I love the colors I chose, especially the background turquoise. The petals are still a little too exact and the stem and green  leaves are too sloppy in my opinion. Loosening up is still hard for me, I'm not sure exactly how to let go of my art OCD. Whenever I try to just let go, it still looks too exact. I have to work on that...;-)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I recently came across some tiny watercolors I did when I was first teaching myself the medium. 5 1/2 years ago, when my boyfriend and I traveled to Europe (first time for me!) I was so excited and I brought along a bunch of art supplies to sketch and paint the sights. We traveled through London, Paris, Nice in southern France, Rome, and Barcelona. I had bought a large sheet of 300lb weight watercolor paper, nice and thick and cut it into tiny rectangles, about 2x3", some even smaller, to do "mini's". I brought a small, portable watercolor sketch box, (complete with the cutest mini brush where the handle comes apart and is used to cover the bristles when not in use. Coolest idea ever! I even have a regular size watercolor brush like that too, one of my favorites!! Anyway, enough with my art supply loving nerdy-ness...)
I had also brought some pastel pencils, some black micron pens for sketching, pencils, etc...And didn't end up doing a single sketch the entire trip. I also lost the set of pastel pencils somewhere along the way, stupidly enough. We were just so busy trying to see as much as possible, there was never really time for me to sit and sketch. I held on to those mini pieces of watercolor paper though. A few years later, taking a painting class in undergrad, I decided I wanted to learn watercolor. The school didn't have a specific class for watercolors, just "Painting I, Painiting II," etc. So the first watercolors I ever did were 4 little 2"x3" paintings of palm trees by the sea. I forgot all about them until a few days ago, dug them up and put them on display near my computer. 
I then decided to do a few more little mini's just for fun. I found some old flower pics of mine (remember how much I love do draw flowers) and just have a go at it with no prep sketches, just sketch with the paint right on the paper. I even had a few scraps of paper that are ridiculously small, 3/4"x2", and I thought of course, "how cute!!" 
I got the idea for these mini watercolors from my old boss at the art supply store where I used to work (where I acquired the above photographed awesome art supplies). He was a watercolorist and had done little tiny watercolor paintings in art school and sold them. They were really popular and made a bit of money doing them. Since he was also working as a framer, he took scraps of old frame and framed the tiny works he did. He even showed us one he did that he had a little light bulb in it (like one of those Christmas tree lights). What a cool idea! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some New Art

I finished another watercolor painting of a rose. Again, I tried to be loose with the paint but it seems a little overworked to me. Oh well, just keep painting :) 

This particular rose is from a hotel where we stayed in Patara, Turkey, last spring.  It's a small place with a garden of beautiful flowers all over.  Since I love to draw flowers, I'm always taking pictures of them to use for reference later. I took so many pictures of the flowers there, but this rose is by far my favorite, and I've drawn it several times. I'll probably draw it some more :)

This is the first piece I did of the Patara Rose. It's a 4x4" watercolor on board. I was going for a woodcut effect with this one, since my other love is printmaking. (Well, what art medium don't I love, really? ;-)  I actually have 4 of these little boards with flowers painted on them with the same kind of woodcut effect. I can post them another time. 

The second drawing I did of the rose is this above, H pencil drawing on 9x12 bristol board.  I wanted it as light and delicate as it looks in life.  I didn't use any blending techniques for this, just layered pencil strokes.  Several layers of darker strokes for the shadowed areas, and feather light strokes for the light and highlighted areas. 
This is from my sketchbook. It's not a finished piece.  I was just playing around, drawing it really fast then playing around with colored pencils. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my roses :)