Boehlkea fredcochui

121516-blue-tetra-finish112116-blue-tetra-5-IPOK, it’s a little late for Morevember, but it’s in the same style. Another aquarium fish, this time the less-well-known Blue Tetra. They are easy to find in fish stores but nowhere nearly as well known as their more colorful cousins. The subtle play of color was a fun challenge. The fish look silver at a glance, and show their brilliant flashing blue when the light hits them just right. Reflecting and pearlescent color has always fascinated me, so these fish are a natural favorite. A little white gouache over the dorsal area gave it the exact hint of translucency I was looking for. Like the Cardinal Tetra, this one has a careful pencil sketch below the ink and paint.

Putting all the values in with stippling was a tour de force, but an enjoyable one. I love watching a form emerge from thousands of tiny little dots. It’s amazing what we can do with ones and zeros.

111716-blue-tetra-3-IP-detail

 

I’m looking forward to more of these fish!

It’s Morevember! Starting with a Cardinal Tetra

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You might recognize this if you ever had a fish tank – well, almost. It’s a Cardinal Tetra, close relative of the Neon Tetra, which is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. I’ve always been a little obsessed with Cardinals and have kept plenty of them over the years. They’re hardy with a bit of care, and so incredibly beautiful. Saw a massive school of them at a public aquarium – in aggregate, they’re just breathtaking.     Read more

Inktober 2016: Oct 30 – The Monument

103016-inktober-slczouk-statueThis is painted with permission, and an invitation, from @slczouk  – link goes to the lovely photo she posted on Twitter. (Thanks, Sara!) All those swirls in the angel’s dress were irresistible! Like all the Inktober pieces, I went in cold with the ink, no preliminary pencil lines. There have been a few mishaps regarding proportion this month, so I watched carefully to make sure everything fit together, and that the whole statue fit on the page. The dress swirls are reasonably true to the ref – I went a little more freestyle in the wings, just to get it done in one evening.

Ink courtesy of the Kuretake #40 ink brush. (The cartridge ran out part way through, which was a very happy accident. The bristles were sufficiently ink-less for some nice drybrush texture on the monument base.) The statue is toned with Daniel Smith’s Bloodstone paint. I usually don’t like it, but here it offered just the right tint of color to give the statue a little character. The base is a combo of Bloodstone and Sodalite; trees are Green Apatite with touches of PO73, PO62, and PY154 for the fall leaves. Sodalite again in the sky. About 8.5″ x 4.5″ on Strathmore Windpower 140lb CP.

Inktober 2016: Oct 26-29 – Raccoon

102916-inktober-raccoon-finalLook at this cutie! Drawn especially for someone who loves raccoons. Hard to believe I spent four days on this, but that’s what it took. I have spent so MANY years trying to get paint and water to save me drawing every little hair of fur-bearing critters. It’s been an enjoyable pursuit!

This time, I drew every little hair. And, I enjoyed every moment of it! Well, except for one horrifying hour.

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Inktober 2016 – Oct 24: The Finished Bat

102416-inktober-fruit-bat-completeThis may be my favorite artwork of Inktober so far, if not the entire year! Now I understand why Flying Foxes are so called – fruit bats all seem to have very canine faces. Some do indeed look very fox-like; this one slightly less so. They are complex and interesting creatures I’d like to know a lot more about.      Read more

Inktober 2016: Oct 23 – Lesser Short-Nosed Fruit Bat Portrait

102316-inktober-fruit-bat-portraitThis is a Lesser Short-Nosed Fruit Bat. It’s a long name for a very appealing critter! I like bats in general, and didn’t know this one had such a lovely face. Their mammalian nature is very apparent in the doglike snout and (apparently) soft fur.

So far he’s been a joy to draw. Wings and a body to come!

Inktober 2016: Oct 22 – Azure Kingfisher Repair Job

101816-inktober-azure-kingfisher-fixedRemember the eye that was bugging me a few days ago? Well, I couldn’t stand it anymore!

After so many years of trying to be a watercolor purist, I finally realized that there’s no reason not to adapt a few things. There’s nothing wrong with opaque gouache, nor is there any reason why a given work has to be declared “done” at a given point and never ever touched again. This is a very freeing feeling, and I decided to exercise my new-found freedom on That Eye.

It took a little care, but ultimately wasn’t that hard to do. The Platinum Carbon ink did most of the work, as I knew it would. So, making the eye bigger and more oval was really not the problem. Recovering the lost catch light and the light rim that defines the lids, THAT was the problem. A few minutes with gouache and the problem was solved! It matched the watercolor perfectly and other than a slight difference in reflectance, looked as if it had been there all along.

So, Inktober Oct 22: One eye, a few blue highlights, and a big sigh of relief.

 

Inktober 2016: Oct 19 – Common Yellowthroat

101916-inktober-common-yellowthroatThis rather silly-looking songbird came with an extra challenge. I met a friend for an impromptu lunchtime drawing session. We both wanted to paint the same reference, so I placed it upside down for me (right-side-up for her). Call me a show-off, but it solved the problem and we had a lovely time drawing and chatting. Thing is, I was working an upside-down bird upside down, Betty Edwards style.      Read more

Inktober 2016: Oct 18 – Azure Kingfisher

101816-inktober-azure-kingfisherHere’s a bird I’d never heard of before: an Azure Kingfisher. They have the best birds in Australia! Clearly my life is not going to be complete until I’ve been there. If all I did was spend a day out seeing wildlife it would be a plane ride well spent.

Kingfishers have giant beaks as a rule, so this is actually fairly proportionate to the source photo. The color was just crying out for a strong dose of PB29 Ultramarine (in gouache) and some Burnt Sienna did a nice job on the bird’s warm breast. What I am not happy with is the eye – it’s not a bad eye on its own and would be fine on a songbird. This is an Azure Kingfisher though, and they have enormous beady eyes. A disappointing lesson in minding proportions! Letting it go for today, though with gritted teeth.

About 3″ x 4″ on the Strathmore paper, with the Kuretake #40 ink brush.

Inktober 2016: Oct 16 – Garibaldi

101616-inktober-garibaldi-for-carol-final Garibaldi are the largest members of the Damselfish family, which surprised me. I’m only familiar with the smaller damselfish commonly found in people’s aquariums. Apparently Garibaldi are easy to find if you’re diving or exploring the sea with a glass-bottom boat. It’s hard to imagine something so colorful inhabiting our local waters!

101616-inktober-garibaldi-ink-onlyThis time I thought to scan the fish before painting it. It’s the largest drawing of Inktober 2016 so far and possibly the largest thing I have drawn all year. Someone offered me knitted socks in exchange for a Garibaldi painting – I figured if she was going to work that hard, I had better do the same! This fish takes up the entire 9″ x 12″ page from the Windpower pad. I put down the base drawing with the Kuretake #40 ink brush using several reference images. Now, on to the paint!   Read more