Tiny Flower

This diminutive flower was growing on what looked to be some sort of spider plant. I know them better as houseplants, not sure if it’s the same kind, but they grow big and abundant on the northerly sides of the buildings. In addition to the interestingly-striped leaves, most of them had sprays of these tiny flowers and buds. This is probably double life size. Doesn’t look like I captured the light coming through the petals very well – live and learn! This bloom was backlit and shining over some shadowy leaves behind it. I’ll have to try for greater contrast next time and see if I can get that glow in the petals.

The flowers were perhaps a bit more lavender than this. PV23 would have been way too violet, and PB60 was close enough, so I spared myself the hassle of mixing. Leaves and background are Green Apatite and Jadeite, and there’s a touch of PY150 in the flower’s center.

Update 6.16.17 – it’s a flax lily. I don’t recall seeing blue berries on them in the past, those are coming next however. There’s an outstanding closeup of the flower at AphotoFlora.com.

In other news, I picked up a whopper of a sunburn while painting this. I am usually thoughtful about sun exposure and take care to employ hats, sleeves, and shade to my skin’s advantage. On that day, a delicious cool breeze and pretty tiny flowers had me transfixed. Plus, I very untypically wore an off-shoulder top. Add an hour-long lunch break and OUCH. The only thing that kept both shoulders from getting scorched was the shadow cast by my own head! Live and learn indeed.

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 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 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

Inktober: Oct 9 – Tibia Fusus

100916-inktober-tibia-fususHere’s a Tibia fusus shell. These are one of my favorite shells! I placed one on the drafting table and drew it.

The background color is one of my favorite blues ever, which I rarely use because the paint fades so badly. No clue what pigment it is, was some very old Grumbacher Academie tube that has long since been thrown away. Just one well in my palette remains, trotted out for special occasions that don’t require lightfastness. Other paints used are Raw Sienna/Burnt Sienna (PBr7), Ultramarine PB29 in the shadows on the shell, and PB60 for the ground shadow.

Switched tools and drew this with the Kuretake #40 brush pen, same Carbon ink as before. 8″ x 2.25″ approximately.

Inktober: Oct 6 – Kestrel Portrait

100616-inktober-kestrel-head-portraitLove these birds! Saw one as a teenager and thought it was pretty cool to have a genuine Bird of Prey living right in my boring neighborhood.

Learned a couple things with this drawing. One, watch proportions! The head shape and eye size is a little different than the reference. It’s fine for practice, but not entirely *right*. Second, never use paint to do what you should have done with ink. I tried to get lazy and beef up one of the black neck stripes with Sodalite, and it just looked weird. Better to have just scratched away at it a little longer.

Third, perhaps, plan ahead. I was going to draw the entire bird and could see after a while that maybe 60% of him would fit on the page by the time I got done. Oops. Head portrait it is! This was about all I had time to draw anyway. Might do a full-bird drawing and stretch it over two days.

Reference is this Wikipedia photo.

Inktober: Oct. 3 – Keys

100316-inktober-keysThink this sketch got a little dark! I put some keys on the drafting table and drew them, so it’s like a mini-still-life. They were reflecting a lot more light on the upper parts, which I darkened trying to get contrast between one and the next. Not the best choice, but oh well. That’s what this is about, practicing and improving.

PV23 and PB29 for the background, Raw Sienna PBr7 on the keys, with a judicious dash of PV23 in the shadows. PR101 on the key ring. About 3″ x 3.5″ with the same ink, paper, pen as the wren.

Friday People

041516-casual-friday-people There’s a few people around here taking Casual Friday seriously! The two dudes on the concrete bench were not kids (one of them turned out like one) but they were barefoot and in shorts. Nice day for that sort of thing for sure. The guy slouching on the bench had the right idea.

Elsewhere in the courtyard I found a pensive gent hanging out on the water feature. He also looks like a kid and really wasn’t – although he was sitting in the posture shown. Pitfalls of being new to drawing people: some days they just don’t turn out the way I intended.

041516-pensive-gent

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A Repair Job – American Avocet

082314 AAvocet MaskingI decided to paint a series of shorebirds on some of those lovely Garza Papel sample sheets. For extra fun/practice I am doing them without sketching first, just put up a ref and dive in. The Great Blue (heron) turned out nice, so I decided to do an American Avocet next. It was an adventure! I thought others might benefit from seeing a rescue operation in progress.

The short version: Better to plan ahead than try to fix things!

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A Word of Warning

So, been enjoying a wonderful afternoon of painting. Took on a WetCanvas.com Watercolor Monthly Challenge, so I was painting that right in front of the computer while simultaneously working on something on the drafting table, from last month’s challenge in the WetCanvas.com Southwest forum. Great fun, and always nice to have another painting to pick up while the first one is drying.
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