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
The crab left an odd gap on my page, so I found something that would fill it right up. The Toco Toucan gets the job done! He’s mostly ink, with some color obviously on the head, feet, and that incredible beak. (Funny thing about toucans. Their bills are large, but not very powerful. It can be hard for them to crunch up a grape!) This one has a wash of PO62 Benzi Orange on the eye spot and beak, with a further wash of PO73 Pyrrole Orange to deepen the color, and PB28 Cobalt Blue to give a little shadow. The feet are PB28/PO62 mixed on the paper. Finally, there’s a streak of PBr7 Burnt Umber on the branch.
Background is PV19 Rose Deep and PB16 Phthalo Turquoise. Those two are an odd combination and I hated it for a minute. The turquoise is far too green to normally make a good purple, and I should have known that. Fortunately it smoothed out into a decent-looking red-violet. Drawn with the Kuretake #40 brush.
Reference photo from Wikipedia.
This Bird of Paradise was drawn, and mostly painted, on location at lunchtime. There’s loads of these in the corporate landscaping; I was able to grab a chair from the cafe patio and get into some detail. The backlit sepals looked like stained glass! Approx. 4″ x 7″, same paper/ink as the others.
The pen was running out of ink toward the end of this sketch, but held out until the finish. Painted the flower itself on location and laid in the background (and a couple of touchups) at home. I didn’t plan to go all Halloween with the purple and orange, but kind of glad I did. PV23 is so deep, it helps set off the glow from the fiery sepals. Think I got the backlighting right – that doesn’t always turn out as intended for me.
I loved watching her. She was doing some kind of movement exercise, slow and thoughtful, sort of dance-like. Not one bit of self consciousness at all. Neither was she concerned, evidently, what anyone thought of her fashion sense. I used to live freely like that, and like her experienced no particular judgement on my choice of hairstyle or clothing. Friends and colleagues just accepted me as me, and I did the same. Somewhere along the line I learned to worry about such things, and started dressing to silence the critical voice that surely lurks behind the lips of everyone who sees me. No one’s said a word from then till now, but I assume it’s there all the same.
It’s kind of amazing what a powerful prison our own minds are. Watching her dance helped let me out of mine.
The ladies were deep in conversation for a good 20 minutes, enough for a nice detailed sketch. They were both dressed in silvery grays but I decided later to brighten them up a bit.
After they left, the gent with the phone arrived and sat in their place. He was head-to-toe in black except for one mad streak of blue provided by his collar.
I’m very happy with how these turned out – starting to like pen and ink more and more.
This is the last page in my sketchbook, finished today. I painted an imaginary door on the first page and I kind of like to end a sketchbook with a reprise. This time, I painted the front porch of the house I grew up in. Not sure it’s my best work ever, especially the cast shadows from the rosebush. Still, good times, good memories of a place that only exists in my mind now. (The building still stands, but it’s been remodeled, new owners and it’s just not home anymore.)