Wednesday, July 30, 2014

De La Cocina

Here's another page from my Sketchbookery journal.  I hope you all won't get tired of this type of art because, by desire and design, it's all I'm doing in the studio nowadays.  I can't wait to be able to get out and find some organic objects to draw but in the meantime, I am observing and doodling various gadgets and gizmos gathered from my home.

It is hard to render metallic finishes with watercolors.  I use a lot of Neutral Tint (from M. Graham) to simulate silver surfaces.  Watered down Payne's Gray and Ivory Black are useful as well.  For golden or brassy surfaces (such as the vintage keys I painted earlier), I often use Daniel Smith's Buff Titanium mixed with a bit of Quinacridone Gold.  As the color goes from brighter yellow values to duller, timeworn hues, I add in Neutral Tint to darken my paint mixture.  In fact, I use Neutral Tint (instead of black) all the time to create darker values of my paints.  Next Wednesday, I'll post a color chart of pure colors versus those colors with Neutral Tint added so you can see how the colors change and how it can expand your palette.  I'll also try to remember to write up a post about the particular supplies I use because I know many people, myself included, are often curious about what other artists use in their work.

Last post, Carol commented and asked about the brands behind two colors in my palette.  The pale orange is from Koi (by Sakura).  It is considered a student grade paint but I find it useful for rendering fleshtones.  As student grade paints go, the Koi set (in tubes not pans) is probably my favorite.  The lovely phthalo turquoise is from Daniel Smith.

PS...Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate so whenever you purchase something at Amazon via a link you click on here at Lost Coast Post, Amazon sends a few cents my way.  I only post links for products I personally use and love. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Learning to Let Go

I have this compulsive tendency to compartmentalize my journals:  I like to keep techniques, themes, and sometimes even color palettes consistent throughout a single journal.  This is why I have more than a dozen journals in progress.  So when I started this sketching journal, my first impulse was to fill it only with sketches - no playing around, no experimenting, no sampling - this was going to be my "good" journal.  I planned on putting all that other stuff in a less important, less precious book.

Luckily, being confined to the couch made it impractical to have stacks of journals next to me so I had to set aside my discomfort and just make use of the journal I had in front of me.  Does it bother me to have these artistic digressions alongside my "pretty," completed pages?  Well, admittedly, it is hard to loosen my iron grip on the content and "look" of my journals.  However, I am continually striving to relax, to let go of that drive towards perfection.   In all aspects of my life, I absolutely need to reduce the amount of pressure I put on myself; my health circumstances alone demand it.  I think my journals are a great place to begin working towards that goal.

This kind of sketching also lends itself to less-than-perfect pages.  I have thrown out the notion of pencil "predrawing" and draw only in pen.  If I bobble a line, I either ignore my "mistake" and proceed blindly onward or I add the "correct" line right alongside the oopsy one.   And let me just say, that credit for this change in approach goes directly to Mary Ann Moss, headmistress of Sketchbookery and many other fabulous classes.  I've never been very good at fearlessness in art but Miss Moss has taught myself and many others to just begin, to stumble along joyfully, and to trust that all will be well in the end.  I am hoping this mindset will spill over into other areas of my life as I doodle my world in my journal. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sketchbookery: Keys & Tubes

I'm on the "no walking" restriction for at least another week (and perhaps more if the incision continues to balk at staying closed) so I am still tucked in at home, drawing on the couch, art supplies covering every available surface within arm's length.  I've been unsuccessful at convincing my son to gather stuff from outside for me to draw so as of now, my Sketchbookery sketchbook is filling up with renderings of inorganic objects.  Luckily, my studio has yielded a treasure trove of odds & ends for drawing practice.

I've realized that I particularly like to draw collections of similar objects.  This page of vintage and modern keys took three days to complete and more than a few curse words slipped from my mouth as I worked on rendering the varying shades of metal, from shiny silver to tarnished brass.  All the work was worth it in the end as this is probably one of my favorite drawings ever.  I did give myself a bit of a scare at the end though because when the page was finished, I impulsively decided to splatter the page with a paintbrush and a drippy watercolor crayon.  Literally, the second the paint began flying towards all my hard work, I regretted my impulse.  However, by some miracle, nothing got obscured by a rogue blob of color and my neighbors were spared the cries of rage and sorrow that surely would've resulted.

This second page is my version of a color wheel.  Ever since art school and its seemingly endless string of "Create-A-Color-Wheel" commandments, I involuntarily groan aloud when a color wheel assignment crosses my path.  Color wheels (and knowledge of color relationships) are valuable tools and in fact, I reference one almost every time I work but I am deeply tired of making them in the classic format.  This page is my way of adding some challenge and variety to the standard color wheel project.  And again, I like drawing different versions of the same object.  Some of those paint tubes ended up waaay out of proportion but Miss Mary Ann Moss has done a great job of teaching me to keep drawing no matter what the evil critic voices are screaming in my ear. 

PS...Under that scrap of ledger paper on the "keys" page is a HUGE lettering error.  I tried some kind of crazy, triple-shadowed, boxed-in Roman capitals and it wasn't even remotely readable.  The ledger paper cover-up solution worked better for the page overall anyway.  So, don't give up if something goes sideways!  Just adjust your direction accordingly and keep on sailing!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Couch Art Days

As of today - Sunday, July 20 - I am just a couple days shy of three weeks since I had my foot surgery.  It has been a painful, bumpy road to say the least.  Before the surgery, I surrounded my couch/bed with good books and good movies as well as a small art kit.  I had all sorts of plans to spend my recovery days blissfully entertaining myself whilst everything healed.  Unfortunately, I severely underestimated post-surgery pain and the all-consuming difficulties associated with being completely unable to bear weight on one leg.  Forget walking: for the most part, I couldn't even move my foot out of a horizontal position, much less put it down on the floor.  I'm just now starting to let my foot hang down and even that is frowned upon by the doctors.

Anyway, my world is confined to the upper floor of my apartment (and yes...the stairs have presented quite the challenge when I have to come & go for appointments!)  More specifically, I am restricted to my couch/bed, foot propped up on pillows while I battle the worst case of cabin fever ever.  Luckily, I had the foresight before surgery to sign up for Sketchbookery, a fabulous new class from Mary Ann Moss.  I wasn't sure I'd even be interested in following along with all the lessons but it turns out that it's about the only thing that actually distracts me from the misery and worry.

I stack my supplies next to me, leaving room for the kitties to snooze, and balance my sketchbook in my lap.  Between the awkward drawing position, pain meds, and Parkinson's, my lines are extra wobbly but I find that just helps me loosen up (literally and mentally.)  Adding watercolor is a bit tricky but I'm managing.  It takes me all day (or even two) to complete a page but I've got all the time in the world right now.  I'm trying concentrate on just keeping the pen moving while sending positive vibes to my wounded foot that is refusing to heal on schedule.  Narrowing my focus to a simple, everyday object keeps my mind from wandering towards more gloomy, unproductive territory.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quickie Update from the One-Footed Wonder

Just a quick pop-in to let everyone know I'm still here after my foot surgery on July 1st.  Things are not progressing smoothly and I've been dealing with one complication after another.  My doctors tell me though that all the problems I've experienced are pretty much par for the course given the site & size of the incision and complexity of the surgery.  So I'm on the couch, watching Netflix, reading, napping, and drawing as inspired by Sketchbookery, a new class from the wonderful Mary Ann Moss.  I'll post again in the next couple of days once I manage to get to the camera and snap some well-lit shots of my work. 
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