Watercolor pencils and crayons - 2

5/24/2009 05:11:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 2 Comments »
Well, I did another wee painting of the same subject, only this time I used a heavier hand with the pencils and crayons. The two paintings are very different - interestingly they seem to be paintings at different times of the day. I think I like the lighter version better until I look at the darker one again. I guess it doesn't have to be one or the other - it's ok to be ok with both of them! I'd love to hear your thoughts about them. I clearly have a lot to learn about this medium.

Watercolor pencils and crayons

5/17/2009 07:39:00 PM Posted In Edit This 7 Comments »
Over the years I've read quite a bit about how much artists like watercolor pencils and crayons. The first time I read anything about them, I ran right out and bought some because they sounded not only fun, but also a tad easier to control than watercolor paints. But, I just couldn't get the hang of using them. When I used them the colors always seemed too garish - not at all like I expected them to look, and not really very much like the lovely pictures I saw in magazines. So, today I decided to give them another go. This time, I used a really light hand, and just did a simple drawing in my journal to see what happened. My light hand was too light! As you can see, it's pretty timid and uninteresting. Even so, to me it is a bit of an improvement over what I've done in the past because at least the colors don't knock you down with their volume! I'm going to have another go at it painting the same thing again using a bit more color. I used both watercolor pencils (a set of 12 Derwent Watercolor pencils) and crayons (Caran D'Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble and Karat Aquarell by Staedtler). I used a couple of different methods - first putting the color on the paper dry and wetting it with a brush, and wetting the brush first and applying color to it directly from the pencil or crayon. I can see how each method has its uses and benefits. So, here it is:

Color Weaving Template

5/15/2009 08:40:00 AM Posted In , Edit This 2 Comments »
I've been asked to post the template I made for the Mica Magic color weavings. Since each weaving had 10 colors in it, my template had 10 sections and I decided to make each one 1/2 inch square. I used watercolor paper because of its sturdiness. First I drew a square the right size, then added about 1/2 inch to each side making space to put each color. After I got it drawn, I made lines 1/2 inch apart both horizontally and vertically. Then I cut the large center square out and cut it out around the outside perimeter, leaving a frame with guide marks to use when setting up the grid for the actual paintings. That way I didn't have to measure it out each time - I could just line up a ruler with the marks on opposite sides and draw the lines. To use it, I placed it on the watercolor paper that I would be painting on and traced around the inside square and around the perimeter of the frame (forget about that wide margin on the right side in the picture - just pretend it's only 1/2 inch wide!) Then, without moving the template, I used a ruler to draw the lines across and down the center square. After removing the template, the lines will have to be extended into the "frame space" so that there are delineations for each "pure" color" There is a notch in the upper left corner because that square won't have any paint in it. You do that so that there is one example of each color that isn't mixed with any other color. When you paint, the color in the first vertical line and the first horizontal line is the same. Similarly, the color in the second vertical line is the same as the color in the second horizontal line. As you continue in that way, the weaving will end up with each color crossing itself once, and crossing all the other colors once.
Now, is that as clear as mud? lol .... Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to let me know!

What's the Deal?

5/14/2009 04:50:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 5 Comments »
So, there's often talk among artists about our insecurities. Sometimes it's referred to as our muse abandoning us, or our inner critic is coming through loud and clear rendering us paralyzed. It can be a crisis of confidence that we'll never be able to create any art again. Anything we ever did in the past was a fluke, never to be repeated. There's the voice that says, "what makes you think you're an artist, anyway?", - that's always good for some time in the wilderness.

There's another stumbling block that doesn't just relate to art. It can affect almost any area of life. We know it's important to keep our word, and we really try to do that all the time. Except that we don't. All too often we don't keep the commitments we make to ourselves. I can't tell you how many times I've fallen off the exercise wagon (as in, right now I'm laying on the ground with the wagon continuing to move on down the highway without me). There's the intention to do our art every day, and sometimes we keep it, and sometimes we don't. The thing is, usually these intentions are very important to us - they're not something trivial. So for me, the mystery remains unsolved as to why I find myself in that place of not doing those things that I believe are important to me and feeling really crummy about it! This is today's journal page that I did while pondering that very question.

Mica Magic Landscape

5/11/2009 01:18:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 4 Comments »
Today I finished painting a landscape (8.5 x 6.5) using the Mica Magic paints. I did a similar painting not very long ago on an ATC using traditional watercolor, and I have to say the mica added an interesting dimension to it. I'm still not very good at adjusting colors on the computer, so they are off by quite a bit in the photo. For example, the reflections in the water actually have green and gold in them, and the trees are a variety of rich greens. The more I use this paint, the more I learn about it and the more I like it. I haven't used watercolors in quite awhile, other than the ATC, but I have to say, I've really been enjoying painting again! I think I just might start another painting soon!

Mica Magic Color Weavings

5/09/2009 02:56:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 4 Comments »
I've talked about the new Mica Magic watercolor paints by USArt Quest before and posted pictures of 2 of the paintings I've done using them, so I wanted to show you some of the color weavings I've done with them. In the past all of my watercolor paintings have been done using transparent paint, so the opaqueness of these paints was a new realm for me. Before I started on the paintings themselves, I decided to do some color weavings. I used the paint very thick on 3 of the ones posted here, and the 4th is just the opposite - very dilute. Unfortunately the scanner can't pick up the sparkly, reflective quality of the paint, but they really are quite special. Oh, and when I cropped these for posting, I accidentally cut off the name of the 3rd one - it's called Stargazer. The Pastelle weaving is really too light to be able to see what it's like, but it's very soft and lovely, and behaves very much like transparent watercolor.

Favorite Toys

5/06/2009 09:52:00 AM Posted In Edit This 5 Comments »
Recently I was asked what my favorite studio toy is. After thinking it over, I decided that my very favorite is pencils. While I love lots of other things - pens, paints, ephemera, beads, fibers, ( need I go on?), what I love the most is pencils. I love the flexibility of them - they can make hundreds of different kinds of marks and textures, contrast and highlights can be spectacular, and the level of detail possible is amazing. They can produce richness and delicacy and they make rendering easier with the handy, dandy eraser. Plus, they are the most portable of all the art supplies and they can write on lots of different surfaces - that means you don't even have to take a sketch pad with you! You can use napkins, place mats, even scraps of paper you find laying around on the street if you're desperate enough (which I have been known to do). They won't drip or leak in your pocket or purse, and with just a small container, you can carry several of them at once, giving a wider range of effects than just one allows. I love colored pencils too, but that's a whole different story! I recently found out about a website that's all about using pencils for drawing, and it's wonderful! I'm sure I'll be checking on it often. You can find it here: http://www.sibleyfineart.com/index.htm

Here are a couple of drawings I've done - Chief Joseph was a gift to my mother after she and my step dad moved to New Mexico and became very interested in native American history and artifacts. The other is a quick drawing of a pair of shoes that both my sons wore when they were children. I especially love that one because it evokes so many sweet memories.

Watercolor Works in progress

5/04/2009 09:04:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 7 Comments »
Well, now that the studio is in better shape, I've started working on 2 paintings for Susan Pickering Rothamel of USArtQuest, Inc. I'm using her wonderful new Mica Color watercolor paints, and I'm telling you, they are really, really nice. They're similar to the LuminArte Twinkling Watercolors, but the colors are much more saturated. That means you don't have to use nearly as much paint to get great coverage. The paint is opaque, which makes it very forgiving to use. Also, they are very creamy so they go on smoothly and easily. Below are the beginnings of the 2 paintings. The subject of the first one is purely fantasy, so I'm showing you 2 versions - the very beginning of the painting, and where it is now, which I'm hoping is near completion. The second one is more realistic and conventional, and it also needs a bit more attention. I'm not entirely sure where to go next with it, but I know it's not finished. As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome!