Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Journal Entires after our Little Snow Storm

After the last snow storm that hit Sunday night, we lost power, internet and cell phone service.  With nothing better to do, I worked a few exercises and pages in my journal along with notes with what was happening.  The Epsilon journal is almost full with only a few pages remaining.

This first was a memory exercise where I sat and studied the previous journal page quick sketching of flamingos flipping the page and painting what I could recall of one of the birds.  It's going straight in on page with brush and paint and then hitting a few areas with pen and ink.

This next page was done looking outside my window where we have a bird feeding station set up.  All the feeders were covered with snow with birds trying to work their way to the seed they knew was there.  


Next I worked a crocus representing the first Spring flower that was blooming and now buried under snow.

This last page is from another memory exercise quickly sketching with pencil and then I spent some time later adding the color and some other elements to complete the page.

The part I concentrated on and remembered was the main bridge and water.  It's from a scene viewed in one of the NCIS episodes I watched after getting the generator running.  The portion behind the tunnel and above the bridge I added later after I went back to review the scene showing this bridge.  It was full of people but I decided to exclude them.

I can't help but smile as I view how I managed to lean the suggested buildings in the background to the left.  

The one plus is the texture I achieved in the bridge wall.  It actually worked this time spraying water.  I watched as the initial wash was drying trying to time it just right.  Some areas had already dried but I did manage to achieve what I was hoping for in other areas.  

I was also surprised by what I DID remember of the bridge..........especially these days when I can walk from one room to the next and forget the reason I was doing so.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quick Sketching Exercise

I'm used to sitting in the privacy of my home and taking my sweet time when sketching or painting.  It's my goal to gain enough courage to go out and sketch on public.  With that I want to feel I can capture a scene.......maybe capture moving objects like wildlife or people and to do that one needs to move a little more quickly to get on paper.  Or at least I would think so.  For me I'd rather not be at any one location for any real length of time for fear of people coming up on me to see what I'm doing.  Yes I'm a coward nervous around folks and especially watching me sketch or paint.  I'm not even comfortable with my family watching if that tells you anything :-))

Anyways.......I've tried some quick sketching exercises off and on but with no real goal in mind except to see what I could do without laboring over a subject.  To basically loosen up a bit.  Now with a goal in mind, I want to do some serious practice.

I found I had a book on Fast Sketching Techniques that has a chapter suggesting flamingos as a great exercise because of the simple shapes involved.  So here is a page I did of the same bird in three different poses.  Taken from photos of our trip in 2009 to Busch Gardens Safari in Florida.

Using a basically non-erasable pencil (to remove temptation) - Derwent Graphitone 8B - I quickly sketched each bird and suggestion of rocks.  Only took a few minutes for each.

Wanting to maintain that quick spontaneous feel, I used a 1/2" flat and just simply laid down a little color using W&N watercolors.

To re-emphasize the shapes, I went over with pen and ink.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon journal
Platinum Carbon pen with Black Ink
W&N Fr Ultra plus Raw Sienna and Opera with Raw Sienna mixed in it for the salmon/pink color.
1/2" flat

Friday, March 22, 2013

Handbag and Key Remote

Last night I chose to sketch and paint my favorite handbag.  I've carried this bag now for about seven years.  It's small so I'm not tempted to overload and oh so durable being made of denim.  It would have to be for me to still be carrying it.

I forgot to scan before painting.  I try to remember to do that as I like having both the before and after scans of my work (sometimes taking a scan mid way).

Worked in the Stillman & Birn Beta journal
#8 Round
W&N:  Indigo, Indian Yellow, Cad Red, Bt Sienna, Neutral Tint
Platinum Carbon pen and Black ink

Worked the handbag wet in wet charging deeper color, spraying with fine water mister for some texture, dabbing with tissue, and some scrubbing or lifting after the paint dried.  I lost the effect from where I used the spray bottle and realized I need to wait a little while for the paint to settle to give me the effect I want.

As you can tell by the notes on my page, I don't look forward to adding shadows.  For some reason I have a real mental block where shadows are concerned.  If I were to try to do the shadow over again, I would try to fade out the time :-)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dogwood Flowers

This is the bottom of another page I had started but never finished in my S&B Beta journal. 

Using W&N watercolors I painted this dogwood using simple brush strokes trying to keep things simple.

I love dogwoods!!!  To me a delicate flower and beautiful in its simple form.  Come Spring I love looking across the surrounding woods seeing splashes of white as the dogwoods come to life.  They grow wild here on the mountain top tucked in amongst the towering tulip, oaks, hickory trees and unknown other species of deciduous trees.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mixed Cameos - Watercolor

This page I had started weeks ago with the cabin but for some reason never finished it.  Going back through my Beta journal, I came across the unfinished cameo and page and decided to do something about that.

The boat was done using the figure 8 method I learned some time ago in one of my books.

Stillman & Birn Beta journal

Pilot Prera w/Lexington Gray ink

*W&N Watercolors:  Winsor Bl, Fr Ultra, Raw Sienna, Bt Sienna, Neutral Tint (forgot to incl on page), Light Red, Indian Yellow

*I'm sure the cabin was started with Daniel Smith watercolors but finished off using W&N.

#6 Round, Rigger, and 3/8" Angular

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Brush Play - Mini Landscape Vignettes

I will always enjoy painting illustrations and one of my favorites are mini landscapes.

Tonight I chose to play with primarily my rigger brush and 3/8" angular, as well as a #6 round. 

Each are only about an inch to inch and a half tall and up to two inches wide.

Painted in my 5 1/2 x 8 1/2" Stillman & Birn Beta journal using W&N watercolors:  Winsor Bl, Cobalt Bl, Raw and Bt Sienna, Neutral Tint, Light Red, Fr Ultra Blue and Indian Yellow.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Is it Sprint Yet?

Stillman & Birn Alpha journal

W&N watercolors:  Raw and Bt Sienna, Light Red, Scarlet Lake with touch of Aliz Crimson, Cerulean Blue and touch of Cobalt plus Neutral Tint

#8 Round

Today is just one of "those" days.  Gray, icky, rainy, cold and just plain depressing.  We were supposed to get a couple inches of snow but it turned out to be rain and freezing rain.  If given the choice, I'd rather it be snow but at the same time I'm truly ready for warmer weather and sunshine.

I'll also be happier when this nasty flu bug Terry brought back with him from Mexico runs its course and goes away.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Playing with Watercolor Pencils

Here's today's accomplishment.

Using Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils and 3/8" angular flat.

Stillman & Birn Alpha journal

Pencil first applied dry and then wet wash with brush

Platinum Carben pen used for writing on page.

Bottom right was the last one I did.  I goofed on the back wings placing the dark winged tips too high.  By this time my concentration level had slipped and I was "winging it"  with what I thought it should look like rather than following with eyes and putting down on paper.  Shame on me :-))

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Another Garden Gnome

Although I managed to accomplish something today in my journal, I'm not real excited about the results.  One of those times when maybe I should have stopped before I did.  Might be I just don't care for the background........not sure.  But upon completion I didn't feel real happy with it.  Maybe in a few days I might be able to view through different eyes.

Started out on a promising note.  First with pencil and then went over with pen and ink using the Pilot Prera and Lexington Gray ink.

W&N watercolors were used this time:  Fr Ultra, Raw and Bt Sienna, Bt Umber, Neutral Tint, Scarlet Red with Aliz Crimson and Sap Green.

#8 Round in the S&B Epsilon journal

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Various Pots

Decided I wanted to play with my Winsor & Newton watercolors for a change.  I have a hard time deciding which I like better...........Daniel Smith or W&N.  I think it depends on subject matter and my mood more than anything.

Daniel Smith soften up so much easier than the W&N (at least true for several of the pigments) but they are a bit more opaque.  Just a toss up I guess.

I do miss the Fr Ultramarine and Light Red combination.  There's a chemical reaction with these two in the W&N line that I've not seen with the Daniel Smith.  And although Daniel Smith's Burnt Sienna is similar to the W&N Light Red, it doesn't behave the same.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon journal
#8 Round
W&N:  Winsor Bl, Cob Bl, Raw and Bt Sienna, Neutral Tint, Light Red, Indian Yellow and Scarlet Lake.
Platinum Carbon pen with Black Ink

This and the last few watercolor sketches have been practicing quick wc sketching.  Not trying to be precise but to just capture the subject without a lot of fuss.

United Kingdom Memories

Here I am reminiscing our trip in 2010 by going through more photos and capturing in my journal book.

This first one I really didn't know where I was going with it when I started.  It was that small boat that I mainly wanted to sketch and worked around it.  Lost in thought, I didn't realize I had started smack dab center of the page.  Although I know in keeping journals there should be no pressure following rules or guidelines, I still try to place things off center somewhat following the rule of thirds.  Not in this case.

The left side is definitely outside my comfort zone so only suggested that area saving it for some written description.

This next one is of a home across from where my friend lives we stayed with for two weeks.  I just loved how looking across the field, you only saw parts of the house with the rest tucked in by surrounding foliage.  This really doesn't represent quite the amount of trees around the house.

Both watercolor sketches worked in the Stillman & Birn Epsilon journal.  1/2" Flat and #8 Round used along with Daniel Smith watercolors.

The greens were mixed with Phthalo Bl, Quin Bt Sienna and Raw Sienna.  Then added a touch of Sap Green.  I'm still undecided on the blue/yellow least in the Daniel Smith line of pigments.  Sometimes I turn out OK looking greens and other times I'm not so sure.

Also using the Platinum Carbon pen with Black ink.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

People Gesture Practice

Had an itch to practice people again.  First used pencil scribble lines to get the shapes down and then tidied up with pen and ink.

Think what I need to do is a page of hands and feet....especially hands.

S&B Epsilon journal
Mechanical pencil
Platinum Carbon pen with Black Ink

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Last year I came across this garden gnome ornament on Amazon and just had to get it.  It sits outside my bedroom window and lights up at night.  It's a solar light where the hats light up at dusk.

It's a daily reminder of when my youngest and I sat each day and watched David the Gnomes children's show.  I loved that show as well as the Lit'l Bits.  They both held beautiful messages passed on to children that today's shows seem to lack.  I'm glad my three sons were young at the time they were and when TV hadn't quite reached the ick we see today.  I see what my granddaughters watch these days and it makes my skin crawl :-(

Stillman & Birn Epsilon journal
Platinum Carbon pen and Black ink
#8 Round
Daniel Smith:  Fr Ultra, Perm Red, Aliz Crim, Raw and Bt Sienna, Bt Umber, Indigo, Sap Green

Another Quick Watercolor Sketch

With this sketch I used the Carbon Platinum pen and then watercolor.........trying to keep it fresh and simply rendered.  I have a tendency to over-do (or so I feel at times) and wanted to refrain from doing so with this.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon journal
Daniel Smith:  Sap Green, Fr Ultra, Raw and Bt Sienna.
#8 Round, 1/2" Angle Bristle and 3/8" Angle Flat

If there's ever a subject I could sketch and paint over and over again, it would have to be old buildings and barns.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

More Quick Sketching

Last couple of days I've selected some of my favorite subjects and continued working on quick watercolor sketching in my Alpha series journal.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Quick Watercolor Sketching

Today I thought I would return to some exercises and my choice was quick watercolor sketching trying to keep things spontaneous.  No pencil guidelines this time........went right in with brush and paint.

Worked in the Stillman & Birn Alpha journal.  Brushes and paints used mentioned in body of the page.

You may recognize these scenes from a previous post where I sketched using pen and ink only.

From photos taken while in Rockport, Texas last year.

Greens this time were mixed rather than using Sap Green as a base green.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Early Morning Fishing

Not only am I thinking Spring.........I'm looking forward to getting back out on the water fishing.

Fabriano Artistico 140lb Cold Press
Daniel Smith:  Raw Sienna, Bt Sienna, Bt Umber, Paynes Gray, Fr Ultra, Sap Green, touch of Cad Red and touch of New Gamboge.
Sterling Edwards bristle slant brush, rigger, and 3/8" angular

Painted wet in wet primarily with the bristle slant.

Spring Around the Corner

Here is a journal grid of Spring Flowers.  After several days of gray skies and continuous snow showers, it's bright and sunny today.  Just warms the heart and soul and put me in the mood to paint some flowers.

Using the Stillman & Birn large Alpha journal
Daniel Smith: Cer Bl, Cob Bl, FrUltra, New Gamboge, Aureolin, Quin Rose, Aliz Crimson, Cad Red, Sap Green, Raw Sienna, Bt Sienna and Bt Umber.
#2 Round, #8 Round, 3/8" Angular Flat

Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink

Friday, March 1, 2013

Let it Snow - Please

Back in early 1995 we were living in Texas.........prior to that, Waynesboro, VA.

Before the move to Texas, we would get some really nice snow storms; as would my dad who lived here in West Virginia.

The year we moved to Texas, Dad sent pictures of the snow storms they were hit with dumping close to 3 foot of snow followed by another major snow storm.  In Texas, we just didn't see that; although we did get hit with a huge ice storm that was unbelievable.

Almost a year and a half later, we moved to West Virginia and in almost 17 years living here, we've yet to see that kind of snow.  I think the most that we've seen at any one time was about 22 inches.  All the rest have been multiples of small accumulations.......just enough to cause hazardous conditions but not enough to really keep people off the roads.

I miss seeing the big snow storms.  They always seem to go around us for some reason.  Even a foot of snow would make me happy :-))  To me there's nothing more beautiful than looking across the landscape blanketed in snow before anyone or anything disturbs it.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon journal
Daniel Smith:  Cerulean Blue, Indigo, Fr Ultramarine, Sap Green, Raw Sienna, Bt Sienna, and Bt Umber
#8 Round and 3/8" Angular Flat

Noodler's Flex with Lexington Gray for writing.

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