Thursday, October 31, 2013

While Watching NCIS Los Angeles

When one starts drawing and painting, they start seeing things through different eyes.  At least for me it has.  I find myself looking at things around me thinking colors; I find myself looking at negative space and I also take in shapes that I might not otherwise think of.  And always when I'm out and about, I see something that I think..........that would be so cool to draw or sketch.  My mind always seems to be in that mode of thinking anymore.

This also goes with watching movies and TV shows.  I'll see a cabin I love or a scene I want to pause and capture on paper.  This is one of those instances where I did just that while watching NCIS Los Angeles.  The cast is running after a bad guy at a boat dock or whatever and I paused the DVD because the barrels caught my eye.

My sketch is not exact to what was on screen.  I changed things around a bit and added others.  Each page could probably stand alone but also works well together.

Worked in the Moleskine Sketchbook with Platinum Carbon pen and Pilot Prera both with Lexington Gray ink.  (both pens used because one feeds wetter than the other producing various values).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Woodland Treasures

This is one of those sketches that just developed as I went along.  I worked on it off and on last night as I listened to and watched TV. 

First I started out with the top left pine cone.  Then added the one to the right and then the one in the foreground.  They looked kind of lonely so I added the acorns.  Still not quite satisfied, I sketched the large hickory nut in its casing and then added the two nuts to the right.

I debated adding shadows and decided against it and added the pine needles as filler. 

This made for a nice relaxing evening taking my time sketching and allowing it to develop itself.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Various Pen and Ink Sketches

Often when using pen and ink, I will do a light pencil guideline sketch first.  With these sketches I used pen and ink only without the guidelines.  Freeing myself up a bit.

All done in the Moleskine Sketchbook with the Pilot Prera and Namiki Black (which is water soluble ink).

First three quick sketching and the fourth I took more time on.  Also the first three were done trying to work holding the sketchbook in my lap whereas the fourth was done on a table surface.  I really struggle trying to work in a small sketchbook without a firm table surface.

For Laughs

Just for Practice - Observational Skills

Speed Sketching

Taking my time

Monday, October 28, 2013

Miniature Snow Lady

Back in February of 2010, during a snow storm, I built a miniature snow lady from the snow collecting on our front porch table.  I was just messing around playing with the snow when I decided I wanted to really dress her up.  Went to my craft cabinet and found the accessories as you see in the illustrations.

Within a day or so after the snow storm, I decided to capture on paper using pen and ink and watercolor.

Here's the first I did a few years ago........being a bit creative adding the paper and the paint brush.

Tonight I decided I wanted to revisit and using a different photo shot, worked another sketch using pen and ink and inktense pencils - dry.  This was done in the Moleskine Sketchbook.  

I chose to not take water to the inktense as I liked the texture it created dry..........especially with the cloak made out of felt.  And I'm finding dry medium definitely works better in this sketchbook.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sketching Frenzy

I try to do at least one sketch a day.........a means of personal therapy.  Last night I was really into it with an itch that didn't want to ease up.  In fact it was after 6 a.m. before I realized the time and that I needed to get some sleep.

These pages are all done in the Moleskine Sketchbook using either the Micron 01 pen or the Uniball Bordeaux Black pen.  Rather than fight with wet medium, I used watercolor pencils dry for the color.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Personal Challenge

The idea came from a poll of subject matter for a possible challenge in a group I'm in.  I had chosen shoes because it's one of those subjects that has always overwhelmed me.  I've managed flip flops and clogs but beyond that I couldn't get past all the patterns and shoe laces in other shoes.

I started out with this in pencil and almost gave up as I tried working the top area with the laces.  I found myself losing my place where I was looking at the shoe and trying to capture on paper.  I kept telling myself........try a little more before giving up and the next thing I knew, I had it drawn out.  Went over with pen and ink and then decided to take watercolor to it.  The colors used were Lunar Black, Paynes Gray, and Cerulean Blue.  Came out real close to the actual color of the shoes.

I am so glad I didn't give in to the little voice that kept saying I can't do this.

After I worked the shoes right side up, I just had to do the bottoms.  That was easier :-))

Stillman & Birn Beta journal.

Christmas Cactus in Pen and Ink - Pilot Prera

This little sketch was worked in my Moleskine Watercolor sketchbook.  I've included a video (not the best and may try that again) showing how I hold the pen and how I work my hatch marks so I can control the values with the ink as it goes down on the paper.

I'm sure a street sketcher would find this method too slow and monotonous but with me sitting at home, I find this method extremely relaxing.

Used the Pilot Prera with Lexington Ink.

Best to view video full screen (sorry for the poor quality but that comes from converting for internet viewing here.  Also used my phone camera because it was handy).  Normally I would have the paper weighed down while I sketch but this shows how lightly I touch the paper as you can see it doesn't move that much.  I will work back and forth and repeat until I get the values I want.....sometimes turning the page at an angle to cross hatch.  I also noticed the nib point is slightly tilted to one side.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Testing Various Mediums - Moleskine Sketchbook

I honestly think this will be the last Moleskine sketchbook I purchase.  I like the Moleskine Watercolor sketchbook but this one with the paper coating just doesn't do it for me.

Here are several little quick sketches as I test watercolor pencils and various pens....

What I am finding is not only the beading issue with anything water soluble, the full potency of ink and watercolor / wc pencil does not show up very well.....lighter in value than compared to other paper surfaces.  I had to use a lot of pressure to get the value you see on the top left page (Christmas Cactus bloom).

The Lamy blue that normally bleeds readily on other papers does not on this paper surface.  Even the Tombow marker was rather dull looking.

Straight waterproof pen and ink was ok but ballpoint was also rather dull looking.  To obtain darks one would have to really apply pressure or go over the area a second time.

Now if I can just remember this the next time I go to purchase pre-bound sketchbooks :-))

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Along the Coast

I had fun sketching and painting these little vignettes.  Worked in the Beta journal with the Pilot Prera and Lexington Gray ink and Daniel Smith watercolors.

Although I'm pushing myself to work on more complicated buildings like one would find in a town or city, I still prefer the simplicity of barns, cabins, and buildings like these.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fresh From the Tree

There are two pear trees in our back is a Bartlett Pear tree and the other is a Kieffer Semi-dwarf Pear.  We only had three pears make it but both trees are still fairly young.

Moleskine Watercolor journal; Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink and Uniball Green Black and Brown Black pens.

All were a brown-green color with lots of brown patches.

Abandoned Town Buildings

Another sketch of our town representing the abandoned buildings that line many of the streets.

Final page in my Zeta journal using Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink and areas emphasized with Uniball Black Brown.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Back to Some Graphite Sketching

I struggled yesterday wanting to do something but didn't quite have the motivation.  Especially worrying about mixing and applying color.  I needed a change I suppose so I grabbed a pencil and decided to sketch in graphite.

Both were completed with a 9B graphite pencil in the Moleskine Sketchbook.  The lead just glides across the paper but I did take notice to get darks (even with this pencil) I would have to apply quite a bit of pressure.  It has to be the slick waxy surface because on other paper I would have to take care not to go too dark too quickly with this particular pencil.

The first is of a Fake Sand Castle located in Corpus Christi, Texas.  On the front is a mermaid that maybe one day I will attempt.  This is only one side or edge of the castle.

This second sketch is of my favorite rose.  A wild rose I started with a cutting given to me from my dad years ago.  It vines and loaded with thorns that seem to grab at you rather than you just getting stuck by them.  And the smell is heavenly!!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook

Now the paper in the watercolor sketchbook definitely works better as one would hope applying watercolor.  The pocket size is great for quick little sketches/paintings but I find it difficult to work with due to it's size and orientation.  Especially trying to write in it.  I love these little pocket journals but my favorite are definitely the 5 x 8 or 6 x 9 journals.

These next two pages represent a package I received from my sister.  She had called saying she was sending us some seed but I had no idea the quantity until it arrived.  There were 63 packets of vegetables of various types as well as 12 flower packets.

Also in the package was a surprise.  A necklace she for herself and one for me...........something special us sisters could share between us.

More in the Moleskine Sketchbook

As I work in the Moleskine Sketchbook, I'm learning how to get around the beading applying watercolor to the pages.  The biggest negative I see is bleeding through to the other side of the page.

If I pre-wet the area I want to add color to, it helps break down the waxy like surface but opens one up to ruining the page after or before.  Dry brushing is probably the best way to go with this particular sketchbook should one wish to add a bit of watercolor.

The paper surface handles pen and ink beautifully.  Even the water soluble ink with a damp wash works out well as long as the brush isn't too wet.

Another thing I've noticed is that the left page beads more readily than the right page.  I had to "break down" the waxy surface for the leaf and it bled through on the page with the pine cone.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Different Experience

As I get close to finishing several Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, I decided to get a couple Moleskine journal books.  One is the Sketchbook and the other is the Watercolor.  Both small.

With my first sketch I chose to try the sketchbook series which is a heavy paper with a very slick surface.  I think more so than the Zeta series in the Stillman & Birn family.  It was definitely a different experience.  Not bad or good but interesting providing me with a new challenge in how ink and watercolor goes down on the paper surface.

I used my Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink which just seemed to glide across the surface.  I found it applied the ink wetter making it a little bit of a challenge getting the lighter marks I can achieve in the Stillman & Birn journals.  And watercolor, when applied, wanted to just sit on top beading like it would on a plastic palette surface.  When I made the long strokes of the pine needles, the color lines were broken.  Not necessarily a bad thing either.

So here's my first pen and ink plus watercolor in the Moleskine Sketching journal.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Farm - Pen and Ink plus Watercolor

I cannot believe I'm close to finishing yet another journal book.  After this two page spread, I have one page left in my Zeta.  I've sketched more this year than I have several years combined!!  I LOVE working in journals!!!!

For the building I used Lunar Red and Lunar Black combined.  One mix leaning towards the black and one leaning more towards the red.  I was wanting to see how they mixed together.

Pen used was the Platinum Carbon with Noodlers #41 Brown.

Worked the pen and ink sketch first, applied watercolor, and then went back with the pen in areas for added detailing.

Historical Find

There is a building that is located on a bridge in Fairmont WV.  This building grabbed my attention and decided to sketch it.

At the time I worked this sketch, I had no idea what it was or what it was used for.  Yesterday I found out!

Below the bridge used to be a large parking lot when the town was booming.  There used to be several shops people enjoyed shopping in to include a Hechts.  There used to be a theater as well.  Now the area is primarily government, lawyers, a few restuarants, and doctor offices.  Many buildings stand abandoned looking as if they would be better off being taken down.  Fairmont is not exactly considered an inviting place these days and considered an ugly town from remarks made..........compared to neighboring towns and cities.

Back when the town had more to offer, people would park below the bridge and rather than have to hike up a hillside of steps, this building was put in with an elevator.  I have no idea if the building is used now for anything as the parking lot below is no longer there.

Worked in the Stillman & Birn Zeta journal with the Pilot Prera pen and Lexington Gray ink.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Unexpected Surprise

Sometimes we just don't use up our potatoes soon enough before they start sprouting.  The last bag we purchased all were used but a few and were forgotten about.  Cleaning the shelf we keep them on, we found not only had they sprouted but the potatoes were quite shriveled up.  Rather than tossing in the woods or trash, Terry decided to throw them in a planter not expecting anything to happen.  Especially considering how late he put them out.

Well lo and behold we were quite surprised they grew and actually produced a few meals worth of potatoes for us.  Our favorites being the red fingerling potatoes.

Worked in the Stillman & Birn Beta journal and Platinum Carbon pen with Brown ink.  For the color of the potatoes I mixed Aliz Crimson with Lunar Red.  That mix produced a very close likeness of actual color.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Playing with Techniques

These are quick sketches in my Daler Rowney sketchbook playing with different methods or techniques.  First two using a credit card for the main trunks; third page pen and ink plus watercolor and then fourth page using a rigger brush almost parallel to the paper using quick side strokes on the paper.  The paper is super smooth so I didn't quite get the results I know one can get on paper with tooth.

The last two page entry is using a bamboo dip pen and Daniel Smith Walnut ink.  I tried on dry paper as well as painting tree shape with brush and plain water and touching the dip pen for the ink to spread.

Dogwood Limb and Berries

This is from a limb on one of several wild dogwoods surrounding the house.  All have the white blooms (which I love) in Spring.  During this time of the year the leaves are turning from green to a rusty red.  The colors are dull and leaves spotty as well as droopy looking with how they hang.  But the fun is watching all the birds in the trees as well as chipmunks.  Even the large Pileated Woodpeckers try to balance their large size and weight on the limbs as they go after the berries.  Now that is actually entertaining as they struggle on the thin limbs.

Autumn Holiday Card Idea

I love this time of year with the autumn colors and thought I would work on a still life using those colors that might work out as a holiday card.

Worked in the Beta journal using the Platinum Carbon with Black ink followed by Daniel Smith watercolors.

And here's one card idea I've worked out using the illustration and Photoshop Elements.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Playing with DS Lunar Pigments

Today I've just been in one of those "playful" moods with color.

These are the Daniel Smith Lunar pigments.  Some granulate beautifully while others don't.

All were done with pigment straight from brush to dry paper.

Plus I learned something interesting with these next two pages.  Not sure if this is a definite or if it depends on paper or if just a fluke but if I pre-wet an area with water dropping in the pigments, they do not want to granulate.

The left page is pre-wetting whereas I used a very wet mix straight off the brush for the right page.  I really like how the right illustration granulated.

As I look at the screen I see where I unintentionally ended up with a belly button on the statue on left page :-))

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