Tag Archives: experiment

alternative media for plein air sketching / watercolor pencils

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It’s fun to try different media and techniques. This is a close up of my first attempt using Aquarelle watercolor pencils, which were recommended to me by my blogging friend, Vivienne Lingard. I’m looking for something that would be easier to transport than oil paint and the supplies I need for oils. I tried oil paint sticks and they’re bright but clunky to draw with. Pastels can be heavy to take out in Plein air, but sometimes I pick a few to take along if I can guess what colors I’ll need, so I don’t have to lug my whole box of pastels down a path. There’s also a wide variety of markers I could use in plein air. And my old favorite, charcoal and chalk.img_2189

I sketched a few Chinese Paperbush flowers from memory for my watercolor pencil  experiment since I’m not finished with that painting and I want more practice drawing the flowers.

I have very little experience with watercolors, so this will take practice.

This winter weather is keeping me at home too much. I think I’ll check out the Virginia Beach Aquarium and find some bright fish to draw if they don’t object to colored pencils.

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dragons on silk scarf / oil paint sticks

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Dragon one says to dragon two, “Gurrrl, how you doin?”

Dragon two says, “I’m good. How you doin?”

Dragon one says, “I’m fine. Lets go torch that big flock of sheep.”

Dragon two says, “Lets torch the castle instead. We can get their gold.”

Dragon one says ,”Good idea. Lets go.”IMG_2170

These are the new templates I made using my concoction of corn starch and Elmers glue piped out of a cake decorating bag onto foam  core. The foam core warped as it dried. I’ll try to find something that won’t warp for my next experimental template.

Dragon Head / mixed media / abstract

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Playing with my new art supplies today for tomorrow I drive.

This is an experiment using oil paint sticks and gelato watercolors on watercolor paper.

My daughter likes to find new types of art supplies for me to try. I’m not sure if I was using the gelato colors the right way. A funny syringe type watercolor brush comes with the kit but I didn’t see that it connects directly to the paint. The paint comes out of the tube like a lipstick and you can draw with it on dry paper and you can brush water into it. That’s what I got from the experiment.

I’m thinking of taking some different types of paint with me, besides my regular oils, when I go back to the marsh to draw in plein air again. The oil paint sticks might work because I don’t need to take my pallet, so that’s a lighter load in my bike basket. I don’t think I’ll take my easel, just a sketchbook.

Meanwhile, I’m having fun with my modern art experiments.

silk scarf painting / almost got it

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If I had a nice bright green oil paint stick this might work. I like the template more that the scarf. That’s ok. I’ll try again.  And my dragons: I wanted them to look scary, but they look like they’re saying, “How ya doin?”IMG_2164

I made  left and right templates so my dragons would both face up on the scarf. My daughter gave me some type of clay they called Think Putty. It’s not sticky and almost the right texture to pipe out of a cake decorating bag, so I added a lot of  Elmers glue to thin it and make it sticky. It piped nicely but was a mess to clean up since it’s not water soluble clay. I don’t know what it was made of but the glue blended in.

This method of painting on silk is like doing a rubbing. There are other ways to paint on silk that I haven’t learned, but I might try something else like dye instead of oil paint sticks and a template.

The molded plastic templates you buy in the art supply  stores give you a sharp image but my home made templates aren’t coming out with that look.

No big deal about wrecking this piece of silk.  The first pieces of silk I bought, I thought the width of the bolt would be ok for a scarf, but now I want to make 54″ scarves instead of using the 45″ width.

Then, I tried to use my folding foot on the sewing machine to make the hem on this practice piece and it didn’t work for me. The silk is slippery and I couldn’t keep it in the folding foot. I remembered long ago I made ruffled curtains and the folding foot wasn’t easy even on cotton.

I started sewing the hem by hand like the scarves imported from Thailand. It was going slowly and I decide to sew the hems by machine because my templates might not work anyway, and why spend the time hand sewing on these experiments? I’ll just straight stitch some hems.

I tried to make templates using string and glue on a board, but the string frayed at the cut edges which wasn’t what I wanted. Dragons should have points, not frayed ends. I used craft string and Elmers to glue my design on a piece of black foam core board that time. I’ll try again to make a template using something else. But the green putty is an improvement over the string.

That’s all the problems I had so far with trying to do silk painting on scarves. It’s a good thing I have a lot of patience and not easily discouraged, isn’t it? 😉

In the winter your plein air artist gets into craft projects and other kinds of art, but I’m looking forward to better weather so I can spend more time drawing and painting outdoors.

 

portraits of ladies / blind drawing exercise / mixed media

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A lot of contemporary artists do this blind drawing exercise so I wanted to give it a try.  I did double blind because I picked my colors blindfolded too.

Before I blindfolded myself I arranged my work table with a pile of my watercolors and a jar of water next to them, piles of oil pastels in groups of dark medium and light and a jar of terpenoid next to them, a pile of paint brushes and my paper. For my first experiment I put some watercolor on the palette which I could feel but then I couldn’t tell if my brush was going into the paint because I was blindfolded and I didn’t cheat by looking.  I stuck my finger into the paint. So, for my next experiment I picked up my random color of paint and opened the tube and dabbed it directly onto the paper in several places then dipped my brush into the water, which I could feel for.

It was fun! The first few blind paintings didn’t work at all and I wanted to keep trying. I did six and I’ll show you the two best two.

The thing I like about the one above, is the eye seems to have floated off her face to the right. IMG_2163

Her dad was a glass maker.

The funny thing about this one is, I did draw eyes nose and mouth, but they got lost somewhere and her head looks transparent.

So this is my latest attempt to be contemporary, though technically, all artists alive and working today are contemporary. But art style labels don’t always apply.

Did this exercise improve my drawing? Even though I goofed around with it most of the day, I’d say, no. It was fun, but it won’t help my drawing improve. So, what is the real point of this exercise? To make modern art easier for someone who draws and paints in an old style? If either of these looks like real contemporary art, then the exercise did that for me.

Also, sometimes if you’re working on a project and getting nowhere, you can play around one day with this blind drawing exercise and take a break from the thing that’s not going well. Then go back to the other project mentally refreshed.

An experiment isn’t a failure if you learn something from it. / painting a dragon on fabric

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Failure or not? I’d appreciate any tips, as always.

I like dragons and thought it would be fun to paint one on a silk scarf since I enjoyed the scarf painting class and want to try it again. A lady in the class made her own template with a glue like product on cardboard. I couldn’t spot the same bottle at the art supply stores so I tried a couple other things which didn’t work. But that’s ok because I knew I had the wrong fabric anyway. And I didn’t know how my dragon would look painted on a scarf.IMG_2160

I went to Joanne Fabrics and they didn’t have any real silk so I bought some polyester knowing it was only an experiment. Since I couldn’t find the same product that was recommended to me for making the template, I bought a silicone product in a tube that was for adding sculptural detail to your craft projects. It was hard to squirt the silicone out of the tube, and it made peaks at the end of each line, which I later trimmed off when it dried. I thought this will never work, but I used the plate just to give it a try and this green dragon is what I got from the silicone template.IMG_2159

I also tried making a plate using Elmers glue. It’s too runny. Can you even tell that’s a dragon? I like the red on black though.

I had one bit of luck at the art supply stores. Jerry’s Artarama had some oil paint sticks in the clearance section so I got five for under $26.

So, this is what I learned: I need to redraw my dragon and try again with the right kind of glue for my template and paint it on silk. Also, you can buy real silk at The Fabric Hut in Norfolk. I got some and I’m going to try to do a tiny rolled hem like those imported silk scarves from Thailand. I never did a rolled hem so that might work or it might not, but it’s raining today so whatthehell. It would be great if I can make my own scarves to paint too. I’m not quitting till I get it right.

Mums / a pointillism experiment / oil paint

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Pointillism is a scientific style of painting. I never saw a class offered on it but I wanted to try. I read a few articles and they don’t give much information so I had to make my best guess. I’ll give you my questions and if I got it wrong please tell me.

The first thing I could get from my research was that Seurat used the paint straight out of the tube without mixing colors on the pallet. Did he thin the paint with turp or not? I guessed not. Then I saw my dots forming peaks. Did Seurat have peaks on his dots? How large are the dots supposed to be? Can the dots overlap? Can the paint mix  on the canvas when the dots overlap?

One article said Seurat had 11 colors and white. It didn’t say what the colors were. I bought a tube of veridian green  for this painting. I never buy tubes of green because I have a few yellows and a few blues so I can mix the green I need. But to try to stay true to the no mixing colors on the pallet rule, I bought the green. Then I broke the no mixing  rule when I added white to cobalt blue and then I added white to the green. I didn’t use gray because I know modern artists don’t like gray and Seurat probably never used it.IMG_2124

One of the articles said there should be an underpainting. I usually tint my canvas before I do my underpainting, but this time I did my underpainting on a white canvas.

It’s important to keep color theory in mind in pointillism. I took a class long ago in color theory and remember some things like using complimentary colors and using tints of equal value to create the visual mix of gray or the visual mixing of colors that vibrate, and how colors look different on top of other colors.

Is this experiment a success or a failure? I don’t know, but this is my first attempt at pointillism and I’ll try again some time in the future.

Diana fauve / try try again

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That painting I did last week was sooooo bad. How bad was it? Matisse rolled over. I tossed it.

They don’t give any information about technique in my Matisse book. It’s trial and error here. At least no one will ever say I fear failure. I’m learning something about fauvism by trying to copy the style. This is what I got so far.

Fauve means wild animal so my painting should be bold. Last week I was hesitant so I daubed. Matisse would h8 that. This time I was more deliberate with my brush strokes.

In fauvism you’re supposed to convey an emotion with your color choices. I hope I can do that. Imagine Diana, goddess of the hunt. She represents the feminine ideals of independence and chastity. She can kill her own food so she doesn’t need to rely on some god to bring dinner home and she’s better off without being in a relationship with some god because those guys cause all kinds of mischief fooling around with mortals and chasing nymphs etc. She’s alert and at peace with nature. She’s strong.  I hope I can capture her attitude.

Trying to paint in a style I’m not used to is challenging. I’ll try again. If you know anything about it please advise me. Thanks for the likes on that last post which was a really horrible painting. I appreciate the support.

unfinished flowers / trying to paint like Matisse

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This is a strange experience, trying to paint like Matisse. Picture my paint brush taped to a yardstick and I’m standing back. My brush is out of control weaving around in the general area of my canvas. Finally I get it close to where I want it and roll it a little. I’m making blips and leaving them there. It’s an experiment and I don’t know if I’m getting it or not. But it’s a challenge too and after I finish this painting I want to try again. Have you ever tried painting with an extended brush? And if you have, do you have any tips or insights about it?

I’m breaking my training. No medium so far but I might use it on the next step. I used cadmium red and cadmium yellow for the first coat on the flowers because they’re more opaque colors. Normally I’d have started with a darker red. The paint went on thick and I usually do glazes. I’ll have to wait a few days for this to dry because I want to go over it one more time and try to do some shading and detail. The detail, if I can do it, will probably not hit the flowers where I want it to, so that will be a different thing for me.IMG_2076

This book by Time Life says Matisse has a piece of charcoal taped to bamboo. I’d like to use bamboo too. I wonder if they sell it or maybe I could find something else so I can get even farther back from my painting. I’m afraid to go out and pick some bamboo because there might be a spider in it! IMG_2074

This photo shows my sketches taped up next to my painting. I traced my sketches and rearranged them on the canvas a few times to try to make a n interesting composition. Now I need them on the wall so I can see the flowers separately.

Seaweed / charcoal and chalk

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I found this sad and slightly gross thing on the beach. I went there hoping to sketch waves but the tide was out and the waves were very small so I gave up on that idea for today.

The seaweed caught my eye and it seemed appropriate for a gray day like today. I arranged it on the sand and sat on the side of a sand dune with less wind to sketch it.

I just wanted to be on the beach a little while.IMG_1988

This is a sketch I did yesterday. The waves were small then too, but today it’s practically calm. I need to sketch waves again before I start the painting I’m planning of the beach in fog. If it’s foggy the waves will be small, especially if the tide’s going out. I can give up on painting large breaking waves with sunlight showing through the curl here. I get the feeling this spot never gets waves like that. If it’s stormy the waves could be bigger but the sun wouldn’t shine through. I’ll find large waves another time.

I’m excited about my plan for this painting because I want to tape my paintbrushes onto yard sticks and stand back from my canvas to paint, like Matisse. And also, it will be a challenge because I want to try to represent fog. With less waves and less contrast, it’ll be mostly gray. I want to use warm and cool glazes close to the same value to make my grays brighter, and I also hope I can get a foggy atmosphere into the painting. It could take a few tries. The better I work out my plan before I start, the better my chances the painting will work.