It’s a clouds experiment. I can’t tell if it looks like clouds to the viewer or not. If it looks like something else, that’s what it is. I painted it in Plein air from my balcony with watercolor and the clouds were moving. I used masking fluid on my fan brush and white oil paint stick first to block out some white and to see if I could make a soft and fluid cloud texture. When it was dry I rubbed off the masking fluid with an eraser.
The horse is another drawing with a black oil paint stick taped to a yardstick to make it fun.
I’m just goofing around at home with the horses for models and trying different things with watercolors but I’m going to get back out in plein air tomorrow and get back to the landscape next.
The weather is improving. YEA!
That’s metallic gold oil paint stick on watercolor paper with watercolor paint. When I’m trying to do an abstract painting I don’t know how to proceed, or how to start at all. So I stole this idea from one of my favorite artists, Matisse. He taped his brush to the end of a yardstick and stood far back from the paper. You have less control of your drawing. Lines go where you don’t want them and you can’t erase with oil paint sticks. this is an exercise for artists who want to loosen up their work.
I hear that a lot, loosen up, and I don’t think it’s really necessary to follow the trend and draw and paint loose and fast. But I do kind of enjoy taping my charcoal or a paintbrush or in this case, my oil paint stick, to a yardstick. I could knock out a whole bunch of these in one day!
This photo shows how I set it up. I taped the paper to the board to protect the wall in case I went off the edges with the oil paint stick. I taped my charcoal sketch from last week above it and didn’t bother transferring the original sketch to the paper first. I just started in drawing with the oil paint stick on the white paper freehand. That should add to the abstraction.
That little stub taped to the yardstick is my gold paint stick. From where I was standing I couldn’t see the end of the thing on the paper. It’s too stubby. Drawing and not being able to see what you’re doing also makes it more abstract. Some artists like to sketch without looking at the paper. There are a few tricks you can use to get an abstract look. The brush on a stick technique is fun.
The first photo I posted was taken inside on my work table. I like it because it shows the gold reflecting. This photo was taken on my patio in natural light.
I think I have time to do another. I want to use my white oil paint stick on watercolor paper. That will be impossible to see what I’m doing. I might do just the head.
I was trying to make a ghostly transparent look with this experiment. I used masking fluid on the horse and spattered rubbing alcohol on the background. It was fun. I might do another ghost horse. Why wait till Oct? Spooky subjects are fun all year round.
This is my finished charcoal sketch that I started earlier this week, as seen on my previous blog post, when it was kind of rough. I’d like to go abstract with it but I feel like I need to do a tight sketch first.
By the time I finished the watercolor I probably have 7 or 8 hours in this one experiment, including the time I spent sketching, transferring it to watercolor paper then going into it with masking fluid and paint. That’s not including the times I had a fan blowing on it between layers of paint. That might seem like a long time to put into an experiment, but I learned a thing or two that I can use in the future. The more times I draw a subject the easier it gets.
It took me about 1/2 hour to get this far. That’s ok for a start. I’ll take the proportions when I get back to work on it and see if I got it close to accurate. I only eyeballed it till now.
We have had a lot of hot and humid weather lately. Now it’s raining. A few days ago I went over to Pleasure House Point to scout for a scene to paint with my watercolors and the sand was too hot. I had sandals on, I could feel the heat. I decided to go early in the morning but I can’t get motivated. The weather is kind of sapping my energy. It will be better this weekend, they say. I did find a place to sketch where I could have some shade to sit next to a small tree. I might stand up in the sun to sketch, but I can sit in the small shady spot when I take a break. It will be great to draw and paint in plein air again soon, I don’t think it’s necessary to break a sweat for the sake of art though. Life makes you suffer enough, art should be fun. I’ll go back to Pleasure House Point eventually.
Meanwhile, there’s this horse. Maybe I can do something with it for an art project. I have an idea or two for it.
To go a little more abstract this time, I didn’t draw it with charcoal or pencil first. I couldn’t decide how to go about it, then just went with the old blob in a rough shape method, like I would with charcoal, only with paint. First I put a glaze of cadmium yellow on the whole paper and let it dry. Then I sprayed water on it and tried to make it evenly damp. I dabbed up the puddles with a paper towel. The paper warped like crazy. Then I blobbed in the general shape of the horse with green and lifted some of the color back out.
The red color, opera, looks like a bright orange over the cad yellow. I did a test strip to pick my colors and liked the colors I got when Veridian green mix with opera. And they both looked good on top of the cad yellow.
Then just to mess it all up, I splashed rubbing alcohol all over it. I held it in front of a fan till it was almost dry then darkened up the green paint with some ultramarine blue to paint the sketchy lines.
That was fun. And good practice on things like, the right wetness of the paper, trying to control a bleed, drawing with a paintbrush which I can’t erase, etc.
This time I wanted to let the horizon line bleed. It was out of control because of the paper warping and I let it go. For a second I considered trying to stop it, then I said, let it bleed.
It was fun watercolor practice. I think I’ll do another horse. There are so many possibilities with how to go about watercolor, I’m just kind of playing around. Play is a good way to learn.
I have a song stuck in my head. A few days ago I watched” Bohemian Rhapsody” on HBO. It was good. I love Queen, and of course, Freddy Mercury. The movie had a short clip from the” I Want To Break Free” video where they’re dressed up in drag and Freddy comes in pushing a vacuum cleaner. I remember when it was on MTV. I thought it was brilliant and I loved the song. So I had to look it up on Spotify to get my fix. I Want To Break Free might be my favorite Queen song. Didn’t Freddy have an amazing voice? What a great inspiration he was.
Now I’m getting somewhere with it. YEA! I took the proportions of my model by holding a pencil at arms length, resting my arm on my easel to hold it steady, closing one eye and putting my thumb on the pencil at the height of the body from the bottom of the hoof to the top of her back and compared that to the length of the body. The height equaled the distance from her rump to the middle of the front shoulder. So I knew the proportion was close. I made corrections on the head and neck to make them look right with the body. Then I drew her blaze with chalk because it makes the head shape easier to see. I also redrew the legs making a faint line at knee level and drawing circles where I thought the ankles should be. I didn’t erase all the measuring lines.
WOW! That’s a bad shot! hahahaha Nothing’s in focus! I had it set on auto. That’s ok, I never said I could take a decent picture with my good camera.
I put in in anyway so you can see how badly lit my model is on that shelf and if I drew it in proportion.
The plan is to transfer this sketch to a piece of watercolor paper and try to paint it. I’ll move my model to my work table where the light is slightly better and draw it one more time. I could still make corrections. Then paint with watercolors. I have some ideas in mind I’d like to try with the watercolors.
Should I stop here or should I continue? Does this look like a horse? This is how I was taught to draw, start out by blobbing in the general size and shape of the subject. By this point I’ve moved the legs half a dozen times but I’m trying to make the negative spaces between the legs look like my model.
I worked on this about 1/2 hour. That’s how long my attention span lasts for sketching, then I need to take a break. I’ll get back on it and try to refine it but there’s no rush. Taking frequent breaks refreshes my concentration.
One great thing about drawing is that you can take it in any direction you like. If you don’t want to render a finished drawing you don’t have to. If you want to draw from your imagination or do abstract drawing that’s fine too. That’s why I wonder what’s up when I read an article where the writer uses the words “slavishly copying”, like that’s bad.. To me, accuracy is important. I enjoy copying something beautiful. I feel like I’ve studied it in more depth if I get a tight drawing. In the long run, I’ll have a better file of it in my brain that I’ll be able to use if I want to draw that subject again, only it’s moving, or not in front of me. I won’t need to look up a photo of it. But drawing this way is a discipline. It helps if it was forced on you when you were young. hahaha The people who say slavishly copying, they can’t do a tight study.
I was putting this off because it was kind of difficult and I didn’t have the time to concentrate on it. First I had to redraw my horse sketch from a few weeks ago onto watercolor paper and make corrections. That took a couple hours. Then I couldn’t decide what colors to use. Finally I decided it would be best to start with the background and do the horse last like I would if it was an oil painting. Too many decisions! I tackled the sky, grass and horse as separate experiments, using two Inktense pencils on the wet blue paper for the grass. It was kind of fun pushing the paint around to make it as even as I could on the horse then lifting out paint with a paper towel where I wanted highlights. Now that I got one horse sketch finished I might try again with a different model horse. It’s still too hot out for me to enjoy painting in Plein air unless I get out at the crack of dawn.
It’s too hot and humid for me to enjoy drawing in Plein air and that’s ok because I have a lot of other things taking my time. At least I got this sketch done from a model horse. I love horses for subjects. They’re the most beautiful animals.
I’m trying to get used to drawing horse anatomy. The more practice I can get now, the easier it will be to sketch live horses in plein air in the future. That’s why I left that line at his knees. I drew it when I measured the proportions of the horse. Then I tried to visualize the muscles and did a little shading. It took me 4 hours or so to get this far and that’s all the visual info I need at this stage.
If the weather stays this hot I’ll transfer this sketch to watercolor paper and do a watercolor sketch of it next week. I’m also thinking of a place I remember in the shade to get back outside drawing. There’s not much shade on the beach. I walk there but don’t take my art supplies because by 10:00 I’ve had enough sun.
This photo shows my model on some books to bring him up to eye level. He’s made of china so he’s too reflective. I took the photo so you can compare my sketch to the model for accuracy. Darn it, part of my easel is blocking the model in my photo. Funny, I didn’t see it when I was drawing. I guess that’s because the camera has a different perspective.