Tag Archives: practice

irises on green paper / acrylic and palette knife

This is more practice with acrylics and palette knife. Today I mixed some colors instead of using them straight out of the tube. A couple times I estimated the exact amount of a color I needed and a couple times I overestimated. The colors mixed nicely.

I want to keep practicing with acrylics and a palette knife because it gives a more abstract look than a brush and also I think I might ruin brushes with acrylics. I’ll try to paint more flowers. I’ll watch for day lilies, water lilies and those lilies called butterfly ginger. I’d like to try to paint all those again, this time with acrylics. Maybe by the time I go to Maine in Oct. for Plein air camp I’ll be able to try a landscape like this.

fish mono print practice / acrylic

oooh, that first one is bad.

Sometimes my mono prints that are random blobs of paint slapped down, scraped, smeared and drawn through come out looking like leaves because of the veins that show in the paint when I lift the print. Sometimes they look like flowers and I thought some looked like fish. All the previous mono prints were random. I didn’t have any subject in mind. If it looked like a flower I called it a flower. Now I’m trying to plan the result.

I wanted to try using paint straight out of the tube. Yesterday I thinned it with water and didn’t know if that was a good idea or not so these are done without thinning the paint.

I also was interested to find out if I could make the veins that show up in the print to go in the direction I choose instead of random by lifting my print in a certain direction.

Random mono prints are easy and fun to do. So easy and fun that some people might say, “My 8 year old could do that.”

That’s not a compliment to the artist but there are a lot of paintings in museums that look like an 8 year old could do them. When it’s that easy and fun is it really art? I can’t make that call.

After I had this many fish I felt like I was getting somewhere. Would an 8 year old try again and again? Maybe. Would an 8 year old try to make fish? Possibly. Would they ask, does the paint need water or not? I don’t know how much thought an 8 year old would put into it if they gave it any thought at all or if they only did random mono prints.

Then I wanted to try to do gold fish.

The fish are very similar because I kept reworking them on the same spot. I had the previous one to look at on my work surface. I put fresh paint right on top of the fish that was printed before and lifted another print.

This is a little blurry.

I got this far with my fish experiments and stopped because now I want to see goldfish on blue instead of black.

I’m trying to plan an underwater collage with green water plants, fish and maybe a mermaid. I wanted to do a mermaid for a long time. I tried to sketch one about 6 months ago and it didn’t work. Seeing how many fish I printed before I got a few that are ok makes me think a mermaid won’t be easy. I can’t even sketch a mermaid so far. But I have to put this aside for a while.

This is my palette for acrylics, a plastic lid. And there is my work surface, a piece of wax paper that I used for a few days already. I didn’t use paint brushes because I’m afraid I’ll ruin them with acrylics since acrylics dry so fast and I’m used to oil paint. With cleaning oil paint from my brushes and palette I often wait till a few hours later. I wrap the brushes in a paper towel and get to them later and the oil paint doesn’t dry fast so it’s not a problem. I used my palette knife to paint the fish on the wax paper then lifted the prints.

Atlantic Ocean looking Southeast / charcoal and chalk

The wind was calm and the sky was reflecting on the water as I was looking in that direction. The waves were small.

A couple guys were fishing and I tried to sketch one but it was pretty weak so I erased it.

A lady with a camera stopped and asked me what kind of tracks those were in the sand. I hadn’t noticed them. I thought they were raccoon tracks but I’m not sure. She said she saw the same tracks about 1/4 mile down the beach. She also saw a sign that said there are bob cats in the area. So we can’t completely rule out a bob cat. I didn’t have my camera.

This spot is a little easier to get to so I might take my camera along some time.

These are my Kneaded erasers that I use to work with charcoal and chalk or pastel.

I bought a new one to replace the oldest one on the bottom of the photo. The one in the middle is getting old but still workable.

They’re not exactly sticky but they’re tacky. To clean them you stretch it like taffy and fold it back over on itself. Keep doing that a few times and it’s renewed.

Kneaded erasers are great for charcoal because it doesn’t matter how many times you erase, you won’t wreck the paper.

lichens supersized / oils

This was a fun project. I looked at the lichens close up and then refocused onto my black paper which was a yard away to paint. I had my brushes taped to yardsticks like my favorite artist, Matisse did. It’s a challenge to keep the brush under control from that distance and I think I’m getting better at that.

If you tape your brushes to yardsticks you have to give up some control though. Smears happen, or blips that you might not see ordinarily when painting. That’s part of it so if you give the yardstick paintbrush extenders a try don’t worry about making blobs, smears or blips where you don’t want them. It’s kind of liberating. That’s why it’s fun.

for the art viewer that likes to look at brush strokes

Lichens have some tiny holes in the center of cone shapes. They also have a leafy texture and a more flat texture.

I didn’t sketch them first with charcoal, I just tried to observe then it was almost like doing calligraphy from far away. It’s not easy to find your place in a clump of lichens focusing close up then looking away to paint. A couple times I got lost and faked it a little. I said to myself, “wherethehell am I?” But that’s a normal feeling for me. hahahahah not scary.

I made the bark texture with my modified fan brush. I tried to keep it neat but the paint that went in the wrong place and the different textures give the art viewer’s eye something to focus on.

The colors aren’t green enough in my photos. I tried taking the pix outside in natural light and the greens looked too gray. These shots are from indoor light and the greens are too warm. But you get the idea.

We’re in a winter weather cycle around here. Either it’s cloudy rainy or snowy or else it’s cold and windy if the sun does come out. The good days for painting in plein air are few and far between.

Sea Oats / palette knife practice w. close ups

I tried to make mental notes of the colors I needed when I sketched this in plein air then painted it at home. The color looks good in the photo for the sea oats but the background isn’t showing up green enough and there’s a lighter area showing on the right because of a glare.

For the background I wanted to give a color and texture of pine needles. For the sea oats I wanted to make a fuzzy texture .

This photo shows some of the paint texture.

It seemed like the painting went fast on this project. I worked on it for around 5 hours, which isn’t really that fast, just fast for me, because I often have 30 or 40 hours in a painting. So I like the palette knife for that. It’s not easier than painting with a brush, just different. This was a simple experiment.

The palette knife makes the project faster because I painted right on top of my sketch. Usually I redraw my sketch and then redraw it again on the canvas. This way I saved a lot of time because I didn’t prime a canvas which is a multi step process with sanding the canvas, painting gesso on it and sanding it again then tinting the canvas. That part needs to be spread out over two days or more. This way I could jump right into painting.

It’s nice not to have to clean the brushes. That is a job.

Paper is working out to be more conservative than canvases, So the palette knife is practical on a lot of different levels.

I am using more paint than I use normally. That’s one drawback to the palette knife.

The palette knife is fun, though, so I’ll do more.

Dunes Sea and Sky / try try again

IMG_2603

Yesterday I slept too late for the best light. It was 9 when I got to the overlook. I decided not to take all my plein air supplies with me because I knew it would be crowded. I only took my color rough from the day before,  my color charts and a pencil to make notes.

When I compared my rough to nature the first thing I noticed is that there’s not enough greenery. Otherwise, not too bad, I thought. So I decided to do another  color sketch. Also, the ocean wasn’t sparkly at 9 like it is at 8 so that solves the problem of painting the sparkles. That wasn’t working out in my trials and I decided to forget about it until some time in the future. I might have to use oils to paint the sparkly water.

I came to another important decision. I decided to paint the panoramic scene at home. I might mess up the paper outside and can’t fix it with watercolors like I can fix a mistake  with oil paint.  There’s less chance of the paper picking up a smudge in the wrong place if I paint it at home as opposed to lugging all my stuff out there in my beach cart. After I get more experience with watercolors I’ll know exactly what I need to take along to paint in plein air and it will be a lighter load than taking oil paints.

If I do another rough sketch of a different area of the panorama and it looks ok compared to nature I’ll feel like I can paint it at home with more confidence. Just one more rough. I think I almost have it all worked out. I want to try to paint the thicker foliage first. This is a challenge and I want it to come out right. That’s why I’m doing so much preliminary work, the sketches, the color roughs, taking my time when making the decisions, etc.

It’s nice to have the luxury of taking my time when doing something difficult, and it’s nice to go there and walk even if I’m not working on an art project.

wave / watercolor practice

IMG_2401

The ocean, it ain’t easy to paint. If I try about 100 more times maybe I’ll get it. That’s ok. This could take years. I won’t give up until I do my masterpiece, hopefully before I die. Until then, you might have to look at some bad art. hahahahahah  If you have any advice for me on technique that would be great.

It was nice out today. Not hot or cold, sunny with a nice breeze. Last time I went to First Landing State Park, by the time I left the parking lot was slam packed. I decided to try a watercolor sketch at Back Bay today because I thought it would be less crowded since it’s a holiday, and it was. I enjoyed sitting on a sand dune to paint this.

We might get some rain tomorrow and this week, so I wanted to get out today for a sketch.

I’ll keep all my bad attempts at painting waves. After I have a bunch of them I’ll take them all out with me and that will help me improve my technique if I can compare them to real live waves. It’s like figure drawing. I’ll keep at it but not constantly.  I go back to figure drawing again and again over the years, and I’m getting better at that. I might not do a figure drawing for a long time. but when you put an art down then pick it up years later, you can pick up where you left off. You don’t forget what you learned before. The hands have a memory and it doesn’t take much time to get back in your previous groove. It will be the same for me painting waves.

horse sketch in charcoal with model horse

IMG_2304

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.

Red Horse, Yellow Sky, Blue Grass

IMG_2292

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.

horse charcoal sketch

IMG_2279

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. IMG_2273

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.