Saturday, February 06, 2010

Koi pool complete

I have been without telephone, television and internet for the last 24 hours due to the blizzard that hit, leaving a calling card of about 45cm of snow.  Not fun.

But the lack of distractions increased productivity in terms of painting and the business and marketing side of art.  I rearranged files, catalogued images, tranferred documents and images to my external hard drive and created new ones.  I may never find anything ever again...

I continued work on the batik-like watercolour that I started the other night and am calling it complete now.  I have to say that I quite enjoyed painting this and love the colour contrasts.  I'm planning more when using this paper and have another piece started that I will use as a step by step piece for anyone who wants to try this technique.

This is done on a half sheet of masa paper which is glued to another half sheet of 140lb Bockingford watercolour paper. Buckling wasn't too much of an issue, nothing that flattening it under a box of paper won't cure.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Koi pool

Insomnia has benefits and drawbacks. 

Last night, well this morning, I woke and couldn't get back to sleep.  My mind kicks into gear as soon as I'm awake and the longer I lie in bed willing myself to sleep, the worse it becomes.  So I gave in and got up.  It was 3:30am.

Armed with a cup of coffee, some digestive biscuits and a long cold night I decided to prep some more masa paper for a new painting.  My sights are set on koi carp in this one and by the time light filtered through the window of the studio, I had the piece drawn and the paper wetted, crumpled, painted and drying.

It looks very abstract right now but is coming together slowly.  Masa does become much more fragile when wet, so it doesn't take much moving paint around or scrubbing.  You can't lift pigment out of the paper either so once you've made your mark, you're more or less stuck with it.

The drawback of insomnia is that I was tired all day and still am.  But I'm fighting it til normal bedtime in the hopes that I can sleep. If not, well there's always another painting to do.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A murder

A murder of crows. Why are they called that?  I think its more the poetic terminology for a group of crows or ravens and the scientific word for the collective would be flock, like most other birds.

I'm working on the background for the crow painting and am not happy with it so far  Its just....blah.  I may see if I can save it or simply add the piece to the never never pile in the big drawer.  I hadn't planned a background for this piece as it wasn't intended as a full painting, more an exercise in colour and form.  Then I got carried away.  Not always a good idea.

There are elements of this that I like, but a lot I don't. I accept that everything I do won't turn out to match the vision in my head.  I also accept that each piece whether good or bad becomes a learning experience for me.

Update:  I've added this image Feb 4/10 as a better resolution image of the crow itself and a meeker background.   

And now for the murder of crows.  In Ottawa, every night a huge number of crows gather near the Experimental Research Farm to roost.  Dusk or dawn you can see, and hear them in their hundreds.  What makes them gather - and only in fall and winter - no one is really sure.  There is a thought that these are the younger birds but no concrete research has been done that I know of.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ol' blue eyes

I usually have sketchbooks all over the house, pretty much in every room in fact, just in case something inspires me.

While the crow is still in progress, this blue eyed cat caught my eye.  Blue eyes in cats is usually reserved for Siamese and similar breeds but sometimes finds its way into crossbreeds.

This cream/ginger cat has the most beautiful eyes and because I love to draw eyes, I started it just as an informal sketch.   I also wanted to use some coloured pencils again, as I haven't touched them for awhile.  Its always a pleasure for me to get back to drawing again.

These are the progression shots I took along the way going from bottom to top.  It was done on Dayler Rowey Earthbound sketchbook, recycled brown paper using Derwent Coloursoft pencils.

If I had a cat with eyes such a lovely blue as this I'd be doing a lot of portraits of it I think.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Corvids continued


I have done more work on the crow, mostly building values and am nearly there.  Now I can start the fun part of adding detail to the piece.  This is watercolour, but may end up as a multimedia painting.  It depends on where I want to go with it.  Some times paintings just tell you what to do.  I just need to listen carefully enough.

Do you remember Alfred Hictchcock's film, The Birds?  Its outdated now in terms of special effects but at the time it sent chills down spines and a greater respect for birds of all kinds, bringing a whole new meaning to 'a murder of crows'.

While I don't hold much store for malicious intent in crows or most other animals (that seems reserved for humans), I do respect their intelligence.  In the TED talks, Joshua Klein gives an interesting lecture on the ability of crows to learn.  Fascinating.  Next time the vending machine won't work for you, find the nearest crow to help!