Saturday, March 28, 2009

VSD March

Table for two
watercolour & pen and ink

This is my effort for the Virtual Sketch Date. The reference was supplied by Stacy Rowan. These little house finches are appealing and common here, likely common everywhere.

I struggled with this on a couple of counts. I have drawn very few birds and to do justice I usually use a high resolution image which satisfies the detail freak in me. Perhaps I should have tackled it with oils so I could forget about some of the detail in them.

However, in the spirit of VSD, here they are - table for two in a corner of spring.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A day at the beach

A day at the beach
4 x 6 lino print

I was looking for inspiration and found an image I had sketched previously and thought it may make an interesting lino print. Its sort of a cross between Alfred Hitchcock and someone's Uncle Vinnie. :) I mean doesn't everyone have a rather portly relative with a wonderful profile like this?

I sketched it onto a 4 x 6 lino block and then carved out the shapes and light. I did a quick loose print early this morning using a wash of watercolour just to test it. It didn't pick up all the details of course, so I got my printing ink out tonight and did a few prints.

The background of the piece was meant to be completely bare and the water much less as well, as the purple piece is. However, adding the ink with a brayer reached all those areas that I hadn't carved out deep enough and made them stand out. I may reduce those high points where the ink hit the lino and take out some of the water ripples too. What do you think? Do the background lines add to the piece or detract from the subject?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Creating art takes energy. A lot of it is mental and for me completion of a piece that I've worked on steadily is usually followed by a fallow stage, as if my head is empty of all ideas or desire to draw or paint.

Its pointless to fight it, but simply work with it and find other ways to create. There are some portraits to finish as well as some ideas for prints that I must do some work with too. I also find that when I am drained from one medium, I revert back to my comfort zone of graphite or some other dry media and all is well again.

I did this little watercolour pour to get a feel for the process on a smaller scale. I'm not a flower person, but it seemed the appropriate thing to work on in this medium - at least at the moment. Its early days for me with this technique, but the results can be interesting. It takes some time and some planning for it to come together and look as it should. This doesn't really do what I had intended, mostly because I lost patience with drying times and masking fluid, etc., etc. However, the effect of strong sunlight is coming through, so all is not lost.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Coffee bean?

Coffee bean pendant

I was accidentally 'tagged' when I visited Sheona's blog today. She had a photo of a fat bumblebee on her site and I wanted a closer look, then I was it.

The rules are simple: take the 6th photo from 6th file on your computer/usb stick, whatever and blog about it.

My file turned out to be this little pendant that I made and had quite forgotten about. It looks like a perfect little coffee bean, brown with a little indentation down the middle, but in fact its a rock that I found on the beach here. Its a perfect shade of brown and so beautifully smooth. A man made piece could not replicate this little stone. I wrapped it in sterling silver to make it suitable for putting on a chain and haven't gotten around to posting it on Etsy - because I'd forgotten about it.

I won't name names so as not to cause stress. But if you're interested, consider yourself tagged and join in. Who knows what lurks in your hard drive archives...

Monday, March 23, 2009

More symbolism

I'm taking a little respite from slapping paint all over the studio and did a little bit of sedate drawing. Well, ok, there was one more fish print painting, but that was just to use up the rest of the left over paint so it wouldn't go to waste.

Since my last sketch of a symbolic drawing of myself, I did another and here it is. I also have another couple simmering. They're quite fun to do and they make you pull all kinds of things out of your imagination. Then it becomes a puzzle to fit things in around an initial and make them look somewhat recognizable.

All of the elements here are done without references, but I will go back and recheck some references for proportion and actual shapes as memory always sees somewhat differently than reality.

Once I have these sketches complete, I'll add some detail and colour and see how they evolve from there. If anyone wants an exercise in creativity and imagination, try one of these, I'd love to see your results.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

All poured out

Barbs (crop)
22 x 30 watercolour & acrylic ink

I'm calling this done as I think if I play with it anymore it will just turn to mud.

I toyed with a couple of ideas for colouring the wire. One was to do a controlled pour, wetting the wire only and hoping a stream of paint would stick within the wet paper and not travel too far into the dry. The other was to use washes of loose watercolour to paint the wire.

I decided on the latter as my hands are still stained with inks and paints from yesterday's pour and I just couldn't face the mess again. I'll experiment more with smaller pieces where I can control the flow of paint into trays. Large sheets like this one will be reserved for outdoors in the summer.

I masked the area surrounding the wire and started adding washes of colour, leaving the white of the paper for highlights on the wire. In retrospect, I wish I'd left it at that, but of course, my inner brain told me to add more layers of colour. Don't always listen to your inner brain.

I ended up with a darkened version, some of which I like, some I don't. But its set in stone now and overall I like it. I can't get a good image of this. I'll have to take it upstairs for some good light to photograph it tomorrow. The colours are more vivid and the background greener in reality.