Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mildly Pissed Off

Well, it's the equivalent of bitching because I no longer get free ice cream, but apparently Blogger no longer allows me to upload images directly from my computer.  I have to go through Picasa Web, or they'll be happy to get access to my phone or webcam.  Yeah, right.

Thanks Blogger.  Looks like I go looking for an alternative.

Friday, November 30, 2012


I have other new sketches and painting to post... maybe later, but one thing I've been playing with for the past month is 'masa', or rice paper.  On one of the art forums I frequent, there are monthly project and idea kickers, and this one intrigued me enough to give it a go.

First step was to order the paper.  Ten sheets of masa from Dick Blick for a very reasonable price, and I was surprised to find that each sheet was 22"x30"!  Woo hoo!  I have enough to do some serious play.

The idea here is to use the natural fiberous nature of the paper to do some abstract work.  For this first one I crumpled the paper (about 5"x7") and soaked it in water.  Then I dropped in some ink (Noodler's Red-Black) which feathered nicely.  While the paper was still wet I touched some watercolor pigments onto the paper.  At the end, I decided that I liked it best standing up on end.

Next up, same basic idea, but I used a few different tools to make marks.  Again, ink and watercolor, but this time I added some spatters of irridescent medium to the page.

For the third one, I pre-painted the paper with streaks of color, then dropped in a bunch of ink.  You'll notice that the inks I've been using are not waterproof, so they react beautifully on the wet paper.

On the next three, I did the crumple and soak to the paper, but then added some origami-style folding (cone and fan folds) before dropping in - yep, more ink and watercolor.

I picked up some india ink, to see what would happen if I used permanent, waterproof ink to start with.  We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September - Roller Coaster

What a month, and it's not over yet.  We had the joys of helping to plan daughter Rachael's wedding, and the extreme sadness of the passing of my father-in-law.

These sketches were done in one afternoon/evening when going with Rachael to the first fitting of her wedding dress.  They're all done with a Lamy Safari fountain pen with Levenger's Empyrean ink, washed with a waterbrush for shading.

This was an apartment building across from the parking lot where I waited for Rachael to arrive on the metro.

Inside the bridal shop, I was sitting in front of a wall-sized mirror, in a large room full of wall-sized mirrors and doors.  This one was fun.

After the mirrors, I drew a few quickies, just to unwind a little bit.

The one on the right is the lower part of Rachael's dress, done quickly while she stood on a platform while the seamstress pinned up the hem to the correct length.

It was a very pleasance evening.  Not too long after, life went to hell in a handbasket.  We're through the worst of it now, with a new appreciation of what family means.

August Sketches - Part 3

A diabetic friend told me about a new insulin replacement for diabetics.  Odd stuff.  I drew a cartoon.  Those three statements actually relate.

Next up are a couple of sketches I did while visiting our local farmer's market.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August Sketches - part 2

I've been squeaking in time for art whenever possible this month, but it's been tight.  Mostly all I've been able to manage is quickie sketches here and there.

All of these were done in my 3"x5" Handbook journal, landscape format.

This first one was done with a Pilot Razor pen and a waterbrush, looking out the window of the doctor's exam room while waiting for him to show.  The Razor is pretty sweet to draw with because it washes beautifully with a touch of water.

A bunny sculpture out in the front yard, done with a fountain pen with Levenger's Empyrean ink.  Again, it's not waterproof, so it washes nicely with a waterbrush.

This one was from a photo on the internet.  The hiker was taking some photos and when he panned sideways he found this bear playing peek-a-book with him from about 10 feet away.

A couple of quickies just to draw something.  On the left is a bandana hanging in my room, and on the right is a tree from my imagination.

This next one has a bit of a story with it.  It shows a view looking down the street from in front of the building where I work in downtown Washington DC.  While enjoying the sun and sketching away, a plainclothes security agent came up and wanted to know what I was doing.  Seems that someone had reported me to the guards inside and said I was drawing maps and taking notes!  Everything was cool after I showed him what I was doing.  This was another painting done with the limited palette I carry in my pocket sketch kit.

Another limited palette painting, just to unwind and zen out a little bit.  I think I need to learn to photograph these sketchbook pages rather than scan them, because the colors just don't come out true, and I'm not good enough with the software to tweak them enough to look right.

So yeah, that's it for now.  Please contain yourselves.  LOL

Saturday, July 28, 2012

En Plein Air

En Plein Air means 'in the open air' and it refers to getting outdoors to draw or paint a subject.  Monet, Renior, Sargent and many others were enthusiastic about creating art in this fashion.

It's been a beastly hot summer here in the mid-Atlantic states, but we had a couple of tolerable days this week where I was able to get out and sketch en plein air over lunch.

As always, you can click on these for bigger.  They were all done in a 3"x5" Handbook sketchbook. 

This first one was from memory of my daughter's backyard, as seen out her back door. I was watching her critters last weekend, and spent a fair amount of time looking at this. The light and shadow through the trees caught my eye.  Done with a Pilot Razor pen and a waterbrush to wash the soluble ink. 

Did this one over lunch from a picture of a Scottish castle that I googled up.  This one, and the next two were done with the limited watercolor palette I've been playing with.

Tuesday and Wednesday were beautiful days, so I went walkabout over lunch. The first is the corner of a building on the George Washington University campus. Insane angles and perspective, so of course I ignored my pencil and dived right in with pen. The watercolor wash was done in about 3 minutes as it started to rain a little bit and lunch was nearly over.

And the other was this very interesting tree across the street. Again, the play of light and shadow caught my eye.

I'm ready for cooler weather to come back.  I have a mental list of things I want to sketch in DC once I can be outside without my brains broiling.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More July

Still sketching and painting.  As always, click for bigger.  These were all done in a 3"x5" Handbook sketchbook.

This first one is from a photo taken last year on one of our backpacking trips. Phoebe is gone now, but she loved every second of our hikes.

These next four are experiments for me.  I found a link to a Spanish architect who did amazing sketches and used a minimal palette. The idea intrigued me, so I put together 3 half-pans and a piece of sponge in a mini-Altoids tin.   The colors are Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold and Indigo (all Winsor & Newton). I've got a long way to go to really unlock the potential here, but so far I'm enjoying the ride.

More coming.  I know you can't wait.  Ha!