Inktober 2019: #5 Build

Today’s post #5 for Inktober 2019 – Build – is a lot easier than yesterday’s was, for whatever reason.  In keeping with my promise to myself, this was drawn with homemade iron gall ink.  I created different shades with diluting the ink with water, letting it dry, and then adding more ink to layer it into darker shades.  It seems to work pretty well.  I also used two different pen nibs for the line work – in iron gall with a dip pen – along with an old paint brush I am willing to sacrifice as iron gall is a higlhy corrosive ink over time.

And, if you operate this critter, please excuse my inaccuracies!

Inktober 2019: #4 Freeze

I am having a bit of a problem getting my head around some of these prompts, or maybe I am just distracted by other things and projects.  To me “freeze” means to make something frozen, or to freeze action – but that is hard to express.  So, perhaps the thaw in contrast with the North Pole will resolve this conflict!

A Class with Rick Surowicz: “Abandoned” (Day 3)

One thing that makes Surowicz’s online YouTube videos, and now his class “Abandoned”, is the fact he is very informative about color mixing.  Color is essential to convey distance – foreground and background – light, warmth.

Today I worked through 4 studies of color, using for the greens cerulean blue, raw sienna, burnt sienna, and then some pyrrol red to help temper the green.  The neutral color is made up of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

This scan is of the first study.  The cerulean and siennas were at the top, sap green at the bottom.

Surowicz says he mixes his color on the palette, which he demonstrates, using large areas to get a lot of color.  He rinses his brush, blots his brush, and varies the amount of color on a brush to determine how light (more water) or how dark (less water).

These little swatches show not only color that is strong, but how they merge and blend when more water is added.  The studies are for warm and cool greens, but I find it hard to determine them.  The following studies are supposed to demonstrate the warmth and coldness a bit more.

Here we have a formula for a cooler green mixture:  Cerulean blue, Sap Green and Raw Sienna.  The area circled is demonstrably a cold green.

Here we now have a formula for a warm green:  Raw Sienna and Sap Green.  The addition of the Cerulean Blue is what makes the mixture cold.  The two colors by themselves create a warm green, and the formula is not one I would have considered prior to this class.  The Pyrrol Red is used to move the green to a more neutral state (red and green are complementary, and can negate each other when combined), but more green may be needed to return it to green – Pyrrol Red is intense! The red is also warm, so the green remains warm, even if neutral.

Finally, the well-known (at least to watercolorists) combination of Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue.  This is one of the most useful color combinations as it can range from pale to almost black.  Many watercolorists use the two as a replacement for black.

Thoughts

This section of the class is really valuable to me.  I actually can see the warmth and coldness of the greens in these color combinations.  That is very important.  Conceptually it is very important for me as I lack depth perception and am a magpie when it comes to colors.  Subtlety is not in my vocabulary.  However, that doesn’t mean I do not have an appreciation of soft colors – they just are not my first choice!  The neutral tones with the Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue are some of my favorites, but it was a good study to remember the softness they can achieve as well.

Note

Because of Inktober 2019, I may not get a chance to view “Abandoned” every day and practice, but I don’t want to allow more than one day pass between sessions.  I am really into this class and enjoying it a great deal!

Inktober 2019: #3 Bait

Today’s prompt for Inktober 2019 is “bait” – bait?!  Jail bait.  Cut bait.  Click bait. Take the bait.  Switch and bait.  Crow bait.  All kinds of bait.

I went for the obvious:  a fish lure and a mouse trap.

I also decided that I would use my homemade iron gall ink that I made earlier this year.  Iron gall ink is present in manuscripts, old letters, and the sketchbooks of yore.  It’s something I haven’t done yet, and thought it could be a fun (and very messy) project for the month of Inktober.

So, a fish lure.  I didn’t decide on the iron gall ink until last minute, so the initial drawing was done with a fountain pen and the washes done with the iron gall, sometimes directly applied, other times diluted.  I am using a throwaway brush because iron gall corrodes things, such as pen nibs, so it will most likely do a number on the brush.

A mouse trap with a really generous bit of cheese – and probably an unrealistic amount at that!

So, baited we are.

Inktober Has Begun – And I Am Late Already! (#1 Ring, #2 Mindless)

Inktober happens every year.  A prompt, ink, and there you go.  This year I am off to a late start, but did some quick sketches to catch up with myself.

I did this one as I drank coffee out on the patio, pondering what #1 Ring could be about.  I thoughts of rings of friends and family, of those you love.  I started out drawing hearts but just didn’t get anywhere with it.  And, right in front of me, the rings of my tomato cages, piled up in a pot that has been harvested of its whatever.  So, rings in the cages, and from there, the ring of life.

Yeah, this is a bit sick!  But I have been watching “Grimm” on Amazon, and it is perfect for #2 Mindless.  A mindless show, a mindless thing to do (binge-watching something so silly), and, I admit, a pleasant way to spend a bit of time when I don’t particularly feel motivated to be more than mindless.

See ya tomorrow!  And hopefully, some progress with my “Abandoned” watercolor class, too.

A Class with Rick Surowicz: “Abandoned” (Day 2)

Today I moved forward a few steps, in part because I’ve been busy with other things.  However, I am determined to work every day on this class, to keep myself from forgetting things.  There is a lot to learn, even though it may not appear to be such.

Moving from the value studies, the next step is color value studies, for light, medium and dark, but also for warm and cool greens and neutral colors.  To me, this is often an issue.  I don’t perceive colors as “warm” and  “cool” visually – I see them intellectually, meaning I know some formulas for mixes.  This section of the course, then, is very important for me – it’s a road map for future work.

Cool green are achieved by using sap green with a tinge of pyrrol red, raw sienna, burnt sienna, and (to my surprise) cerulean.  In the video, Rick mixes these colors and uses them for the trees in the background, behine and beside the house.  Warm greens are created with raw sienna and sap green, with a tinge of pyrrol red to neutralize the sap green.  These greens are used in the foreground grasses and bushes in front of the house.  I can see the differences in my color study, but they are subtle.  However, painting is a skill and learning such things, and memorizing them, adds to the basic skillset of painting.

Finally, using burnt umber and ultramarine blue (supposedly a warm blue!), dark values were created.  These two colors often are used in painting to replace what we may consider to be black visually.  Now we have a color study with values of light, medium, and dark.  These should help with the final painting when considering what to do!

Besides explaining the usage of color, Rick states he does not mix his colors on the paper, but on the palette, getting the consistency he wants before applying it to the paper.  Other painters take a color directly to the paper, and then mix as they go along.  Both techniques have their points.  I find my colors are more pure when I take them directly to the paper, but easier to turn to mud if not carefully done.  The palette method of mixing colors allows for testing swatches of colors on scrap paper.

Looking at the above study, I think I want the trees behind the house to be a bit darker (more contrast?) along with the windows on the far left, second floor, of the house.

More tomorrow!

A Class with Rick Surowicz: “Abandoned” (Day 1)

I’ve long wanted to try one of Rick Surowicz‘s online watercolor classes, but haven’t felt focused enough to take the time to do so.  Yesterday I decided I was ready.  His classes are not expensive compared to other artists’ classes – $39.00.  I think that is a worthwhile investment.  And a bargain.  Surowicz has a number of videos on YouTube which I find so informative and educational that I thought a class with greater depth of what he does, how he thinks, would be a great benefit.

The class I decided on is called “Abandoned.”  I can do okay with water and trees, but buildings and perspective are a problem.  This was the primary reason for this choice.  Additionally, there are structural elements, such as planes and angles and deciding proportions.  I am not good at this at all!

So, today I sat down, downloaded and printed out the PDF files.  I got out my sketchbook and did the preliminary work – sketches of four different compositions and value studies of two of them. (Click on one to see the gallery.)

I am full of good intentions, but very bad at executing them!  I keep telling myself to do value studies, but don’t.

Making all these sketches -12 in total – came with an amazing “ah ha!” moment:  drawing the same thing multiple times gets you familiar with it.  I started learning where the chimneys were, the slants of the roof, the arches.  The house became like a friend who you haven’t seen for awhile – but the features are so familiar.

Here, on the one with 3 values (white, medium, dark), Rick had us consider light from the left and light from the right.  There are similarities and differences, and if you look, you will see them.  This was fascinating as I have never done anything like this – I’ve done value studies, but not with a changing direction of light.

So far I am really pleased with the course content.  Rick has an even pace when he speaks, and his reasons are clear.  As someone who taught for many years, I tend to be highly critical of online courses.  So far, I am very happy.  Content is clear, and progresses logically.  I am looking forward to continuing more tomorrow!  Thank you, Rick!