Thursday, October 31, 2013

Online Painting Class with Jane LaFazio

What a world we live in! I am taking an online illustrated journalling class with Jane LaFasio. I'm up here, she's down there and the other participants are all over the US, Canada and Australia. I think that is pretty cool. Here are a couple of versions of assignment 1. Fruit. I definitely am guilty of trying too hard; never a good strategy in watercolour. The final version I did in my tiny journal was fast, fresh and probably the best of the batch. Of course by the time I got to that painting, I had looked very carefully and painted 2 or 3 other versions. There is something to be said for practice too.

Nice pomegranate, overworked middle pear. Dang!

Fast and fresh in my miniature sketchbook

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blazing Out

I was going to call this post "Fading Beauty" because both images show flowers that are past their best. But it is pretty obvious that the colours are anything but fading. It has been such a remarkable fall for colour. The low angled, bright sunlight has had everything glowing brilliant red, yellow, orange, purple and green. Even the browns are vibrant this fall. Maybe in the season of shrivelling and death, there is a metaphor in the blazing riot of fall colour. Or maybe there is just beautiful, sunlit colour.

 Rose Hip


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's a Dog

I had a great idea when I started to paint this teapot. It would be a quick flowy painting and I would do cool line work on top. I've been trying to get better at line work. Well, here is the proof that good ideas don't always come out as planned. This teapot is a real dog of a painting.

I live in a neighbourhood where people really love their dogs. By calling my lousy teapot  painting a dog, I could be accused of being dogist and insulting all of the neighbourhood dogs. So I painted a dog from a picture on the internet. The dog painting turned out to be quite sweet so even though it is a dog, it's not a "dog".

Now I see that I mentioned a "lousy" teapot painting. I think you can guess what my next painting might be.....entomologists stay tuned.

Bad Dog

Good Dog

Saturday, October 19, 2013

When to STOP: Tree Peony Seeds in Several Movements

Sometimes I draw something I like so much that I'm afraid to take the next step. And then I add paint and I like it so much that I don't want to add another wash. And then I add a shadow wash and I like it so much that I don't want to add page design or writing elements. So I do some writing and maybe a border and I realize I've overdone it and lost the freshness somewhere along the way. And I say, "Why didn't I stop earlier?!" But if I'd stopped earlier, I may never have put pen to paper, or brush to paint, or put my eye to page design or bothered to reflect and write. The lovely potential illustrated journal page would have been left in my mind's eye.

I spoke to an abstract artist who was showing his work in a small French town this past summer. I asked him how he knew when to stop and of course he said that this questions was every artist's dilemma. It is a constant push and pull, exploring something fully and learning about the process but not to the point where the painting is tied up in a tight little opaque ball of sweat and over intention. That's why I love watercolour so much. It is pretty obvious when the freshness has fluttered away, beating a hasty retreat from an over zealous painter.

1. Pen on Watercolour Paper
The technology we have today gives us a chance to capture the steps along the way as we draw, paint, paint some more, design and reflect. So here goes; tree peony seeds in several movements. The question remains. When should I STOP?
Nice pen contour drawing. I was tempted to stop here.

2. First Wash of Watercolour

Trying to decide about simple base colours to set the light tones. Also trying to leave some sparkly white. Pretty bland so I was not tempted to stop here.

3. Darks and colours. 

Zeroing in on the darks while trying to keep things fresh and colourful.

4. Final Shadows

Final touches of Cobalt Blue to add a few shadows. Okay, I think I will stop now. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Persimmons and More Persimmons!

I got a bit carried away with persimmons. I just love the shiny orange peel with the leathery green brown leaf on top. The shape is roundy but almost square. And they look so great with the white paper showing the reflection of the light. I've been trying to be less precious about the painting so I can learn more about how to paint shadows and draw a few more shading and detail lines. But then I see how lovely and glowy the paint is, and I can't bring myself to mess around.

Pure Colour with a Few Lines

Colour and Contour Lines

Crazy Lines
I finally managed to get the pen in enough to push the painting too far. I figure you can't really learn about how to draw and paint if you don't take the process past the point of what looks good.

What's a Persimmon Without the Colour? Aww. 
And here is the way to spend waiting time when I've forgotten to bring my paints. Damn!

Tea Time

A sweet friend moved away to go to university this year. She started a tea time ritual with her new friends on campus. As a way of keeping in touch, I pulled out one of my grandma's tea cups and painted a card for her. When I spoke to her recently on Skype, I was flattered to see the card posted on her Tea Time wall. I raise my cup to her and wish her the best in her first year away from home. And I'm sure she will whip up some stealth brownies to eat as she sips her favourite cha.
Grandma's Cup