Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Painting how-to

Early this morning I rode my bike to this spot and took a few pictures.  When I got home I made a quick black and white value sketch, stretched some watercolor paper and when it was dry masked out the areas I wanted to keep white. 
I then poured liquid watercolor over the paper. First yellow, then red and finally blue.


Here it is with the mask removed.
I then painted in the tree trunks and created more textures in the foreground and the bushes on the far side of the river. Unfortunately I didn't take any more process pictures, but here's the final result.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What I learned

At the end of 20 days of posting new art work every day I learned:

1. I can do more than I think I can
2. Ideas come. I may have no inkling of what I'll post in 2 days, but when the time comes so does the idea.
3. Even the rather limited accountability of telling my small online world of my plan makes it more likely to succeed.
4. Modest goals work better than huge ones - I couldn't have kept this up indefinitely.
5. Promising to do something daily gets people coming back to check and see what's next.
6. I even sold something.
7. I'm happiest when I'm creating (unless it's when I'm singing). I know this, but it can still be hard to get down to it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Subtractive watercolor painting

The basis of this painting was done back to front! I painted two layers of cobalt blue and then one of indigo before I started, adding more water as I moved down the page so that the bottom would be lighter. The cobalt blue is easy to keep smooth and even, the indigo much less so. I used a circle of masking tape to keep the moon white (and later softened its edges). I then removed color with a wet brush quickly followed by mopping with a paper towel. You can get almost all the way back to white paper with these two pigments (other colors are much more staining). The white on the fox's face and tail were not masked first, but just had their color lifted. I then added color to the fox, but the underlying blue helps keep him in the same moonlit spectrum of light - he doesn't show up quite as red in the actual painting. I added a little definition on the trees with indigo paint and a fine brush, but whereas I'd originally intended to make them clearly birches, I found that I preferred the softer focus of the subtractive process rather than defined markings. I also worked the middle section of the background so that it looks like a more distant hill.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

O little town

I enjoy the work of Lisa Congdon although her work is much more graphic designy and modernist than mine. Anyway she's done a number of pictures of little towns and they inspired me to try one. I decided to use gouache as I wanted the rather chalky colors that can provide. I liked what happened at this first stage and was a bit afraid of losing it as I added detail so I recorded it. I had originally thought I wanted flat color but ended up liking the variation that happened when I used the paint quite diluted.
I then went ahead and added black marker and white acrylic ink lines.
It's a little hard to know where to stop with the details...



Monday, April 21, 2014

My daily painting

I realized that followers of my blog may wonder what happened to my challenge to myself to create a new piece of art every day for 20 days. It looks as thought there are quite a few gaps, but in fact I've been posting my daily piece at my Facebook page, Alison Kolesar Illustrator. I've just used my blog to talk about pieces that needed a bit more explanation. Anyway here's today's piece.
It's a straightforward watercolor that needs no explanation other than that the blossoms are not painted from life - we don't get leaves or blossoms on the trees around here before May! And the bird's colors are made up, so if it looks like a kind you recognize that's just by chance.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Inspired by Norman Rockwell

I was thinking about Easter bonnets (as something to draw - I won't be wearing one), which brought to mind this image by Norman Rockwell
although I know it's just called "Walking to Church" and isn't specifically Easter.
This is the drawing that resulted
Then I wondered about superimposing these three on an old photo of a street and it turns out that this one is in the archives of the Norman Rockwell museum as a reference photo used by Rockwell himself.
So I had to put them together.




Saturday, April 12, 2014

Learning something new

I enjoy looking at surface pattern designs, but have very little understanding of how to create them. I took a little step forward in my learning with this image. First I sketched a bunch of things from my kitchen. Here's one page from my sketch book.
Then I scanned them into the computer, played around with the relative sizes, placed them together on one page, and printed it out.

More work with tracing paper, moving things around, adding a few more objects, and then I inked the final piece.
Here's where the computer fun started. I scanned it back into Photoshop and tried out a few things I'd learned by searching online. First here's what happens when you go to Image, then Adjustments, then Invert.

But I wanted a white line and colored background. That involved going to Select, using the eyedropper to pick up the white, then to Layer, New, and Layer via Cut, which puts the line work on a layer of its own. You can then color another new layer and change the order of the layers so the white line is on top.



And here's a bonus one where I somehow managed to color the lines rather than the background. Still learning!