Draw a Bird Day, August issue! (100 Face Challenge, #71)

I want to once again thank our friend Michael Emberson at A-Wing and A-Way for letting us know about the annual Draw A Bird Day celebration, which happens April 8 each year. We’ve been celebrating with bird art on the eighth of every month since!     I also want to thank Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd for this tremendous bluebird reference image.    Kathy regularly shares amazing shots of birds, blooms, butterflies, you name it, even poetry on her blog here on WP.   Please check her site out, if you haven’t already.

080816 2

I grabbed a few quick minutes with a pen from the office (the Signo 207 by Uniball used to be water soluble, so have a try if you have one of the old ones, it’s great fun) and my Strathmore Visual Watercolor journal.   This journal is a great one to choose if you’ve always thought you’d like to try watercolor.   It is very inexpensive at $5.29, and you can pick up a really nice starter travel palette, which includes a brush, 12 colors, and 3 mixing wells for under $15.    This is pretty much all you need to begin watercolor sketching, and this time of year is a perfect time to get started! (affiliate links)

FYI, Blick Art Materials is offering Free Shipping for all orders of $35 or more through 11:59 Pacific Time this Friday, August 12!

I’ll be posting a roundup with links to all of the artwork of everyone participating in August’s Draw a Bird Day celebration in about a week.    If you’d like your artwork to be included, please post a link to your work in the comments below.    Thanks so much, and have a wonderful week everyone.    Peace.

Graphite Bunny (100 Face Challenge, #70)

We have a pet wild bunny who escaped a run-in with a fox or some other predator. We’ve been leaving carrots and lettuce out for him daily, and he’s slowly learning to trust us, and plumping up nicely.     The reference image for this pencil sketch came from Brianna at Gold Hearts Blog; thank you, Brianna!     This was done in Faber-Castell 2B graphite pencil in my 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ Canson Universal sketch pad (which, IMO is the best bargain in sketchbooks out there for pencil and pen work at under $5 for 200 pages/100 sheets, and it even takes a light watercolor wash) (affiliate links):

080616

Our cameras aren’t super high-tech, but I may be able to share a photo if one of us gets close enough to snap one.   Ours is a precious Eastern Cottontail rabbit.   So I’ve become a bit obsessed with rabbits lately, and hope to improve on them in the next couple of months.   Speaking of furry critters, I really need to give a shout out to Rebecca Evans at Rebecca Evans Create.com here on WP.   This link is to her Hares page, and she is a magnificent artist, rendering mostly animals and birds, but other subjects too, in all mediums:  oil, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, acrylics, mixed media, collage, 3-D art; you name it.    You owe it to yourself to check out her site.   Her horses are spectacular too, but honestly, everything she does is incredible.   If I were ever to render an animal, any animal, the way she can, I would consider myself “arrived”.

I’ve decided to take a break from news headlines, particularly those about small men embarrassing my country on an all-too-regular basis, take a step back, and set my mind on things that are above, and that will fill up my peace tank, like God, nature, birds, bunnies, sunsets, flowers, trees, and beauty, wherever it lies.   So, not a break from art, but a break from pretty much everything else.   I need to really clear some space for prayer, yoga and meditation, things that will relax me and bring me to a healthy and more balanced place.    You may see me here and you may not, but hopefully I’ll have a post for Draw A Bird Day on Monday, the 8th!   I’ll be doing a roundup post, as well, with links to everyone’s bird art about a week or so after the event.

I hope everyone has a peaceful and restful weekend.     Go make the world beautiful, people!   Please.   We need you.   🙂

Homemade Spray Ink in Golden Molding Paste (Acrylic August, 3/31)

The mad scientist is having lots of fun breathing new life into painting fails recently!   This is acrylic texture product, paint and ink on a 6 x 6″ piece of Gessobord by Ampersand:

080316

This one started out as a painting fail from several months back that I almost wanted to remake as soon as it was posted.   I fished it out of the pile the other day and added some Golden Molding Paste to it to cover what was below, and then drew swirls into the paste with the back end of a paintbrush.   I really love the Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India ink set I bought, but it is extremely strong.   I decided to make my own homemade spray ink by adding drops of it into mini mister bottles partially filled with water, and adjusting the mixture until I was happy with the strength of the spray coming out.

This turned out to be an extremely inexpensive way to make wonderfully vibrant spray ink!    And you can see how strong the colors are.   It also gives you the opportunity to mix up your own colors.    (I recently bought a box of 50 small spray bottles very inexpensively on Amazon (only 32 cents per bottle), and plan to make lots more little bottles of spray ink, as combining the colors and watching them mix on the painting was so much fun.)   This is not only inexpensive, but a fun and easy way to custom make a spray ink (in this case, multiple colors to play together) especially for your project.     I do feel this painting needs a stronger focal point, so I may add a blackbird or crow in the lower right corner.   Speaking of which, the August issue of Draw A Bird Day comes to your WordPress screens this Monday, August 8!    I hope you will help us make WordPress fly by posting your bird art then!    I will do a roundup mid-month with a link to everyone’s beautiful artwork.

Note to my fellow art supply addicts:   Blick Art Materials has extended Free Shipping on orders of $45 or more through this Friday, August 5!    Friends don’t let friends pay for shipping if they can avoid it.   😀   Purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy and thank you!

We made it to the halfway point of the work week!   Blessings to all for a wonderfully productive rest of the week!   Peace.

Golden Fine Pumice Gel and Fluid Acrylic Paint (Acrylic August, 2/31)

I experimented awhile back with Liquitex Glass Bead gel, which is one of the first acrylic mediums I bought months ago. I think I fussed too much with it, and wasn’t happy with the result. The painting needed a remake rescue.

Enter Golden Fine Pumice Gel, which is my favorite of all of the acrylic mediums I’ve tried so far. If you look closely, you can still see some of the tiny glass beads from the bead gel underpainting scattered around, giving texture to the finished piece.   I couldn’t resist adding Golden fluid acrylic paint in Iridescent Copper light fine.   I just love a bit of metallic paint here and there, love the depth and pop those paints create.    And I love all of the lines I see from using my palette knife in the wet Fine Pumice Gel.    This is such a wonderful medium, I am in total love with it.   I hope you will be too, because I bought a 32 oz. jar, and plan to make good use of it!

I still see fine tuning to be done, and perhaps too much of the underpainting shining through here and there, but considering where this painting started out, I am happy with the progress so far.    Plus, it gave me a chance to use my favorite Golden Quinacridone Crimson and Quinacridone Violet Fluid Acrylic paints!    Such depth, especially with a bit of that Iridescent Copper light mixed in.  Dreamy and creamy!

Note to my fellow art supply addicts:   Blick Art Materials has extended Free Shipping on orders of $45 or more through this Friday, August 5!    I don’t know about you, but this makes me very happy.   I love to pay rock bottom prices for art supplies and pay no shipping.   With a no-questions-asked return policy, even on open items…..for one year.    You just can’t beat it!   Yes, I am a paid affiliate now, but I would say the same things, paid or unpaid, about Blick.   Their service, prices, and selection are top-notch!

Yes, I am having a love affair with acrylic paints and mediums.   Hub is aware of my two-timingness, as I did a sanity check with him before ordering a 32 ounce tub of the Fine Pumice gel!    I had completed yesterday’s painting, and then had a nice little makeover with this one, and decided to go a little hog wild!   Looking forward to more mad scientist experiments with Fine Pumice + loads of other textures, media and everything but the kitchen sink!    Peace, and have a great week.

Golden Fine Pumice Gel and Inktense Pencils! (Acrylic August, 1/31)

I’m so glad we’ve turned the page to August! A new theme for this month: I’m going to be playing with acrylic paints and acrylic texture mediums.   I’ll be throwing in watercolor, Inktense blocks and pencils, Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay Ink, gesso, collage, fabric, Paperclay, and everything else under the sun as we celebrate the last month of summer and prepare for wonderful Autumn.  I’m also working on improving my animal and bird drawings in graphite and ink to complete my 100 Face Challenge for 2016, and so those will be sprinkled in as well.    Looking forward to it!

080116

This painting has had a couple of incantations already, and I’ve never been happy with it, so I decided it was time to give it another life.   I have fallen head over heels for Golden’s fine pumice gel, so much so, in fact, that over the weekend, I ordered a 32 oz. container of it from Dick Blick.   I’ve never ordered a 32 oz. container of anything art related, but I just love this stuff (and it’s 65% cheaper per ounce than the 8 oz. jar; quite a difference, I find most Golden products run that way.)   It is like extremely fine sandpaper in gel form.   It is an off-white color and dries translucent.   It can be colored with acrylic paint or ink before applying, but I like to leave it as is, as I usually paint my surfaces anyway.

I spread it on my 5 x 7″ canvas panel, and with my palette knife, made numerous lines into the surface.   It takes several hours to dry, so I left it overnight before painting.   I think what I love most about it is the way it gives texture.   It’s not too thin or too thick, it is just right.  Once dry, it accepts watercolor, as well as ink, acrylic, you name it; I imagine it would be a good surface for pastels as well.    It is also a drawable surface for pencil, pen, charcoal, anything pointy at all, including my Inktense pencils, which is where I went with this piece next.

I drew against the textured lines with various pencils, then used a damp brush to spread the color around and blend.   Inktense pencils are actually ink in pencil form.   (Click here for a color chart and more info.)   They are very vibrant and usually permanent once liquified and allowed to dry.   One thing I noticed when working on the fine pumice gel with them though is that they can still be lifted from this acrylic surface and adjusted once dry, something I have never been able to do with Inktense before.    It was quite helpful for me in this case, as I looked at the painting again in the morning and decided it was much too dark or bright in some areas, and I was able to lift the color back with a damp paintbrush.

(Note:  Blick Art Materials has extended free shipping for orders of $45 or more through 1159pm Central time today, August 1!   Purchases from Blick links will support my site.    Enjoy, and thank you!)    I’d also like to recommend a book I finished reading this weekend:    “The Creative Edge – Exercises to Celebrate Your Creative Self” by Mary Todd Beam.  If you’re interested in mediums of all kinds, including Golden acrylic products, this will give you lots of ideas to run with.   Lots of great inspiration from many artists in there as well.

I enjoyed reviving this painting so much that I’ve decided to do a series of these, so there will be lots more “mad scientist” experiments to come!    I hope you have a wonderful week, and thanks so much for your visits and comments!   Peace.

Geometric Abstract Call to Autumn in Watercolor and Acrylic (World Watercolor Month, 29/31)

I follow a few quilter’s blogs, and one of my very favorites is Tierney’s at Tierney Creates.    She showed us some quilt blocks and projects she is working on in a recent post, and suddenly I had my inspiration for today’s painting:   I would paint my own quilt block!   And I would call refreshing autumn breezes and gorgeous leaves to mind as I paint.   This is roughly 5 x 8″ on Arches 140-lb. cold-press paper:

I do enjoy working in watercolor, but I’ve been missing my lovely Golden acrylic paints a whole lot here lately.    Color that glows from within, easy to apply, dries quickly or slowly depending upon what you mix it with, and whose vibrant opacity covers a multitude of issues…what’s not to love?    I even got some metallic copper in there, oh, it is so much fun!    Once I got the initial watercolor wash in, I wasn’t really happy with all of the color choices I’d made, so I turned to my friendly Golden acrylics in hansa yellow medium, quinacridone magenta, quinacridone burnt orange and Golden acrylic glazing liquid to turn these paints into a glaze that I could use over large areas to help unify my painting.   (As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy Free Shipping until 11:59 pm Central time on Friday 7/29, and thank you!)

Well, the weekend is almost here and I hope you make the time to do a few things you really enjoy this weekend.   Savor the moments!    Peace.

 

Yo, Gesso! (World Watercolor Month, 27/31)

It was one of those days with Lady Watercolor; the lady doth stomp on the toesies at times.   Some days, she leaves bruises.     Ah well….

072716

Thank God for gesso and its ability to “white out” the situation and bring it under control. I have enjoyed this month of watercolor, but my lovely acrylic paints are calling me…….and I will most likely be riding off into the sunset with my other beau come the end of the month.   Oh, and pencils, pens, and all manner of other pointy things besides!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, and I wonder how many “little me”s are out there praying for the cool, refreshing breezes of autumn. Only one big bad hot month to go, y’all! Peace.

World Turning (Reprise): World Watercolor Month 22/31

Ever since I made this painting earlier this month, I’ve wanted to revisit it in order to create a series.    My painting time lately has been very limited, so I thought I’d show a progress post for this one.   This is 5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ on Arches 140-lb. cold press watercolor paper:

072216

So far, this one was created in a very similar process to that described in the original “World Turning” post.   It started with a watercolor background in M. Graham Azo/Aureolin Yellow and Nickel Quinacridone Gold, and then once that dried, I went back in with some M. Graham Phthalo and Prussian blues in watercolor.    Added some Winsor and Newton Green Gold and some M. Graham Viridan in Acrylic Heavy body paint.

I really do like the M. Graham acrylics; they are creamy and very vibrant, much like their watercolor pigments, and less expensive than Golden.   However, Golden fluid acrylics (the paint is like silky heavy cream and very richly pigmented) are unique to Golden, as far as I know, and of all of the acrylics I’ve tried, their fluid paints are the ones that call me back time after time.   In my opinion, they are worth the money, because a little goes a very long way, there is a wonderful range of colors, and they can be watered down for watercolor effects, yet you retain the vibrant hues.

For this painting, though, as it is World Watercolor Month, I tried to make this a primarily watercolor piece, and the only acrylic in this at this stage is some Liquitex acrylic gesso and just that bit of Graham Viridian acrylic in the very dark green on the right-hand side of the first circle.   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site, and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy Free Shipping on orders of $35 or more through midnight Pacific time tonight, plus additional percentage discounts on many items, and thank you!)

I do think this one calls for more depth, so I’m not calling it finished yet, but I’d love to hear your thoughts, and maybe sleeping on it is a good idea too.   Well, we made it to Friday!   Time to shake thy tailfeathers!   Can anyone believe August is almost here?!   I think World Watercolor Month is making it fly by even faster than normal!   Peace and a Happy Weekend to all!

Pear-Shaped (World Watercolor Month, #3/31)

Rolling along with the first annual World Watercolor Month!    I hope you all are enjoying the watercolor artwork here and elsewhere.    This is roughly 8 x 5″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-pressed paper:

070316

I can’t seem to resist bringing an abstract aspect to my paintings, so here you have my abstract-ish pear, and I hope you enjoy.    I went into this monthly challenge a bit on the nervous side, as I had got used to the warm wading pool of acrylic work, where it is oh so easy to cover up mistakes.    Not as easy in watercolor, but I’m going with the flow so far.   I sketched this little pear from life, and it was actually leaning toward me on the table, as sometimes pears do, but looking at this again from a compositional standpoint, I kind of wish I had drawn him a bit flatter.   He definitely wasn’t standing on one tippy-toe, as he appears to be here.   hehe.

Some notes from my third painting of (hopefully) 31 this month:

  1. I really enjoyed the wet into wet aspects of this painting, both in the background and in the colors of the pear itself.   It’s why I fell in love with watercolor nearly two years ago now, and I love to be able to incorporate it into my work in a realistic sense.   When it works, which I think it did here, in the pear itself anyhow.
  2. I found out M. Graham permanent green and azo yellow combine to make that beautiful light green that I really love about this little painting.   Winsor red and Winsor orange helped me out in the base of the pear, along with a little M. Graham burnt sienna.   I believe Graham Prussian blue and phthalo blue played the background roles.
  3. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m surprisingly enjoying this watercolor excursion so far.
  4. I painted my first pear last July (when I coincidentally did my own challenge to paint in watercolor every day that month) at this link – and this one is my second pear, lol.   I don’t usually paint food, or objects, as I prefer living things.    But a pear is the fruit of a living thing, so there you are.    I thought I would prefer this second pear, but not sure about that, after looking back!     Is the first one better?   Wait, don’t tell me.   🙂
  5. Good paper makes a huge difference in watercolor.   140 lb. paper buckles no matter how high the quality is, when you paint wet into wet, as I like to do.  Arches is still a really nice experience though.   But 300 lb. Arches paper is wonderful.   It is like painting on thick, velvety cardboard.   It is much easier to make a painting look good, especially as a beginner, with 300 lb. paper.     It is expensive, but it’s one of those things (like Golden acrylic paint) that is worth the extra money to me.    I want to thank Jodi for trying it and sharing her lovely results, because she is the reason I decided to try it for myself.    She is also the reason I abandoned Strathmore watercolor cards and went to Arches 140 lb.    Thank you, Jodi!   (Note:  As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.   Enjoy, and thank you!)

Blick is offering free shipping on orders of $59 or more through midnight Central time on July 4!

I’m planning to sketch some of Hub’s flowers from life today.   So stay tuned for more watercolor happiness as we join Charlie for World Watercolor Month!   Enjoy your Sunday, and thanks for stopping by and sharing the love.   ❤