Sunday, April 26, 2009

From Inspiration to Toilet Paper

This week I was inspired to paint a house. This is because of the beautiful watercolor paintings of houses by Nina Johansson that she posted on her blog. I would love to learn to paint like her.

I almost didn't post this painting because I am not particularly pleased with it. But then again, why should I be? Watercolors are new to me. Still I promised when I started this blog to share my progress, and there is no progress to be seen if I do not post "the beginning", is there? So here it is, more of an illustration than a painting, I think.

Watercolors are interesting. I have always worked from mid-tones or darks to lights. It seems that watercolor is the opposite, and you must patiently build layer after layer. I finally understand this. This knowledge in hand, I gave it a try. I think I was doing okay for a while, and then my true impatient (or impetuous) nature took hold. Acrylics/oils is more my temperament I am sure, but I feel challenged. Besides, watercolor is easiest when out and about, so I think it is valuable to master. There is also a certain discipline that the other mediums do not have.

Speaking of "out and about", here is another life drawing from Einstein Bagels - only he was next door in Starbucks and I could see him through the door. Perfect subterfuge! He moved, though, before I could sketch the body.This morning I drew a particularly poor sketch of a gentleman engaged in conversation at Panera's. Later, at home, I drew from the sketch onto a special paper I found, well, hanging around. The pen marks spread, creating a neat effect. And the final drawing was not as "crappy" as the first sketch. In fact, I rather like it. My wife thinks he looks spooky though. Go figure.

Pilot Varsity on toilet paper.


  1. All of these are awesome. I would have said the first one was a pastel drawing, if I were to guess. How did you achieve that texture with watercolor? You may feel this is a failed painting, but I would think there are many useful ways to apply this technique!

    LOL...I do like the sketch on toilet paper!

    Oh...and the new profile sketch is awesome!!! (I need to learn some new adjectives if I'm going to be commenting on people's artwork!)

  2. Thank you Raena! You are always so supportive. As for the watercolor looking like a pastel, beats me. I started by laying thin washes, added pigment for darker washes where I saw shadows, waiting for each layer to dry (mostly), and then sort of went wild, stippling with the fan brush, adding details with the color pencil, adding color here and there with the brush. Overworking, I'd call it. If I figure it out, I'll let you know.

    I'm glad you like the profile sketch. As I drew it, it was yours I thought about as an example.

  3. I love that last sketch! You shouldn't tell us everything....
    Keep going with watercolor - you've made a good start. It's hard at first but soon becomes second nature.

  4. watercolours have to be the most difficult IMO, looks great, fantastic to keep a record of what you are doing that way you can look back to see how far you have come.
    Haha toilet paper drawing awesome!