Monday, July 27, 2009

Can I Write Haiku or Can I Write Haiku? Can You?

I don't believe it! I entered Diahn Ott's giveaway at Art by Diahn. She was giving away two of her beautiful paintings - one of a snowy egret and the other of a sparrow (above). The tricky part about the sparrow painting was that you had to write a Haiku. Diahn even provided a how-to lesson. Her (discriminating and obviously very artistic and talented) boys chose the winner. And I won!! Thank you Diahn - it was fun - and thank you Derek and Joshua! (They have a blog too here.) But they must be careful - they are stroking my writer's ego.

Anyway, my Haiku was about the Snowy Egret. You can see a stunning photo of a snowy egret here. The Haiku:

Royal stroll, alone,
Snowy steps of sun on sand,
Crown of white tendrils.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Summer Joy (EDM#229)

5-1/2" x 7-1/2" watercolor on 140 lb. cold press paper.

What is better in the summertime than a long bath? My 13-year old son, Matthew, sometimes stays in the bath so long that he'll finally just slip his legs out over the side of the tub and lean back and relax.

So one day my wife snapped a photo and told me that this would be something good to paint. Since I am relatively new to watercolors, I really liked this challenge. There was masking, the perspective of floor and tile, the texture of the rug, and the molding of the curtains and legs. As an added bonus, the painting meets Everyday Matters Challenge no. 229, "a Summer Joy". [And by the way, the fluffy blue and green things in the upper right hand corner are pouf's (I think) for bathing. Upon questioning, turns out nobody in the family uses them. I was frankly relieved to learn this.]

As an aside, the color of the scanned version is a bit off. The scan tended to make the flesh tones more purplish, and exaggerates some yellow highlights I had placed on the legs.

One question that I have for any watercolorists out there. The color of the rug, when it dried, came out much richer than I expected. When this happens, do you have any suggestions on how to tone the color down? I had been considering a light glaze of a complementary color, but lost my nerve.

Any other suggestions/comments are also, of course, welcome.

Finally, and most importantly, you still have until midnight tonight to win some beautiful free gouache and ink paintings by Diahn Ott at Art by Diahn! Enter now! (Er, how are you at writing Haiku?)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Line 'Em Up

Here is a sketch I did in ink at Chipotle Grill of people in line. I colored the drawing at home with watercolors:

I've drawn quite a few people this last week in both of my Moleskines.

I am using one Moleskine for watercolor sketches. At this stage I am learning something each time and the results are inconsistent. This week the pictures were drawn on site, and colored at home.

Here is man at Einstein Bagles:

And a floating head from Chipotle Grill:

In my other Moleskine I am using mostly ink, some pencil, and some watercolor pencil. I am thinking of using acrylics to see what happens. I see all of the creative things people do with Moleskines, and am thinking I will try to incorporate what I've seen into future efforts. For now though, I've mostly done sketches.

Here are some people I found on tv and quickly drew (no camera stays too long on any one person on tv).

And here is one of the pharmacists at my neighboring pharmacy. I drew this while I was waiting at the drive-in window. My wife had seen my drawing and was barely able to keep a straight face the next time she saw him:

So they line up for me and I line 'em up for you with my own lines and color.

As James Taylor says:

"Yeah, big moon landing,
People all standing up,
Smiles for the loved ones,
They go walking on down the aisles.
Each re-engages, stepping into the sun,
I watch them turn like pages
One by one by one."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One Head is Better Than None

Well, folks, it's been a tough week - slogging through eating establishments with nothing to show for it but food and drink.

Moments of panic: "I've forgotten how to draw!"
Cries of despair: "I've forgotten how to paint!"

My hand and my eyes just wouldn't coordinate. The pen didn't know where to go.

Then finally from the crumbs of one half-eaten sandwich, a single head arose. It was a floating head - gazing beyond the menu towards the heavens.

And though there was that single stray line (which you might think is a pencil-thin goatee, but you would be sadly mistaken my friend) - I was redeemed. And amazingly the blue on the skin seemed to work this time, as compared to the undead pallor I'd given to that other poor girl earlier in the week.

So once again I am on my way, swerving on the artistic road - with every sight a potential target.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

But Seriously, Folks (and Some Matchmaking Too)

This is my version of the Watercolor Challenge "Baza Lakes" by BILBOV. It is one of my first real attempts to do a "serious" (i.e., traditional) watercolor, and I really enjoyed learning the different techniques necessary to do the painting. I loved the composition of the photo and the challenges of earth, sky, and sea. (And it also meets Everyday Matters Challenge no. 148 - Draw or paint something soothing.) I am grateful for the challenge, and am forever amazed at the resources made available by artists on the web for artists of all levels. I feel so fortunate to have found such a supportive and wonderful community in the blogosphere and on flickr.

One great non-web resource I used to learn techniques for this painting is a book entitled "Mastering the Art of Watercolor" by Wendy Jelbert and Ian Sidaway. The book contains mostly step-by-step illustrations on how to complete paintings of provided scenes. While I really hate the idea of recreating another artist's painting step-by-step, I love studying how the wonderful paintings in the book were done, and applying the methods myself.

The ink and watercolor sketches that I have been doing seem to have helped me along in the process of learning traditional watercolor. My initial attempt some time ago at the first exercise in the book, the painting of an onion and pear through overlaying colors, was a disaster. This time, I was able to do it without any problem, although again I worked from the photograph and not the steps because I like to think for myself and make my own painting rather than follow along. It is the learning of the techniques that I believe is important.

Finally, if you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that I draw people in public and sometimes bemoan the fact that I often only have time for their heads. The result is that I have Moleskines filled with "floating heads".

Well, the other day at a restaurant I decided instead to partake in some matchmaking. They both seemed lonely at their separate tables so I brought them together. It seems they have always been together. Their roots are firmly in the 60's, and their three children have long since grown and moved away. Their life together has been rewarding although they may not admit or recognize it. They have a summer cottage at Baza Lakes, I think.
Ah, the magic of art.