Saturday, August 19, 2017

Yes, That Does Work Better

Yes, it does work better to use appropriate paper and, yes, the best paper for watercolor is more expensive than the stuff I usually use.  Surprise!

Two nights ago, I played around with a purple pepper that someone gave me from their garden. The experience was enhanced by using paper suited for the task. It was fun, trying to push the color around where I wanted it.

All of this led to a good conversation with my partner. Beginners need the good stuff, probably more than the experts. An experienced cook can julienne up a bunch of vegetables with any old knife much better than a beginner. Why can it be so hard to honor the spirit of learning and use an appropriate tool that will help you learn?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Delayed Happiness

After a long, long hiatus, I made it to the Como Zoo yesterday to sketch. I visited the flamingos and ducks, puffins, and big cats. My goal was to do some rough sketches and play with watercolor using good paper for a change (a soft cover Strathmore Mixed Media 500 pad to be exact). When I've played with watercolor here and there at home, it hasn't gone well. This is mostly because I am learning and have no idea what I am doing, but it doesn't help that I've been using cheap paper.  Yesterday was the day that I was finally going to use the "good" stuff.

Normally, I am in my happy place when I am at the zoo, but that was not the case. I felt anxious and I think it was because I was using "good" paper. It felt wrong to use it for warm up sketches. Plus, I never got around to playing with watercolor. I kept thinking that I should have bought some of the crappy paper to use, because it felt like I was wasting my "good' paper. All of this caused a massive uprising of the internal critic who resides in my head.

Today's conclusion is that good paper is no good if it does not get used. While I have a lot of practice paper, I think it's time to spend a week or two using the good stuff to get over the idea that any paper is precious.

Looking back at yesterday's sketches, they are decent practice sketches of items in life. The fact that birds and animals move, so that I could not finish any sketches, did not frustrate me as much as usual. Also, I like that I have practice drawings overlapping each other. For a very long time, it just felt wrong to overlap things. Now, I'm trying to be deliberate. Sometimes I overlap. Sometimes I don't. Most of the time, as Roz would say, I'm not out to make a pretty page. I'm trying to learn!

I am going to try and not step on my own happiness in the moment by getting obsessed about things that don't matter. (Smile). This is a good philosophy to apply all realms, not just drawing and painting.

On a separate, here is an outline of Dorian that I did several nights ago. To me, this one captures her face and body position quite well, except for the lines that denote her hip.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


This was a well-documented tomato. First, it was sketched. Next, it was painted.

I am referring to it in the past tense, because, tonight, it was part of my dinner.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

You Say Tomato (Sketch)

I say sketch of an heirloom tomato, specifically Kellogg's Breakfast. This is a large beefsteak variety of tomato and I was surprised to find a beautiful, ripe one in my community garden. Last night, I did two warm up sketches of this tomato from different angles and finished up with this one.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Edgy Homework

While I've been enjoying sketching lately and have really been enjoying sketching loosely with a soft pencil, painting has not been going so well. I have at least one more painting that will not see the light of this blog. Focus has been a problem. Yesterday, I slowed down and concentrated on my paint strokes. I also went back to painting on a black background.

The goal was to work on a homework assignment. The assignment is to paint the same simple scene starting with tight, crisp edges and to repeat the same scene 3 more times getting looser each time. Today, I finished the first version. This is a 4 inch by 4 inch painting. The purples are much better in person.

The handle is off, but I am pleased that the roundness of the mug comes through. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Month Four

Yesterday, I worked at the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, so here is month 4 of a 12 month series. Each month, I've been waiting until I'm leaving work for the day and I spend about 15 minutes or so doing a quick sketch.

This was a loose sketch and it was enjoyable to do.

Facial features are still a challenge. Today, I picked up the book, Five Minute Sketching People, from the library and read a little bit of it at lunchtime. It had good tips regarding general guidelines of how certain facial features compare to other facial features. For example if you look at a person straight on, most people are about 5 eyes wide in the plane that includes the persons's eyes. When I sketch, I try to sketch what I see, but I think some general "rules" like this might help, since experience has shown that I actually don't always see so well with my eyes.

Another general guideline is that eyes typically are at the half-way point in the height of a person's face. That's not how my drawing turned out. I'll double check this the next time I see the actual historic bust.

I'm sure these guidelines are out there in the world everywhere, but there's so much to learn and to know that it's the first time I've come across some of them. Again, my goal is to try and sketch what I see, but it's good to have some back-up knowledge to cross-check things.

Finally, I love that I can check out so many sketching books at the library. It helps me make better choices  about which ones I would like to own.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Loose Turtles

These are not turtles that have been released. Nor are they lewd. Instead, I let go and drew more loosely than usual. It felt good to switch things up a bit.

By the way, all of these are drawings of my replica toy turtle.