Archive for the 'Art' Category

Painting for a Beekeeper

I painted this for a friend’s mother who’s planning to keep bees this year. Watercolor on Arches CP, 12″ x 17″

I’m experimenting with image processing in case I ever want to produce prints. A big dilemma is the texture of the watercolor paper, which shows up in both photographs and scanned images and makes the final image seem much less clean. The tutorials I read recommended the Smart Blur filter in Photoshop, but I’m still getting the hang of it – especially with a painting like this which has little splatters and lots of texture. This one in particular still seems a little dark… back to the ol’ Photoshop I guess..

 

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Ever Heard of Ecoprinting?

…because I hadn’t, until about twenty seconds ago when I stumbled across this blog post. It looks like THE BEST THING EVER.

This image is from that same post linked above from Green Art Scene

Apparently you steam-pressure real leaves onto paper so that their pigment is transferred onto the paper. Here’s Cassandra’s explanation:

OK — here’s how you steam under pressure. Big turkey roaster with a vegetable steamer placed on the bottom, and about an inch of water under that. I wrap the paper in a bundle with the leaves and cinch it tight with string. Place it on top of the vegetable steamer, weight it with three bricks, and let it steam for about two hours. You need good contact between the leaves and the paper.

It may be too late for pretty colored leaves here, but next Autumn this is top priority.

Wine Grapes – An Exercise in Negative Painting

Hmm, title? - watercolor on Fabriano Artistico CP - 18" x 12"

Whenever I experiment with a new technique, it turns into a full-fledged painting. What a style-spaz.

Dreadlocks

"Nude with Dreadlocks" - Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico CP - 12" x 18"

Good muses make good paintings.

Exercise in Washes

"Exercise in Washes" - Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico CP - 9" x 12"

I don’t have much to say about this.. just wanted to post 🙂

Notes on Hot Press Paper (Mainly: It’s Weird)

 

"Blue Skirt" - watercolor on HP Fabriano Artistico - 8.5" x 12"

 

…And by “weird,” I mean “a paper that I have not adjusted to yet.”

I’m mainly confused about why it’s labeled “watercolor paper” when it’s primary used for drawing. The smooth surface is ideal for pen and ink or pencil, but the slightest bit of water will make hot press paper buckle in minutes.

Very few professional watercolor artists use hot press paper – I know because I spent an entire day scrounging the internet, searching for tips about painting on hot press paper. Most of my results were tutorials in which artists explained the different types of paper (hot press, cold press, and rough) then announced their own reasons for using cold press or rough.

Here’s what I did find:

  • This archived thread on WetCanvas, in which watercolor artist Susan Harrison-Tustain explains her technique for painting on hot press.
  • … which of course led me to Tustain’s website, where I was understandably impressed by her photorealistic paintings, but had so much trouble navigating her website that I gave up trying to find any information on technique.
  • A general consensus across various websites that HP is 1) better for lifting paint off the page, but 2) much worse for creating smooth washes, and 3) great for very controlled/detailed painters because HP paper is unforgiving, i.e. every brush stroke will be visible.
  • A page from Watercolor Wisdom on Google Books that notes “HP is often chosen by painters who use bleeding (sometimes called ballooning) as a technique”
  • This interview with Elizabeth Pratt where she talks about applying paint to HP paper through crushed tissue paper and then removing the tissue

Anybody want to point me in a good direction?

Observations on Watercolor

I’ve got artist’s block. Maybe it’s because my muse is away, or maybe it’s because my budget leans more towards loan payments than new Daniel Smith paints, but either way — watercolor painting is not coming easy to me these days.

On the other hand, it may not be a mental thing at all; I might just be clashing with a new paper. For the past few years I’ve used Arches blocks, and before that I mostly stuck with various Strathmore papers or Canson student-grade paper. But recently I’ve been working on Fabriano Artistico 140 lb cold press paper, and perhaps I haven’t adjusted to the new texture.

…either that or I’ve spontaneously lost all my skill and/or talent.

In order to resolve any doubts about my adequacy as an artist, I decided to go back to the basics. For me, that means getting watercolor-tunnel-vision, which I’ve maintained for over a week now (it’s beginning to give me a headache).

Speaking of which: Has anybody actually read all the way through Handprint.com’s watercolor section? Like, thoroughly? Watercolor artists know the website as one of the most thorough resources (web OR print) for everything everything watercolor; from color theory to brand comparisons of brushes and paper, the experience is like reading a friggin’ textbook, complete with lightwave diagrams and the molecular structures of pigments.

Anyways, expect a lot of geeky paint posts coming up, including (hopefully!) a paper comparison review.


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