Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reading & Writing: The Wash—Sort Of

Technically, this isn’t exactly a wash on account of the black India ink. After my recent ink mishap, I was a little nervous, but decided that I should lay the ink early on--that way, if I ruined it, I could easily start over without having invested a lot of time.

I'm happy to say, all went well…

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reading & Writing: The Drawing

Not too much to look at here...

I do have to decide if I want to cheat a little and use black India ink for most of that dark background, then give it a quick lamp black wash to blend it with the rest of the elements...

Technically, if I were a traditional watercolorist, that would be right out of the question. And once it was done, I would have to call it 'mixed media', not watercolor--technically.

However, we know I am not a traditionalist... 

What to do...what to do...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reading & Writing...and the Photograph

#1 is my pick.
It has all my favorite elements, minus a gleaming pen nib, but really, that's such a small thing. I'd say the two biggest determining factors were the back-lit page and the coil shadow...and then there's all those great squiggly shadows on the open page...and...upon closer scrutiny, you can actually see the window pane and treeline in the reflection on the spectacle lens! (not that I'll try to paint thatoh, no, not me). 

Although #2 seems popular, the open page has more to offer in the way of breaking the black. The negative space plays as much into the composition as the other elements and I do so love the dramatic effect. The black also leaves much potential for expanding the perimeter to the left, and fading into dark for an effective header. I've already messed around with some lettering and I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with it.

Even as a piece of wall art, I think it holds it own, at least that's what Todd says. He thinks it implies tall ceilings and wide open spaces. The question it brings to my mind is, Whatout in the blackcalled the reader away?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Starting Line

Yesterday afternoon, I sat looking at my writing blog—specifically, at its header. It is probably one of the most boring headers I have ever seen. And for someone who claims to be an artist? Well, it’s just a little embarrassing...

I thought, Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a very writerly or readerly bit of my own artwork that I could incorporate into a header… fact, I have been tossing around the idea of doing something bookish for a while, but wanted dramatic lighting, and simply hadn't found any such light in my environment.

At that very moment I felt penetrating warmth on the back of my neck and an annoying glare caught the corner of my monitor. When I turned to the source, why, the sun, traveling its new autumn route, was doing something wonderful and I knew it wouldn’t last long. I tore downstairs, already planning the layout, and gathered up a few props.

So, I thought it would be fun to show you the process—this time from the idea’s inception, through the selection method, and then into the usual stages of painting. I have a specific objective here—to incorporate the completed work into a header for my writing blog—so that will influence which layout I choose, but I also want it to be aesthetically appealing as wall art.

Here are the results of about a half-hour of late afternoon sun, a camera and tripod, and a spark of inspiration. Out of nearly 4o shots, I chose 6 candidates. They are all subject to future cropping for the optimal composition.
1) I really like a few things about this one: the way the underside of the open page is lit; the glare on the glasses; the way the light catches the ear-wire thingys, and the coil shadow on the standing book. I also like the sliver of light that passes through the spectacle lens and hits just below the coil. Then there is that little bit of light that catches the two corner parts of the wood post. I'm glad I thought to clip the pen to the tablet, though I wish the nib were showing. I also really like the way the red shows up against black.

2)...again, the contrast of the wire against black, the coil shadow, but I also really like the way the sun hits the  nib, and how the other end of the pen is mostly in the shadow, but the clip is lit.

3) ...yes, the transparency of the paper, the highlighted wire...and the way the letters on the book end look distinctly embossed up close, and, the same bit of light on the corners of the wood post.

4) ...the prominence of the glasses and the simpler, cleaner layout. Also, the extended, balancing shadow cast at the end of the tablet. There are also some nice and subtle reflections on the wood post.

5) page again, glasses glare, and the way the erect book is half shaded, and I love all the squiggly shadows on the open page. It's also a simpler, less cluttered layout.

6) This is clean and basic. It covers both reading and writing. The red and green make a nice contrast. And I really like the scrolling print on the book binding, and the great shadow cast inside the coiling.

Any thoughts on which you like best?
Shall I allow my vanity to replace these obscure book titles with my own?
(And for those of you who really pay close attention to detail, Yes, the green book is the very same that my redhead is reading in Cool Grass and one you may not have seen, Summer Read.)

Next, I will post the photo I'll work from...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Toy Boat: Black & White

 I think the gray-scale turned out pretty good.
I think it makes as good a black and white photo as the real deal.
I think I like it even more than the real deal!
Maybe it's just the fancy shadow I applied... 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Toy Boat: Complete

Toy Boat is finished, complete with a string to keep a stiff breeze from taking it to the middle of the lake.
It’s always a little tricky getting the colors to scan and post just right—doesn’t really matter I suppose, every monitor’s color calibration is a little different. Just the same, it's worth mentioning that the hues in this version are much closer to my actual painting.

Perhaps tomorrow I will convert it to gray scale and see how it looks as a ‘black and white’ photo…

...So, can you see any difference between the previous stage and this one? If it didn't have the string attached, would it still look like a 'toy' boat?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Toy Boat: Nearly Done

I’m posting this one as the last step before I add white and my final hard-line edges—it's a good way to mark the contrast between this step and its completion. Also, it distances the finished painting from the photo, so it’s harder for you to scrutinize how closely I stuck to the original piece—yes, very tricky of me, I know. In fact, I have deviated from the color scheme just a little—I want the water to look more like fresh lake water rather than murky, city river water (no offense, Paris!).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Toy Boat and Photo

Well, this isn’t huge progress, but at least here is the photo from which I’m working.  I did a Google Image search for “toy boat” and found it on Steph and Mike McDowell’s Blog. Of course, I asked permission to use their photo—Toy Boat at Jardin de Luxembourgand Mike so graciously allowed it. Thanks again, Mike!

 ...and the color of mine here looks more ultramarine than my actual painting--it's actually much closer to the color scheme of the photo...


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Toy Boat Progress

Painting reflections on water reminds me of paint-by-numbers.

If I were to try and duplicate the exact pattern of reflections, I’d really go nuts—it’s much that way with painting grass also. I like to be detailed, but I simply repeat a pattern more than copy it precisely.

I think in my next post, I’ll include the photo I’m working from…

Monday, October 4, 2010

Toy Boat: Next Step

I’m never certain just how much I should paint before posting—it’s hard to gauge progress as I’m working on it. So, I scan it, compare it to the last post, and if it looks considerably different, it ends up here…

Perhaps today I will give the boat itself a little more detail and put in some additional green reflections.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Toy Boat: Wash

There’s not a whole lot to the wash in this one—just varying shades of blue and greenish-blue, with a bit of varnished mahogany. The background will be the labor-intensive part.

…ooops, I missed the tiny hatch on the deck, oh well, I’ll fill it in later…

Friday, October 1, 2010

Toy Boat Started

Here’s the first stage—the drawing of Toy Boat (yet another imaginative name). It has a simple color scheme, and lots of opportunity for repetitive motifs, but not like grass (yes, I'm tired of grass). I feel fairly confident painting reflective water, since I’ve done it herehere, and I particularly like it here. The trick is to convey the boat's ‘Toyness’—hopefully, the scale of it compared to the ripples of the water will help…