Dory boats are small, flat bottomed fishing boats designed to launch and land from the beach at Pacific City on the Oregon coast. Haystack Rock is a mile off the beach and is the tallest of several large rock monoliths along the Oregon coast. This is the second small 8×8 … Continue reading →
Click the picture to see a larger version. The local group of artists that I belong to (Artists in Action) will be holding a sale at the end of June (at the World Beat Festival in Salem) to raise money for the group. This year members are painting 8×8 inch … Continue reading →
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I’m testing Faber-Castell Gel Sticks. These watercolors in gel form are meant for kids. They are like a twistable crayon and come in a set of 12 colors. I thought I would try them out on a flower sketch.
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The last two days I’ve experimented with new art supplies. I bought a new Kuretake watercolor palette. It took a month to get here from Japan. So, I was anxious to try out the colors. I decided to use a portrait reference from the Julia Kay Portrait Party group on … Continue reading →
I did these small flower studies all on the same piece of paper. The first thing I did was adhere the paper to a piece of 2mm Sintra PVC panel with some brushed on acrylic soft gel medium. I let that dry for about an hour under some heavy books. … Continue reading →
I did this small study today to test out how watersoluble markers work on a smooth gessoed panel. It’s like working with a limited selection of watercolors. Also I discovered that ink just sits on top of the gesso. It does not stick or sink into it. So, if you … Continue reading →
I’m looking for a way to do plein air paintings without carrying brushes or water or wet media. I did this small study to see how tempera paint sticks and brush markers handle on canvas panel. I laid in the major areas of color with the paint sticks first and … Continue reading →
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This bush is in our backyard. It’s in full bloom. I’ve been glancing at it throughout the day thinking about how I’d approach sketching it with paint sticks dabbing on the pure color. Finally, before dinner I found the time to sit down and try out my plan. Fabriano … Continue reading →
Sketching from Google Street View. Testing tempra paint sticks on smooth paper with water. Strathmore Mixed Media 400 Series 9×12 inch (22.9×30.5 cm) paper, pencil, Mod Tempra Paint sticks, Arteza flat waterbrush, ArtGraf Viarco 6B water-soluble pencil, Kuretake #13 brush fountain pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink, and Molotow 2mm … Continue reading →
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The other day I found a box of cardboard heat-seal 35mm slide mounts and an old custom built slide mounting press. I wondered if it still worked and if so, how I might put it to good use. It occurred to me that I could do miniature paintings and frame … Continue reading →
This is a seven color hand-pulled print 6×6 inches (15.2×15.2 cm). There are 10 prints in this edition. Some projects take a long time to complete. I worked on the first six colors over the course of several weeks last Spring. Then the project sat on the shelf for six months until I … Continue reading →
This little print (4×6 inches, 10×15 cm) is the culmination of two weeks research and planning and gathering of materials and tools. It is my first attempt at printing in color. It uses six plates to print six colors.
When I first moved to Oregon and lived out in the country, I got a puppy to keep me company. I called her Nikki (wild dog of the north). She was a Collie / Husky mix – a very smart, sweet dog. I used this photo of her as a … Continue reading →
We all went to the Oregon Garden in Silverton today for Father’s Day and had a nice walk. I stopped in the children’s garden to make this sketch while Jacob and Josh were over looking at the electric train.
I went for a walk in Bush Pasture park today. I wanted to try using my iPod Touch to make a value sketch before starting a watercolor. I sat on a concrete bench and did the value sketch first. Then I took a reference photo and used the PhotoFX app to generate a charcoal sketch version to see the photo in black and white (like a value sketch). Finally I sketched in my Moleskine with a Pilot FriXion 0.5 erasable pen. Then while checking the value sketch on the iPod, I used watercolor to sketch in the colors and values. Here’s a slideshow of the four together.
By doing the value sketch first it helped me to see the areas of light and shade. I need to make my darks darker and remember not to use Burnt Umber in the dark greens (Payne’s Gray works better – doesn’t look so muddy).
This is my first experiment with making custom brushes in the Sketch Club app on my iPod Touch. I found I could draw a custom brush shape on location and use it immediately. I made the maple leaf shape in black and white using Brushes (the app), saved it to my Camera Roll, and then loaded it into a custom brush in Sketch Club.
I also found I could add a canvas texture to the painting by importing the texture image into the top layer and setting the blend mode to Multiply.
We figure things out – shape, edges, distance, and more – using values (light and dark). Color is secondary to our understanding of the world. Values are therefore more important than colors in a painting. Here’s a slideshow that shows a value sketch, a painting with color added underneath the value sketch, and finally just the color. (Of course colors have their own values).
I like to do quick value sketches on location before starting a painting. Its a tremendous help in planning the basic structure and exploring what’s important in the scene. Traditionally artists have used pencil, charcoal, or ink to draw value sketches. I thought I’d explore using the iPod Touch instead. It’s the right size – screen size is about 2 x 3 inches which is the size I usually make in a sketchbook. It’s also handy. It fits in my shirt pocket and I always have it with me and I already use it to take reference photos.
I experimented with several different painting apps. I first used Sketch Club which I like because I can make custom brushes and it has an eight step grayscale color palette. I also tried ArtRage and Sketchbook Mobile, but rejected them. ArtRage on the iPod creates files which are too small and Sketchbook has too clumsy an interface. I really like Procreate on the iPad, but the iPad is too big to carry around conveniently. The best was Brushes. It makes nice large files and you can playback a movie of your painting process. Here’s a sample.
Art requires experimentation. You mustn’t be afraid to try new tools, processes, workflows, or styles. This is how you move forward.
This image began in Wasabi ( a painting app on my iPad). I then made a second version with ToonPaint and experimented with combining the two images in ArtRage and modifying the combination with Pixlromatic and Glaze. Here’s a collage of the process.
When I look at this image, it’s like I’m wearing 3-D glasses. The reds float in front of the screen and the blues push back below the screen. It looks like the colors are painted on different sheets of glass stacked up on each other. It must have something to do with my astigmatism.
Today was another beautiful day. I went for a walk in Minto Island park out South River Road. I stopped after about a half hour to sketch a stand of trees.
Minto Island Trees Watercolor
On the walk back, I stopped on a bridge. As I stood there a kayaker passed under the bridge heading north. I sketched him in quickly and then completed the rest of the sketch.
Minto Island Kayak Watercolor
Here’s the full spread of my 5 X 8 inch Moleskine watercolor notebook.
Minto Island Watercolor Notebook
I did both sketches standing up in the shade. I painted the trees resting the notebook on my bag which was hanging around my neck in front of me. For the second one I placed the notebook on the top rail of the bridge. After I finished each sketch (which took about 10 to 15 minutes each), I took a reference photo with my iPod Touch.
I painted this on my iPod Touch in the back yard. It was late afternoon on a beautiful Spring day.
Here’s a gallery showing the progress of the work starting with a photo taken on my iPod Touch then roughly sketched in with ArtRage (also on the Touch).
I then sketched it again in Sketch Club on the Touch. Next I opened both versions on the iPad in ArtRage and combined pieces of each into a new version. I then used Pixlromatic to alter the color balance and to add texture and a frame. I saved two Pixlromatic versions (one more contrasty than the other). Finally I combined both of these versions in Blender to achieve the final version.
This morning at breakfast I got the urge to try the latest update of the Artists Touch app. I end up using a number of applications to complete this self portrait. First I opened the Artists Touch version in Pixlromatic and altered the color and contrast and added a border. I then opened that version in ArtRage to add the canvas texture and to do quite a bit of added brush work to add detail back into the painting. I added the signature in Procreate, and finally I cropped the image and sharpened it a bit in Photogene.
The sun came out after a morning of rain. I’m sitting on the back porch catching some rays and made this sketch on my iPod Touch with the Sketch Club app. I then transferred the image to my iPad and used the Pixlromatic app to add the texture and frame.
We had beautiful weather yesterday. We visited the iris garden north of us which was in full bloom. I brought my small sketchbook and decided to try several small sketches instead of one larger one. These were quick color impressions.
We had a bit of sun yesterday (and today). It felt good to sit on the front porch, read a book, and sketch on my iPod Touch. Just trying to capture some of the colors and shapes in front of me. Later, after I went inside, I transferred the sketch to my iPad and added some detail.
Yesterday I made a new travel watercolor palette out of a small Altoids can. I managed to squeeze in 12 colors. Here it is surrounded by my previous palettes. It’s about four times smaller than anything available commercially.
The one on the left is made by Daler-Rowney in England. The ones above are my previous homemade palettes (6 colors each) made out of containers that had saffron in them. I used InstaMorph plastic to fashion the dividers. The one on the right is a Koi watercolor set made by Sakura of Japan.
The hardest part was sculpting the dividers and the mixing area in the lid with the InstaMorph plastic. It becomes pliable when you heat it in hot water (150 degrees F), but it only remains soft for about 3 to 5 minutes. After that it cools down enough to get hard again. So, you have to keep dunking it in hot water to soften it up again. The problem is it slumps when it gets soft so you have to reshape everything again. Here’s a closer look.
The colors I used (from top to bottom, left to right) are: ivory black, Payne’s gray, burnt umber, burnt sienna, Prussian blue, cobalt blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, sap green, and a violet that I mixed up from a 50/50 mix of cobalt blue and alizarin crimson.
I don’t know why nobody sells a small travel palette like this that you can fill with your favorite paints. Every artist I show it to wants one.