Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quick and Dirty

As I have previously stated, I am not supremely at ease with 2D media. But that's no reason not to have a go at it! Here are two "quick and dirty" humanoid-types in my sketchbook, which is clearly not the kind of sketchbook you're supposed to use with water media.
Yes, buckling all over the place.

Gouache on the left, transparent watercolor washes on the right. These should probably not see the light of day or assault your retinas, but each was fun, and good practice; on each one I allowed myself the freedom to experiment. (I never thought I'd ever crack open the gouache box again...but I'm reconsidering that!*)

*Thanks to Illustrator Brian Burgess and his revelation (to me, anyway) that they can dry and then be re-hydrated with a drop of water. This helped me out IMMENSELY. Brian, THANK YOU.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

As Done as This One's Going to Get

Redo on the Crematorium: I nixed the perverted perspective, and experimented with watercolors.
I do realize that, as compositions go, this is weaker than weak, but it was a "learning what watercolors can do" afternoon. I used paints from a tube for this; I used paints from pans for the previous incarnation. Although this looks better, I still have this adoration for the watercolor pan kit! So neat, so tidy, so all-contained. I really want the pans to outperform the tubes!

I also wish I'd monkeyed around with texture, because now I can see that there was plenty of opportunity, with all of that stone and slate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yet Another W-I-P: Crematorium of Doom!

...and I'm of a mind to let the last W-I-P (most recent post, just below this one) stand as completed. Maybe. Most of the time when I revisit a piece that I like, I don't do it any favors.

So here's today's work in progress, the crematorium in Troy. Really! I've taken Capital-L-Liberties with the perspective, just for fun. Seeing work on the screen always helps me to see it in a different light, and if this is to speak its intended message, I have to darken the mood, hence, the color scheme, considerably.

watercolor on paper

Whether or not it's in my best interest, 
I am just about to go back to work on this one...right NOW!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

WIP: Is a House a Landscape?

In what sometimes seems to be my ongoing quest to jump from one thing to another and never master anything but take a stab at everything, I've been working on a couple of landscape-ish paintings.

roughly 10" x 18", watercolor on USGS topo map on mat board
This is my house, in the Village of Greenwich, New York (not to be confused with Greenwich Village, New York) as portrayed in watercolor, on a topographic map. "Homer" is actually a town closer to where I came of age, across the Hudson and west of here, and not at all where I live now. But I liked that it said "HOME(r)" right on my roof--get it?! 

This is likely completely non-archival. The old topo map, one of a handful being tossed out after a library book sale, was Mod-Podged onto a piece of mat board, and then drawn on and painted on. 

It's not done, yet. Updates ahead.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A New View of Hugh

I wasn't too happy with my Jean Valjean sketch the other day. Click on him if you dare, to refresh your memory or upset your stomach! To make matters worse, I went and reworked him, and as is usually the case when I rework someone, well...I should learn from my mistakes and omit "reworking" from my vocabulary.

Instead, it's better to start over, and that's what I did with Hugh. 

les trois crayons in the toned tan sketchbook

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Watercolor Experiment

Is there a right way and a wrong way to use watercolor paint, or is "right" and "wrong" completely subjective?

I sat down with my line drawing of Cosette, a glass of water and some watercolor tubes and got down to business in my habitual, overly slow and fussy way. I added layer after layer of paint, darkening spots and sometimes blending, sometimes, not. 
I kind of liked the outcome. 

But...isn't watercolor supposed to be a free and easy (appearing) way of coloring? Wasn't I using the medium as if it were acrylic? 
So I made a sketchy, cartoonish rendering of the same photo and threw some paint at it, quick and dirty style, colors flowing everywhere. Just to see if the coloring would please me. (I warn you: hold your thumb over her face--the experiment was mostly about clothing/fabric depiction.)
It's hard to tell if the coloring does please me, in that the drawing is so meh,* but I'll give it some more study.

*Actually, worse than meh. Much, much worse.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Doing it...Methodically

I thought I'd try something new and take my time, proceed step-by-step, and maybe learn something about drawing, painting, and digital art. Still aglow from my encounter with Les Mis, I scrounged around for an old sheet of watercolor paper. (Paper? It's from one of those Arches "blocks." Maybe it's watercolor "board"? I am not an expert at 2D art.) Here's my line art, drawn from a photo reference in Vogue, and scanned in:
The paper looked white until I saw it on the screen. Hmm.

Oh no! Her left eye (on the right) is migrating north. Maybe her hair is tied up too tightly on that side. Now I can mess around with Gimp, and play with backgrounds, brushes, patterns, shading, etc...and likely have a few sessions of tear-my-hair-out spasticivity. Computers and I do not generally get along. At least I know that after some freakout, I can calm down by spreading some watercolor paint on the original. 

Aaaiieee! An unrelated freakout! Handsome just walked in from the auto parts store to report how much the new Jetta battery cost! It's from Germany. It must have traveled here in first class!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Hugh Year

...and of course, Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve found us at the movie theater, enjoying
Les Miserables. Having been a Les Mis junkie for many years, I was more than happy at the news that a film version was being made, and then over-the-top happy when I heard that Hugh Jackman was going to portray Jean Valjean. Singing, dancing, hunky Hugh. What could be better?

So despite negative comments I've heard and read about things like Russell Crowe's acting, Russell Crowe's singing, lyrics being changed and things being left out, and Russell Crowe, in general, I give it a hearty thumbs up. It was a visual feast, it was moving (sniffling and sobs could be heard as the movie neared it's dramatic ending, and tears would have been flowing down my face if I had working lacrimal glands,) poignant, but not overly-so to my sensibilities, and it did not depart in crazy ways from either the book or the stage version.

Les Mis had me. 
It had Colm Wilkinson, a treat for the ears and the sentiments.  
And hey--it had Hugh.