Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Subtle Differences: VERY Subtle

Apparently, the difference is all too subtle to be detected!

My original sketch of Chelsea (who is actually MUCH more beautiful than in my depiction. In fact, this depiction is not even recognizable as her.) was done lightly, in pencil, from life, as she read a book. (I added the watercolor later, from memory.) Hence the downcast eyes. Downcast eye portraits of mine always look like portraits of subjects who have fallen asleep in their seats. 

In an attempt to remediate this problem, I penciled in a very small band of shading beneath her eyes--almost like lengthening her eyelashes. It worked slightly better in the sketchbook than you would think from these scans.

Monday, July 29, 2013

From Penciled to Painted

A pencil sketch for a portrait looks pretty funny without a 
range of values. Or maybe it's just the white eyeballs.

Yes--much better with eyeball color. 

and maybe some cropping...

Watercolor on Bristol 3 ply vellum--a new, smoother surface 
(still not hot pressed, though) for me. I've got to learn about eyebrow painting.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Consultation

Just a quick post--a sketch of a scene in the hay field. 
I have started to pencil it in on watercolor paper.
More later.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Watercolor Revolution(ary)

This is a watercolor rendering of a Revolutionary War reenactor. The original photographic portrait is Kelsey's work, and can be found at her beautiful website. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Back from the 19th Century

About a week ago, I was getting ready for bed, and listening to a raging thunderstorm and watching lightening flashes that seemed to be getting closer and clos...Yikes! The tree right outside my window snapped off ten feet from the ground and hit the house! 

Well, "skinned" the house. Upon inspection, I found that it only smashed some of the decorative railing on the front porch. AND it took out all kinds of wires, leaving me without power, telephone service, internet and cable. 

Luckily, my summer daytime activities don't require too much in the way of telephones, TV, or internet. I spent the week gardening, scraping paint off the side of my to-be-painted house, and drawing and painting at my desk.

I painted another reenactor, but I really messed her up. She's much prettier than this:

In fact, here's the only portion of the painting that I like.

This ought to teach me to plan ahead better,
 and to keep the paint clean and simple. 

However, my piece-in-progress is showing signs of 
over-fussing already.
More on this guy, later.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lesson Ten: Curvalicious!

Drawing Curves, Freehand.

Using either a pencil or your brush (and we can safely assume a stick of pastel or a marker or even a loop tool would be acceptable substitutes, depending on your medium of preference,) rest the part of your hand beneath the pinkie on the support. Use your hand like a compass--with the point of your hand that touches the paper being the center and the tip of the pencil to that point being the curve/arc/circle's radius) and use a pivoting/rotary motion to:

First--hover above the paper (or other support) and "practice;"
and then--lower the tool to the paper and lightly put down that curve. Useful to know if you have to draw or paint these:
what are these beautiful things?

The final paragraph of this lesson puzzles me.
"For further exercises make tartan patterns, margins and other designs,
as well as letters with a brush, first with a ruler, and then freehand."
I'm not Scots, but I always thought tartans were made up of straight lines. Hmm.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Next Time, I'll Bring Color

Great music, great (expensive) "fair food" 
(and drink,) 
and great people watching.

Oh yes. The humanity. The SEA of humanity. Thousands of people, packed into a place that I'm certain should have held half as many. 
I psyched myself up to bring along a sketchbook, and right there amidst the crowd, I sketched some real, live people.

oops. where's her left leg?
Black watercolor pencil, with some NijiPen-wetted washes.
And guess what! No one came over and punched me in the face! 
Next opportunity, I'll do this again, and bring along an array of the watercolor pencils. Or maybe just a couple. I don't want to be too obvious.

Friday, July 12, 2013

More Sketching in the Dark

The amphitheater is open to the lawn in the back--at SPAC--and the ballet began at 8:00. So it wasn't pitch-black-dark in the very beginning, but it might have well as been. My attention was completely focused on the stage and the sketchbook was toned and the pencil was light. In effect, it was blind drawing. 

So during intermission, it was fun to see what I'd done, and encouraging to see that some of the scribbles even made slight anatomical sense. 
The next morning, I erased a couple of the scribbles that made the least sense, and used the new "clean" spaces to reinterpret a few blind scribbles. On some, I just drew over the blind scribbles, with little erasures where necessary.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Very Happy Reenactor

I haven't yet taken up reenacting anything more than "Lazy Farm Wife." (Oops. No. That's me in reality.) But I've often been tempted, mainly because it's fun to put on a different persona and educate people in things they are interested in--and because of the clothes. Of course, the clothes are also the very thing that keeps me from it. Coming up with the costume.... Cassidy has made many historical costumes, and to see her drape the cloth for cutting (no Simplicity Simple patterns back then; no Singer Simple sewing machines) and pin and pin and sew and sew. And...corsets...need I say more?

But this woman has tried it, and it looks like she's having fun.

I'm loving that foliage!Best foliage I've ever painted!

See the photo inspiration for this watercolor portrait at 
and check out the rest of Kelsey's beautiful photography.

And maybe become inspired to REENACT HISTORY!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Watercolor WWII (I think)

In my quest to find interesting faces to paint, I came upon Historically Speaking, Kelsey's beautifully-crafted website focused on historical reenacting. Kelsey is a fabulous photographer, and her portraiture is out-of-this-world. Please, check it out!

Kelsey was gracious enough to allow me to use her photographic portraits as inspiration for a series of painted portraits. 
the grey around the perimeter? shadows.
Look here for the reference photo.

About those shadows: I am a newbie to watercolor painting, and I have yet to do the whole soak-the-paper-stretch-it-staple-it-onto-subsurface business. I don't know how. Come on, Self. There is no excuse for this type of thing anymore. It's probably right there on YouTube! So my paper does get warpy, and those gray shadows show up on scans of my work. Note to self: Do some research.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lessons 8 & 9: A Two Fer!

Lessons 8 and Nine seem to boil down--after a lot of excessive descriptions of "what is a line" are eliminated--to this: 
Lines connect points, and when "learning art," one should practice making lines. Freehand (lesson 8) and with the aid of a ruler 
(lesson 9.) And sometimes one should hold the pencil or brush perpendicular to the paper and sometimes one should hold the pencil or brush so that its length goes in the same direction as the line.