Sunday, August 16, 2015

 watercolors on arches text wove, 5" x 6"

i decided to practice painting roses realistically before proceeding with painting them loosely.  i wonder if you can paint flowers - or anything - loosely without understanding its basic form?   i think you have to know what something really *looks* like before you can paint it realistically or loosely. 

what do you think?

 ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

in my 'daily book' i've done a lot of ink and watercolor paintings.

  ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

this is j. herbin's 'lie de thé' ink.  because it's not waterproof it bleeds into the watercolors beautifully.

  ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

a couple of days ago i looked back at these pages and thought about how much even a tiny bit tells about a particular day.  it's easy to think that you have to make each page complex - or at least something that takes more than a few minutes.   but no...

    ink, pencil, and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

woodpecker feather ~  pencil and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

i used paynes grey and van dyke brown for these feathers.  i love them together.

  ink and watercolors in arches text wove book

the other book that i've been painting in is one that i made with arches text wove.  it's a beautiful 100% cotton paper that's widely available in sheets.  it's quite thin, but hardy.  nothing bleeds through, but you can see dark images faintly on the back side of the page.  watercolors and ink are a dream on it. calligraphers use it a lot.

 ink and watercolors in arches text wove book

i (mostly) made the book for drawing faces with ink that's leftover in the dip pen when i'm done drawing/writing.  i draw as much of the face as i can before i run out of ink.  but!  i can see that i'm gonna be using it for other things, too.  it's sweeeet paper.
 pencil and watercolors in arches text wove book

this is a poor pic, but pencil is nice on it too.

to make the book i followed a link on seth's blog to jose naranja's post about bookbinding.  he takes the paper out of pocket moleskines and puts good paper back inside the cover.  i took the text block/paper out of an unfinished pocket 'handbook' that i had.  it isn't perfect, but it turned out pretty good!  i wouldn't buy a new book just for the cover, but, the 'handbook' was languishing in the closet...

when it hasn't been hot, i've been out walking.  that's the badass paint set sitting on a rock, waiting for me to finish taking pictures.

a new butterfly for me - it looks kind of like a yellow swallowtail, but it's not. 

instagram...  thanks to the help of lisa graham and kathy dorfer, i've been posting pictures there.  i haven't *totally* figured it out, but sort of.  i'm thinking about doing it instead of blogging.  or not.  i haven't decided.  i don't think i'll do both.

anyway, i'm lynne.hoppe if you're there!

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“Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no—just let me be myself—and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.” 

~Vincent van Gogh in a letter to Theo, March 11, 1882

Saturday, August 1, 2015

'totca' ~ watercolors, pencil and ink in pentalic aqua journal, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2"

i've been on a kachina spree.   i painted this one after a beautiful day out walking...

ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

 the last of the things that i wanted to tell you about.  

moleskine sketchbooks...

they no longer have the manila folder-like paper in them.  the new paper is accepting of watercolors, and the paint stays vibrant on it.   it's  not like watercolor paper, but it's pretty good.

 colored pencil and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

like the old paper, it's great for colored pencil.

ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

unlike the old paper it's really great for ink.

'rose dogwood' ~ colored pencil and ink in molskine sketchbook

and smooth enough that i can draw tiny faces on it.  i've finally accepted the fact that paper with texture doesn't work for tiny faces (or tiny anything) - details blur together.   i need  smooth paper to draw people like 'rose dogwood', who's about an  inch tall altogether. 

 my new criteria for a 'daily book':  a pocket sized book with smooth, off white paper that doesn't suck the life out of watercolors or buckle like crazy.  there aren't many (ready made) books that have all that...

schmincke watercolors...

i know, i  know, i've always been a zecchi and sennelier girl, but heh, i think i'm now a schmincke convert.

it's a long story, but it started with that bigger tube of translucent orange on the left.  i kept reading about how beautiful it was so i got a tube, and it's *stunning*.   at about the same time i stumbled on the work of susan harrison-tustain and read about her schmincke palette of 12 colors.   because i was having trouble with color mixing (making lots of muddy/dull colors) i'd been researching pigments and color mixing, and her palette made immediate sense to me.

her palette of 12 colors is here...

it is an incredible palette.    i painted the swirls above by randomly picking up colors to see if i could create an ugly or dull color.  i think it's impossible.

because 5 ml tubes of schmincke watercolors aren't available in the U.S., i bought mine from jackson's art supply in london.  the total for eleven 5 ml tubes, including shipping, was about $75.

different colors, but a way to try schmincke without breaking the bank, this 12 color set of half pans from 'wet paint' for $63.95.  no i don't have this set.  i'm restraining myself.  ; )

and two daniel smith colors that i've gotten recently and love...  transparent pyrrol orange -a beautiful and potent red orange, and kingman green turquoise - a gorgeous, earthy green turquoise.   i found out about the pyrrole orange on jane blundell's blog. if you're a watercolor person you've probably already spent hours there, but if by some chance you've missed it, you'll find lots of helpful info on her blog.

one last thing that i wanna pass along - paper related.   if you haven't been to blick lately they've changed their policy re: ordering large sheets of paper.  you can now buy less than 10 sheets if you pay a $3 handling fee.   i'm happy about that!

from a walk i went on last sunday...

i saw all of this in one day.

a lot of red and orange wondrousness.

and a trout that i watched for a long time, hoping to see it come to the surface to catch a bug.   after about a half hour it thrilled me by jumping completely out of the water *two* times!

dragonflies and fish...  i don't know how they move the way they do.

i found this bone not far from the pond where i watched the trout.  i thought i'd try painting on it with watercolors.  it worked!   i 'sealed' it with some of my lip balm and left it for the trout.

* * *

“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”

~ Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, July 23, 2015

'drink from your own well' ~ watercolors, pencil and ink in moleskine sketchbook

i don't think i did a very good job of explaining *why* i like slant well palettes...


no more digging a hole in the center of the paint in your pans or half pans...

if you want a small bit of paint for a light wash, you can pick up the diluted paint at the front of the well.   because i put a couple drops of water on the paint when i started working, all of the paint is wet;  it's easy to pick up a whole bunch of paint, or a tiny little bit.

i wanted to show you some of the books i refer to for flower painting inspiration and instruction - in case it's helpful.

carrie schmitt's 'painted blossoms' is one of them...   it's helped me figure out how to paint imaginary flowers,

watercolor and ink in moleskine sketchbook.

a little.

there are inspiring artists in it.  one that i especially love is lia porto.   if you don't know her paintings, check them out.

 watercolor in moleskine sketchbook

back to imaginary flowers...  without those darker bits in the rose itself, it's flat and barely looks like a rose.  it's those darker bits - and where to place those darker bits - that i'm trying to get the hang of.

i use these books when i can't think of *any* kind of flower to paint or draw.  there are lots of good shapes/ideas in these books.  looking in them you recognize what makes a flower look like a certain kind of flower.

 watercolors, ink, and pencil in moleskine sketchbook

the basic shape for the morning glories on this page came from 20 ways to draw a tulip.  

jean haines' books, world of watercolor and atmospheric watercolors are what i've used to try and learn how to paint flowers more loosely.  i have a looong way to go on this! 

 watercolors in 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" pentalic aqua journal

some practice flowers from last week.   i added the indigo to the top flower (a columbine) and immediately 'got' how much it helped balance the bright orange.   i have to *do* something like this to get it.  it will not sink in with reading.

watercolors and pencil in 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" pentalic aqua journal

jean doesn't use any pencil, but i did on these turk's cap lilies.  it's so much easier for me...

watercolors and pencil in 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" pentalic aqua journal

ha, this is not very loose, is it?!   

it takes a lot of water to paint the way jean paints, so i looked around for a collapsible water cup that i could stick in my daypack.   i found  faber-castell's clic and go collapsible water cups, and they are fantastic.   the outside is rubber so it's non slip, the top is wavy so you can rest your brush on it, and they collapse down to about an inch tall.    here mine's being filled under a very tiny waterfall where i was painting last week.  it looks like a flower!

the last things that i want to tell you about are the ink and dip pen that i use.  my favorite inks are pilot iroshizuku 'ina-ho rice ear', and j. herbin's 'ambre de birmanie'.   i use this nib holder, and this nib - they're inexpensive, but wonderful!

i'm beginning to get caught up on the things i want to tell you.  ; )

* * *

“The artist is the confidant of nature; flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs toward him.” 

~August Rodin

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

after van gogh ~ watercolors and white gouache in pocket moleskine sketchbook

the last few months have been a whirlwind...  three months have passed since my last post, and it seems like a month - at most!

l - r, carole, beth, me

the main event of my trip to virginia was a 165 mile, 16 day  hike on the appalachian trail.  i went with my sister, carole, and our friend, beth.  carole and beth had already hiked the other 300+ miles of the virginia AT; i just went along on the last section.

carole took this to show people that the AT isn't just a smooth path...

but sometimes it is!

it's beautiful, that much is certain.

we saw soooo many flowers...  this is a wild azalea, which may be my favorite flower.

a striped trillium...  we walked through miles of striped trillium.  we walked over mountains blanketed with white and pink trillium.  before the trip we had no idea that trilliums grew in such profusion...

the birds were mind blowing in their variety and in the songs they sang.  one night we heard whip-poor-wills all night long - above our tent.

here we are at the end, feeling very hot and sweaty.  and a little mighty...

it's humbling to hike the AT in late spring because you meet a lot of 'through hikers'.  they left georgia in february and planned to reach maine in july.  every day that they're on the trail they hike 13 - 26 miles.  whoa...

another thing i did in virginia was spend the better part of three days at the national gallery of art in washington, D.C.   i *loved* that.  they had a bookstore that was crammed with art books.  this is just one section - there was another!   i was in hog heaven...

i painted the painting at the top of the post that weekend; the original is in the nat'l gallery, as well as four or five other van gogh's.   i was happy to see them.

my 'daily book' on the trip was a pocket moleskine sketchbook.   before the hike i painted a lot, pages like the one above.

during the hike the pages looked more like this.   for the most part i had little energy for painting.

after the hike, back to painting!

now my 'daily book' is a 3 1/2" x 5" 'handbook', doing pages like this with watercolors and colored pencil.

but i'm also working outside my 'daily book'...   in fact my 'daily book' has become a place for writing things down about the day with only a tiny bit of painting/drawing.  i'm working in a lot of other books, and that's where my painting practice is happening.  one thing i do is tear 22" x 30" sheets of watercolor paper into fourths, fold them in half and stitch them together.

i'm practicing painting flowers in a looser way.  i practice and practice! the page on the left is acrylic flower practice.  i'm pretty stuck on flowers right now.

more practicing...   painting (with watercolors) without drawing first and using lots of water.  this is in the little book i take out walking.  one of these - they have *great* paper in them.

i'm tickled with the slightest progress.  i have to keep reminding myself to let each layer dry *completely* before proceeding.

and now we come to what *really*  motivated me to do this post!  i wanted to show you the slant well palettes that i've gotten recently.  if you're like me you'll say, "why didn't i figure this out before?!"

kathy gave me this ceramic palette, and i was immediately smitten with it.  not only is the palette itself beautiful, but the way that water lays at the front edge of the paint - so easy to pick paint up with a brush!  i wanted to order another one, but they no longer had this size (this is where they come from).

so, after much looking around on the internet i bought this holbein metal palette.  they come in different sizes, and in steel or aluminum.  this is the one i got - it has 24 slant wells.  i've put what looks like ridiculously small dabs of paint in it, but it's *plenty*. 


they make so much sense for watercolors; i truly cannot believe that i never thought about using a slant well palette before.

i have more stuff that i want to share, but this post is long enough.  i'll be back -  and it won't be three months from now!

* * *

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard