Tuesday, September 8, 2015

watercolors and gouache in pocket moleskine sketchbook

after the last post we had a couple of weeks of hot, smoky weather, then it cleared up and cooled off - and i was outside walking as much as i could.  seeing what the end of summer looked like in the forest.  here it is september 8...

i finished the pocket moleskine sketchbook i was working in; the painting above is one of the last pages.  instead of buying a new book for my 'daily book', i'm using the book i made with arches text wove (last post).   

this paper is truly a joy to paint on; having the pages be a little thicker is the only improvement i can imagine...   i'm doing pencil drawings on the backs of pages when i don't want anything to show through on the front side.

watercolors and gouache on arches text wove

paintings i did before i made  it my 'daily book'.

watercolors on arches text wove

if you research arches text wove you'll often read that it's good for 'light watercolor washes'.  i've found it to be good for light and heavy applications of watercolor.  it's strong paper and colors layer beautifully on it.

my newest love...   i read about watercolor paper coming in 'pochettes', which is a fancy way of saying pieces of paper inside a cover.  i thought 'aha!  i can make a pochette!'  

watercolors on BFK rives

i cut the text block out of an old book, then i ripped up sheets of BFK rives printmaking paper and saunders waterford 90# hot press watercolor paper.   these paintings are on BFK rives, a 100% cotton paper that i *love*.  i bought the cream color and it is luscious.

BFK rives on the left and saunders waterford 90# hot press on the right.  the saunders waterford is smooth but still has a bit of tooth.  it's the only hot press paper i've ever tried that i like.  and it's off-white, not white, which is a big plus for me.

using the same colors i painted on BFK rives (left) and in my little arches text wove book.  i couldn't choose a favorite - they're both gorgeous papers.

the front of my 'pochette'.  it was a book of fairy tales by nathaniel hawthorne...  i made the closure with 1/8" elastic and an old button.

watercolors in strathmore 500 series mixed media journal

and one more new paper!  a 40% off coupon was burning a hole in my pocket when i went to the big city to get my car fixed, so i got a soft cover strathmore 500 series mixed media journal.  again, *nice* paper!  also 100% cotton and a joy to paint on.

watercolors and gouache in strathmore 500 series mixed media journal

you can buy series 500 mixed media paper in sheets, too.

 maybe my biggest painting love - the little watercolor book that i take out walking.  i'm almost finished in it...

there's something special about painting outside, and i know i've said it before.

flies may be bombarding you, and squirrels might scold you continuously until you think they'll have a heart attack, but you keep going,

doing the best you can do while swatting flies and worrying about squirrel heart attacks.

and one more big  love...   

left in this tree, which has orange paint on it because it marks the boundary of a 'partial cut unit' in the national forest. 

it's been a wonderful summer for me, and i hope it has been for you, too...  

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ink in pocket moleskine sketchbook, quote found on tumblr ~ thanks M!

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!

* * *

“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