Saturday, January 27, 2007

Watercolor Pencils

I'm continuing to work through Cathy (Kate) Johnson's book, "Watercolor Pencil Magic." This was done with Derwent Inktense Pencils on a 9 x 12 bristol sheet. The flowers were outlined with dry pencil and then a small, wet brush was used to blend the pigments. The vase was lightly colored and blended with a larger wet brush. I have a horrible time with shadows! Although the one on the right is from my scanner as the sheet was too large to fit flush on the flatbed. I'm thinking maybe I should hatch in shadows with a pencil, which I could erase if needed, before I add color. Duh!! Working with watercolor pencils reminds me of those coloring books I adored as a child, where the color was in the paper and it came to life as a wet brush was applied - gee, I wonder if they still make those.

Yesterday was my 33rd wedding anniversary - wow, time certainly does march right along. Our anniversary, except for the milestone ones ie. 25th, 30th, are usually pretty low key. We rather overdid Christmas this year, so a beautiful card, a lovely silver bookmark and a great dinner was the extent of our celebration. Since my dh is pursuing a second career and attending law school at present, we can't do much traveling unless he's on a semester break. I'm so thankful for the 33 wonderful years and look forward to many more!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Watercolor Pencils on Yupo

Well this was fun! I am so fascinated with yupo and I'm working through Cathy (Kate) Johnson's book, "Watercolor Pencil Magic," and thought hmmmm, wonder what would happen if I used yupo. So I decided on the simple little ref photo I recently used for one of the gesso experiments. I first sketched the horizon line, the flowers, and vaguely sketched the area of the sky where the light is. I used Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils and lightly colored the whole thing. Inktense is usually very bold - at least on paper! - so I didn't want to apply the color too heavy. Using brushes dipped in clear water, I started blending. I started with the sky and immediately found that I had not applied the pencil heavy enough. While the yupo was still wet, I scribbled in some more color and blended some more. I let the sky dry completely. The swirls appear all by themselves as the water dries. I added more pencil to the foreground (2 pigments were used) and then applied the clear water and blended using up and down "streaking" strokes. I let that dry completely and then I used a very small brush that was damp-wet and lightly stroked the flowers and stems. What I learned: yupo is FUN and watercolor pencils on yupo is even FUNNER!! I think it is the unexpected that appeals to me with yupo - you just never know how it's going to dry.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gesso Experiments

I saw this technique on WetCanvas. The process is to sketch and then mask the sketch. Apply gesso and texturize it. On the Christmas Cactus, I sketched the blossom and leaves and then masked them. A light coat of gesso was applied to the background and using a 1" flat brush, I brushed in a cross-hatch pattern. The gesso was allowed to thoroughly dry. The background watercolors were applied and allowed to dry. The mask was removed and the blossom and leaves were painted. I didn't think the textured gesso was as prominent as I wanted so decided that two coats of gesso would work better. On the grass with yellow flowers I sketched the flowers and then masked them. I applied two coats of gesso, combing each coat with a plastic hair comb with the intent to have the texture look like grass. The sky was then painted (and here is where I goofed -- too dark on the blue and it wouldn't lift very well). I removed the masking and painted the flowers and leaves. I like the gesso on this one - it turned out just as I wanted. This is a fun technique!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I recently went to see my family in northern California. One morning, my parents had to go out for some appointments and I jumped at the opportunity to sketch. I wandered around the house and came across a photo of my grandfather. When my parents returned, I showed them my sketch and asked if they knew who it was. Immediately my mom said, "It's daddy." Later in the day, both of my sisters came to visit and when I showed them, they immediately said, "It's grandpa." So, though I know where I goofed, it apparently DOES look like he did. He passed away 42 years ago this past Christmas and the photo was quite faded. It was probably taken of him when he was in his 40s which makes the photo about 65 years old. He was a farmer in Oklahoma. I was only 10 years old when he died, but I remember him very well. He was a very loving and sensitive man. I remember how he tilled the soil with a one-horse plow and oh how I loved to walk along behind him! In the evenings he would sit on the front porch and play his harmonica. To this day, when I hear a harmonica, I think of my grandpa. What a lovely memory to start my 2007 art with.