Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pike 5

This exercise is called Irish Clouds and was the fastest Pike exercise I've done thus far. I didn't time it, but I think it took about 30 minutes. It is done with only two pigments, French UM and Burnt Sienna. I'm beginning to think these were John Pike's favorite pigments as all of the exercises I've done so far have used them. It was done on Arches cold press block, which I'm becoming VERY fond of! This was done without any sketching whatsoever - which was a first for me! Also, I'm using flat brushes and while I'm not as comfortable with them as I am with my beloved rounds, I feel I'm getting more confident with them.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pike Exercise 4

Abandoned boat done on Arches Hot Press. This is the first time I've ever used hot press and I'm not sure if I like it or not. It's smooth like the bristol that I love, but the paint didn't go on as smoothly - not sure why. All in all, I'm not very happy with this for several reasons. First, I don't really like the scene that much and second, I don't particularly like the colors. I didn't get a good "roundness" to the hull of the boat and the broken parts were difficult for me to portray. From a positive standpoint, I like the distant shoreline and I like the looseness - something that is VERY difficult for me.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pike Exercise 3
As I continue on through John Pike's book, this exercise was the most time consuming and difficult thus far. It is a night scene of Burano, a small island near Venice. Although it's not the type of scene I'm fond of, I did find the different elements to be interesting and challenging. John Pike explained that the moonlight is reflected and bouncing - the moon would actually be behind the viewer; and to complicate the light in the scene more, there is the light from the shop window and an unknown light source coming through the archway on the right. The sidewalk and cobbled street are supposed to be wet. Whew - I don't know if I got all these elements right, but it was definitely a learning experience.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pike 2

This is my second exercise from John Pike's book. It's supposed to be a snow scene (in case you can't tell - ha). John Pike's grays were actually darker than mine and yet his looked like snow. Maybe I need to have more variation in the gray and also more drift patterns. I like my foreground trees and was pretty happy with the people. I've always avoided putting figures in landscapes and found it not quite as daunting as I expected.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pike 1

I've started working through "John Pike Paints Watercolors" and this is the first exercise. There's lots wrong with this. . . but there are a few things right - ha. I really like how the tree trunks turned out, particularly the one in the foreground. I recently purchased an Arches block and this was the first painting I've done on it. I really like how the paint flows on this paper, particularly wet-in-wet -- the tree trunk I like was done with a very watery wash of gray made from French UM and Burnt Sienna, then while it was still wet, cad yellow was dropped in on the sunlit sides and an itty bitty bit of cad red was dropped in along the center, then a heavier concentration of the gray dropped onto the shaded side. After it was dry, an even heavier concentration of the gray was dry brushed and then a very small amount of dark green was dry brushed. I have a tendency to grab my #6 round and really need to start grabbing a larger brush! I'm looking forward to the next lesson in this book!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Coastal Village
This was the workshop project on Art Academy Live last week. The scan on the bottom was my attempt during the workshop. The teacher, Sterling Edwards, has a much looser style and also his pigments weren't as saturated as mine. This was supposed to be impressionistic! My second attempt (the scan in the middle) was sketched with my new Pentel Brush Pen (NOT the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen) and the ink is brown and I found out REALLY fast that it is NOT waterproof! Wasn't happy with that one either, although it was fun to try the new drawing toy out. So I tried a third time and while it's not as "free and easy" as Sterling's, it is an improvement over the other two. I think I'm done with trying this scene. All three of these were quite a struggle for me, and while I like to see a bit of impressionistic work, I don't seem to be able to get the looseness required to pull it off. Ah, must be one of those "practice" things.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sunlit Canyon

Yesterday, I took an online watercolor workshop through Art Academy Live. Basically, it's an interactive live streaming video class. A supplies list is provided to enable the student to prepare for the class. On the date and time of the class, the student logs in and is directed to the classroom. There is the artist/teacher/demonstrator and also a moderator. If students have questions during the workshop, they type the question on their keyboard, the moderator reads the question and the instructor answers the question. Very slick! The classes are from 75 to 90 minutes long and the time flew like it was only 20 mintues! I had my palette loaded, paper ready, brushes laid out and was still hustling to get my painting done. It didn't turn out very good, so I redid it today and the redo is the one I've posted. This was an excellent exercise for me on painting without sketching, using flat brushes (I'm REALLY partial to rounds!) and mixing colors on the paper rather than on my palette. I think I have a better grip on saving whites, having the lightest and darkest areas next to each other for the center of interest and creating the look of sunlight on rocks and vegetation. If anyone is interested in checking out these workshops, go to