Here’s a quick (read: low quality) snap of a piece I am currently working on for The Art Order’s latest challenge. Lots of swedish summertime themes coming through this one, and the tree and rocks from around where I live. I’m really happy with how it’s going – much better than my last large-scale watercolour attempt – but I’m now getting to the point where I’m increasingly wary of messing it up. I can feel that I’ve slowed down and become less adventurous. I still have about three weeks to finish it up, though, so there’s time to get wild and find out how far is “too far”!
It’s summer and hard to concentrate on finishing projects, but I have several paintings on the go. The one above is a larger acrylic version of a watercolour I played around with last summer. I’m having a lot of fun with this one, and since it’s been “in progress” for two years, I’m happy that it’s nearly completed!
I thought I was going to do an acrylic underpainting and then work in oils, but I became interested in how the acrylics were handling on the panel, and I liked how they built up in thin washes. It’s a bit of a rubbish photo and doesn’t really do the actual colours justice, but I’ll take a proper photo when it’s done.
Here’s another WIP that’s been kicking around since one of last winter’s Stockholm Sketchjams – a certain red-maned warrior woman:
This began as a large-format watercolour, but it sort of got away from me – I’m still just starting out in watercolours and felt like I maybe bit off too much! I photographed what I had and took it into Procreate on my iPad. There was a lot of Sergio Toppi emulation going on when I first sketched this (obvious, it seems to me), and Swedish artist Karl Mårtens was also an inspiration, but stumbling across some work by Enric Torres-Prat for a pulp western really helped me get motivated to keep going on this piece.
I thought I’d post this crappy photo of a work in progress. This is another watercolour experiment using the new “All Terrain” set I bought from American Journey. I love this palette, and I’m having a lot of fun learning to use it. This is a portrait of a friend of a friend in her absolutely amazing warrior priestess live-action roleplay costume. What you can’t see here is the large wooden portable shrine she has strapped to the back of her plate armour! It’s not the best resemblance of Frida unfortunately, but other than that I’m generally happy with the way the picture’s working out. Really enjoying watercolours…
Here’s my second watercolour attempt, also very much in-progress. This image has been in the works since last summer, when I had a friend pose for the sketches for it. Here I’m building up many washes of very light tones, trying not to destroy the surface of the Canson paper too much as I go. I’m deliberately using a very narrow colour range so far, and it tends to vary between looking pretty good and going muddy, depending on the wash. I wanted to see how this technique feels to work in, and what kind of results I can get with it – it’s really different from how I tend to use acrylics. It’s been a real exercise in patience, waiting for each wash to fully dry!
Just thought I’d post a quick work-in-progress. This is my first serious attempt at full-sized watercolour painting. This composition was an unused idea for the ArtOrder Viking challenge, but I’d had the basic sketch around since last winter and always wanted to complete it somehow. I re-drew it on Canson Montval 300g and started in with the watercolours. It’s a very exciting media… it feels very wild to me here at the start and I have very little clue what I’m doing, but I’m really enjoying the challenge.
Like many other artists, I was experiencing serious IMC envy last week. I followed the photo streams from Amherst College, Massachusetts that Irene Gallo graciously kept flowing, and there was terrific energy coming from the event even at several removes.
Someone had posted the assignments the students were given this year, and looking through them, I wondered which one I would have picked had I been at the event. Being the sentimental/romantic type, I decided almost directly that I would have gone with Tristan and Isolde. My very next thought was, “Well, why not do it anyway?”. I followed along with several attending students’ blogs, seeing if I could apply the advice they were getting to my own work, and supplementing that with heavy doses of the wisdom of Harvey Dunn (I always keep an aggregated file of his advice to his students nearby me).
This is still in progress, but about 75% complete. There are many unfinished areas – the hands are still just blocked in, the sword and scabbard haven’t been painted, and at the moment I am still busy trying to correct values and color throughout:
I’m doing this with a smallish palette: Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White (there’s a touch of Vermilion red here and there, but I think now that I could have done without it). I can see that I’ve brought the value up too much in places, so I need to darken certain areas again.
After spending the last two weeks painting on cold-press paper, it feels quite different to paint on a panel – I can really do a heavy application of creamy paint without fear of the surface going funny on me, which has been fun.
I haven’t been updating here much, as after Northern Light 1, I have mostly just had my nose to the canvas as I re-learn how to use acrylics. The workshop was very exciting, and it was fascinating to see so many artists’ working, both digital and traditional… but it gave me a yearning for an actual painting I could hold.
I used to work a lot with acrylics when I was a teenager, but I’ve realized now that I never really learned much about painting, about mark-making and color-mixing, controlling values, etc. – nothing very deep, at any rate.
Working on the iPad has been amazing and very motivating, and I have nearly 400 paintings from the past two years in the Brushes app alone – but when I sat down at the canvas, I realized I simply didn’t know how to mix color! I kind of panicked at first, and then got worried about how many new tubes of colors I might need to buy. Then, slowly, I began to understand how to work up from the basics and mix things myself, using some limited palettes so that I will focus on value and temperature.
Now I am going back over much of what my favorite artists have said about palettes and color handling, and it’s beginning to make sense in a way that never registered before. I am starting to get it. I am still right at the beginning, though… a long, long path ahead of me…
Here are a few works in progress in the studio:
And here is the latest update on “The Nautilus and the Devilfish”, just for Arnie: