Watercolor Sunday.

 these first two I did watching an instructional video.  The first one is kind of smeary, and I like the composition but it's pretty muddled. Remember: brown happens.  

 Another "simply painting" instructional video painting. I'm a bit more pleased with this, but I really wanted to see how I'd do on my own.
This one is from a photo I took at Lake Tahoe.  I'm pretty pleased with it.  I have a long way to go, and it's not exactly in the watercolor "tradition" I think, but I think it's the best watercolor I've done.  



Two landscapes, and a self critique.

I've discovered I should NEVER use the blogger app.  It's awful. It wiped out my entire post, just because I clicked away to look at something on another page.

I love landscapes.  As a trail runner in New Mexico, there's a never-ending availability of subjects.  This week, I was trying to draw landscapes with water using pen & ink.

Scene #1 (above): Lake Catherine, an alpine lake about 9500 feet above sea level in the Santa Fe mountains.

What I like about this drawing: I like the overall composition, even though there's not real foreground.  I think it's pretty clear as to the depth. I think the trees look like trees, and the rocks look like rocks.
What I'm not certain about: if I've done a good job representing the water.

Scene #2: Sandy Harbor on the shore of Lake Tahoe.

What I like about this: I like the rocks and the scraggly pine.  I fell in love with these scraggly pines up there.
What I don't like: the last thing I did was try to shade in the water to separate it from the beach, and I ruined it.  It now looks more like sand than the beach does!

It occured to me I was unnecessarily suffering.  Why reinvent the wheel? So I googled

and found a tutorial by Alfonso Dunn.   Extremely helpful.  I like his style, and I'll be checking out his tutorials.

Travel journal: Tahoe Shakespeare festival.

Last  night we saw "comedy of errors" on the shores of Lake Tahoe. I love seeing the artistic vision of directors for Shakespearean plays. This one took place during Carnival.

 On a related note, Derwent watercolor pencils rock. This also has micron pen. 

I saw the play after having Crab and Shrimp Louie at the outdoor restaurant. Later the moon came up, and glimmered on the lake throughout the play.  


Favorite Tahoe photos.

I just completed the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance run 55k, yesterday and it was brutal, but also beautiful. Here are a couple of my favorite scenes, cropped and filtered.

I also had a chance to have a nice talk with a local watercolorist at a small art show. His landscapes are beautiful, and he talked at length about what he considered his best work, his process and thought.    He gave what he felt his most importance advice: "brown happens."


Watercolor travel sketches: Day 1

today is the first time I've taken my art supplies on a trip, which actually isn't all that surprising since I've only been on one trip since I started all of this in April.

I brought my new Derwent watercolor pencils, and they are awesome. Light years ahead of the cheapies I've been using. They completely dissolved when exposed to water and become nice transparent little watercolors.

I plan for these to start out as quick watercolor sketches, maybe about five minutes each, but I may do some collage stuff by adding bits and pieces from my travels.

I was able to do a quick pen and ink sketch first, and then fill in a little bit with the watercolor pencil, and then later on when I had a moment use of water brush to activate the watercolor pencil. All of this is still part of a steep learning curve.

Sketch 1: I like the overall composition, although I would've liked it better if I could've seen the entire plane. I think it's a little too dark underneath the bridge. And I think I should have left off the buildings behind or made them a little more indistinct.

 Sketch to: I'm pretty happy with this. I think it's clear what's going on, especially if you're involved in ultrarunning. my husband, who was running the hundred miler at Tahoe, is being weighed before his race they do this for all the runners of hundred milers. That way, they can track their progress throughout the race and make sure they're not getting dehydrated.

I think I need to work on drawing tables at an angle.

I used: Durwent watercolor pencils, not the ink tense kind, the regular watercolor pencils. I also used micron pens. All of this is on on the Strathmore 140 pound watercolor journal paper.  I'm not sure if I'll get this paper journal again. I think the paper has a little bit too much tooth for my liking.


My traveling art setup!

This weekend Sweet Baboo and I are going to Tahoe, where I'm doing a 55k

I'm really excited to try some outdoor art journaling. This will be my first test with my new supplies. 

Not shown: mini tripod, eagle creek backpack. 
Above, clockwise, from back right: Guerilla Painter pocket box (inside: Derwent watercolor pencils) micron pens, water brush pens, Cotman field watercolor sketch box, Strathmore watercolor journal, sketch journal, aqua tote, pencil case. 

Also, Some 5-minute sketches from the week:

Pen.   Pencil




Difficult assignment.

Every year the Mister puts on a small race in the Santa Fe forest, called the Sante Fe Baldy Fatass.  (A fatass is a race that's free, but you provide your own support)  It's a challenging 50K up and over Mt. Baldy.  

This year, he had the idea that the prize for the winner could be a watercolor + pen&ink done by me.  

I decided to pick this photo (below) to try to do.  It's a view of Katherine Lake from Mt. Baldy.  I like the split complementary color scheme.  

But I'm having a a hell of a time with this self-imposed assignment!

I did three separate attempts on three sheets of Strathmore 140-lb watercolor paper.  I used watercolor pencil and micron pens.  

I'm beginning to like watercolors.  I like that you can activate them and move the color around a bit.  However, I don't like that you can activate them.  I need to learn more.  FOr instance, you can't glaze in watercolor.  Maybe a wash beforehand might take the place of glazing, but I'm not sure how to pull off something like rocks under the water.

I've been practicing with watercolor pencil because I'm planning on taking my brand new Guerilla Painter pocket box (5x7) to Tahoe this weekend, and I think the watercolor pencils are easier to manage than cake watercolors.  I'm also taking my micron pens and some waterbrushes.

Here's attempt number 1: I'm happy with how the lake turned out.  However, I don't feel colors are quite right.  The neutrals are too warm and light, and I don't feel there's enough contrast between the local colors.  I may try to fix this by adding some gamboge.

Attempt number 2.  I'm happier with the contrast in the color scheme here. I added some more yellow oche and gamboge hue. However, the lake is just a clusterf*ck, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it.  

Attempt #3.  I'm more pleased with this one.  Still not sure about the lake, but the forground is better, I think.  I still want to add some more gamboge hue later on to ramp up the contrast.

SO What have I learned?  I've learned that for now, I tend to overwork my watercolors.  My workaround for that is to work for about 20 minutes, and then go away for a few hours.

I also think that since I"m working with watercolor pencil, I'm going to next try using the smoother side of the paper and see if I get better activation of the colors.



another self portrait.

 Graphite on sketchpad paper.

I drew this from a selfi, and asked my Sweet Baboo if this looked like me.

"The jaw is too square."

I showed him the picture.  He said, "Okay. It looks like the picture. But it doesn't look like you."

I think the eyebrows may be a bit too dark.


From the weekend

This past weekend I played around with pen & ink and watercolor.
I'm not sure if the watercolor should come first, or the ink.

These are all on 140-lb watercolor (strathmore) with cotman watercolors and micron pens.  
 ink first, then watercolor.

watercolor, and then pen & ink.

This was watercolor first, and then pen.  


First painting class.

This week I started my first "real" paint class.  "Real" because I've paid a real, live artist to teach me shit.
I like drawing.  I love drawing.  I've always been good at drawing. Painting, not so much.  It's imprecise.  I can't erase.  It's MESSY.  It's HARD.

In ultrarunning, I've learned that whatever you hate, whatever you avoid, then that's your weakness, and you need to do more of it.  For me, that's been hills.  I hate hills.  I suck at them.  They're hard.  So, I force myself to run them.  It developes coordination for dealing with the difficult terrain.

Because of my training in behavioral health and education, I've also learned about information processing theory.  Information processing theory explains that when we practice something, the little tasks that are such a struggle because automatic.  This frees up cognitive resources for doing more complex tasks.  Remember how you used to have to think about every little part of driving a car? Now you don't have to think, you just do.

That's how I'd like to be with painting.  But for now, painting is/are my hills.


Pen & Ink

I think I"ve found my medium.  Micron Pens on Bristol.

 Pen & Ink sketch, from a tutorial.

 This is from a tutorial on watercolor, which I apparently suck at.  I finally gave up after two tries and did it in pen & ink.

 India ink wash, micron pens, and Bristol.


Chloe sketch.

 Chloe is my part pitt bull, part ridgeback animal.  She has jazz ass, and is nearly impossible to photograph because her tail constantly wags, and it wags so hard, it shakes her whole body.  To draw this, I had to do a photoburst on my iphone to find one picture I could draw.