Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daylily - Hemerocallis citrina

I got some new paper so was playing around with it, Saunders Waterford HP, which was a first for me. The paper feels gorgeous, and lifts easily, doesn't seem to bloom and so on. In short there are a number of nice features, but I am still unsure of it.

As a first go I painted a Daylilly, Hemerocallis citrina but there seems to be a grainy effect to it that has me a little bit bothered. Particularly with the green leaves which I have done hundreds of times, but in this case was really throwing me out.

It is just the first attempt with that paper, so I will push on with it and see how it goes. The yellows which are normally most difficult seemed ok, anyway will experiment further with it.

As an aside I have been using Arches and Fabriano so it is something that is easy to forget how important the paper is when using watercolour. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and as a painter different papers tend to suit different techniques and styles.

A lot of people get hung up on paints and brushes, but with watercolour I think 90% of it comes down to the paper.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Meerkat in Graphite

Just a quick prelim sketch of a Meerkat. This one was based on some photographs I took at Singapore Zoo. I quite like it so will probably take my time and do it again.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Superb Fairy-wren in Acrylics

Lately I have been wondering about the best way to do things. So have been experimenting quite a lot, mostly just in my sketch book/ journal or whatever you want to call it.

I do love watercolour, but sometimes it just seems so difficult to do what you want to do. Hence my thinking the right tool for the job - in this case painting birds. Which is where the acrylic comes in.

So firstly an apology, for many years I had a snobby attitude to acrylics. I started out with them in the mid 80's. Actually using my mothers to be honest. Then I think for a birthday when I was about 14 or so, I got a set of oils - and never thought of Acrylics again. Pretty much everything but.

So by chance I had been feeling frustrated with oils, and watercolour is great for somethings - and then the other day I found a little starter set of acrylics going cheap. An old box - but $13 for 18 colours of a well known brand, I thought I may as well take the chance. I actually half expected them to be all dried up.

It was a bit of a relevation that I found even this old crappy box very easy to use, just on paper with a spare old brush - and it took about 20min to get an acceptable Superb Fairy-wren. So the next step is to actually get some real acrylic kit. I already have my shopping list worked out. Now just the shopping part.

Incidentally the Superb Fairy-wren is a favourite little bird of mine from south eastern Australia, Malurus cyaneus. They are actually a very interesting little genus of birds which I have been studying on and off over the years. Including a book on them - which is still in progress...

Here is the 20min experiment with cheap paints just on paper:

The Mona Lisa

This is one of those paintings that I have to admit for a long time I really couldn't see the big deal about. I always thought Da vinci's drawings were much better.

However lately I have started to see the painting in a different way. To the point of almost becoming obsessed with it. I have seen it at the Louvre, I never even saw the "tacky" but the eyes follow you thing. I am still wondering how that come about since you can barely move in there.

Still when you really start to look closely at the painting, well you see it in a completely different way. There is a definite subtlety there, just look at how the lips and eyes are done. Even 507 years later I wonder how many people have achieved that sort of perfection.

For a great short video, see the following, it is well worth watching.