And I enjoy art every day. In one form, or another.
Sometimes I go into my garden to pause and reflect on the colors, aromas, the sounds that it brings.
Other times I write. Or photograph, or draw or, doodle.
This. Is art.
I’ve come to think of my art classes, the curriculum and lessons as a form of art in itself as well. It often involves research of new methods and new tools; of the masters that are relevant to the specific group I’m currently teaching.
My work… has become, in a sense another form of art.
A Changed Lane
I could, indeed feel bad or guilty about not painting like I used to.
But I am, still creating.
Looking around the corners for new shapes, subjects, colors, ideas.
I haven’t stopped, nor has this slowed down one bit.
Infinite depth. A sense of timelessness and vastness that is compelling. That is what I find so captivating about skies and clouds. The featured black and white cloud study keeps pulling my eyes right into its depths.
The Depths of the Sky
In these 3 skies, 2 photographs and one watercolor that I’ve chosen, their strong bold mood is conveyed.
This Break of Dawn photo, has a rather unique shape within. the dawn’s light at the horizon just peeking out has created a bird shape. Almost like a Kookaburra.
I thought it was so odd. And I loved the indigo, indanthrone colors in the sky!
Watercolor Sky painting
The Wind and The Storm is watercolors wet in wet, with the deep purple slashing downwards like a squall is coming in. I left areas white, so as to not overly dull the image down too much into mid tones.
I’ve just added some brand new sky paintings today, to the page Watercolor Basics, look at the section Frequently Asked Questions for skies. Question 9.
Wednesday Watercolors. Today I’m using brushes, pens with Inks, palette knife, acrylics and watercolors. And working in two very different painting styles – one using a botanical style and the other, a loose free flowing abstraction of the flower forms.
My silly Strelitzias on Saturday inspired a few photographs and doodles, and my efforts today for Wednesday’s Watercolors.
Strelitzia flowers are also known as the Bird of Paradise, a gorgeous tall bright orange petalled creation with sharp swords of french ultramarine that draw the eye. Even so, with their stunning bright plumage, they’ve always been a Happy Orange flower!
Watercolor Paintings Strelitzias
My botanical style watercolor painting was created on a lush watercolor paper, Fabriano Soft Press. It is 100% cotton rag and is wonderful for watercolor, ink, printing, pastels, drawing…. One of my personal favorite papers.
If you’re a watercolor beginner, and would like some information on papers, materials, just pop over to Watercolor Basic Tips and you’ll find some good basic tips and guidelines. Also, on this page I’m addressing frequently asked and ‘Searched for’ questions you may find helpful!
Palette and Colors Used
The colors I’ve chosen to use for this flower were few. Winsor Lemon. Permanent Rose. Cobalt Blue, genuine. French Ultramarine.
I painted quite sparingly. Using very few strokes and fairly pale. So much so, that the image demanded that I get my ink pen out and “judiciously” (ie not outline) accent areas here and there.
This helped the image radically! Before it was a rather dull, plain jane. With a bit of ‘lippy and blush’ she looks marvellous now.
You can see in the close up, how loose and free the pen was applied. It takes practice, as at first, the inclination is to tightly follow the outline. But, perhaps by trying the pen on a newspaper photo til you get the hang of it and loosen up, will work for you.
Close up of the botanical approach of the strelitzia flower, (Bird of Paradise.)
Bird of Paradise Strelitzia Photos
Both of these photos have a very sculptural feeling to them. The colors on the petals were nearly gone, the movement of the forms was what captured my interest here. I saw this as being more of an abstraction of movement than of anything else.
Bird of Paradise Flower – Strelitzia
As I mentioned, the two reference photos above really inspired a more abstract approach on my second go at painting.
My first wash was a light peach of watercolors, on Arches watercolor paper, which I let dry.
After the watercolor underwash was dry, several Very thin acrylic glazes of naples yellow and white were applied. Drying completely in between.
Prussian blue in a dilute form with a fraction of white on the palette knife followed those glazes.
The objective for me in this, was to convey Movement in an abstract fashion.
Viewers might interpret the subject in many ways. There could be figures, nudes, birds, hills, etc. Engagement, wonder, hints and mystery are always a good thing.
I just like the colors and the abstraction of movement. To me, they are happy and free, cheerful.
Speckles, freckles and splatters. Quail eggs, tin foil and a watercolour painting backdrop. Frenetic? maybe. But, I kinda’ liked it!
Quail Egg Art Props
I’ve been wanting to get some quail eggs as art props for quite awhile, but kept putting it off. I hadn’t been able do the ‘cost justification’ on this one. Over here for just a few teeny quail eggs, is $8 or so.
Well, as you see I finally bought them.
A couple dozen photos are in my visual library at the ready, and I won’t need to make more quail egg purchases.
After thoroughly cleaning every tiny egg out, spick and span, I now have their sparkling, tidy shells stored for use later.
I’m doing ok on my ‘cost justification’ issue I’m happy to say.
Reflections and Textures
This second photograph is much Smoother, softer and more subtle. The background is more blurred and the tin foil a wee bit smoother as well.
Look at the reflections and notice how blurred and soft the edges are.
The delicate blushing tones of the background make the quail egg speckles appear to have even more contrast.
Texture, patterns reflected into the slightly crumpled tin foil give it a less perfect mirror image than if it was perfectly flat.
Design With A Twist
By choosing to use these props in this manner makes the images Different. I’d be surprised if I saw another quail egg photo with this same set up!
This design has an interesting ‘twist’ with some added abstraction thrown in for good measure.
The backdrop is still the splatter painting but now is Super soft focus; I added old dried leaves to increase the textural effects and retained the crumpled foil base.
I loved playing with these elements. Moving them around, deleting and adding at random. Just to see “what if….”
In each of these photographs I had a main objective.
I needed to create depth in a small ‘short’ space and create a Background, Middleground and Foreground. With a Focal Point.
Nearly nailed all of them!!
DIY Egg Freckles
For those in North America with access to white chicken eggs, you could probably create your own quail egg “look alikes.” Boil the eggs. Dip in tea for a pale stain. Let Dry.
For the Splatter – use toothbrush with instant coffee granules. Or…. splatter a soy/Worcestershire dark thick mix. Use edible ingredients so you can eat the egg after you take your photos!