Back to Germany

Preliminary ink-up

Preliminary ink-up

I picked out a simpler photo for this session with the Elegant Writer pen.  I liked the reference photo for the stonework and the little side portico and slate shingles.  I can’t remember where I took it, but it must be part of a much larger building.  I don’t think it was a castle as we only visited one intact one (Marksburg, maybe) and I just don’t think this is it.  In reality many of the medieval castles had colorfully painted stucco over the stonework.  I didn’t know that before we visited, but it is fun to imagine all of the beautiful colors that the buildings once were. They were not wall flower colors either.  I got the impression that reds and yellows were common.  All I had ever seen were dreary looking buildings in the movies but I think Medieval people appreciated color as much as we do, and for those that could afford it, it was a visible show of wealth.  I thought if I toned down the stonework here, it would turn out much better.  It does look like, in fact, that part of the portico wing was stuccoed over at one time.  Maybe it was colored at one time too.

Washed line drawing

Washed line drawing

I’m coming to the conclusion that with these pen drawings, less may be more.  It is too easy to get bogged down in details and then the ink lines all run together when you add the water. One thing I like is the unpredictability of the color shift.  It adds a level of spontaneity to the drawing that sometimes is lacking in my drawings.  I know that if you lift off some of the wet spot you can achieve a shift more to the pink, but I am kind of liking the unexpected aspect.  It is too easy for me to get over controlling and this is good practice for keeping my hands off.  I plan to use more subtle watercolors on this, more like the first one.  The second one was okay by the end, but I think I ended up removing too much of the randomness with the afterwork.  The sky looks good to me, so that part of the drawings seems to be working out.  I do find skies difficult.

Dino lino for my 400th post

Raptor dinosaur

Raptor dinosaur

I’ve been fiddling around with the German streetscape the last few days, and decided I needed a slight diversion.  I had taken some pictures a few years ago at a outdoor dinosaur display park off of Interstate 65 in Kentucky. There is a large tyrannosaurus rex standing by the highway as advertisement (it is in the park) and I had always wanted to visit and maybe take some reference photos.  We stopped one day on a trip to Atlanta and had a very nice outdoor walk among life size dinosaurs with John’s camera clicking away.  I rather enjoyed myself and it was well worth the admission price.  There was also a small store where you could buy real and synthetic geologic souvenirs which were actually interesting, too.

Khaki dino linocut

Khaki dino linocut

Unfortunately, we had trouble with his camera and it wasn’t until recently that I finally managed to get the pictures downloaded.  I have been intending to do a more boy themed linocut for some time and this seemed to fit the bill.  I made the standard black one but wanted to maybe do a colored one, too.  I slapped red, yellow, and green on the glass and rolled them together, hoping to get something more multicolored.  It ended up as a slightly khaki color and more uniform than I wanted, but is not bad.  One more thing to play with.

German streetscap

German streetscap

I think I have finished the German streetscape and am ready to list it.  I added more depth to the lower areas and street and more green to the background trees.  I do have to play more with developing a foliage technique so maybe the next thing is to just make some circular file art to throw water on in various ways.and see what happens.  I don’t usually post the final redo since I’ve posted about it so much before, but this actually looks somewhat different and I thought you might like to see how I altered it.

I can’t believe this is my 400th post.  Thanks to all of you for supporting me in this artistic life journey.

 

Watercoloring the German streetscape

Streetscap with watercolors added

Streetscape with watercolors added 

This drawing has quite a bit more color added to it than the previous one.  I started with painting the red timber trim and flower boxes and then moved on to the walls.  I left the upper area white but darkened the lower areas.  The brown building on the left also provided a nice contrast.  I grounded the building by darkening up the street.  Unlike the road in the last one with the brick patterns, this one has nothing to distinguish it.  I may decide to darken it up a little bit more.

I decided to get bold with the sky this time around.  I discovered that if I put some ink lines on another sheet of board and then wet them, I had a light watercolor to add quickly to the real painting.  I wet the sky area pretty well with clear water and then loaded up the brush from the prewatered lines.  I quickly dabbed the wide brush into the sky area and moved it around.  Prewetting the sky with plenty of water seemed to let the ink wash act more like watercolor and not just stain the board wherever I touched it.  I’m pleased with the effect.  Some of the pinks appear along with the blues, giving the sky some texture.

I’m not happy with the green foliage between the buildings so I’m just letting it sit a couple of days before I make any adjustments.  Maybe I’ll add some yellows to it.

Back to Germany

German street

German street

I worked all last week getting out the bookmark order. Seven sets of 4 was quite a bit of work.  I had to pull the prints, color them with extra watercolors, cut them into 4 pieces and laminate them.  Then I had to cut the laminated sheets apart into individual pieces and trim the corners round so that they weren’t so sharp.  I was pretty glad to get the 32 done. Everything went out today, so she will get them soon.  I think she’ll like them.

All caught up, I went back and brushed on the water to the latest German street drawing.  I’m pretty satisfied with it so far.  The water added the depth I wanted and I got bold enough to lay out some fluid ink for street.  That was tricky because once you brush it on, it tends to stay there, almost like it stains the board. Very little room for adjustment although you could dilute it more and spread some of the blue.  To do it, I put some lines of ink on another piece of board and added water.  I loaded up a  larger brush and laid it down on the picture. Interestingly enough, when I pulled off the fluid ink, what was left behind was pink.  Something else to play with.  Definitely, I will have to practice more.

I’m still thinking about how to do the sky.  I am afraid just plain watercolors there will not fit in with the mood created.  Maybe I will practice on some blank board on how that goes because I think it would improve the drawing.

Tomorrow I will add the watercolors.  The timbers are a nice red and I think I will keep that.

Second Germany Streetscape

German streetscape

German streetscape

It’s been a busy July. I had picked out the next experiment drawing for the Speedball pen last week, but with the holiday weekend activities, I didn’t get around to drawing it until Tuesday.  These buildings have complicated exteriors so it took some time to pencil it out and then delineate with the pen. Once again, I decided to go with a more flowing, less structured drawing.  I think this style lends itself well to the Speedball pen characteristics.  It will sit until tomorrow so I can look at it with fresh eyes before I add the water to it.

Also using up studio time this week is a very different kind of commission. Remember the dragon block print that I cut up to make a set of 4 bookmarks? Well, I had someone want me to make up 7 more sets for her.  She is giving a talk on Chinese culture in the fall and wants to hand out the bookmarks to the participants.  What fun for everyone.  I made up the prints yesterday and today I will start the added watercolor.  It will take a couple of days to finish the painting, cut them and then get the lamination done.  It’s a busy week, which is good because with all of our rain, I can’t get out to weed.

How about this?

Preliminary drawing

Preliminary drawing

I wanted to try another drawing with the Speedball pen and I thought that a runner drawing might be interesting.  Justin sent me a photo of him running out of a construction tunnel at the Hoover dam and I decided to try it.  The dark cave view into the light would seem to lend itself to this technique.

Into the light

Into the light

I am somewhat pleased with it.  I have noticed that the more water you add, the more of the pink effect that is shown.  I added some green to the tunnel opening to hint at what was beyond and I put in additional watercolor black where the walls meet the floor.  I may tone down the pinky sides with more black.  It is an interesting first effort but I am not sure it is quite what I want.  I think I will continue to play around with it.

I colored it in

Coloring between the lines

Coloring between the lines

I decided, what the heck, starting a new technique requires a little boldness. what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe it would end up in the circular file, but I’ve finally realized that that is okay. If nothing ever ends up there, you aren’t growing in the work.

According to the teaching video I watched, you are supposed to be able to spritz the picture lightly to fix the lines that weren’t touched when the initial water brushwork was done.  Somehow, I couldn’t manage it properly and the inked lines still flowed.  I ended up just going with it, coloring between the lines, almost like in a coloring book.  I didn’t get too freaked out when I inevitably went too close and the ink ran, but I did try to minimize it and then remove what extra flow I could.

I like it and I don’t.  I’m just going to have to let it sit for a while and decide later. It does have a little bit of the feel of a coloring book, but not necessarily in a bad way.  I probably just need to experiment more and not get myself stuck.

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