Washes for Germany 5

With the wash

With the wash

I am really enjoying putting the water washes on these elegant writer pen drawings. I find I like the multi color effect that is still surprising to me with its blues and pinks.  I can be a little predictive with the amount of water I use, but it is still somewhat mysterious.

I haven’t quite figured out how I want to do the area above the stone structure.  Right now it looks as if the upper foliage is just overhanging trees, but it is really a rocky hillside entrance for the railway.  Maybe I have to draw in some of the rock wall first.  I may have to experiment on another piece of board first.

I got a small watercolor house commission over the weekend, so there will be a slight pause in Germany 5.  It was quite a surprise as most people contact me before they purchase a portrait listing, but there it was on Saturday evening.  It is of a kit log home in Colorado and she sent me both summer and winter photos.  I don’t know which season she wants so I’ll ave to wait for her reply before I get started.  It’s only for a 5×7 so it will be quick to do.

Germany 5

German countryside

German countryside

I chose this photo next because I liked the combination of the upper crenelations with the three rectangular aspects of the structure.  The  lower half round shape contrasts nicely with squareness of the building sections.  I think I took the photo for this structure while we were on a boat cruise down the Rhine.  The spring tour season had just started the weekend before and we were virtually the only passengers on board. As I recall, it was quite cool and breezy and I was glad I had my coat.  I guess April can be cool there, just like here.

This may be part of the railway system as an entrance to a tunnel.  Once again my failure to take adequate notes notes comes back to haunt me, but I do remember someone telling me these elaborate structures were part of the tunnel system. I think I remember that because it was so surprising such elaborate structures would be built for a train tunnel.  If anyone has any other ideas, I’d be glad to hear them.

I am going to use some of the coral color here.  The area around the entrance was red and I think I will make some of the stone corners red too.  We’ll see after I use the water wash.

 

Linocuts again, briefly

I decided to take a short break from the speedball pen architecturals to refresh my eyes. I find if I work on the same kind of art piece repeatedly, at some point I start to feel stale and uninspired. These little projects help prevent that and give me variety in my etsy store.

Choose kindness

Choose kindness

Recently I read a young adult’s book named “Wonder” for my book group and there was brief use of the phrase “choose kindness” in it.  It struck me as a good way to live life in general.  I have never done a linocut using words before and thought this might be the one.  It actually took a lot more effort on my part to create this than I anticipated.  Originally, I sketched out the words horizontally.  I played and played around with the background and nothing was happening for me.  Then I went into the bathroom off of my studio to wash my hands (dark chocolate isn’t enough inspiration you say?), and looked at the shower curtain. It had vertical flowers on it and it suddenly occurred to me that the orientation was wrong.  It needed to be a vertical piece, not a horizontal one.  Sure enough, after I resized the words using the computer copy feature, I was quickly able to finish a design.   Funny how long it took me to realize what I needed to do.  I definitely don’t have the skills of a graphic artist who probably could have decided a lot faster what to do.  In any case, I’m happy with the results, and it’s off to list it.

I have two more Germany photos I can use for the speedball art, so that’s probably what is up next.

I decided to go bold…

Yellow stucco

Yellow stucco

…but not overboard. I hemmed and hawed with myself on whether to go yellow or coral. In the end, the yellow won. I started out with a more intense hue, but it seemed too garish for the picture.  The vividness overpowered the softer wash colors, so I toned it down with yellow ocher, making it closer to a gold but still quite bright.  It is a bit more yellow than this, but I just don’t seem to have that photoshop touch to show it more exactly.  I placed a spot of red in it with the chimney top.  The flue was grey in the photo, but I have the feeling it was a later addition, so I didn’t feel bad taking some artistic license with it too.

In addtion, I straightened up the entryway.  The right side had a bit of a lean which started to bother me.

A couple of days later I still like it.  Perhaps the next one will be red.

German castle walk

Castle walk

Castle walk

I am not quite sure where this photo came from, but I think it was taken on one of the castle tours we took during our trip to Germany in 2000. The view looks as if it is from high up overlooking the countryside, just as a castle would.  I wish I had more context for this series, but I didn’t identify the photos very well at the time.  I know the towns we visited and some of the castle names but not really what goes where for many of them.  Not very good journalistically, I suppose.  We were just enjoying ourselves and I didn’t give it a lot of thought.

Castle with water wash

Castle with water wash

The entryway area is stucco and the rest is layered rock, with a stone wall in the front left.  I didn’t use as much in the initial wash as the others.  I did 3 separate light oversprays to perhaps lessen the extra ink bleed when I watercolor.  Maybe I should be bold and color the stucco vibrantly.  I don’t know what color it might have been.  It is off white in the picture. Yes, in some way, I think I’ll go brighter with this one.  Shake things up a bit.  Either coral or yellow.  What do you think?

Watercolor of the German entryway

Watercolored building

Watercolored building

I decided to watercolor this Germany entryway in the same vein as my first one.  I have come to the conclusion that less is more with these drawings and it is so easy to overdo the work. In some ways, it takes as long as a more detailed picture because there is the same down time needed to make these as in the regular pen and inks.  The work itself may go faster but I really want to be careful about how much I add in terms of the wash and subsequent watercoloring.  I still learning the subtleties of the speedball pen.

For this one, I wanted to keep the focus on the doorway and upper overhang, so I concentrated the added watercolor in that area. I let it fade somewhat as I got closer to the edges.  I am pleased with how the skies are turning out.  They always hold a bit of angst for me, but prewashing the area with water and then dropping in the wet ink seems to be doing the trick.  I like the way the blues and pinks separate out somewhat randomly, but are a unifying color with the rest of the picture.

I tried a light water overspray after I finished the initial wash phase this time around.  I decided that a little bit of ink movement on the architectural from the sprayer was acceptable and it does reduce the extra flow when I add the watercolors.  I have yet to accomplish complete fixing before I paint, but I’m not overly concerned about it.  It adds some character to the overall drawing in my eyes.

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.

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