A plethora of work on the table

The first commission

The first commission

I had to be out of town for a week and while I was gone, I received 2 commissions for Christmas gifts.  I was glad to get home and get started.

I worked up the pencil sketch for the first one from the photos she sent, but I have to wait for her to answer some questions about the windows and siding before I can start the inking. Because of the time crunch, I have also started figuring out the next one.  It is a strip mall , so it will be longer and more narrow than the normal portrait. I may end up posting alternately for the 2 depending on the lag in information.  It’s fun to have commissioned work again, but I’ll have to work steadily to get them done.

Color, finally

Wooden doorway

Wooden doorway

Color, finally, on the doorway.  I have made a preliminary fixative spray as I was having trouble deciding how rich the dusty rose for the woodwork was going to turn out.  So far, so good, but I definitely think I need to darken and delineate the shadows more.  It’s too flat yet.

We’ve had an up and down fall so far.  First very warm and then quite cold.  The animals have been hiding too, perhaps because some of the hunting seasons have started.  We’ve been hearing gunshots in the woods lately so hiking the south trail may be a bad idea for a while.  I did see flocks of tom turkeys twice this week, so that was nice.  And coyotes have been howling some.  Too bad we didn’t see pups this year.  The flower beds have given up the ghost, although I had one wayward white iris that decided it was okay to rebloom in November.  That didn’t last very long, but it was pretty.

I started an instagram account under ruthsartwork a couple of weeks ago.  Slowly, with the help of my son, I am being dragged into the social media webs.  LOL  It’s been surprisingly fun so far, though.

Black and white

Entryway inkied

Entryway inkied

The inking of the entryway is more or less completed.  The massive oaken doorway is going to be fun to color.  I have decided to go with the pastels for this one.  The richness of the doorway and the painted trim seem to be calling for more depth of color than I seem to be able to achieve with watercolors.  The vines growing up the side of the building will add natural green effects to soften the stucco and all of that wood.  Maybe I’ll throw in some red and purple too.  Depends on how the dusty rose trim and timber work turn out, I guess.

The brickwork for front walkway has a mild pattern to it and helps ground the drawing.  It is really just a gray color, but I may change that.  Too boring maybe.  Sometimes these decisions are made as I go.

An Extravagant German Doorway

An elaborate door

An elaborate door

I decided to go back to the regular pen and ink for this drawing.  The Elegant Writer Pen has been a fun experiment, but I wanted to do some more detailed work again.  This is a very elaborate, large oaken wooden door surrounded by dusty rose framing and trim. There is stucco above with some timber work and to the sides.  There is a lot of detail with this piece and the inking is going to take a while.  I hope the old eyeballs can keep it all straight.  I haven’t decided whether to use the pastels or the watercolors.  The richness of the door colors has me leaning towards the pastels, but I’ll decide when the inking is finished.

I got a few new pictures from Germany, Belgium, and Japan thanks to a trip by my son.  And almost as important, Belgian dark chocolate!!  I am trying to ration myself…………

Castle entryway colored

Yellow castle

Yellow castle

I went ahead and used the yellow umber for the stucco.  In the spirit of the past vivid wall coverings, the light beige just seemed too plain.  There were nice touches of red in the window frames and I added some red flowers next to the stone wall. Since these castles are usually built high up on the mountainside or riverside you often see a panoramic view of the country beyond the walls.

My son just came back from a business trip to Germany last month so I hope to have more pictures to work from.  I think I will try a few with just regular pen and ink and watercolors or pastels.  Old World buildings are just too much fun to draw.  Modern architecture rarely has the intricate detail work seen from centuries back and I think that is a shame.

Minimal wash on the castle

Putting on the water was

Putting on the water was

I’m still moving a little bit slowly on this drawing, but I had a couple of wall art sales this week and had to get them in the mail as a priority.  It is always nice to sell a completed piece.  It helps me feel like all of the artwork I have created has some value and is not just an idle use of my time.  I like the idea that artwork I have made is proudly displayed in someone’s home for all to see or used in every day life.

I decided to go minimal with the water wash on this one.  The walls are mostly stucco with some stone and shingle siding and I didn’t want to darken it all up unnecessarily.  I have done minor spritzing prior to adding the extra watercolors today, but not too much as I like the little bit of added bleeding that can occur.  I think it helps unify the picture when the colors blend a little.  The stuccoed area is off-white, but I may add some yellow ocher as I did with a previous one.  It makes or a richer looking piece and this is not strictly portraiture.

Dog-gone dog gone

Castle entry inkied

Castle entry

Well, miracle of miracles, we met up with our German shepherd stray ‘s owners yesterday and were able to return her to her proper home.  She lived about 2 miles down the road and somehow managed to make it to our deck and park herself here for the week. A friend of the wife saw the notice I put on the Owen County facebook page and they called Monday.  We weren’t sure it was the right dog because they said a younger age than my vet thought and the facial markings were off a little in the picture she sent, but we agreed everyone would feel better if they took a look.  Sure enough, it was their dog.  Everybody went home happy.  The  funny part is that I couldn’t decide between the name Sadie or Sophie.  Neither one seemed quite right.  Her real name is Shadow.  Pretty close if you ask me, for a shot in the dark.

In the meantime, I inked up the castle entryway. It has a plain stucco wall for the entry area and rear turret, red window trim and some sort of wooden shingle above the lower stone.  There is a little bit of greenery growing on the stone bases, which will add some nice colors.  Washes up next.

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