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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.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindy Dauer
    Jul 30, 2015 @ 07:37:46

    It’s funny to think of times so far back as filled with bright colors when all we have are gray facades and black and white film. I really like this little piece you chose to illustrate. It has very nice shapes and detail which you’ve rendered beautifully. The experiments seem to be going great!


    • ruthsartwork
      Jul 30, 2015 @ 09:00:42

      I agree, Cindy. I was very surprised when a castle guide told us about the colors. I sure never saw colors in those Errol Flynn movies. LOL It is fun to think of red or yellow facades on such imposing structures. I liked the small scale of this on what must be a much larger building.


  2. Carol King
    Jul 30, 2015 @ 23:55:32

    Love the washed line drawing so far. Isn’t it interesting to find out that things we think are plain like these castles or white Greek statues were once painted bright colors.


    • ruthsartwork
      Jul 31, 2015 @ 07:48:19

      Thanks, Carol. I love the idea of the colored castles. I have pictures of some brightly colored stone buildings, so i imagine they would have looked like that. Maybe I’ll scan one in and post it next time.


  3. lesliepaints
    Aug 05, 2015 @ 01:35:11

    I like the separation of colors you achieved with this one, Ruth. I just finished inking and washing a couple on my end and I am experimenting with going back in and darkening areas after my first go around and it works well that way, too. I think many of these could stand on their own just fine, too. I like this one!


    • ruthsartwork
      Aug 05, 2015 @ 08:41:45

      Thanks, Leslie. I try to use my sense of positive/negative space for the washes which I think is one of my strengths. I, too, have gone back and darkened some areas. The wash is still somewhat unpredictable for me. I think that this and the first one could have stood on their own with the wash, but I am still in the very experimental phase. Knowing when to stop is always a difficulty.


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