Just windows this time

Just windows

I worked on the last pastel for a few hours and touched up the shadows. It doesn’t look radically different, so I have moved on to the next drawing. For a change, but staying within an architectural theme, I selected a picture that was mostly windows and had no doors. I liked the upper windows and all of the timber work. Once again the brick mason was having fun and you will see some angles when I lay down the inking.

I may or may not keep the dormer on the upper left but I probably won’t decide until I see how the inking lays out.  Sometimes I don’t make those kinds of decisions until I get half way through.  I just have to remember to leave it uninked for a while.  That is not always easy when I am in the midst of working, just as I sometimes forget where the edges are.

Pastel color

Pastel entryway

It was kind of fun getting back to some of my more traditional work. It was odd though because I had to have a slight brain shift from the abstract architecturals and the watercolor/ink animals to the pastel work.  I actually had to think about what I was doing when I started to lay on the color, envisioning the changes of the pastel with the fixatives compared to the watercolor just being what it was.

In general I think this went well. Tomorrow I will put a little bit more shadow under the entryway recess and under the eave.  They don’t seem dark enough yet and it sometimes hard to tell how much the pastels will alter with the fixative.  Also, the brickwork is a bit too even, so I may play with that.

I like to take 2 days with these anyway.  For some reason I can think it all looks great after the first spray and then the next day I will see all of the flaws.

I think it’s finished now

All done

Here is another photo of the entryway after I worked on it today. I don’t know if you can see much difference because it is still a little washed out, but I added more shadowing and highlighted the door some with the colored pencil.  It also occurred to me today that I hadn’t addressed the changes on the right side in yesterday’s post either.  As you can see there is now a window there.  That came about in a rather funny way.  I was merrily inking in the shingles without a care in the world.  I had roughed in the horizontal pencil lines, not paying too much attention to where the edge of the picture was.  So of course, I went outside the margin lines when I started the inking.  Fortunately I saw my mistake before I had gone very far and I try to leave a little extra margin for adjustments.

It was only about 1/4″ over, but now the blank space was going to be too large for just some texture.  I mulled it over and decided to place part of a window there.  The real windows were some thin, slatted affair reminiscent of a 3 season porch which I couldn’t understand, so I decided to go with the diamond grids again.  I actually kind of like the composition better with the changes.

I’ve colored it in, mostly inside the lines

I pretty much finished up the drawing today. I think I’ll let it rest a day or two and then go back to make a few additions.


Almost colored in

The colors are a little washed out in the photo so I will also retake them later before I list it in my shop.  I did it outside and although the sun wasn’t overly bright, the limestone accent blocks are really much more textured, as is the foliage.  I don’t know what the problem is with the light today.  And now it is starting to rain, so I can’t take it back outside in the evening light.  Not complaining, mind you, as I will happily take a gentle soaking rain for quite some time.

I will play a little with the shadowing, especially on the lower left behind the flowers.I also need to texture the door finish a bit more.  It comes off as a little flat to me.  I did put in some yellow highlights, but the spray fixative kind of washed them out.  I may do it with the colored pencil and not respray as the pencil won’t smear like the pastel does.

An evening’s worth of inking

Inking almost done

I did most of this last evening. Somehow the day just slipped away, so I decided to put on some background noise (tv) and work at the drawing later in the day.  The post dinner hours drifted along and suddenly it was 11: pm when I looked at the clock.  When things are going well, time passes unnoticed.  I haven’t done the shingles yet, obviously, and I am debating what to do on the right.  There is a window set off of the paper that I elected not to include.  I may just let the texture of the wood show through in the blank white area.  Maybe I’ll add some green undertones to the colors to help balance the foliage on the left.  The house is basically a red brick mix like the last ones, grey limestone accent blocks, and brown trim.  It may be good to punch up that rather lackluster earth tone with some other undertone of yellow and green.  I guess I’ll just play with it and see where my eye leads me.  I’m actually rather pleased so far with this.  If I can balance off the white area properly, I think it should turn out well.

Another neo-gothic

This morning started out again with a gentle, misty rain. The overnight temperatures are down in the 50’s so it feels cool and damp. I’m ready for the rain but not the cold yet. Summer ends this week and fall officially begins.  That would be okay if it were not the presage to winter. I’m just wishing for a milder, easier winter this year. I’ve had enough of cold, snow and ice to last me for a decade or so, thank you very much.

Pencil sketch

After fiddling with the aceos a little bit to get them ready for listing, I went through my reference photos and picked out another entryway. I especially liked the door in this one as well as the diamond grids in the windows. The brick mason was much more traditional with this home, but there is added interest in limestone block additions around the door and the lower areas of the facade. I haven’t put the stonework in yet but will probably do that after some of the inking is in. The varying sizes of the stonework is taxing on my eyes and I like to do it a little at a time.

I also liked the little false ironwork deck below the window.  I’m not sure it properly belongs with this style of house, but I found it rather pleasing and it does dress up the upper gable.  And if you look closely, there are gentle curves in the roof lines.  There is a little upsweep to the roof on the lower eave to the left and the upper roof curves somewhat on the right.  It is subtle and I hope I will be up to the task of making that visible.

I have added to and removed some of the landscaping around the door. Except for one rather unattractive and poorly placed spiky evergreen and a funky cherry tree, there was not much please the eye. The low groundcover all across the front needed some added punch, so I have put in some more shrubbery and colorful flowers.

Finished commission

I must say that this was not an easy building to color.  They changed the painted brick from a rather lively red tone to an off white with light and dark gray accents.  I personally find is one of the most difficult combinations colors of homes to do.

DC townhouse

The surrounding homes still had a lot of color, but trying to make a basically black and white house distinctive is not something I find rolls off of the tips of my fingers and eyes automatically.  I had to find colors in the shadows of the building that complement the overall aspect and try to add some vibrancy in with the limited landscaping.  I am generally pleased with the outcome.  I put in a little maroon into the shade and added some color highlights here and there.  They wanted no window treatments, which meant I had to take them off of the other windows lest the neighbors’ windows outshine the main feature. 

Working with my firm pastels on a 6×8 was also on the more difficult side.  This reminded me why I usually work with bigger sizes when making architectural renderings.  It is not easy to get those sticks into small areas.  I used the q-tips liberally for blending colors and finished up some of the finer details with colored pencil.

One of these days I am really going to have to take up Photoshop Elements so that I can get truer digital representations of my work.  The color is slightly off and it really has a softer aspect than seen here.

I think now that I am going back to the watercolor experiments.  I bought 2 nice watercolor instruction books at a going-out-of- business Border’s store last week.  I am thinking of some small scale paintings on some of my archival cardstock so I can put them up on Etsy, but I haven’t totally decided yet.  I may try a few more gift tags or aceos just to loosen up after this.

It’s still so hot, hot, hot

Today was about our 14th or 15th day in a row above 90 degrees. I was so tired of winter that I don’t want to complain, but I wish we could have a little more rain here. I’m not sure if we have had even 1″ this month. Many of the storms in the area seemed to just go around. So, I am grateful at least for my air-conditioned studio and the little bit of precipitation that we got this week.

The layout

Amongst other things, I managed to lay out and ink in the small commission drawing ordered earlier in the week. It is a little more complicated than most because it is a remodel and not everything is finished. Most notably the color scheme is totally different from the pictures. I was able to get chips from the paint manufacturer, but now I have to be careful that I put everything in the proper place.  I have found that for me, the most complicated phase of a picture is often in the layout.  I have to determine the crop out and then begin the pencil drawing, deciding just how much detail I want to start with.  This one was a little more difficult than most because not only were the colors altered, but they wanted it to fit nicely into a standard frame.  Personally, I find it very difficult to work in a standard size.  I start out with a common size layout and it just doesn’t work with what I see and I have to expand it into my extra margin space.  This time, because of the specific request, I felt I had to do the best I could to accomplish that.  Fortunately the vertical townhouse gave me a little leeway with the adjoining homes.  I was able to fit it on an 8×10 board and work with a 1″ mat.

Inked in

I am fairly happy with the inking except for one thing – I had a brain cramp and mislayed the sidewalk lines.  As I was doing it I kept thinking this looks a little odd , but of course I didn’t stop to refigure.  I had layed them out with the roof lines instead of the primary perspective.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, but I may have to speckle out the sidewalk more.  Fortunately the lines are not solid and I may be able to finesse it with a little effort and color.  Ink is so unforgiving.

I am about 2/3 colored in right now and hope to be all done on Wednesday.  It may seem odd, but I usually find that the color aspect is the fastest.  The inking usually takes the most time.

Ohio entryway, updated.

Well, it finally stopped raining for a few days, so there was some indoor and outdoor work accomplished. I have gotten most of the annuals planted and have started the arduous task of weeding.  Only a few things left to do, including deciding if we are going to buy some more fruit trees.  We can’t determine if we want to keep planting them in the same spot or start over in an area that we would fence.  Easier to decide now before more things go in.  Since we have had so much damage from the deer it is a very real decision.  You’d think they’d respect that we don’t hunt but they just treat my gardens like a cafeteria line. 

An elegant Ohio enrtyway

Anyway after letting the picture sit a few days, I went back and put on the color. It was fairly quick this time as the picture was smaller than the recent ones and I knew pretty much what I wanted to do. I like the fact that the slate roof wasn’t the standard blue/green/grey tiles.  It is a rosy grey that distinguished it from many of the other slate roofed homes in the area and I think quite lovely.  It fits well with the dark red bricks and limestone accents.  I love the architectural detailing that was put on residences in the early part of the century but is generally unaffordable now except in the most expensive of homes.  I let the picture sit for another day and a half before returning to make some minor adjustments and filled in the time with making some more mini tags. Last weekend I sold nine to a friend to use on her weavings and she also wanted to give a few away to her weaving compatriots. It was nice to see her go though my stack and pick out ones she liked for herself and for some to give away. It is always fun to see someone enjoy your work.

The only hang up was a near disaster with the new picture. I always try to spray the fixative outside and then let it dry out there, leaning face in against the wall for about 15 minutes if I can, because the odor is incredibly noxious. My husband had been working on the lawn outside and then started started spraying some bug spray at the various door lintels.  I saw him out of the corner of my eye and ran to my door yelling STOP.  Fortunately I caught him before he got to my inward facing artboard and no damage was done.  He was contrite, but my heart stopped beating there for a second.

Classic Architecture in Ohio

It’s been one of those mornings already. I try to get online but our DSL service is down for a while.  When I finally am able to get on, I space my blog password and the one I had written down in the super secret location was the original one – not what I had changed to more recently. Fortunately I did have the aha moment where it came to me. These “senior moments” can be quite annoying sometimes. It doesn’t help either that I am trying to juggle about 20 passwords among all of the computer sites.
Anyway, problems solved for now. And it was a good week in the studio once I got caught up from the weekend away. I managed to stretch and paint a sheet of watercolor paper and also cut it up into various tag sizes.  They look pretty nice and I may just leave some of them as abstract art tags.  I’ll let them sit for a few days and then decide. 

Classic architecture

I went to the big box store and had the photos from Ohio printed out.  I am pleased with the pictures and have selected a lineup of about six to do.  I only have 2 or 3 of each house, but since I am doing this on my own and not as commissioned work, I have a little more freedom to do what I want. I don’t have a picture of this whole house and it looks a little more neo-gothic than Tudor, but it might have had some Tudor details to it on other parts of the house.  I really like the decorative cap over the windows and the limestone detailing around the door and windows.  Some of these homes were built back in the day when real stone carving was used. This particular house also has real slate tile roofing.  The tiles are quite large and beautifully colored.  The roof support that their weight requires must be enormous.  Anyway, here is a peek at the early stages of inking.  It will have red brick siding and blueish slate tiles with limestone accents when it is finished.  I’m not quite happy with the landscaping to the left of the door yet, but I’ll see what I can do.

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