Think pink!

Surprisingly pink entryway

Surprisingly pink entryway

I finally got back to work on this massive looking wooden entryway located in Germany.  I have always like the pink facade combined with the huge wooden doorway.  The last time I looked at it was before the Christmas rush, so now that I’ve caught back up, I thought I’d get back to it.  I didn’t really have much left to do, but I deepened the colors some as well as the shadows.

This exemplifies what I like most about Old World architecture – the use of vibrant, unexpected colors.

We have been having a little bit of wildlife excitement here the last couple of days.  This year’s crop of coyote puppies has made its appearance.  I think they are denning across the lake as the mother hangs out past the far end of the dam just outside of the woods.  The boldest 4 of the 6 puppies (!) have crossed the dam and come to hunt and play in our back yards.  I am surprised the parents let them roam so far away.  It might take them 10 seconds to get over here if there was trouble, but I guess they are not too worried about us after all this time.  I took some pictures, but even with my telephoto lens, they hung down too close to the lakeside for really clear pictures.  If some manage to turn out, I’ll post them.  The last time they appeared in 2013, we saw them every afternoon for about 5 days.  I hope we get to see them at least that often.  These are younger than the 2013 group we saw early that July.

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.

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.

German train tunnel

Train tunnel

Train tunnel

Back to the German train tunnel.  I layered on the watercolors in 2-3 sessions after I added some rockish lines above the entrance.  I don’t know how well that worked out but I had to have some base for the brown/gray of the stone.  I think I need to work on indicating depth more with this technique.  I don’t want to overdo the watercolors so that the elegant writer pen washes disappear.  There is more to this than meets the eye.  I’m not unhappy with this, but I think it could be better.

 

I received another small commission over the holiday weekend.  Maybe the holiday purchasing has begun.  It is nice not to be rushed.

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.

 

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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