Watercolor birds

Pelican resting

I did get some time over the holiday weekend to spend in the studio.  Since there is a little bit of down time when using this misting technique, I decided to try and paint two at once.

Pink flamingo

I found these two pictures from a long zoo photography session and thought they might be fun to try.  I got a little carried away with the frisket and in the future I will probably peel off the larger blobs, but I guess that is part of the experience.  Also I am still having a problem with the paper curling with the heavier washes.  I painted these on the Arches watercolor paper which I taped down but, especially with the pelican, I got some stretching that didn’t go down after it totally dried.  I have put them under some heavy books and maybe that will help.

I did most of the initial pen and ink with the water spritz first and then started to painted the birds.  I went back and added some more ink with a little bit of water outside of the birds, creating a little bit of extra grey wash.  When I was done, I decided to embellish their bases and the background a little.  I added most of the wash on the right side of the pelican at the end because I didn’t feel that he was grounded enough.  I think it looks more balanced too.

The Start of a New Year

Now that the holidays are basically over , I have been thinking about what to do next. I have been considering doing something new, but with an old technique. When I first started pursuing pen and ink drawing, lo those many years ago, all I had was an old fashioned nib pen and dipping ink. Many of the animal portraits I did back then were made with this pen and it really does give a different feel than the technical pens. I got started with the technical pens when I went seriously into architectural art. It was way easier to just be able to draw and not keep dipping the pen in the ink repeatedly. I liked the flow of the rendering better too. Since I would like to alternate a few of the animal portraits in with the architectural work, I think it would be an interesting contrast and good for the brain to try something “new.” I might even try to set a color overlay of pastel or watercolor on them. I do get tired of the black and white sometimes and I did enjoy the color tiger picture I posted earlier. Here are some older examples from my animal art using the nib pen. Can you tell the difference?

Florida pelican


Also, here is my latest listing on etsy.


It’s snowing AGAIN, so I’m finishing up my drawing in the studio

Another snowy day here. It is only mid December and I am already tired of cold and snow. They are forecasting another big snow storm for Indiana today, but hopefully the worst will be far north of us.  The old Farmer’s Almanac said a warmer than normal winter for us – I’m still waiting.

I’m almost finished with my latest piece. It is a pen and ink with mostly watercolor overlay and a little touch of colored pencil. It is in the let and sit phase now. I have found, over the years, that I need to take breaks during the creative process to let the art side of my brain clear.  After I draw something out I need to let it sit for a day and then go back to it for inking. What looked fine the day before will often look distorted the next day. If I am working on drawing out something very complicated I get so bound up in it that I can’t really “see” it any more. After a few hours of drawing in the basic sketch, I get attached to the way it looks and can no longer judge it. I really need to clear out the image from my mind. Often it means just minor adjustments, but sometimes something is glaringly wrong and I get the chance to fix it before I ink. Ink is VERY unforgiving.  I usually take a day or two for the inking on a small picture and maybe several more on something larger. I want to get into a flow, but not overdo it because once again I can get too attached to how it is proceeding. The same goes for the color overlay, whether I am using pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, or a combination of the above.

It can take 3-7 days for a project to be completed. Not as long as it seems for the actual work , but because I need to have time to evaluate each stage as I go along. It is hard for me to be a stream of consciousness artist. The work flows when my brain is in gear, but I tend to get too attached to it without the breaks. Finally, when I think the color is done, I again let it sit for a day or two to see if it needs adjustment. The real difficulty is deciding that enough is enough and not to overwork it.

I’ll post the work this week when I finish my last looks.  I hope to have it up in my shop on Etsy by the end of the week.  Today I’ll put up some of my animal art. I find alternating between the animal art and the architectural art is refreshing for me.

Florida Pelican

Lazy Tiger