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.

 

I decided to go bold…

Yellow stucco

Yellow stucco

…but not overboard. I hemmed and hawed with myself on whether to go yellow or coral. In the end, the yellow won. I started out with a more intense hue, but it seemed too garish for the picture.  The vividness overpowered the softer wash colors, so I toned it down with yellow ocher, making it closer to a gold but still quite bright.  It is a bit more yellow than this, but I just don’t seem to have that photoshop touch to show it more exactly.  I placed a spot of red in it with the chimney top.  The flue was grey in the photo, but I have the feeling it was a later addition, so I didn’t feel bad taking some artistic license with it too.

In addtion, I straightened up the entryway.  The right side had a bit of a lean which started to bother me.

A couple of days later I still like it.  Perhaps the next one will be red.

German castle walk

Castle walk

Castle walk

I am not quite sure where this photo came from, but I think it was taken on one of the castle tours we took during our trip to Germany in 2000. The view looks as if it is from high up overlooking the countryside, just as a castle would.  I wish I had more context for this series, but I didn’t identify the photos very well at the time.  I know the towns we visited and some of the castle names but not really what goes where for many of them.  Not very good journalistically, I suppose.  We were just enjoying ourselves and I didn’t give it a lot of thought.

Castle with water wash

Castle with water wash

The entryway area is stucco and the rest is layered rock, with a stone wall in the front left.  I didn’t use as much in the initial wash as the others.  I did 3 separate light oversprays to perhaps lessen the extra ink bleed when I watercolor.  Maybe I should be bold and color the stucco vibrantly.  I don’t know what color it might have been.  It is off white in the picture. Yes, in some way, I think I’ll go brighter with this one.  Shake things up a bit.  Either coral or yellow.  What do you think?

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.

Dino lino for my 400th post

Raptor dinosaur

Raptor dinosaur

I’ve been fiddling around with the German streetscape the last few days, and decided I needed a slight diversion.  I had taken some pictures a few years ago at a outdoor dinosaur display park off of Interstate 65 in Kentucky. There is a large tyrannosaurus rex standing by the highway as advertisement (it is in the park) and I had always wanted to visit and maybe take some reference photos.  We stopped one day on a trip to Atlanta and had a very nice outdoor walk among life size dinosaurs with John’s camera clicking away.  I rather enjoyed myself and it was well worth the admission price.  There was also a small store where you could buy real and synthetic geologic souvenirs which were actually interesting, too.

Khaki dino linocut

Khaki dino linocut

Unfortunately, we had trouble with his camera and it wasn’t until recently that I finally managed to get the pictures downloaded.  I have been intending to do a more boy themed linocut for some time and this seemed to fit the bill.  I made the standard black one but wanted to maybe do a colored one, too.  I slapped red, yellow, and green on the glass and rolled them together, hoping to get something more multicolored.  It ended up as a slightly khaki color and more uniform than I wanted, but is not bad.  One more thing to play with.

German streetscap

German streetscap

I think I have finished the German streetscape and am ready to list it.  I added more depth to the lower areas and street and more green to the background trees.  I do have to play more with developing a foliage technique so maybe the next thing is to just make some circular file art to throw water on in various ways.and see what happens.  I don’t usually post the final redo since I’ve posted about it so much before, but this actually looks somewhat different and I thought you might like to see how I altered it.

I can’t believe this is my 400th post.  Thanks to all of you for supporting me in this artistic life journey.

 

Watercoloring the German streetscape

Streetscap with watercolors added

Streetscape with watercolors added 

This drawing has quite a bit more color added to it than the previous one.  I started with painting the red timber trim and flower boxes and then moved on to the walls.  I left the upper area white but darkened the lower areas.  The brown building on the left also provided a nice contrast.  I grounded the building by darkening up the street.  Unlike the road in the last one with the brick patterns, this one has nothing to distinguish it.  I may decide to darken it up a little bit more.

I decided to get bold with the sky this time around.  I discovered that if I put some ink lines on another sheet of board and then wet them, I had a light watercolor to add quickly to the real painting.  I wet the sky area pretty well with clear water and then loaded up the brush from the prewatered lines.  I quickly dabbed the wide brush into the sky area and moved it around.  Prewetting the sky with plenty of water seemed to let the ink wash act more like watercolor and not just stain the board wherever I touched it.  I’m pleased with the effect.  Some of the pinks appear along with the blues, giving the sky some texture.

I’m not happy with the green foliage between the buildings so I’m just letting it sit a couple of days before I make any adjustments.  Maybe I’ll add some yellows to it.

I colored it in

Coloring between the lines

Coloring between the lines

I decided, what the heck, starting a new technique requires a little boldness. what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe it would end up in the circular file, but I’ve finally realized that that is okay. If nothing ever ends up there, you aren’t growing in the work.

According to the teaching video I watched, you are supposed to be able to spritz the picture lightly to fix the lines that weren’t touched when the initial water brushwork was done.  Somehow, I couldn’t manage it properly and the inked lines still flowed.  I ended up just going with it, coloring between the lines, almost like in a coloring book.  I didn’t get too freaked out when I inevitably went too close and the ink ran, but I did try to minimize it and then remove what extra flow I could.

I like it and I don’t.  I’m just going to have to let it sit for a while and decide later. It does have a little bit of the feel of a coloring book, but not necessarily in a bad way.  I probably just need to experiment more and not get myself stuck.

A new technique

Quick pencil sketch

Quick pencil sketch

Well, what do you think of this? While reading a post from Carol King’s blog (listed in my blogroll and dated 6/12/15), I saw a link to a drawing technique using the Speedball Elegant Writer Calligraphy Marker.  After watching the linked video, I thought it might be interesting to use for some loose architecturals.  I looked through the photos from our trip to Europe in 2000 to see if I could find something suitable. At that time my husband’s timber frame company had cut a frame here in Indiana, shipped it to Germany, and then the whole crew went over to erect it.  I went over with our son Justin when they were finished and we spent a few days driving around the country.  What a great time we had.  I remembered I had taken some shots of narrow streets with the most incredible architecture you could imagine and found this one to use.

Speedball writer technique

Speedball writer technique

I did a very quick sketch, not taking the exacting care I normally would, even changing some things to make it a little simpler (gasp!) for the first attempt.  There is a slight beveled edge to the pen tip for calligraphy usage so I was able to vary the strokes somewhat.  That was a little disconcerting at first, but I worked with it and came to a nice accommodation.  I let it sit for a day and then just went ahead and did the water wash in a more slap dash manner than I would normally use.  Wow, I really like it!  At one level, this really appeals to my sense of positive/negative spaces. I also like the randomness of the slight color changes.  When the water is washed on, the ink changes from black to shades of dark blue, light blue, and mauve in an unpredictable way.  Once the ink has set from the water wash and a light mist spray, you can then add regular watercolors if desired.

I can see a series of Germany architectural drawings and maybe a few florals coming up and a new set of listings in my etsy store.  This is just the inspiration I have been needing.

I really would appreciate some feedback and votes -add regular watercolor to it or not – so go right ahead and tell give me your opinion, even if you’ve never commented before.  I will total up the pro and con choices and let you know.  I am going to try more of these for sure.