Monday, January 28, 2008

Inktense Color Pencil test 1-27-08

I just bought a complete set of "Inktense Color Pencils" from Derwendt. I did some tests with them to get familiar with what they do when dry or wet. The inktense pencils are water-soluble but when they dry are permanent. I found the colors to be vibrant + fantastic!

First I lay down a very pale wash about an inch long and 1/4 inch wide. (the wash I did was a 'dry wash', this is a term that means a light layer or drawing with a light touch to add a light layer.) Then I added, with a progressively heavier touch, more to the strip going left. You can see it's darker on the top left of each color swatch and lighter on the right. Then I used a 'waterbrush', that is a brush that holds it's own supply of water for field work, to pull down color from the top. As I got to the darkest area, on every single color I was amazed at just how brilliant and beautiful each color was! Even the browns, neutrals and mustard color were lovely!

I'm really not used to using water soluble color pencils but I will make an effort to use these till I get the hang of it. My intent is to use them in the field when hiking, to lay down washes that may be worked over with ink or color pencil. I did a catapillar drawing and colored it with them just today, check it out on my Nature Sketching Blog at :
Let me know if you have used the inktense pencils and what you thought of them.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Coffee Experiment on Watercolor Paper 1-20-08

The other day I did some experimenting with watercolor paper and instant coffee. I had seen this used for a background for classical drawings. Now that I've tried it I can see that a bit of practice and light-handed use of coffee is a good idea. The first ones I did with just wet paper, brushed on with a big 'mop' watercolor brush, then I sprinkled INSTANT coffee crystals all over it. (No it doesn't matter if it's decaf or regular! ) I then brushed it until it colored the paper, then I re-sprinkled it with a bit of coffee. I guess I could mix some coffee up with water first to use as a tint. The one where I used bristol board I brushed with a house painters brush, it gave it interesting streaks.

The second set of papers I used two different brown watercolor paints to tint the paper. I used one big 11"x14" sheet that I taped to a board 1st. I wet it with water and the mop brush then brushed the color on. As it took on a sheen I sprinkled the coffee on and watched what it did...#1 is just coffee sprinkled and not touched, a little too heavy and spotty looking to me. #2 is same as #1 but then I brushed the coffee after awhile and re-sprinkled a tiny amount. #3 is same as #2 but I added salt and just left it alone. (note here...I just love using salt!! I love the random patterns it creates!) The sample pictures I posted here are cropped parts of the actual sheet I made. If I get a sheet I like I'll scan it, save it and perhaps I can print it out to use for drawings without worrying about messing up a hand-painted sheet. Let me know if you ever use this technique and how it worked for you. I'll be drawing with brown ink, brown pencils or pastels with some white chalk highlights on this paper. If I get time, I'll post what I do with it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Iris Watercolor Painting with Travel Palette"

I decided to put that little travel watercolor palette to test. I picked up a gorgeous iris and lily yesterday, sketched it out and started the first stages of painting. My objective here was really to test out the palette, watercup arrangement and holding the light board all in one hand. I want to see if I can use it like this in the field without an easel for little studies. You can click on any picture to see enlarged views.

I show a close up of the arrangement so you can see the watercups; they are actually for holding mediums for oil painting, designed to hold the liquid even when tipped slightly on a hand held palette. They worked fantastic! I had to get over the habit of looking for my watercup on the table! You can see the 'sticky tack' or 'blue tack' in my palette. Yesterdays blog explained that better, so they get tested today and it worked wonderfully! Yay..two experiments that worked.
My hand got a bit tired from holding the board and palette but this set up is supposed to be for quick studies, I worked on it longer than I would in the field.
The pictures are to show the stages of my painting, start to finish.

"Quick Watercolor of an Iris"

This is a watercolor I did of an iris that I approached spontaneously. No sketch, just direct painting with the brush, I did it rather quickly in a regular sketchbook (thin paper). I'll have to get my chinese brushes out and 'brush up' with them, I used to paint everything with them!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sketch of Connor 11-1-07

I did these very quick sketches of my son Connor while we were waiting at the dentist's office. At first he really didn't want me to draw him, not unusual, but he was a good sport about it! Thanks Connor!

I did it with a ball point pen in a tiny sketchbook (3"x5" ?) I keep in the car all the time. With pen you have to make small placement marks first and light lines, sometimes you have to cover over marks you don't want with heavier lines.
Hope you like them!