I find black animals a challenge to paint. I took a photo of this Red-winged Blackbird a week or so ago.
I used Daniel Smith’s Goethite (Brown Ochre) for the initial wash of the bird as well as in the background. I’ve had this paint in my palette for awhile but haven’t really used it. It’s more black than brown, but I love the granulation. This version is pretty close to the photograph.
The Iguassu Falls Bird Park in Brazil is located beside the National Park containing the falls. I photographed these two macaws when I visited some years ago.
I chose to paint this photograph because of the angles the birds made with their bodies, tails and wings. In my photograph the birds looked grey and black even with adjustments to the brightness. The little bit of turquoise that I could see on one of the bird’s head as well as the yellow eye and mustache enabled me to identify them as Hyacinth Macaws. Further investigations on the internet showed their true colours.
I recently made these 12 cards from 1 large piece of 140 lbs Fabriano Artistico cold pressed watercolour paper. I divided the paper up using masking tape and painted each section. Some were done wet on wet, others wet on dry. I tried various techniques. I placed plastic wrap scrunched up on several. On two I placed some cheese cloth; on one I sprinkled sea salt. These were all left to dry as well as the three I left alone. After the paint dried I removed the plastic wrap, cheese cloth and salt. One of the ones with the cheese cloth had no discernible effect. I touched up some of the paintings with a second layer and splattered some paint on some. I then removed the tape and cut the sections and glued each one to a folded 1/2 piece of 8.5 x 11 card stock. I had printed the backs of the card stock with my name etc. before cutting and folding them.
These are a gift for a friend with whom I exchange handmade gifts.
There were a lot of Monarch Butterflies around this summer. There is a field nearby full of milkweed and whenever I passed I paused and spent some time watching the Monarchs flutter from plant to plant.
Closer to home, I found this butterfly on a milkweed beside my driveway. I had to look it up to discover that it is a Pearly Eye Butterfly. I took a photograph of it and used that to sketch it using pen and ink and watercolour pencils.
I had taken lots of photographs of the Monarchs and milkweed on my walks but hadn’t yet tried to paint them when I found a dead butterfly on the road. I picked it up and took it home to sketch.
Next I tackled a Monarch from one of my photos. I did the background wet in wet first and added the butterfly afterwards.
I was raking leaves that didn’t get cleaned up last fall and noticed that the rhubarb was up.
I took a break to take a photo of the rhubarb which I used the next day to do a quick watercolour sketch.
I did a wet in wet under painting and then played with what was there to make it look like flowers. I don’t know of any flowers that look like the blue ones I painted. They may only exist in my imagination.
Spring has finally arrived. There are buds on the trees and the grass is green. The change in the weather inspired me to paint the following watercolours.
I decided to play with paint and chose for the first painting a limited palette of turquoise, yellow, and green.
After the first layer dried I painted in the grasses and added some purple for contrast.
For the second painting I used more colours.
I wasn’t very imaginative with what I added after the first layer dried. Maybe it isn’t finished yet.
Anyway, I did have fun and that’s the main thing.
Sometimes one scene can provide inspiration for multiple paintings.
Sometimes it takes multiple tries until what you have on paper feels right.
These 4 watercolours are from the same photograph that was taken in the Languedoc region of France several years ago.
I like something about each one but I think I’ll have to do it again because none are quite “there ” yet.
With this photograph it will take multiple attempts to get it the way I want. However, I can now see at least two different directions I could go in and so maybe it will turn out that the photograph will be the inspiration of multiple paintings.
I started this watercolour with a wet in wet under painting having no idea where I was going to go with it. I then searched through my photographs looking for some ideas that would fit. I chose a photo taken from the window of my motel room on the way back from my trip to Nova Scotia. It was October and the colours of the trees were brilliant.
I had taken the picture when I arrived. The next day was dark and I encountered heavy rain from Montmagny (east of Quebec City) through to Montreal. Until then I had only encountered one rain shower which occurred on the second day of my trip so I was very lucky.
I started a new sketchbook at the beginning of July. Most of the sketches so far have been drawn in ink and the watercolour was added after. The paper isn’t made for watercolour and I had to experiment with how to apply the paint so that it didn’t look like just a bunch of coloured blotches. I found that wetting the paper first and painting wet on wet worked best. However it was hard to get intense colour and the pages warped.
I painted the truck and trees first and then added the pen after.
I then covered some of the pages (one side only) with Golden Absorbent Ground (White). I used one of the pages to paint an impression of one of the views from my daily walk.
The paper handled the watercolour much better and didn’t warp.
I started the next one with pen and added watercolour after. Although I did spend a lot of time measuring, the proportions didn’t work out right, but I can try it again later.
I like the size and format of this sketchbook so I have covered several pages with Absorbent Ground in preparation for more watercolour sketches.