I have a little time to write, here, but am not entirely sure of how much use I’ll be.
Yesterday, my godmother came over for a visit, so most of my waking hours were spent with her and M. I did manage to get in some time to play with colors, but I ended up toying with the acrylic inks instead of dealing with jumping directly back into the watercolors. (It’s probably because of the packaging, I’m not even kidding: the FW inks kind of beg to be used in those little glass bottles.)
I have done a bit of an experiment, here, though, with the photography. I took a bunch of pictures of my work (most of which isn’t up here, because all it is, is my practicing Japanese writing [mostly, the same sentence] in multiple colors and nib sizes), and realized today on upload that I used the wrong lighting setting. I should have used the “Tungsten” setting instead of the “Fluorescent” setting, as the latter leaves a lot of cleanup work. The former blues everything out, but it doesn’t leave a heavy orange cast over everything like the “Fluorescent” setting does.
Anyhow…I did the above play last night and was curious about what it would look like under daylight today, so I took a second set of photos. Both of the photos above have had Levels adjustments applied to them in Photoshop, though surprisingly, the night photo appears a bit clearer in relation to color. Maybe it’s because I didn’t take the daylight photo under full daylight?
In any case, these are FW acrylic inks, as mentioned above. I started out playing with “Rowney Blue” (PB15) + “Yellow Ochre” (PBk7/PY1:1), then — if my memory is correct — expanded to “Dark Green” (PG36) plus “Brilliant Yellow” (PY3/PY83). There is probably a definite reason to use Brilliant Yellow over Yellow Ochre, given that the former is a slightly more brilliant hue than the latter, and that I’ve read that PY1:1 is to be avoided, as it’s apparently fugitive.
But anyway, I was curious as to what would turn out if I started blending colors which were not adjacent on the color wheel. Rowney Blue is the nearest FW ink I have to Cyan (though they do make a Process Cyan color) — that is, all the other ones are either more green, or less saturated. What I did find interesting is how quickly the blue ink tinted to deep green on contact with the Yellow Ochre ink. I’m not used to a yellow reacting so quickly, visibly and strongly with a blue. My gradation in this respect is found in the marks which appear to look like a tail, in the above photos.
I also did find with these, though, that if you want a stronger green, you may have to pull in a different pigment. This is why I started using Dark Green, as I could make some nice greens with the former colors, but they were slightly grayed out. Dark Green added some vividness, and along with Brilliant Yellow, made some really high-key greens that are visible above the “tail” section, above.
I did find, though, that like acrylic paints, these things dry extremely quickly; and so if you want to get color bleeds like you can in watercolors, you have a very limited time frame (seconds) to do so, before the first layer sets (at top left in the photos, I was moving too slowly).
It’s surprising to me that I was able to get such nice greens out of these colors. Usually when I think about colors like Hansa Yellow Deep, I don’t think of making excellent greens with them. To my eye, the yellow leans towards orange; however, maybe my eye is a bit off? and orange-leaning yellows can make saturated greens.
I wish I had the skills to make a graphic which would provide tooltips on mouseover. It would just make things so much easier! In the meantime…the palette is filled…just…OUT OF ORDER!!! D: 😉
These are the colors that I…FINALLY…put in the freakin’ palette.
The right side of this set of swatches is at the top of the photo…after I started getting “weird” colors (like those), things really got interesting.
For some reason, I have less of an aversion to Cobalt colors than I do to other toxic colors (particularly the Cadmiums). Maybe I’m just familiar with Cobalt through my work with glass beads…(Cobalt provides a rich, deep violet-blue in glass.)
Right now I’m watching out for this, but mostly the routes of cobalt uptake seem to be through ingestion and inhalation — neither of which, I have to worry about. (I’m relatively fastidious where it comes to after-work cleanup, and I don’t use an airbrush. If transdermal exposure were more of a risk [there is still some risk], it would be different.)
I do have a large number of Cobalt colors here. It’s a mystery to me just how one can get so many different colors out of the same metal.
(Cobalt colors range from Cobalt Violet, through Cobalt Blues, Ceruleans, Teals, and Turquoises, to Aureolin, or Cobalt Yellow.)
I am right now just hoping that I can keep all of these straight…I’m getting kind of tired of painting color chips. I can see why people use the modular pan setups, now: because sometimes you really want to shift the placement of colors around, after the fact. Ideally, Indanthrene Blue would go in between Dioxazine Violet and French Ultramarine, here; I would put Indigo over with the Earth Tones on the right side; and Winsor Green [Yellow Shade] would switch places with Winsor Green [Blue Shade], so that the Yellow Shade would be closer to the other yellows and further from the green-blues.
I’d still be at a loss as to where to put weird colors, though (like the two Cobalt Turquoise paints). 🙂 I got those because I wanted to be able to paint warm greens, as versus cool ones: I think I’m off to a good start on this.
And…yeah, I did break down and get Indanthrene Blue (Winsor & Newton). I mixed up a batch of Phthalo Blue and Permanent Magenta, as suggested on handprint.com, but I think the fact that I had Phthalo Blue [Green Shade] (as versus [Red Shade]) caused my mixture — a nice, inky blue-violet — to dull a little. The Indanthrene here is slightly more vibrant than what I mixed, that is.
The Cerulean Blue Chromium is actually a really useful color — I used it a bunch in my last still-life study. It’s blue, but not violet enough to take the life out of greens. I also ended up using Hansa Yellow Light and Deep to good effect, in the last still-life. From before, I remembered to dull colors with their complements, so violet would grey out yellow, for instance. And then there were the highlights (save the white space) and the shadows (add an adjacent deeper-valued color).
I think it’s time I get some rest. But before I go, I wanted to mention one thing that I need to remember, the next time I fill this palette: stir the paint with a clean toothpick until it’s smooth, before it dries. I stirred a few of these, which universally look better than what I did not stir. In particular, Vermilion Deep, Prussian Blue, and Burnt Umber all cracked pretty badly as they dried, with Burnt Umber actually separating from the well — see below. (Burnt Umber was, I suspect, the first color to fall out of the lid of my Mijello Silver Nano palette, prompting me to get a palette where nothing was stored in the lid.) I think that if I had stirred these paints to evenly distribute the gum arabic and release air bubbles before they dried, I would not have had this problem.
Above, I didn’t stir any of these paints except for Burnt Sienna, in the lower right corner, which had separated.
Another problem I’m having is dust and lint collecting on top of the paints when I leave them out to dry after a painting session. I’m not sure what exactly I can do about this — I don’t want my paints to mold, but getting lint stuck in them is also not ideal. Maybe if I used a piece of paper as a permeable membrane…
AND…the Mijello 33-well palette is, I’ve found, prone to getting stained, as regards the removable white tray. I have modded mine to make the wells easier to lift out (tabs of Artists Tape will do the trick), opening up a potential mixing area in addition to the lid and the removable tray, but I haven’t yet tried to mix on anything but the latter.
I tried the hint of mixing Quinacridone Magenta (W&N Permanent Magenta) with Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), and did indeed come out with something that looks very much like Indanthrone Blue! It was just a bit dilute because of all the water I added in order to rehydrate both of my paints, but if I didn’t skimp on it, I could probably make a full-strength mix.
I also painted out some Prussian Blue, which…I really like. I know it’s safe under normal circumstances, so maybe I can carry that knowledge with me. I’ve also decided to re-add Aureolin to my palette, though it doesn’t show in the image below (Trial 4):
…This is because I feel it might be useful in color mixing — particularly with cool greens — though it can’t really compete at all with Hansa Yellow for tinting strength. I would put Aureolin between the lightest yellow (Hansa) and Sap Green. I’ve also removed three colors (Cadmium Red Pale Hue, Winsor Orange, Cadmium Yellow Hue) due to multiple factors, varying with each paint.
The Hues are both Cotman (student grade) paints — from 2009 or before — and if I’m recalling correctly, they’re fugitive (though I haven’t verified that). Winsor Orange just tends to dull mixes, and I don’t need it if I’ve got Cadmium Orange Hue (a much more recent formulation [2016, I’m thinking] which may be less fugitive than the 2009 version [known fugitive], though I haven’t checked my memory against sources) in Cotmans.
This gives me six empty pans to work with (if I fill one with Aureolin)…
Anyhow, the Prussian Blue is really pretty (especially combined with Phthalo Green [Blue Shade]), and I’m trying to figure out whether to purchase the professional-grade paint. I know for a fact that the Cotman Prussian Blue (from 2009) doesn’t flow very well, but that’s to be expected of Cotmans — they’re really inexpensive.
I should get to bed sooner than later, but I wanted also to mention Cerulean. I have a Cerulean Hue, which I’m not too fond of. The only reason I mention it is that I’m not sure if I’ll need it for greens — I have Cobalt Blue, already, though. I’ve just been reading on handprint.com…maybe a Cobalt Turquoise could help and not be too similar to the Blue…or I could just swap the Turquoise for the Blue.
Cripes. Okay. I’ve just decided what I’m going to get. Prussian Blue and Cerulean Genuine. Tomorrow. Okay, brain?
It does help to have something to do, that much I can say.
Summer Session 2017 has just started, for me. In addition to my Vocational appointment, and a medical appointment which will soon be followed up upon (possibly a good thing), I was able to pick up study materials, work through the course intro, my first lecture, and complete one of two readings (it was only two pages long, not a big deal). It looks like I will be able to make it to the group on Wednesday: I have three chapters to read (about 55 pages), an introduction, and a Discussion post due by Sunday night.
Tomorrow, I have to get the rest of my bloodwork (blood tests) done (fasting), see my counselor, see my optometrist (I’ve already decided to keep my current frames). After that, everything else is optional until Friday, except for work.
I’m not sure if it’s necessary to say that I haven’t done any art, today, although I have been curious about the watercolor thing. And the Notan thing, not to mention that I found photos of acrylic ink swatches last night which I prepped, but didn’t post. (That would be this:)
I think I’ve been over this, already, though. At the time, I was intending to try my hand at comic illustration, and so invested in some muted hues in FW acrylic inks. From left to right, I’m pretty sure they are:
Flesh Tint (I’m not sure if that is white mixed in with it, to the right)
(By the way, those are just the names on the bottles. All of them are convenience mixtures made out of two or more pigments. Noting that, the original photo of this was so bad that I had to digitally alter the colors so they were visible. I can see that the background looks a little blue — and dim — from here, though.)
However…maybe I want to try a form of drawing or painting with these that isn’t comic-centered, given that the world of humans can be an irritant to me. (I wonder if I can work this into printing, or if I just habitually start projects and don’t finish them?)
One thing I do want to experiment with, though, and clearly: I mentioned in a prior post questions about color mixing; how I had mixed secondary and tertiary colors but — for lack of a better word — had not fully explored muted tones. A predominantly orange color (yellow + red) plus a little blue, for example, makes brown. But what about the other mixtures?
How do I even map that out? I can’t do it in my head: I’ll have to write it down, then probably copy it over onto good paper and see what happens if, say, I make a color wheel and fill in as much as I can. But then, what if I start mixing colors which are not split-complementary (like yellow/red + blue are)?
I mean, you can see where I’m going with this? What about yellow-orange, what is that, “yellow/yellow/red”? And that then shifts the complementary color towards violet…but again, I don’t have to use the direct complement.
There is a lot which has happened between my last post, and now. Significantly, everything which was not already late was turned in on time. I got the technical exercises out of the way first (including a botched Cataloging quiz — I’m not sure to what extent I’m concerned about this, anymore), then spent all of Sunday on my Literature Review for Research Methodologies. The day after was mostly spent asleep (I felt like I earned it), though toward the end (my memory is fuzzy, but I think this is right), I started experimenting with the FW Acrylic Inks, again. I think that’s what this was:
This was just mostly playing around with color. I meant to post about it yesterday (Monday the 13th, I mean), but I didn’t have the energy.
You can see that I had started to make marks over the top of the acrylic inks with the colored pencils. Those are my Progresso Woodless colored pencils…where the marks are bold, I was pressing pretty hard. Anyhow, this was just me messing around with four to five colors. (Crimson, Purple Lake, whatever they call Phthalo Green [I think it’s “Marine Blue”], Rowney Blue [Phthalo Blue] and a yellow which looks like Hansa Deep…I just checked, it’s called “Brilliant Yellow.”)
Of note, I have seen no evidence of an Ultramarine equivalent in the FW Acrylic ink line (which would make more vibrant violets) — and I just went to the art store, today. It’s very probable that it isn’t made because they want all the colors to harmonize, and the palette of the FW inks leans toward warm tones. (It’s really easy to make clashing colors when the original colors are not well-coordinated…)
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it causes the color mixing range to be limited. With Daler-Rowney making so many of these colors, though, I can see where they would like to limit their financial risk in color production. Especially since it seems like many have trouble mixing colors as it is, without venturing into “mud” territory (I may have said this before, but I think mud — dull color perceived as “lifeless” — can be rescued). But maybe I’m just spoiled on the good stuff…
I have gotten pretty tired color out of Prangs (note that some people can make gorgeous art with Prangs — and they aren’t really bad for what they are — nontoxic, inexpensive colors that flow well and wet easily and have comparatively good color strength for the price range), but that just caused me to stop using Prangs for colors that Prangs aren’t strong in (for example, cool red). The problem is that when one starts out with a dull color, it isn’t necessarily going to get stronger with other colors added to it, unless those other colors (or hidden hues in those other colors) dominate the first, or can mute a dominant hue and support a hidden hue. (I can expect someone to ask me what I mean by this, and the truth is that my left brain [words] doesn’t necessarily know how my right brain [art] does what it does.)
Let me get off of that. Anyway, 😉 playing around with this stuff caused me to go out to an art supply store and replace my two broken Progresso pencils — which, finally, they had. $0.74 each. While I was there (first time to the art store in a couple of months), I picked up some hot-press watercolor paper (I have been after this for ages, but this is the first time I actually bought any: it requires a special trip, as I haven’t seen Blick to carry many inexpensive [read: not Arches] hot-press watercolor pads or blocks), and I also picked up a variety of earth-tone FW inks, because I may be using these for cartooning, and in that case, I’ll want consistent color and color that doesn’t move when it’s re-wet.
Neither of these things are going to happen with watercolors, unless I mix large batches of skin tones and let them dry in a palette. Even then, there is the risk of movement when subsequent layers of color are added, though I’ve heard this can be mitigated with the addition of clear acrylic glazing medium at the time of painting. (I haven’t tried it, yet — but be aware, addition of acrylic medium will make anything mixed with it not able to be reused, after it has dried.) The FW inks don’t seem as intense as artist-grade tube watercolors, but they feel more controllable, and more suited to reproduction work.
(I go back and forth as to whether these inks or watercolors are more intense…after some experience, I’ve got to say that it depends on how much you thin them! When I first used these inks, I was thinning them way out because I didn’t want to waste them. In short, I was skimping on them [you basically have to lay out all your colors before painting in order to have them quickly available for mixing and altering other colors — and you have to say goodbye to all of what you’ve laid out at the end of a painting session, with acrylics], and it is obvious when I look at my first attempts at using these.)
The above image is something I was messing around with…as I realized at home that two of my colors (Yellow Ochre and Red Earth — neither of which are constituted as one would think they would be) were both rated as opaque. Obviously, though, this is relative. For example, with Payne’s Grey (though it may be due to the fact that it is blue-grey), you can’t really tell that it’s overlaying the black, here. Pure Burnt Umber, as well, goes on and does not mask the underlying black drawing at all — you can see at center right.
However, you can see a tiny bit of overlap in the foreground here with the Red Earth (the only red used here) and Yellow Ochre overflowing their lines in the center swirl. It also happened in the thing that looks like a tree trunk to the left, which I am fairly sure was a mixture of multiple colors, including red and yellow earth tones. Possibly also white. (I’m not sure, but I should add that last bit. White is obviously not transparent, though be aware that the FW acrylic white, isn’t a dense white. Daler-Rowney Pro[cess] White, though? I’m not sure about that — I’ve seen it used as correction fluid and for highlights. If I ever reach the finishing stages of a piece of art with this stuff and actually use the Pro White, I’ll let you know.)
What this means is that I will have to go back in and touch up areas where I have painted over lines which I need — if I use heavy coats of color. (The colors being bound by acrylic resin, helps ease my concern of clogging nibs, in this regard.) Pale washes, on the other hand, don’t really fade the linework noticeably (to me, at least). One of the things I did realize, though, is that it is WAY easier to work with these super-fast drying acrylic inks on a small scale. If I had wanted to, I could have avoided overpainting these lines, because my brush was that small and the shape was that small…but this was a test.
I’m not sure if it is the fact that I can see the colors of these inks through the bottles that makes me want to use them, but I’m sure it’s related to that. I’m thinking of clearing out one or two of my small palettes to use for everyday watercolors (that is, not the specialty ones which I have to think about including, like freakin’ Aureolin).
Okay, I’ll stop.
Oh, right. I also have been trying to work on drawing people again, though they’re imaginary people. I do have some photos of these, but to be honest, they’re pretty horrible (middle-of-the-night) photos, and I’m not even altogether that proud of the work anymore. It was fun last night, then I looked at it again today and realized my character had Vegeta proportions, so…
Right. I think I know what’s wrong, and it should be easily fixed. It’s what happens when you draw the head before the body. Still, though: I would really like to photograph this in daylight, rather than releasing it to the wild and *cough* messing up my *cough* reputation *cough* 😉 Hehe.
We all screw up sometimes, it’s part of being human — and being an artist means you screw up OFTEN and REPEATEDLY until you can learn other ways. 😉 So the best thing to do is be gentle on yourself, and maybe not even call it “screwing up,” but “having a learning experience”.
(When is the Internet ever gentle, though? SHUT UP ANXIETY BRAIN.)
Okay, I’m being told to get some rest now. I do have to get up in six hours. JOY. JOY OF JOYS.
Eh, at least I should be able to get some (home)work done at lunch…
I really should have written this post closer to the time in which I was experimenting, but various things (mostly the closing in of the deep night) kept me from doing that, then. Today — well, today has not been an art day; nor was yesterday. However, a few days ago I began experiments with my heavy-body acrylic paints, to see what the difference was — directly — between watercolors and acrylics.
I’ve just done some Levels adjustments on these photographs. The lack of good lighting was actually really noticeable on this first photo (it was, as usual, nighttime when I took the shots).
Anyhow, as I had been doing gradations in watercolor, and I knew I had a Zinc White which I had barely tried out, that top strip is Quinacridone Magenta, gradually blended with increasing amounts of Zinc White. Zinc White (Chinese White) is different from Titanium White in that the latter is much more opaque than the former. Thus, while both of these whites will fade out colors, the Titanium White will make a more opaque mixture (as you can see in the Payne’s Grey + Titanium White value scale over the black bar at bottom), while Zinc White will make a more transparent mixture.
The colors I used in this experiment were all high-key (bright) colors, things I normally wouldn’t use by themselves, unless I wanted a kind of psychedelic effect. What I found interesting: I mixed a violet tone in the upper right of that photo with (I’m thinking, probably) Phthalo Blue: Green Shade and Quinacridone Magenta. Above that mixture is a line of straight Dioxazine Violet, though it doesn’t look all that great in this photo (I’d have to tweak the color adjustments more to really get that to come out clearly). Here, I’ll try:
What I realized is that though the two methods would each make passable violets, the mixed violet was more complex when observed because of the fact that there were two different light-scattering pigments in there (both the Magenta and the Blue), whereas straight Dioxazine Violet gave a more “flat” violet (though still modulated by paint thickness, which in turn had to do with the amount of water and paint in the brush).
By the way, those little bars at the bottom of this image are Ultramarine Blue (Red Shade) — which is what would have been used to mix an intense violet in my Color class. Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) is much greener and more vibrant, producing a relatively muted violet tone.
It is, however, not as green as Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade) or Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), which are at the top left corner of this practice sheet, moving from left to right, respectively. I had found it difficult to find things to use Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) with, as it’s so vibrant and intense. On the other hand, I had also not known why it was that my prof had us get Chromium Oxide Green (top center), because it’s such a dull, muted color.
About half of the swatches above are paint straight from the tube, whereas the other half are mixtures made using those paints. I didn’t really get into good territory, though, until I started mixing with Indian Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue (a bismuth salt which I had been trying to avoid until I realized how efficient it is), Bronze Yellow, and Yellow Oxide (a.k.a. Yellow Ochre), along with Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Chromium Oxide Green, and Emerald Green. The last is a convenience mixture, located directly below Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade): that is, farthest to the left, one down. (Indian Yellow is directly below that.)
You can see how close these two paints are in hue…I have been collecting greens for a while because of really hating that Chrome Oxide Green: unmixed, it is the hue of a pool table. However, in Liquitex Heavy Body paints, most of the green colors available are convenience mixtures.
Bronze Yellow (bottom row, second from the left) is also a convenience mixture, but produces more complex tones when mixed. Like Indian Yellow, it makes warm and muted greens (the swatch in the lower left corner was mixed with Indian Yellow, whereas the swatch at bottom center was mixed with Bronze Yellow).
I am trying to remember exactly how I reached that color second from the right, on the bottom row. This was my favorite color of the entire mixing session; I know it was Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) with Indian and/or Bronze Yellow, and/or Yellow Oxide. (By the time I had reached that point, things were getting complicated on my palette.) I probably should have noted it down while it was still fresh in my memory…though I should be able to mix the modified version again, easily. As long as I know that it was a muted bright yellow (now that I’m thinking of it, it was probably Indian Yellow) with Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), I’ll probably be all right.
In any case, that color makes up two of the blue-green center streaks in this plaything I made up. (I was using a hog-bristle “Georgian” flat brush by Daler-Rowney which had already started to wear down from my painting with it on rough surfaces…so I decided to play with it while I could.)
By the way: these experiments were done on canvas pad sheets. These are sheets of canvas which are primed on one side and bound into a pad, like papers would be. I’m not wasting stretched canvas on these experiments, that is. And actually, the image to the left, here, is something I was messing around with on the back of the first experiment I showed you. It’s really easy to just gesso this and then wait for it to dry, and then you can paint on the back of the canvas (though it may need weights to keep it from rolling up while it’s drying — I used a couple of tubes of paint). As for gesso brushes, I was using a Purdy brush, which is available from hardware and home improvement stores.
Anyhow, the greener streak on the far left is mixed like the center blue-green streaks, but also with Emerald Green. As for those other yellow-green colors, I honestly can’t remember how I got there, anymore; but am guessing it will be relatively easy (for me) to get back.
For some reason, this setup, in which I had gessoed the canvas myself and then waited for it to dry, seemed to accept the paint much more easily (and cleanly) than the part of the canvas which was designed to be used first. I’m not sure if it has to do with the absorbency of the gesso or the grittiness of the gesso or what (I was using Liquitex Basics gesso, which is relatively rough). I didn’t try laying down areas of color on this side of the experiment, either, so I don’t know whether my paints would streak with the Liquitex Basics gesso as well as the pre-gessoed front side of the fabric, or whether the streakiness is due to some quality of the pad’s integral gesso formulation (I still haven’t broken into the Fredrix canvas pad).
In any case…I realized at this point in the experiments that I wanted to try pairing muted colors with high-key colors in mixes, because in that way it’s possible to get vibrancy from the high-key color, with temperance from the muted one. This must be one way to use those psychedelic colors with which I started off this post, without looking entirely artificial. Without Phthalo Blue’s intensity, that is, I don’t think I would have been able to reach that intense peacock blue hue. Mixing a muted yellow, I asked myself what would happen if I added a greenish blue: and I got that beautiful formulation.
I also realized just how close Indian Yellow and Yellow Oxide were, to each other (Yellow Oxide is in the lower right corner)…and have begun to realize that I can weed out some unnecessary colors (which produce repeat hues), once I figure out what I want my palette actually to be.
And, of course, that means: more experiments! Hehe. I have found that I enjoy working with acrylics moreso than with watercolors…the paint is just easier to control, although there is the issue of needing to work on surfaces which aren’t paper…luckily, I have 17 pages of canvas pad sheets left. 🙂 And, if I’m not working on anything serious, I can buy more unstretched canvas (though I’m not sure it will work the same).
As regards that big painting I want to work on, that I’ve talked about before: I am thinking that I am going to try jumping right to canvas without making a trial drawing of the succulent that I want to paint. I’ll be using vine charcoal for an underdrawing, so any mistakes should be easy to wipe off with a wet rag. My problem is that I put obstacles in front of myself to delay the work, and that isn’t good: and, I mean, as long as I’m not using a textured media like gel media, I will be able to gesso over the whole thing and start again, if I need to. Putting it off just reinforces the procrastination and fear mechanisms; and I do really want to start on this — before school begins again!
Alright, so. I have been working on playing around in watercolor…though I think the better examples of this happened when I took my time. The little squares here are underneath my transparency swatches…which are basically just an index of the colors I have. Really, the biggest pain about any of this is that the earth tones tend not to stick in the lid of my palette and instead separate as little chips that fall when I try and close it… >_< …right. Whoever said that design would work, anyway?
Initially, looking at this, I was thinking that, because of what I had been doing with the brush to achieve smoother gradations (pulling each color into the other with small brushstrokes), maybe I should be working in gouache, instead. However…now that I look at it, I just see someone learning to control their medium at a very early stage.
I have gotten out the gouache: trust me, I’ve gotten out the gouache. 😉 I haven’t done any comparisons yet between the different effects achievable with each media, though.
Sorry about the photo quality…I still haven’t gotten the hang of this, yet.
Although in the past I could say that I really disliked (my own) dry-brush effects, when I look at it here, it actually seems to work. (Kind of like how I don’t like to use hard charcoal or graphite sticks, but they have their uses?) I’m pretty sure the upper pink is Permanent Rose; and the one under it is Permanent Magenta (in Winsor & Newton brand), in many other brands known as Quinacridone Violet (though W&N’s “Quinacridone Violet” is a completely different shade, leaning more blue than red). This is what I mean by irregular labeling of paints.
The grainy green-blue above it is Viridian; actual Viridian, not “Viridian Hue.” I did try blending this Viridian with Permanent Rose, and now suspect that the beautiful mixed tone I got (mentioned in multiple places, earlier) actually may have been Viridian Hue (W&N Cotman Phthalo Green) with Permanent Rose. Viridian Hue (Phthalo Green) plus Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) are together in the top central square in the upper first photo of this post. What can Phthalo Green be used for? Try! 🙂
One thing I can say is that natural hair in a paintbrush makes a world of difference in that brush’s performance. I first ran across this in Painting class, when I started using Sumi-e brushes with my watercolors, because they retained water and color better. This is not a traditional use for them, so far as I can tell — but at least the regular Western transparent watercolors I’ve tried (largely Prangs and W&N colors), don’t seem to harm them.
I have at various times had three different types of Asian calligraphy brushes, though one of them (I think it was a Mao “Little Ying”) eventually died from irregular expansion of the handle. That is, I think I left it in the water too long, and the bamboo split. >_<;; Because of the way it was constructed, about the only thing keeping it together at the end was probably a piece of string, and probably some glue.
The other bamboo-handled brushes I have are all Yasutomo (for some reason, it’s hard to find other brands than this in brick-and-mortar stores: excepting Asian stationery stores), in a couple of different styles. I have no idea what the different styles are actually intended to do, but they work for watercolor. The ones I have all have a core of stiff hair, surrounded by a ring of soft hair. They don’t keep their point well — you have to shape the tip prior to each stroke — but the touch is much softer and more delicate than with a synthetic.
Most recently, I picked up a little tiny #2 Robert Simmons “Sapphire” flat, which is maybe 1/8″ wide, and it’s so much easier to use than a full-on synthetic with watercolors, that it’s kind of weird. In tiny sizes like the one I have, they’re actually affordable…
The Sapphires are a blend of red sable and synthetic fiber; but the amount of natural hair in them actually does make them handle differently when it comes to watercolors. Laydown and color retention is smoother than what I’m used to from my completely-synthetic brushes (most of the rest of them, that is), which I’ve read have a tendency to dump their pigment load all at once.
Now that I look up this company online, I find that they are also the people who make the “Signet” hog-bristle brushes that I like for acrylics!
Hmm. Wonder about that…
I’m not sure how natural brushes would fare with gouache. Gouache has a tendency to get heavier, stickier, and stiffer than transparent watercolor. I’ll give it a try with my synthetic brushes before I attempt anything with the real-hair brushes (the color-load-dropping thing may be a bigger issue with watercolors which are close to the consistency of water), though I’m thinking that maybe my heftier intended-for-acrylic brushes might be better off with those paints…