Breaking out of the narrowness, for a bit:

For Christmas festivities last night, I cleaned off the craft table and stowed some stuff away. When I was putting it back, I used a little miniature set of…well, organizers, which helped very much! I am planning on expanding the organizers soon, which is why I’m not saying what they are, 😛 but…I would hope at least to clean up that area. I would also like to arrange things so that I don’t forget about the resources I have, while chasing after new ones.

For instance, in addition to the drawing and painting which I’ve done and which I have resources for (and which are difficult for me to start, not kidding — though I have been doing some visual research and started with a different method of approach to the painting I mentioned last post: color blocks as versus contour-line drawing), I also have wanted to do embroidery, sewing, and beading, in the recent past. I also have tools for wirework and crochet. And…bead embroidery, now that I think about it. (Also, knitting: but I’m unmotivated at knitting.) 🙂

(EDIT: Oh, and collage and block printing! I entirely forgot about that!)

These things fall into a rather unattended area of intellectual property law, as I would be creating things with the help of others (in the form of instruction in technique). However, they aren’t particularly novel inventions (thus the technique can’t be patented), and don’t fall under copyright, so long as I don’t resell the physical patterns themselves as my own. What remains is down to friendliness, honor, and often-unspoken community norms. That, my dears, is Craft, and it is ruled by “managed openness” (not my term, but I can’t find the reference right now).

One of the main reasons to gravitate back to the Fine Arts, for me, is that the Intellectual Property slog is much clearer, even if so hard to enforce that it’s almost useless. In that case, I’m making images or sculptures or prints from my own mind that would normally not be reproduced by anyone else (until uploaded to the Web, that is, where anyone can download and use my unique contribution without my permission. There is no Universal IP Law that applies globally; it depends on international contracts which no one has to buy into).

And yes, I do believe I’ve talked about this before (possibly not in such detail), under the tag, “copyleft.”

I had entirely forgotten that I have a pattern for monpe (Japanese field pants) and the fabric to make them with (and wanted to make them)! I also forgot that I have plenty of needles, at least one good thimble, hand-sewing thread and basting thread, and sharp scissors ready at hand!

And I want to get back into hand-sewing. I really want to get back into hand-sewing, and I don’t even know why. There is just a thrill in making things, you know?

Maybe one of my gifts to myself this Christmas will be allowing myself the time and freedom to do this. Do anything I want, regardless of whether I can sell it or call it fully “mine” or not.

I also want to read and practice and write, at least a little, in Japanese. For now this will be limited to my textbooks, but I have enough books to give me a good variety of beginning approaches and reading material.

My biggest hurdle at this point is kanji (Chinese-based characters), though the book Beginning Japanese by Kluemper, et. al, starts out teaching kanji along with syllabary (as it’s geared toward AP Japanese students — it seems to move faster, even, than Elementary Japanese by Hasegawa, et. al, though they look like they cover the same material). I need to practice and reinforce what I know and what I’ve forgotten, so that I can move forward.

Maybe tomorrow, I can mop the kitchen floor and lay out, pin, and cut out my pattern on muslin. I know by now that I’ll need to make it a Size 16, which is the largest size available for this pattern. If things go how they may, though…I may start dropping weight on my own relatively soon, because of going off of a medication which causes weight gain. I still haven’t made that last jump to not ever taking it, but right now I’m on a half-dose of normal, and have been for a while.

I do think that it would be foolish of me to state, though, that the weight gain is entirely due to medication; genetics are also playing a role, as is lack of activity. My appetite hasn’t been as much of an issue since I started probiotics (amazingly enough). But since I will need to take a shower soon anyway, it wouldn’t hurt tomorrow to get in some physical activity.

See, I knew that I would get around to articulating my priorities over Winter Break! …about midway through Winter Break, yeah! 😛



Today was my first day of freedom from classes and Finals. I did still go to work, but I was also happy that I got to do whatever I wanted on my lunch hour! Nothing hanging over my head with some due date that I had to work on in order to alleviate my anxiety and boost my GPA!

Just think: in one more year it can be like this, permanently. Not to say that I would stop learning, because I can’t afford to do that, ever; but I will have obtained my first professional degree.

It’s also not lost on me that this “vacation” time I’m entering into, with Winter Break, may be one of the last extended periods of lack of responsibility that I’ll be able to have, unless I save up vacation hours at whatever job I’ll have in the future.

Because of a number of issues, I’m not entirely certain it is even possible to expect to retire once I reach a certain age. I haven’t gone in for financial counseling or anything, but it just doesn’t look good for me, due to the age at which I began (or am beginning) my career. The institution of retirement itself doesn’t look good, as regards what I can see ahead.

However: there are some bright spots. A lot of them, actually…though elucidating that, right now, may be a bit much. And, I can’t expect to live to old age, anyway…that’s kind of not guaranteed.

In any case…I did do some drawing at work, earlier. No photos or scans, yet, though I did learn one thing: don’t try to alter a pencil image at the same time as you’re inking it. (I had forgotten how subtle changes severely affect expressions, in images of people!)

I should be heading out to replace some art supplies that I’m running low on (yay for using up art supplies!). This is, specifically, a type of marker paper I picked up a long time ago (Borden & Riley) which is particularly useful both because of its degree of translucency, and the fact that markers tend not to bleed through it. (New Chartpak markers will still bleed, though, as will new Copics [unless I’m mistaken].) Because the paper is so translucent, it allows for tracing and inking of linework.

The major drawback of any of this is that then the inked illustrations either need to be transferred to a digital file for coloring (which means I will need to learn how to digitally color), or they need color added with dry media (I have never tried this paper with watercolors…it would be an interesting experiment, as this is cotton rag paper, but…I wouldn’t set my hopes too high). The alternative is using Saral paper, a.k.a. making a carbon paper transfer, which makes inking the original, redundant.

Or, I’d just have to stick with using pens and markers for all of the art. It’s not a best-case scenario, largely because I’m not great with markers…though I think I am better than I thought I was. The limited work that is still inside the cover of the pad isn’t awful, even though at the time, I was fairly disappointed.

Maybe I just need to become skilled with a blending marker? I don’t know. What I do know is that this is the first pad of paper I’ve almost-used-up in a while (unless we count the small pad of ArtAgain coal black paper, which I found can take wet media [in this case, gouache]).

It is possible to work out small comics with the marker paper, as well as play with layout, generally.

The largest issue with trying to practice illustration at this point, for me, is either creating a story or finding a story to illustrate. I may be able to work on this over Winter Break, though, too. Hopefully, the last decade or so has calmed down some of the issues I was going through, last time I was intensely involved in fiction writing.

(I can’t help but think that it will attempt to reactivate some of those old dysfunctional neural pathways, though…)

And if I’m going to write, it would likely help, to read (which I have time for, now). The other main issue is that I overwhelmingly read nonfiction…maybe a short story would work. That way, the research wouldn’t be overwhelming (I can read short fiction I like), and the writing wouldn’t be overwhelming, either. This could then lead to a short tale that I could illustrate…

…though I honestly think that project would take up more than the time I’ve got over Winter Break. I have about a month, off. I’m sure I’ll get around to figuring out what to do with my time (other than this), in the near future, but right now I’m just looking at the next 2-3 days.

I did unexpectedly use a bunch of Marker paper for my Web Design project. I have 5 usable pages of this stuff, left. I think I’ll get the 9″x12″ size again, as it is small enough to fit into my work locker. Plus, I can’t scan anything over 8.5″x11″, at this point, so getting a larger size would be relatively useless unless I started hard-core doing comics, and needed to tape up page roughs to my wall in order to read their composition.

(I don’t want to scan these things at an office-supply store. I’m not going to get into, why. I’m sure it’s obvious enough.)

That actually sounds really fun–! It also gives me an excuse to pick up a gouache color that I’ve set my eye on (Quinacridone Magenta). This last color-experimentation phase (for the website) has got me using gouache again, which can make gorgeous opaque colors. But I can’t think about it in the same way as I would think about illustration. It pretty much has to be looser than that.

I had also been thinking about painting with gouache on board…meaning that I’m looking at the use of gesso and Golden Absorbent Ground, to prep the surface. The biggest thing I’m concerned about there is the possibility of destroying my good (soft) watercolor brushes by painting on top of a rough surface.

Now that I look at it, I would be just as well off by mounting a paper to a piece of board, painting it, then removing it to frame.

Hey, wait: it’s also possible that I might be able to permanently mount a paper to board by using an acrylic medium, like maybe Glazing Medium…hmm. Didn’t think of that, before. Then I’d have the durability of the board, and the softness of the paper. I also have a brayer I can use, to push down the watercolor paper (I will just need to interleave a clean sheet so that I don’t mess up the surface of the paper — or the painting, if it is finished).

Looks like I’m going to be experimenting.

The hardest part of any of this, though, is settling on what to paint! I do have a lot of nice botanical images, though…I’m just not quite a master at composition, yet.

Maybe I can try that one image I wanted to use for the 30″x30″ canvas, as a way to break out of photorealism…


Alstroemeria: drawing from observation

I wanted to post this last night after midnight, but waited until today so that I could photograph my latest sketch in sunlight. Little did I know that that isn’t even optimal, with just light from a window…Accordingly, I have had to apply a Levels adjustment to the drawing you see below:

marker drawing of an alstroemeria flower
It kind of took a lot of work to get to this point! (By the way, the type of flower is called “Alstroemeria.”)

I made some notes for myself on my working process, last night. I think the enthusiasm for sharing them has died down (or otherwise sobered) overnight; I’m not as pleased with the outcome today as I was at around 12:15 AM. However, it’s good to look at things with fresh eyes.

So, the basic technique:

  1. I did a contour line drawing of a flower in (sharp) HB pencil, erasing unnecessary lines.
  2. I added color using Pitt (brush) pens.
  3. I erased the line drawing as completely as possible without erasing the pen.
  4. I added in the background using Pitt pens and minimal pencil guidelines.
  5. I erased the pencil in the background.

I’m not totally pleased with this, looking at it the next day. In particular, along the way I learned how to define relatively-light lines on dark backgrounds using negative space, but that wasn’t something I was even thinking about at the start of the sketch.

If I did this over again, I would either omit the almond-shaped green veins on the flowers’ two side petals, or I would draw them in with a much lighter green marker (relying on the marker’s transparency to blend with the petal and create a new color), or color around them and define the lines with negative space.

I also ran into the issue of not having a delicate enough pink to define the lighter areas of the petals, so I (felt I) had to go darker in order to avoid too much hatching/contour drawing (see the section on negative space, below). This doesn’t seem to be as big an issue for the background, though: where I was working with impressions and not trying to mimic reality so much.

I like the background much better than the foreground — it’s looser and more free and airy, capturing more of the feeling of the blossoms. I was, however, working with the structure I had established with the initial pencil drawing; I wonder how I would do with an all-over looseness (marker-first, or just light and minimal pencil guidelines which are later erased)?

I was also able to define a lot in the background by using negative and implied space, while I wasn’t thinking in terms of defining the light-colored foreground by darkening the background (what it was seen against) until later.

Keeping the white space goes along with this. I’m not used to seeing white as a “color,” but in this case the flowers were somewhat defined by their lightness. If I had planned on adding a background in the first place, I could have avoided over-hardening the central flower with mid-value pinks in an attempt to define its petals.

I’m also not hating that top right white petal with the pink contour lines as much as I was, last night.

There are also a couple of small details I feel like I should have caught, which I took note of in the process…inadvertently darkening a highlight area on the leftmost central petal (reversing the lowlight and highlight areas), and not paying attention to the pattern of veining on the rightmost leaf until it was too late. (In addition…I started off trying to define the veins as dark, when they are not dark; they’re light. Also, they do not branch off from a central, strong vein. They’re more like grass, with parallel veining.)

There are two things I know I can work on, from having done this sketch:

  1. utilization of white space and negative space
  2. layering inks to get unexpected hues beyond what is provided in the markers as used straight.

Also: loosening up.

It helps to have many of these pens with subtle color differentiations (especially, very light and very dark). They aren’t as troublesome in their uniformity of nib type as I thought they would be. It also helped to pick out the main colors in this piece before I even started ([pinks, violet/maroon], greens, yellows). This helped me avoid a lack of color harmony in the piece, though the subject itself had all these colors. Botanical subjects often do seem to harmonize with themselves well, in the first place…probably because they have a limited number of pigments to work with.

D suggested using watercolor with the marker, which would be a good idea with the caveat that I did this in an art journal filled with regular drawing paper. It might be fairly well destroyed by the addition of water.

And yes, I am thinking of a Yupo journal, now, thanks.  😛

There is a lot of work which built up to this, starting off with sketches in the sketchbook with the horrible paper, without any reference. Those helped me get an idea of the concept, but they aren’t really anything I’d like to show. Because of their lack of reference, many of the details are wrong even though the drawings can look pretty. Last Tuesday the 24th, though, I went and picked up some alstroemeria which I used as a reference for the picture, above.

Even though it was somewhat difficult for me to get myself to work on an observational drawing (I still get nervous), it was easier than making up details — as I was doing in my concept sketches.

I should likely go and work on my classwork, now… 🙂

Life goes on…will my passion become a hobby?

Well, the good thing is that I don’t have to go back in to work until Wednesday.  Plus, the only thing due today is completing one of my readings, which I’m already halfway through.  Because I’ve been setting up a new device, I haven’t been able to get much work done, though.  That is to say:  I have a new homework machine, and pretty much all of yesterday was spent getting it secured and up to speed.

The somewhat troubling thing is that I haven’t made time for art-making since the semester started, a week and a half ago.

I’ve just gotten through cruising the “gouache” tag, here…which at least is enough to remind me what gouache is and how it behaves and how it’s typically used, making me wonder whether I want to try it, again.  What I have is about nine years old at this point, though (ha), and it isn’t worth it to get new paints in that medium, too, if I’m not going to use them.  (Gouache, from what I hear, actually has a shelf life.)

The nice thing about gouache…well, there are a number of nice things…but it is flat and opaque; the “set” I bought in 2007 was all sourced from suppliers who did not add opaquing agents to their paints.  If I’m recalling correctly, this was Winsor & Newton, Holbein, and — I’m thinking — M. Graham & Co.; the latter of which, I bought without knowing that honey was part of the formulation.  Then again, all I bought from them was a Payne’s Grey, which I ended up not using much of.

Right now, though, I do have the acrylics and the acrylic pads, in addition to a few blank canvases.  If I didn’t have to worry about getting paint on the carpet (my reasoning for not starting this project sooner:  I have to cover the floor, or move my easel), I could start the abstract that I’ve been wanting to work on.  I recall, however, that this is a pattern I get into which short-circuits my visual work:  I get too caught up in the original image to feel that I could ever get it “exactly” that way on canvas, and my perfectionism keeps me from starting.  Then I start finding reasons not to start.

It’s the same thing that happened with the succulent drawing I posted some months ago (Yapha), where to get started at all (after two or three weeks of delaying), I just had to begin something.  That “something” was a tracing, which then clarified to me that I didn’t have to get the details exactly as they were in the original observation.  The substance wasn’t in mimicry of shape, though to be clear I am not entirely certain how to deduce content and what matters from a source image.

With observation, it’s easier.  With a photograph?  Not so much.  I think it’s really a tripping-out thing, though, where when there already is an image there, I/we start to think that if we worked perfectly, our final image would look like the photograph, and that isn’t actually the case.

It looks like dinner is about to be ready, so I’ll wrap this up and try and finish my reading, tonight.  Tomorrow, I’ll need to start on my reading for my database course, and complete my spreadsheet for that class.

I’ll also need to work on some scheduling for my schoolwork and classwork, as well; so that I actually will have time reserved, to make art.

Surprising myself a slight bit…

I actually have been able to get something done, today, other than work and art.  The mess of receipts that I have from late last year have (mostly) been documented.  In the process, I found a receipt from October of last year showing that I paid $0.98 for what I believe were three tiny persimmons.

It’s the good things, you know?

Ja…right now I’m thinking that I will really have to get on the University reading, soon.  Today, instead of doing that, I did some reading in an actual (!) paper book!  (Where Does Art Come From? by William Kluba.  It is an art-practice book instead of an art-history book, but it’s really a good thing for me to try and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.)  And I just finished the last of the candied ginger of unknown age.  Go, me.  (Hopefully, it won’t do a number on my stomach…)

If it’s possible, I think I really should pay for the groceries I get at the produce market, with my own funds.  I know I will be going into (more) debt because of University, but that aside:  when I pay for my own perishables with money I’ve earned myself, I’m more aware of their existence, and have more of a tendency to actually eat them.  Otherwise, I have a tendency to forget about them until after entropy has set in and they’ve started to decompose.  I think that if it’s my money I’m wasting, it will make a difference.

I still haven’t done much of any reading in either of my school texts, though at least this semester, I’m starting out with a note-taking system.  I can only read one book at a time, so I have a notebook dedicated to notes on whatever I’m reading.  If I’m smart, maybe I can have three different pens; one color for each class.  I know I have the pens; replacing them (along with ink longevity) will be the iffy part.  It could be cool, though, if archival-quality inks are not demanded (the notes must last for three years), to use gel pens (Sarasas are nice).  Actually, that sounds like fun!  Maybe green, purple, and orange…hmm.

Tonight, as well — I realized that my huge watercolor palette may not be as inconveniencing as I had been convinced it would be.  For those who haven’t read the backposts, this is a Mijello Silver Nano 40 palette, which is pretty darn huge for someone used to things that are, well…easy to carry.  But it does easily hold all of my colors, and it gives generous mixing space, plus the construction seems to be quality (so far), which are three qualities not simultaneously matched in any of my other palettes.

I also re-tried fitting my half-pans into one of the small tins I bought.  I was mistaken in an earlier post; one tin will hold at least 28 Winsor & Newton half-pans (seven across, four deep).  However, what D said might also be the case:  the sides of the tin may be too deep to allow easy access with a brush.  I’m also not convinced that a half-pan format is the best way to carry dried watercolor paint…especially if I’m using a large brush.

The Maruman NEW SOHO Series Sketch pad is too lightweight to take watercolor with abundant moisture.  (watercolor that’s wet…?)  It is advertised to take watercolor, but it isn’t a good-quality watercolor paper (whereas with my limited use of dry media within it [basically only graphite sticks, so far], it’s great).

I mean if you wet it, it warps.  It warped so much that I tore the sheet out of the pad and threw it away before it could warp the rest of the pad.  I probably should have waited until it dried out to see what it would do, but generally speaking, when a paper does what it did, I’m not likely to turn to it for watercolor work!  Please forgive me for not taking a photograph of it before getting rid of it.  It was just a mess; but I was also using my dying Utrecht #10 Sablette Round, which holds a good deal of water.  (It’s dying because the ferrule has loosened on the handle, though it grips again after being wet for about 20 minutes.  It’s only a matter of time until the brush head itself falls off.)

I also tried a small sheet of Stonehenge paper, which performed much more favorably…but it also really absorbed the paint to the degree that if I wanted to lift the pigment out, I’m not sure I would have been able to do so.  The stability of the paper was much more “on” for the way I’d expect a watercolor paper to behave, though granted I think that the highest grade of paper I’ve yet used is Canson Montval — not Arches, which I hear is top-of-the-line (and probably so expensive as to discourage me from using it).

I think I’ve used Strathmore 300 and 400 series before, too, and have just begun to try Fluid “Easy Blocks” (they’re only gummed down on two sides, so they’re supposed to be “easier” to lift away from the block…but this sacrifices some stability.  And how much harder is it, really, to cut away those other two sides when you’ve already got out the butter knife?).

What I remember about Stonehenge is that I’m pretty sure this is the paper which easily pilled when I rubbed a dry tissue over a wet area — though granted, this was on the back of the sheet.  I’m pretty sure that the tissue wasn’t what the pill was made of.

Otherwise…hmm.  Things have been fairly stable.  I’m still not certain whether to go for Digital Services or Art Librarianship.  Art Librarianship is the ultimate goal…ideally.  It’s just that looking at four more years of college is a bit painful.  But I still have not been able to clarify exactly what Digital Services entails, or what the field is looking like, moving forward.  I’ll get to find out some information on this, later this month.

For now, there’s nothing much I can do besides read and work through my tutorials, and get a head start on the class readings I can do, now.  Good to keep some perspective, I guess…

Experimenting with different ways of drawing/painting the same thing…

I’ve been trying to keep track of what I have and haven’t written here, though given the length of my postings, that isn’t easy.  What did happen is that I did make it out to the art store and I did buy some paints and canvas (though these are canvas sheets in a pad, not stretched canvas or canvas board).  The canvas pad would seem to be good for studies, though the brand I used here (Blick) warps a bit when it gets heavily wet…explaining why canvas is usually stretched.  I haven’t tried Fredrix yet, which was the other brand I purchased.

The first thing that I should have done today that I didn’t do, would have been to gesso the canvas sheet with a background color or tone.  I think that I was thinking more in terms of watercolor, here, though:  hence the tracing that turned out to be near purposeless when covered by opaque acrylic paint.

Tomatillo-1 version 1 on the left; tracing on the right.

My plan was to trace the more important lines in the original study I’d made, then transfer the lines over to the canvas pad using Saral paper (basically, carbon transfer paper).  I did succeed in doing this:

line drawing:  transfer onto canvas

…however, it would have made much more sense to do this if I had been making a transparent watercolor painting of my original study.

I may still do that, just to enlighten myself as to the differences in working methods between drawing, watercolor, acrylic grisaille (working only in black and white) and acrylic in color.

What we would have done in Painting class would have been to make the original study/drawing, then gesso the substrate that the painting would lay on with a background color, then make a loose vine charcoal drawing of what we wanted to paint on top of that, then seal the vine charcoal with acrylic glazing medium, then wipe out the extra vine charcoal with a wet rag, then paint on top of that.

What I learned fairly quickly when trying to work over this tracing (talk about tightness) is that it’s so light and delicate that it gets covered with the first strokes of opaque paint.  (The first study was in Mars Black and Titanium White.)  Given that I’ve had trouble concealing all signs of my underdrawings in vine before, I doubt this would have been much of an issue if I’d used fine willow or vine charcoal (which is much blacker than graphite) to provide guidelines.

I’m not sure of it, though.  I’ll have to test it out.

I kind of wonder, too, if a charcoal or carbon pencil would have worked better…but they would not be as easily erasable as vine or willow, both of which have basically almost no adhesion to much of anything…except maybe cloth.

Tomatillo-1 version 2

In any case, what I ended up doing was basically an entirely different method than I would have been working with, had I used transparent watercolor.  It became evident fairly immediately that the most efficacious route might have been to block in a body color in the shape that I wanted, then hit the lowlights and shadows, and then the highlights.

Well, no:  first the background, then the body color, then the lowlights and shadows, then the highlights.  Then blending.  (This is just what I’m guessing might have been easier, in my case.  Yours may be different.)

This is different than what I would expect for transparent watercolor, in which the lightest areas would ideally be left without paint, and then everything else could be filled in block by block.  I really couldn’t do that, here.  Well — maybe I could, but there was no reason to do so.  In my head, at least, the fewer layers of color one works with in transparent watercolors, the better, as this increases luminosity (or the amount of light reflected back from the paper).  With acrylic — at least with opaque colors — that is not a burden.  You can paint and paint and overpaint and mess up and correct it, and it’s OK.

What I could have done instead of the tracing and transfer was just to block in a large shape in color (like I did in my original drawings) and then refine it from there.  There was really no purpose to the line drawing, except to help out with visualization a tiny bit, and make me initially feel better about diving in.  But it wasn’t necessary.  I might even have gotten a better result if I just tried to paint what I saw in my original study plus having the tomatillo for reference next to me, without having anything drawn in on my canvas.

Tomatillo-1 version 3

The above one in green…I did after I did the grisaille (black and white) version right above it.  I’m actually really glad I did the grisaille version first, because it had less variables to manage when I hit the point of realizing that my underdrawing might hinder me more than help me.

When I went to the art store, by the way; I didn’t end up getting the Green Gold.  I went in there expecting something around $11 and it was listed at more like $18 for 2 oz, which gave me a bit of sticker shock.  The Web Match prices which I qualify for aren’t listed; it’s just kind of a nice surprise at the register.  So while I did go in there ready to purchase $20-$30 of paint, I wasn’t about to spring for $20 for one tube.  Basically, a mix of one of the Greens I already had, plus Bronze Yellow, will give a hue like Green Gold — or so I was certain of by seeing the color swatches and knowing my strength in color mixing — it just may not be transparent (and transparency wasn’t something I desired).

The main colors used in the above are Chrome Oxide Green, Cadmium Yellow Hue (this is the Bismuth Orthovanadate that I mentioned before), Vivid Lime Green (a convenience mix), Titanium White, and a touch of some more earth-tone colors like Bronze Yellow (a mix of iron oxides) and Raw Umber, plus a tiny bit of Indian Yellow (Isoindolinone).  I did get out a couple of reds and a blue (as I realized I could lighten a color using Chrome Oxide as my deepest pigment, but not darken it), but I didn’t end up using them.  Well, no:  I used a Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) for some of the greens, but I can’t recall where.

In any case, the color version was the most fun to paint.  🙂  (And yes, I realize I didn’t put in a background.  :P)  Could I have gotten there first without doing all the prep work?  I’m not sure.  I don’t feel it was time wasted, though, because I have learned a lot.

And, I’m wanting to paint more in acrylic.  It kind of forces me to be looser, and that isn’t a bad thing!  I have a good amount left in the canvas pads, so hopefully that will lower the entry level into playing around with these paints…

Ah — I almost forgot to mention, too.  I lost two tubes of paint, today, because either the cap failed (on my Blick Titanium White) or the neck of the tube just peeled off (like my Raw Umber Liquitex Professional Heavy Body paint).  When I say the “cap failed,” I mean that the part of the cap that one holds, separated from the part of the cap which fit around the neck of the tube.  With the Raw Umber…I have no idea what was up with that, except maybe it had too much UV exposure, or something.  I went to open it and the entire neck twisted off.

Raw Umber is only a Series 1 color, so I can get a replacement for it for about $8.  Still, it’s like what the hey…gah.

And oh, right:  I need to use a less-watery brush with these paints, because it seems to turn out better when I don’t get pools of paint like I would with watercolor.  I…wasn’t after my color moving around on the page, though I guess I can stop that by drying my brush a little after cleaning it…

Getting a bit cerebral about the painting…

I think I’ve got it in me to start working on the 30″x30″ square composition in acrylic…realizing that the photograph is just a starting point.  Today there were outsiders in the house from the late morning until the late afternoon, so I was hiding away in my room for most of the time.  This meant I had a lot of time to imagine things.

inspiration but not final…

One of those things was how to start working on this composition, if I were going to do it, today.  I know that as a beginning, it would be great to gesso a light yellow ochre over the whole thing (as you can see peeking through the leaves on the far right side), then bring in a loose dark green shadow background to the upper top left.

I’m not sure whether to paint in darker areas negatively to make hidden leaves pop, or to paint in lighter leaves on top of the dark background.

I’ll figure it out.

One of the things I’m interested in, here, is the difference between the light areas and the dark areas.  About the upper left half of the composition is in shade; the lower right in bright sun; though there are areas of shade in the latter, as well.  Particularly, a triangle in the lower base area and other leaves in shade on the right edge which will have to be painted over the background.  The center rosette of leaves “pops” because of that one broad spade shadow just below center.

The reason I’m not doing a watercolor thumbnail of this is that it would require masking for the points of light in the upper left, and I still get wary around liquid latex — it can sensitize one to latex (causing an allergy), and I work with rubber bands as part of my job.

I’m fairly certain that I want to keep the leaf shape in here as a motif for both the bright areas and cast shadows.  What I’m not certain about at all is whether I want to keep the same color scheme:  the bright green as it is, is rather dull.

Knowing that curiosity about new art supplies can help push me out of stasis, I’m hoping to find two colors tomorrow:  Green Gold, and Vivid Lime Green, under Liquitex brand, which will be at least $16.50 to $20 total, depending.

EDIT:  I’ve been looking through pigment compositions…and two of the colors I had been thinking of are convenience colors:  Permanent Sap Green, and Vivid Lime Green.  I am now planning on getting Indian Yellow (PY139), Yellow Light Hansa (PY3) and Green Gold (PY129).  Indian Yellow will allow me to mix a replicant of Sap Green when combined with Phthalo Blue.  Green Gold is a unique pigment which might be hard to mix.  And…I’ll try Yellow Light Hansa, upon learning that my Cadmium Yellow Light Hue is actually a Bismuth color…with questionable safety.

If I combine one or more of these yellows with Yellow Oxide and that with a green-leaning blue or a green, it’s very likely that I could get a good range of muted (and not-so-muted) greens which range into yellow.  For my darker greens, there is Chromium Oxide and always the possibility of the addition of Payne’s Grey or black (though I hate to use black, but it might work out if I add a little Phthalo color and then adjust the mixture).

As I look more closely at the full-res original of my photo, I can see that there is indeed a muted earth tone shining through the leaves; the dull violet “flower” looking things on the stems are actually calyxes that once held intense violet blossoms; and some of these calyxes have become a pale yellow-red color (as it seems they are developing seeds).

In Watercolor class, we would have used Winsor Red (Pyrrole:  PR254) plus Winsor Blue (Phthalo [GS]:  PB15) to make a dull purple like the one in the photo.  In acrylics, I have Cadmium Red Medium Hue (Naphthol:  PR170, + Arylide Yellow:  PY97) and Phthalo Blue [GS] (PB15).

To get the same pigment mix in Liquitex brand (theoretically…) I would need Pyrrole Red (PR254), which is going to be at least $11.  However, I have both color swatches open in two tabs now, and…there is not much difference.  The Arylide Yellow does show in the Cadmium Hue, as the Cadmium Hue is warmer and more intense, and the Pyrrole is more violet-leaning.  But only slightly.  When I flip back and forth between the color swatches, I can barely see a difference.

The added yellow will probably dull any violet mixed a slight bit more than the Pyrrole and move it a bit more toward a neutral or brown (I’m pretty sure that yellow and violet are complementary colors, which means they’ll cancel each other out when mixed, creating some form of desaturated neutral)…but I should be able to temper that by adding an actual violet pigment.

And who needs exact color-matching, anyway?  😛  Hehe.  I’m probably going to be changing the colors from the photograph, as it is; so I’m thinking it’s close enough.  Right now I’ve got muted yellow in the background, a dark shadowy area that I’ll figure out later (I can try Chrome Oxide + Phthalo + Mars Black?), shapes which are green leaning yellow, muted purple calyxes, muted yellow calyxes, and intense green shapes emerging from the center and bottom of the painting.


Think I’ve spent enough time on this…