Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan
Watercolor, gouache, casein, and ink on sketch paper, 10″ x 12″

I was out of town most of last week, but got a few useable photos from the train.

Draw a Bird Day – Bald Eagle

Draw a Bird Day – Eagle
Watercolor, gouache, and ink on sketch paper, 11″ x 14″

This is referenced from yet another photo I took from the train. The photo is blurry but even these are still usable as a reference even if the real expression can’t be seen well. I just kind of drew something.

The pen was just a black Pentel Slicci. That was followed by various mixes of cerulean, cobalt teal, ivory black, van dyke brown, yellow ochre, and a couple of other yellows already on the palette that I’m not sure what they were. Some were watercolor and some gouache. The brush used for everything was a Princeton 6300 size 10 bright. It’s a very stiff synthetic brush meant for thick oil paint, just the opposite of pretty much all watercolor brushes, but the way it handles can be an advantage. The stiff bristles are robust and hold up well in a faster and more aggressive approach to a painting.

Restless Sea

Restless Sea
Watercolor, gouache, and casein on 300 lb paper, 4.25″ x 7.5″

I happened to look at the recent painting Fading Quietude upside down and thought it looked very much like either a sea with rocks or a mountain scene with foggy clouds. So I reimagined that same upside down composition as this seascape.

Friday is nearly over, the sun is setting, and it’s almost time for my own Sabbath rest, but the world at large, like this sea, doesn’t look like it’s going to rest anytime soon.

The paints are the same as before. The white in the small plastic container is the casein titanium white, which I’ve found works far better than either watercolor or gouache whites, as those both significantly lose opacity as they dry.

For brushes I started with a small ox hair flat from Daniel Smith, but found that I needed a stiffer brush for this paper. This is old paper and I think the sizing on it got too old to work well, causing it to absorb water too fast. A stiff synthetic brush is more usable even if the water is sucked out of it because it doesn’t get floppy like a natural brush. Most of the basic shapes were then finished with a Hwa Hong synthetic filbert brush with much stiffer hairs, especially because it’s difficult to fully rinse out and some old acrylic paint had dried in it. The finer details and color adjustments were finished with a small Robert Simmons titanium round.

Brisk Afternoon

Brisk Afternoon
Watercolor and gouache on sketch paper, 8.5″ x 5.5″

This was one of many deer that I’ve taken photos of from the train. Often they’re far away or there’s only a couple of seconds to aim the camera, focus, and take the photo, so a lot of them end up blurry or missed completely, but there’s a few that are decent enough to use as a painting reference. With this one I cropped away most of the photo, including some other deer, and repositioned this deer closer to the foreground plants for the composition.

The drawing was made only with a fountain pen and Daniel Smith walnut ink, no pencil needed, because this ink quickly melts away when painting over it with watercolor. Any errors or guiding lines that needed to be erased simply disappeared while painting, and any residual brown color blended in with the colors used.

Using a small porcelain dish for a watercolor palette works very well and it’s what I’ve been doing for most of the paintings and sketches I’ve made lately. Not all of the paints seen on it here were used in this particular painting because I don’t clean it between paintings. Van Dyke brown and cerulean gouache with Payne’s grey, ivory black, and dark yellow ochre watercolors was the palette for this, plus whatever other paints got mixed in.

Aside from briefly testing out a different brush at the beginning, the Cosmotop Spin oval wash brush seen in the final photo is what was used for everything. That could easily be my favorite brush because of how versatile it is, from razor thin lines to small areas of wash.

Fading Quietude

Ebbing Tranquility
Gouache, watercolor, and casein on marker paper, 4.25″ x 7.5″

For most of you August has already arrived, but for me it’s still the end of the last evening of July. It’s been a very eventful month for many people and the whole world is sliding further into strife, in one form or another. Because we don’t have endless more months available to make important things wait, let’s all work hard to do well in August and to be sure that we’re right with God.

Snowy Colorado River

Winter Colorado River Bank
Watercolor on sketch paper, 8.5″ x 5.5″

Traveling through the mountains of Colorado on a train gives many different sights, such as this one in a canyon with the Colorado river passing through it.

This was first drawn with a fountain pen that I was recently given for my birthday. The ink blended into the watercolor in most places because it was a brown and was not waterproof, so that helped it not be obtrusive. In the open snowy area are a few brown trees are just the ink with no watercolor. Most of the paint used was Payne’s grey and sepia, with a little burnt sienna and some dark yellow ochre.

Snowy Colorado River 1 ref

Hinterland

Cabin at the Forest Edge
Watercolor and ink on 300 lb soft press watercolor paper, 5″ x 7.25″

This was first drawn with a dip pen and waterproof black ink, using a photo I took from the train in the mountains of Colorado as a reference. Then I painted over all of that with watercolor. For the warm colors it’s a mix, in varying proportions, of dark ochre and warm sepia. That was then mixed, again in varying proportions, with payne’s grey to get the greys and darks. The cool shadows on the snow are a mix of payne’s grey and cerulean.

Since the last post I started a couple of paintings, but they weren’t working out and I decided to set them aside and try something different. This drawing probably ended up being more detailed and time consuming than necessary, but it’s something I’d like to practice more. Next time though I’ll probably try for a more basic drawing and let the paint do most of the work because this just took too long to finish. I have at least been keeping up with my reading, and just a couple of nights ago finished reading Steps to Christ for the third time now. It’s a great book.

Here’s the reference photo and the ink drawing before adding paint.