Black and Red Sketches

BR Sketch 1

Here’s a few sketches that I made with graphite watercolor paint from Daniel Smith and some red ochre watercolor that I made myself. These are just painted in a regular sketchbook, not watercolor paper, so the paper can’t be worked very much before it starts to tear. I like how these came out, so I’m planning on doing a lot more.

I was going to post a painting last week, trying out a different style, but after it was done I didn’t really like it. When I started to redo it though I got sick, so that’s why it’s been so long since the last post. :)

Star Gazing Between Cypress Trees

Night Sky Watercolor 8

While I was painting these night scenes of the sky obstructed by trees I started thinking about how conditions for doing something, like watching stars, are often not ideal. Then I was reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:4 “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” This is another poetic parallelism in the Bible where, in this case, the same idea is being repeated to present both cause and effect. Another way of saying it would be that if you always wait for what you think is the perfect opportunity then you’ll miss every opportunity. So what if a few trees are in the way? Can you still at least see some stars? So what if you don’t have the best painting studio? Can you still at least make a drawing?

In the last sketch I was actually trying to paint real stars from a photo I had taken. The positions aren’t completely accurate relative to each other, but they’re all real stars. The biggest one in that painting is Vega. The first painting is on proper watercolor paper, for a change.

A Deluge, after Leonardo da Vinci

A Deluge

Black watercolor on sumi-e paper, 6.25″ x 4.75″

This took a little bit longer than I expected. It’s copied from a drawing by Leonardo, though because of the age of the paper and maybe the roughness of the chalk he drew with it was hard for me to tell exactly what all the lines were meant to be, so I just made a few interpretations of my own.

I painted this because the past few days there was a lot of rain, but much less than was predicted. The prediction of what even the next few hours would be like was always being changed. I had expected to wake up yesterday to more rain, but instead there were only a few drops the whole day.

It reminded me of when Nicodemus came to speak with Jesus in the Bible, and was told by Jesus “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Jesus was explaining the mystery of conversion to him, which is by the Spirit of God, by comparing it with wind. The effects of wind can be seen and felt, so we know that it is there, but even today with all of our technology we still can’t really say where the wind is going.

Søndermarken Park in Winter, after Vilhelm Hammershøi

Søndermarken Park in Winter 6

These are watercolor copies of a painting by a Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi.

The paints used were just some very old tubes of student grade Grumbacher academy ivory black and burnt sienna. I don’t know what paper I was working on because it’s an old paper pad that doesn’t have the cover sheet with information anymore. Probably sumi-e paper. A few different brushes were used over the course of these but a couple of inexpensive synthetic script brushes were used the most. I liked them more than I expected. There’s five other sketches of this but I thought this would be enough to post.

Waterfall Sketches

Waterfall Sketch 1

Black watercolor and black gouache on printer paper, 8.5″ x 11″

During the past week I’ve been making sketches like these and also experimenting with paint recipes. In a couple of days I’ll post about the results that I’ve been getting in these experiments. For example, as I’m posting this I’m in the middle of comparing the absorption of diatomaceous earth with bentonite clay in watercolor medium. The earth is absorbing far less of the medium than the clay, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Evening, after Arkhip Kuindzhi

Evening, after Arkhip Kuindzhi, color2

Evening, after Arkhip Kuindzhi, color1

Evening, after Arkhip Kuindzhi, bw

These are watercolor copies of another painting by Arkhip Kuindzhi.

From top to bottom the papers I used were block printing paper (50 lb sulphite), mat board, and regular printer paper (20 lb). Painting on papers that are not normally thought of as “watercolor paper” has been working fairly well so far, especially the block printing paper.

These papers are very inexpensive compared to normal watercolor paper, especially compared to the 300 lb paper that I used to use. Because of that and also because I made most of the paint myself for very little cost, all of my materials are very inexpensive now. Being able to freely practice without the worry of wasting expensive materials has been what I’ve always really needed.


Sorry about posting this twice. The first try was somehow posted out of order with a date ten days in the past and I wasn’t sure how else to fix it. Huh, looks like I deleted the comments too. Whoops. ^_^;