Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis 1

Here’s a couple of photos of a praying mantis that I took several weeks ago in my garden. Lately I’ve been very busy so I haven’t posted anything or made very much, but I’ve started painting again. :)

Praying Mantis 4

Bee on a Flower

Bee on a Flower

Watercolor on 140 lb cold pressed paper, 10.75” x 7.5”

This is mostly cobalt violet light, manganese blue hue, Payne’s grey, Daniel Smith’s lunar earth, a little raw sienna, and a lot of a terre verte that has viridian mixed into it.

Before starting this I was reading in the book of Ephesians where Paul was explaining the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles. He said “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” (Eph 3:7-8)

I especially noticed the part where Paul, in humility from the awareness of his own sins in contrast with his knowledge of the holiness of God, called himself “less than the least of all saints.” Yet he was a recipient of grace, which can never be earned or deserved (because then it could not be called grace), and it was received through “the effectual working” of the power of God.

As I read that a thought came to me that I wanted to share, so I made this painting to have an opportunity. What I want to say is that if you have accepted Jesus as your savior then say with confidence “I, too, will gain the victory through Christ.” This victory comes through beholding Him and submitting your will to Him, and all who do may gain the victory as Paul did.

Reference photo-

Bee on a Flower ref

Many of the photos of bees on flowers I didn’t post because they weren’t focused right or, like this one, not framed the way I wanted because slight movements of the wind kept moving everything.

Field with Cattle

Field with Cattle 1

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper, 8″ x 5.75″

This is another field near the county park. It usually has dark colored cattle in it, either eating grass or laying in the shade. I think I need to practice animals more, or maybe just stop making everything so small. At this scale it just takes a very small mistake to completely change the shape of something. Maybe my next painting will be much bigger…

The sky is a light wash of a blue mixed with white. For the trees I used green earth and Payne’s grey, with a small amount of raw umber in the trunks. The grass is a mix of light yellow ochre, brown ochre, and buff titanium, with some raw umber in the dark parts. The cattle are a mix of Payne’s grey and raw umber. I’ve never been a fan of Payne’s grey, but I’m experimenting with it. The buff titanium I’ve had for a couple of years but I think this might be the first time I’ve used it in a painting. It helped get the color of dried grass. All of the grass in this area is very dry and we’ve had a lot of large wildfires recently.

Here’s the two reference photos I used, taken on different days at different times of day.

Field with Cattle ref 1

Field with Cattle ref 2

Field Near the County Park

Field near the county park 1

Watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper, 8″ x 5.75″

This is a large open field across the street at the county park with a lot of tall grass. The park is next to the lake, so the small amount of blue hill seen in the distance is across the lake. The scan doesn’t show as much of the blue in the sky as it should. Here’s the original photo I took-

Field near the county park 1 ref

Most of the green used in the grass is a yellowish green earth that I then glazed over with a mix of mostly cobalt teal and nickel titanite yellow. I think early in the painting I was also using an unusual mix of viridian and synthetic malachite. The dark green I used was an experimental mix of viridian (a cold green), perylene green (greenish black), and another green earth. The sky and distant hills are only cobalt teal. There were a few other colors that I only used small amounts of.

So this painting has a lot of natural green earth in it, which is different for me because I’ve never liked green earth in watercolor. It seems like no matter what brand it’s from it’s difficult to rewet. It also dries very brittle and doesn’t stick to the pan or palette well, so when it dries it tends to break into many loose pieces that fall on the floor. This time I tried something I’ve read about- adding a drop of vegetable glycerin to the green earth, mixing it well, and then letting it dry in the pan. It worked well because the dry paint didn’t crumble and it rewet much easier. Because it was easier to rewet I could get more paint on my brush and use it more strongly, which is useful because green earth is always transparent and weaker than most paints. The green earth couldn’t make the grass as brightly green as it should be though.

Also, I’m trying out a different blog theme design. I was hoping to be able to make the images larger, but they seem to be the same. Still, I kind of like it for the fonts. Let me know what you think of the change.

Waterfall with Egret

Waterfall with Egret

Pencils: Pentel Graph Gear 500 3mm with 2H lead, Eberhard Faber Design Drawing 6B pencil, General’s white charcoal pencil
Paper: Strathmore 400 series toned gray 80 lb
5.75″ x 3″

I wanted to try drawing a waterfall again, but in a different style. I also tried using a little General’s charcoal pencil in a few places, but it got mixed in with and I think overwhelmed by the much larger amount of heavy graphite in those places, so it probably didn’t affect the final image.

Waterfalls and Rocks

Waterfalls and Rocks 1

Pencils: Pentel Graph Gear 500 3mm with 2H lead, Eberhard Faber Design Drawing 6B pencil, Conté a Paris white pastel pencil
Paper: Strathmore 400 series toned gray 80 lb
4.75″ x 2.75″

I think I got a little carried away with the white, but I’m still getting used to this kind of drawing.

Kremer’s Blue Pigment Assortment

I got a boxed assortment of pigments from Kremer (here) recently and here’s a chart of all of them made into watercolor. As always I can’t guarantee color accuracy. Actually, this time I guarantee it’s not accurate, because ultramarine is hard to photograph. All of these I made just with a palette knife and my own formula of watercolor medium (gum arabic, light honey, glycerin, tiny amount of synthetic ox gall, extremely tiny amount of clove oil). It’s not meant to be a comparison of tinting strengths or how each paint behaves other than granulation. None of these swatches are just a single brush stroke, as I was trying to get the paint to granulate. The paper is 140 lb cold pressed Arches.

Blue 30th Chart
Click here for a large chart.

A1 – PB32 – Smalt, very fine
A2 – PB31 – Egyptian Blue – The first synthetic pigment, made in ancient Egypt
A3 – NA – HAN-Purple, fine – an ancient pigment used in China
A4 – PB30 – Blue Verditer – a synthetic azurite
A5 – PB29 – Lapis Lazuli, sky-blue – genuine lapis lazuli
A6 – PB1 – Indigo, genuine – smells bad when wet, but very nice blackish darks
A7 – NA – Colored glass, Lapis Blue
A8 – NA – Ploss Blue – a form of distilled verdigris
A9 – PB30 – Azurite MP, pale
A10 – NA – Sodalite

B1 – PG24 – Ultramarine Green – a rare pigment not made anymore
B2 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, very dark
B3 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, greenish extra – the most intense ultramarine blue
B4 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, greenish light
B5 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, light
B6 – PV15 – Ultramarine Violet, medium
B7 – PB27 – Prussian Blue LUX
B8 – PV16 – Manganese Violet
B9 – NA – Copper Blue
B10 – PB71 – Zirconium Cerulean Blue – similar to cerulean but more granulating and contains no cobalt

C1 – PB74 – Cobalt Blue Dark
C2 – PB28 – Cobalt Blue Dark, greenish
C3 – PB74 – Cobalt Blue, Sapporo
C4 – PB28 – Cobalt Blue Pale (matte) – looks very nice for skies near horizon
C5 – PB35 – Cobalt Blue Light
C6 – PB36 – Cobalt Blue, greenish
C7 – PB28 – Cobalt Blue Turquoise Light
C8 – PB36 – Cobalt Blue Turquoise Dark
C9 – PV14 – Cobalt Violet, dark – similar to manganese violet, but cleaner color and more granulation
C10 – PV49 – Cobalt Violet Brilliant, light

A few extra notes- Three of my favorites are the smalt (A1), ultramarine green (B1), and cobalt blue pale (C4). Though the set isn’t inexpensive, it’s a very good deal when you consider how much is in it. Dividing the price by the number of pigments, and considering that 27 of the 30 jars look like they have roughly enough pigment to make about a regular tube of watercolor paint, it’s comes out to a very low price per tube. Much less than you’d spend buying such pigments as tubed paint. Plus, most of these pigments would normally be expensive to buy a small amount of them all, so a lot is being saved by being able to try them all. Also, I think I typed the names of all of these as they appear on the bottles, but Kremer’s website gives some of them slightly different names.

Egyptian Blue
Comparison of Egyptian blue made with light pressure (left) and heavy pressure (right). Using more pressure ground the particles finer and it seems like it’s the smaller particles that shifted to a greener hue immediately, which gives a very interesting effect. Both versions are a little iridescent.
Ploss Blue
Ploss blue is not listed on Kremer’s site as compatible with watercolor. Here’s a comparison between a paint swatch I made today (left) and one from a few days ago (right). It apparently yellows very quickly in watercolor, though I’m not 100% sure what it’s reacting to. Maybe something in the medium I made, like the clove oil? The verdigris I made myself didn’t yellow like this in watercolor (using the same medium, minus the synthetic ox gall, and a different batch), but it did in oil paint. It is listed as compatible with tempera though, so when I eventually try that I’ll give this a test. The color before yellowing is an exceptionally intense greenish blue.