Front Range Morning

Morning Train
Watercolor and gouache on paper, 6.75″ x 5.75″

This scene is from a few months ago, when I got to see this area at a different time of day than normal because my train was very late due to snow earlier on its route. It’s the front range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains again. From this point we’re looking south. To the right is the mountains, and just off the paper to the left is a view of the plains and most of the urban corridor that’s up against the mountains.

I used a mix of watercolor and gouache because they were both already on my palette. Most of it was painted with a small flat brush, but I also used a few others. One was a small filbert that was working very well. For watercolor brushes I only have a few filberts but they’re so versatile that I think I should have gotten more filberts instead of mostly rounds. Didn’t go dark enough with a lot of the colors though.

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.

Draw a Bird Day 3

Chickadee in a tree
Gouache and watercolor on paper, 7″ x 6″

I’ve been looking forward to making some chickadees for this month, but somehow thought there was still another day left until I checked my email this morning and saw Laura’s wood stork. The bird posting hub is here. (edit- fixed link) (edit 2) I forgot to mention all of these are referenced from Paint my Photo. In the order posted they’re from Thomas Waters, Rodney Campbell, Lissa Perkins, and Rebecca3.

These four study paintings were each entirely made with just a Robert Simmons titanium shader, size 20, with a short handle. The two middle ones were painted with some old tubes of casein from Shiva. It’s a paint made from milk protein that’s been used since ancient Egypt and used to be popular with illustrators until acrylic paints were invented. It’s water soluble, even after it’s dried, but gradually becomes more water resistant. I used to not really like it that much because if you overwork an area, like I often do, then it can get muddy fast. Of course, that’s more of an issue with my skills and approach than the paint, but it kept me from practicing much with these paints and is why I still have them after many years. I’m not sure if it’s the age of these paints, maybe they’ve gone bad, but I don’t like the odor of them. The handling of the paint itself was enjoyable though, so maybe this’ll be a good one to use outside for plein air. When thinned with water they’re similar to watercolor, and are otherwise similar to gouache.

Cows in a Snowy Field

Winter Plains with Cows
Watercolor and gouache on paper, 6″ x 8.25″

Here’s another painting of one of my old photos, taken out a train window in the high country of Colorado during winter.

I’ve added a gallery section to the right that displays on each page and shows some of my past artworks in random order. Does it look good and work well? Is there anything in it that isn’t good enough and just clutters it?

I tried putting all of the finished waterfall book pages in that section and I liked it but I was actually planning on making that its own page and gallery once it’s finished. Another idea was to sometimes upload new sketches there that shouldn’t have a post just to themselves but can still be shown as part of a gallery. I’ll try out a few things, but if you guys have any feedback on it that might help.

Wedge Island Sunset

Western Australia Sunset
Gouache on watercolor paper, 7″ x 5″

A sunset to end the week with. The reference for this is also from Paint My Photo, here. The photo is from an album of Wedge Island photos, which is off the western coast of Australia, so that must be the Indian Ocean there.

This week has probably had the longest posting streak ever on this blog with six days in a row for my timezone. I won’t be posting anything tomorrow, which is Saturday, though because it’s the Sabbath and I rest and devote that time to God in accordance with the fourth commandment. It’s a great blessing to rest and turn your attention to spiritual things for a day out of each week. Afterwards the next week can then be started refreshed both physically and spiritually. Because the fourth commandment specifies the seventh day and explains that it’s in memory of creation, when God blessed the seventh day, I believe it’s important to rest on this day.

Nature Study, Trees, after Asher Durand

Nature Study, Trees, after Asher Durand
Gouache on paper, 6″ x 9″

Normally I don’t put enough effort into modeling the branches of trees or making them naturalistic, so I thought it would be beneficial to practice a little while using a reference as a guide. This was also a good chance to practice using gouache in a more opaque way as the highlights on the leaves were built up. Gouache can be used very similar to watercolor, which is what I tend do during the rare times that I use it, but layering denser applications of opaque paint isn’t something watercolor can do.

If you’re using a low resolution screen the details might be hard to see, so there’s a larger view of this painting here- full size

Abyssinian Wolf, after Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Abyssinian Wolf 1

Watercolor and gouache on paper, 10″ x 8″

This is a copy of a painting by Louis Agassiz Fuertes of the Ethiopian wolf, which at the time the original (seen here) was painted was called the Abyssinian wolf. Their main source of food is the big-headed mole-rat. I remember watching these on a documentary a long time ago and seeing the wolf listening for sounds underground, then suddenly slamming its face directly into the ground and pulling out a mole-rat. I guess their skull is made to be able to do such things. Sometimes the wolf just tries to sneak up on the mole-rat at the surface when it’s at the entrance to its burrow.

For this painting I mostly used an old, dried tube of student grade burnt umber, which I didn’t like at all. I didn’t want to waste the paint since I already have it, but it didn’t have the appealing qualities of good burnt umber, such as granulation, and stained too much. A little mixed black and mars yellow watercolors were also used, plus some white gouache, and the background is all naples yellow gouache.

The original is definitely better than my copy. In the original painting the wolf looks less disinterested. My proportions are a little off too. By the way, it’s actually okay if people commenting on my posts have critiques to make of my work. 🙂

Elbrus in the Daytime, after Arkhip Kuindzhi

Elbrus in the Daytime

Watercolor and gouache on 300lb paper, 6″ x 5.75″

Here’s another copy of a painting by Arkhip Kuindzhi. It’s one of several that I made. Actually, even though I haven’t been posting much, I have been making a lot of small watercolor paintings and sketches lately.

In the original the closest hill seems to have a lot of reds and yellows, but I’m not sure why or what it should be, so I just made it into a green grassy hill instead.

Falling Water

Falling Water

Black gouache on canvas, 5″x7″

The rocks are based on a painting that’s in my book of Korean landscape paintings, and the waterfall is based on some waterfalls that I saw in Japanese woodblock prints, but the composition I just made as I went. Until I had painted a few strokes and began shading what eventually became one of the rocks I wasn’t sure what I was going to be painting at first.

This was another experiment with using watermedia on a canvas board. I didn’t want too much canvas texture though so for this I made a mix of Golden fiber paste and some acrylic gel medium and covered the whole canvas evenly with a large spatula shaped like something you’d flip tiny burgers with. When that was dry I did a second coat with a mix of more fiber paste, some acrylic impasto medium, and some white acrylic paint because the paste wasn’t as white as I’d want. That got it acceptably smooth and cleanly white. It wasn’t until that was all dry that I started painting.

For my brush I used a size 4 round Textura synthetic brush from Raphaël. The bristles are very stiff and it’s made for thick acrylic paints and mediums. It even has “HEAVY BODY” written right on the brush. With this brush I was able to scrub the gouache into place using dry brush techniques for most of it. I was going to also use white gouache at first but I decided against it early on because I wouldn’t have gotten the same semi transparent greys.