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September 24, 2018

Watercolor Rules: Week 1 Ian Sidaway

I am taking the new Sketchbook Skool class called Watercolor Rules.  Ian Sidaway, an amazing watercolor artist from England, was the teacher for the first week, and he was brilliant as he presented everything you always wanted to know about watercolor paints, palettes, brushes, and paper. 

I started this journey with artist grade watercolors in 2005.  I used a list of two recommended triads of primary colors from a book by Anne Elsworth, and just started playing with them. It was years before I actually took a class in watercolor painting and that fits with my personality.  Below is the very first page I did, testing my 6 new small tubes of Winsor Newton paint.  Three were listed as cool and three warm. 

First Winsor Newton Artist Quality Watercolor Paints

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Three years and many sketchbook paintings later, I decided to replace the opaque cadmium paints with almost transparent ones - Scarlet Lake for Cadmium Red and New Gamboge for Cadmium Yellow. 

Although you can make grays and browns with the above 6 primary paints, Cathy Johnson, another wonderful watercolor artist, says that she keeps "convenience colors" on her palette, so she doesn't always have to mix them.

I also read about a different triad of primary colors on Danny Gregory's Everyday Matters Yahoo Group many years ago : the Velasquez triad (also called the "dead triad").  It consists of burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and ultramarine blue.  Since I already used ultramarine blue, I replaced it in this triad with Payne's gray which is a beautiful dark blue.  Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue also make many different, beautiful grays. 

This is my 12 color palette that I've used since early 2008 - 3 primary color triads and 3 convenience colors.

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Ultramarine Blue is considered a warm color and Winsor Blue a cool color, and although I know this intellectually, my eyes never agreed.  In answer to a question from our class, Ian Sidaway said to figure it out yourself for your own paints.  When you mix all cool colors, or all warm colors, the colors are brighter.   Just mix secondary colors - orange, green, and purple - to see if you are mixing two pigments of the same type or mixing a cool with a warm. 

Since I made many color wheels over the years, tested both the opacity/transparency, and lifting qualities of my paints, I decided to explore Ian's suggestion re: warm-warm, warm-cool, and cool-cool mixtures. 

Here are my 4 test strips, all done on strips of Fabriano Artistico 140 lb Soft Press, the watercolor paper I bind in my books.  One of my yellows, or one of my reds, was painted in the center.  I then gradually added my two blues, with Ultramarine Blue to the left and Winsor Blue to the right. I like mixing colors, and always just mix them on my palette to get the colors I want for a painting.  This won't change my methods, but it is fun to see the many colors I can make. 

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In August, an acquaintance of mine, watercolor artist Marilyn Rose, taught a free 2 hour watercolor class at Bryant Park in NYC.  I used my own 12 paint palette to create the end of class painting we did to practice color mixing.

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Mixing watercolor paints is addictive.  After doing the strips in the image above, I decided to add my 3rd triad (Yellow Ochre Pale, Burnet Sienna, and Payne's Gray).  Then I had one more strip left and mixed my original yellows and reds with Paynes Gray.  When I saw the 6 strips together I couldn't resist one photo showing all of the colors I can make with 3 triads of primary colors.

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I was thrilled to just see that the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum has a new exhibit on COLOR through  mid-January for anyone who lives in, or near NYC - or will be visiting during the holidays.  See Link below.

https://www.cooperhewitt.org/channel/saturated/ 

Note: Two of the older images already appeared in a blog post in August 2018, reviewing the class with Marilyn Rose. 

 

September 21, 2018

Life Drawing: Fall Semester at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

I am taking a Life Drawing class at Fashion Institute of Technology this semester and these are the drawings from my first class.  For several weeks we are drawing outlines, and won't begin shading for another 2 weeks.  Our professor began with a 20 minute pose, then two 10 minute poses.  The length of the poses then decreased throughout the class, ending with ten 2 minute and twenty 1 minute sketches. 

We were encouraged to draw several figures on the same page throughout the class.  

These are (from L to R) 10, 10, and 20 minute drawings with charcoal.

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We switched to graphite for the quick poses, and these are two minute drawings completed on the same page. 

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And 1 Min poses superimposed very rapidly on one sheet until I ran out of room.

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I've never drawn figures with decreasing times for the poses, and actually enjoyed it.  By the end I felt as if I was just "winging it" and was very loose.   An added benefit was that the model was able to hold very difficult poses for the 1 and 2 minute poses, when we were very warmed up and "seeing" better.

September 18, 2018

Thiebaud and Prabha

Pat, Benedicte, and I met our friend Gwen at the Morgan Library and Museum to see the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit.  It was my second visit, and it was equally enjoyable both times.  I wanted to paint his watercolor Candy Apples, and used his watercolor painting as a guide.   

Candy Apples - my version of Wayne Thiebaud's watercolor candy apples.

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Thiebaud is an excellent draftsman and this graphite self-portrait was lovely.

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Last week was Asia Week for Galleries in NYC, and Christies featured an auction of Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art.  Over the last several years my friends and I found artists in these exhibits whose work we really like.  My favorite is B. Prahba  (1933-2001).  She paints many elongated, rural Indian women, and I like everyone of them, the same way I like almost all of Modigilani's women. 

Here is a brief biography of her: https://www.saffronart.com/artists/b-prabha

This is my painting from the exhibit, in the style of B.Prabha, but painted in watercolor instead of oil.   I also posted the other original painting of hers in the auction.  

B Prahba:  Vorsova Girls 1960

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B. Prabha Untitled (Fisherwomen) 1969 

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September 14, 2018

Flowers and Figures August 29, 2018

Our Wednesday weather was unpredictable this month, and I'm now in a Life Drawing Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Fall semester class.  Therefore my last "Flowers and Figures" pages from Wagner Park and South Cove in Battery Park City were in August. 

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Figure Al Fresco - Brianna was a fantastic model - beautiful and imaginative.  These are my 5 and 10 minute poses.  Next I'll be drawing and posting drawings of nude models again.  It is months since I sketched nudes - and then I did it with my right hand holding ice on my left wrist which was drawing the model - all before I learned my dominant hand wrist was fractured!

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The sketches  were done with a soluble graphite pencil (General's Sketch and Wash) and the gray tones obtained by brushing water over the figures with a "waterbrush" and clear water. 

September 11, 2018

Grandchildren Mail Art on Camp Letters - 2018

My NYC Grandchildren go to summer camp each summer, and I try to write them one letter each week.  For the last few years I sketched my imaginary character Axel on the envelopes.  These are drawings that I did this year.  

We see several hundred camp photos each day on the camp website, and I draw Axel participating in the same activities as our grandchildren.

July 2.

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July 6

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July14

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A postcard for each of them as they were preparing for "color war." 

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Final Letters:  Axel is just waiting for them to come home.

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