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October 12, 2012

Mixing Many Greens with Watercolor Paints

I got interested in mixing paints again after my last gouache experiments.  When I bought my first Winsor-Newton artist grade watercolors in 2003, I bought a warm and a cool triad and then followed those purchases with 3 more "primary color" paints for a total of 3 triads.  I switched out the cadmium red and cadmium yellow after several years because they were too opaque, but haven't changed anything else.  With these colors, plus one brown and one gray, I can mix many, many colors very easily.

Mixing 3 yellows and 3 blues in varying proportions (9 combinations total), sounded like fun and I decided to put these tests on a card so I can remember the resultant colors and select which shade of green I want.  I mix paints very loosely, but this exercise demonstrated that several mixtures produce traditional greens and several others produce shades of olive green.

There are 3 sets on the next two cards:  The yellow is identified at the top and the blue is painted next to each set.  In each row, I kept mixing in more yellow until it was clear that I overwhemed the blue.  The order is obviously a little random.  However, with yellow ochre, I never really got a good green with my original mix - but the aqua and grays are lovely.

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I also have a tube of quinacridone gold and decided to test it with the same 3 blues.  It also makes some nice greens.

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All of the above experimentation is quite funny, because I don't paint landscapes.  But I do paint individual flowers and can never remember which combination of my primaries I want for specific leaf colors.  Now my Green card is in the back of my sketchbook so I can make better and easier choices.

October 6, 2012

Berlin, Prague, and Budapest

We are going to Berlin, Prague, and Budapest this month and I recycled an old $2.00 book to use as my watercolor sketchbook.  I searched for an old book that had some theme that would relate to our trip, but wasn't sure how to connect these places.  At the first used book store, on the first cart, I found a book called Lili Marlene.  It is a wonderful historical book about the song that became the most famous song of World World II.

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The words were written by a young German soldier, while on sentry duty during WWI.  The famous score was written many years later, and the song as we know it was played nightly by the Nazi Radio Belgrade.  The radio station could be heard by both the axis and allied soldiers, and all of them turned on their radios nightly before bed to hear Lale Anderson and then Marlene Dietrich sing Lili Marlene.

I loved reading the book before replacing the page block with watercolor paper.  I used some of the photos and drawings to collage a spread to document my inspiration for selecting this book for my trip.  My method for making recycled books can be seen in this 4 part tutorial.

 

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Several pages were already painted for our trip.  It helps me get into the sketchbook more easily as soon as we arrive at the airport.

A sample of the art supplies and palette that I will bring.  I actually have gold, silver and white Signo pens and 4 Niji waterbrushes in my pencil case. 

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One page that I prepared for a small 2 x 2" highlight drawing for each day.  It is so much fun to see these pages at the end of each of my trips.

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One page from calendar grid that I will complete each day:

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The completed  2x2 drawings and calendar from our trip to Venice can be seen here in my completed Venice Sketchbook blog entries.

October 2, 2012

Klimt and Da Vinci

I bought 2 old, used books for $2 each - one book of Klimt figure drawings and another one a set of B and W Artists' drawings and paintings of hands (Heidi Lenssen: Hangs in Nature and Art).

These are both excellent books for me to use to make copies of drawings by Master Artists.  Here is a Klimt portrait and hands drawn by Leonardo DaVinci.  Both were drawn with graphite.

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September 28, 2012

Fun Day in Art Supply and Second Hand Book Stores

Last week my visitor Kathy and I spent the day searching for books to recycle as watercolor sketchbooks and browsing for art supplies.  It was great fun and very successful.  I taught Kathy how to make a watercolor sketchbook during her visit last year using the tutorial that I prepared for this blog. 

One of the used books she bought has wonderful ink drawings of houseplants, one of which I used to do this painting of the pot and plant. I don't have any green paints on my Winsor-Newton watercolor palette, but have 3 yellows and 3 blues, meaning I can mix 9 different greens.  I plan to systematically mix all 9 and make a card for my sketchbook since I can never remember which I like best.

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We went to Utrecht and Dick Blick and both of us found supplies we couldn't live without.  This is a quick drawing of most of my purchases.  Dick Blick was having a "Madness Sale" and I was delighted to find a Gelliart plate to make monoprints and a set of Lumiere paints for fabric.  I love painting and dying cloth to make book cloth for my watercolor sketchbooks.

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September 24, 2012

NYC Harbor Cruise and Figure Drawing

Last week Pat and I took my friend Kathy for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  It is one of the best activities in New York City .  It is free and ferries depart every 30 minutes.  You need to get off the ferry in Staten Island, but there are little restaurants in the ferry terminal and a huge tropical fish tank to keep you from getting bored before you board a ferry for the return trip.

These are the New York City Ferry Terminals as we were departing.

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The view of Battery Park and the Financial District is spectacular.  The tall building on the left is the new Freedom Tower - built on the North edge of Ground Zero.  They are still working on the very top.

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The ferry sails close to the Statue of Liberty.  This photo was taken with the zoom on my point and shoot camera.

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We only had a few minutes to draw the fish - they were painted back in NYC during lunch.

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We sat along the seawall for our figure drawing session to stay warm in the sun.  This is a photo of part of our sketching group.

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I'm only posting my two 10 minute sketches.  Joseph was a terrific model, and in the majority of poses he was sitting in challenging positions on the rocks.

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