Balanced Living for Creatives

Balanced Living for Creatives
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December 21, 2008

Figurative sculpture in clay


Ahhh...here is another diversion for me. Working three dimensionally in clay has been very different than anything I've done before in painting or drawing figuratively. Working "in the round" with a model was new and intuitively it worked fantastic for me. I could model the clay equally well with either hand and often I worked with my eyes closed to get the feel of the surface curves correct.

November 24, 2008

Sorbus aucuparia


This is a small sample painting that I've done prior to a larger version. These are mountain ash berries. They are not indigenous to Colorado. The trees are common in decorative landscaping. They are European in origin, but are now naturalized in the wild in the north east US.

July 2, 2008

Colorado Grasses


When I moved to Colorado, I was amazed at the shear number of different kinds of grasses. After all, Denver is only just outside the prairie. Here is an example of one of the most common kinds of grasses in my neighborhood alley. This is Cheat Grass (Bromus tectorum) and it is an invasive grass that is now one of the most common grasses throughout the state. This is a small watercolor painting of the flowering head early in the spring.

May 23, 2008

Best in Show!

The drawing, "Back Alley Grandma, Varanasi" (shown below) won the top prize, Best in Show, in the 5th Annual Colorado Drawing Exhibition. 

April 28, 2008

Daffodil in Dry Brush


This is a botanical illustration in watercolor. I recently completed a weeklong workshop given by Lizzie Saunders on dry brush technique. This daffodil is an example of the method. There is no water placed on the paper, no washes, no wetting at all. The entire image is created with overlapping small brushstrokes, with very minimal water to dilute the pigment.

April 15, 2008

Back Alley Grandma, Varanasi


This is a finished graphite drawing of another travel photo from India. The subject was a grandmother and family who lived in one of the alleys of Varanasi. Like most women of India, the colors worn in the Sari were outstanding. The continuous tone blending of the graphite helps to soften the impact of the black-and-white image. This image was juried into the 5th Annual Colorado Drawing Exhibition May 23-June 27, 2008.

March 15, 2008

Dharamsala Shepard


This was a rough pencil sketch of a travel photo that I took in Dharamsala, India. It is a Tibetan refugee who was carrying this small goat through the town. I plan to complete this study as an oil portrait of the man and his charge.

February 21, 2008

A Range of Tones


This was a fun graphite toning exercise. Working through the range of tones on each oak leaf was entertaining. I used 2H, HB, and 2B pencils for this range of tones.

January 25, 2008

Third Stage washes


This stage is about adjusting colors--adding blue greens towards the back; darkening the shadow areas; yellow glazes towards the front. Also, increasing saturation of colors helps to emphasize the highlight areas.

January 13, 2008

Second Stage Layers


There is ancreased saturation of colors. Really working at building of form. The plant takes on depth and dimension. Increased focus on spatial clarity--overlapping elements, hard and soft edges, receding colors, and all as contrasts.

January 9, 2008

First stage analysis

The washes in the illustration below are the first layer. Colors used were carefully chosen with regards to spatial clarity and atmospheric perspective. "What!?!?!?!" all you landscape painters will complain. "How can you have atmospheric perspective in a matter of a few inches of depth?!?!?!" That is part of the illusion of botanical illustration.
To start this painting I used basically three colors: a yellow-green, a bright middle-green, and a grayed-up green. Some artists begin with a flat wash over the surfaces, but I like to start introducing form right away. The closest leaves begin with a pale yellow-green wash, preserving any white for highlights. The three front leaves are painted in the bright middle-green. The three back leaves are painted in the grayed-up green. This begins the illusion of atmospheric perspective. I'm afraid my scan does not show the true subtle differences in the colors.
yellow-green = hansa yellow + cerulean
middle-green = cerulean + hansa yellow
grayed-up green = cerulean + cadmium yellow

January 8, 2008

Botanical Illustration: First Stage Washes


This is the first layer of watercolor washes. Each new layer beyond this builds form, depth, and increases saturation of color.

January 5, 2008

Botanical Illustration: Value Study


This is a graphite pencil drawing. It is a value study to follow as the color painting is built up.

January 4, 2008

Botanical Illustration


Here is one of the first steps in botanical illustration. This is an accurate, contour line drawing of the specimen. This is a simple, small, illustration of rhododendron leaves. This is an example that I use in my watercolor classes.

January 3, 2008

What's this scribble?


This is a scribble drawing. It's relaxing to do these in pen and ink, because it's simple, repetitive, and doesn't take a lot of thought. Not like botanical illustration at all!