Friday, February 22, 2013

Art Boot Camp Watercolor Class

These are three photos from my recent watercolor class during the Art Boot Camp that Felicia and I teach at Beach Studios. The students are working from still life objects they put together according to their liking and what they wanted to paint. I had each of them decide on a composition in their viewfinder, then sketch it out in pencil on the Fabriano hot press watercolor paper I provided. The next step was to apply watercolor washes to build color after which they experimented with watercolor pencils and water. The resulting paintings were anywhere from very detailed to very loosely painted. I always enjoy seeing each student's expression and style evolve in their work.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Working on the Beach Stones

I'm continuing my work on the beach stones drawing which is 18x24" on Rtistx board. I've finished the foreground stones, which took me a few weeks because I found I could only concentrate for a few hours at a time because of all the elements and detail. I've been using Polychromos, Prismacolor and Lyra Rembrandt pencils for the rocks. Let me tell you why and what my technique is. The Rtistx board is a sanded surface and I find the Polychromos work best for the first layer of color. After I apply the color, I burnish it with a bristle brush to even out the tone. Polychromos aren't as waxy as other brands so they tend to rub into the paper almost as a pastel stick would. Next I apply layers of Prismacolor and Lyra Rembrandt. The Lyras have an oil base so they don't crumble as much as the Prismacolors. However, I also have to choose my pencils according to the colors I need for the rocks. Because I'm working from the bottom upwards and leaning on my drawing, I will put a piece of clean paper under my arm so I won't smudge the drawing I've already done. I also spray with workable fixative between layers of colored pencil to keep the pencil from lifting or smudging on the board.

After I've applied the color, there are still some areas I want to look smooth but sometimes doesn't because of the sanded board surface. If the rocks look too textured, I hit the surface with a soft brush and some odorless mineral spirits which dissolves the pencil pigment so it moves like paint. I brush it lightly so I get the effect of watercolor paint. One of the brushes I like to use is a Mongolian Sable 1/4" flat from Dynasty Brush Company.

My next step is to continue working towards the top of the drawing where the waves and white foam are encroaching on the stones. The easy part about the top is that much of the board will be left white to show the lightness of the foam.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Creating Handmade Books

 I just finished a bookmaking workshop and I'm totally hooked. I can't wait to find some time, get some materials and make a few more handmade books. We learned how to make the traditional book with the sewn bookbinding, shown above. My book has 44 blank pages which are made from heavy weight drawing paper and I haven't decided whether I will use this book as a journal, sketchbook, or to collage my drawings and prints.

 I chose a decorative blue with gold leaf design for the cover and a yellow/green and gold design for the  front and back inside covers. I also added a ribbon to the spine for decoration.

This photo is a bit out of order but here is my book wrapped in newsprint, in the antique book press. Have to get myself one of these cool looking presses.