Here it is so far. I added a first green wash and some bark and initial darkening on the tree. The purple on that tiny mushroom is just the first wash. It’s a weird color: Daniel Smith’s cobalt violet. That’s about as dark as you can get it, which is strange. It’s also exactly the way it was depicted on the Jerry’s Artarama sales page. I was sure it would have to be darker, though. Nope. There’ll be more paint on that one. Also the rest of the whole painting. The yellow bits, if you can see them at the bottom, are masking fluid that will eventually be leaves and sticks after I put down a wash in all that white space. The leaves and sticks are a lot lighter than the soil, so I wanted to preserve the paper for grays and lighter browns. Here’s the whole painting so far:
There is, of course, still plenty of time to ruin it.
In Puppy News, Lucy apparently shares Penny’s love of gardening:
She does not, however, share Penny’s love of baths. She had her first non-emergency (read: non-poop-related) bath today, and she whined and tried to scramble out of the tub the whole time. Sigh. She’s clean, though! For now.
There’s a lot to come with this one. That’s a basic sketch and some raw umber. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in the tree’s streakiness. Here’s the photo it’s based on:
This is one of my few attempts sans tutorial, so we’ll see how it turns out. As luck would have it, I happened to receive the perfect color for that little purple mushroom near the bottom today (it’s Daniel Smith’s cobalt blue), so maybe that will help.
Along with the new paint, I got a butcher tray, which seems to be one of the more sought-after watercolor tools. It’s an 11″ by 15″ porcelain tray that I got on Super Sale from Jerry’s Artarama. I soooo didn’t realize how big it is before I bought it. It kind of dwarfs my workspace.
That’s really big for the small portable table I’m using.
In Puppy News, Penny harvested a sweet potato from a neglected supermarket purchase Palmer and I planted last year. She was pretty proud of herself. I saw another one down there, so I’ll pull it and any others up and make jerky out of all of the smallest, which I’ll replant. Fun times with gardening!
I finished the painting I started yesterday, not that it involved much. I wasn’t happy with the Payne’s gray hill, so I painted it over with black ink, which I like better. I also used ink for the birds, which I don’t like much at all, though I guess they’ll do. I need to practice. Last night I went back over it with more indigo, which I don’t think helped much. I also spattered a wee bit of white gouache around the top with zero runs.
In dog-ish news, sometimes a little plastic bag of poop sits on the corner of our little landing until another one justifies a trip to the trashcan in the front yard. Me. Lizard, here, has discovered its use in acquiring a particularly tasty buggy lunch.
And, finally, I made my semi-annual trip to the endo today, which always results in a pile of Rotolo’s pizza with friends. Things could be worse.
So here you go. I’ve spent most of the day feeling EXHAUSTED and generally terrible, so I just did this. Cooking and eating a super tasty dinner made me feel better about things and is probably why I rallied enough to produce something today. There will be a lovely flock of birds once the background dries, which means tomorrow. I see now that the little hill would have been a good excuse to pull out the ink. I don’t have a black on my palette, so it’s mainly Payne’s gray with a little sap green and cad yellow in it. Plain ol’ black ink would have been just as good if not better. So it goes. There’s also white gouache up in there, which is kind of exciting. I’m following a tutorial by Maria Raczynska, the same artist who designed my last painting. I really love her stuff, but most of it is too complicated. This one is advertised as for beginners, so I figured I could handle it, but hers is AMAZING. If you’re into art and videos, you should probably subscribe to her channel. Here’s the whole painting as it stands:
Because I was so tired of all my paintings looking yellow in photos, I arranged myself a new work area, *ahem* borrowing one of Palmer’s photo lights and sticking it into an IKEA floor lamp to shine on my work. So far, it seems to make a huge difference in painting and in the pictures I take of said painting.
In other news, there was a big storm early this morning that involved lots of wind (which I somehow slept through) and a huge tree limb fell down into our yard and the neighbor’s. Luckily, it didn’t do any damage (this time), so I retrieved the limb so Palmer can cut it up for firewood next weekend. I’m not sure that’ll be necessary, though, because the Stick Patrol was workin’ hard today.
Here’s another one way above my level, though I didn’t do as well as I did with the power lines. I’m trying to learn to paint good detailed clouds because there’s a photo I took in Grand Isle a couple of years ago that I really want to paint. This one could be worse, so that’s something. It’s 5×7 on Arches, and it’s based on this YouTube demonstration by Maria Raczynska. She actually knows what she’s doing (I’m pretty sure she’s an actual professional watercolorist), so of course hers is amazing. But this is probably the best cloud I’ve painted. And look at the white spatter! It’s not terrible! It’s also my first attempt at using gouache, which is pretty much opaque watercolor.
This one is as done as it’s going to be. Here’s the whole thing:
The main issue is the paint colors I used. The demonstration was with a warm purple and the yellow shade of phthalo blue, neither of which I have, so I used a cool purple and the green shade of phthalo blue. That, and I mine is a bit overworked compared to hers and too dark. But I learned some things!
In other news, I learned a new skill today. You see, I have a peanut butter issue. I like the freshly ground stuff that’s only peanuts from the grinders at Kroger and Whole Foods. I refuse to buy it at Whole Foods because they want SEVEN DOLLARS for a pound of peanut butter. That’s entirely ridiculous, so I always get it at Kroger for a more reasonable $3 a pound. Except Kroger’s grinder is currently broken. My solution was simple: I bought a pound of peanuts from Whole Foods (for $3.50!), dumped them in my food processor, and made my own damned peanut butter. It took roughly three minutes.
I guess it’s like the time Whole Foods didn’t have my favorite kind of bread in stock, so I made my own. Except this doesn’t take three hours. That’ll show ’em!
In Puppy News, Penny and Lucy posed this morning, and Lucy made her first stuffed dog toy kill. Poor Mr. Snek. She heartlessly pulled out his squeaker and squeaked it in triumph until I extracted it from her mighty jaws before she could try to swallow it (which, at this point, she couldn’t do if she tried). Good times.
And I even have a new favorite! This one was really a challenge because of the trees, the super-narrow power lines, and the birds. I’m least happy with the trees, but I’ve definitely made progress! I followed a speed painting by artbybee7, an amazing artist on YouTube. I thought it was way past my skill level, but I think I handled it pretty well. There is definite room for improvement, though. I really like the bright sky color and contrast with the deep purple (which probably looks black in the photo) of the trees and power lines.
Here’s the whole thing:
The lines aren’t perfect, but they’re a HUGE improvement over where I started. The trees are better, too, though those need major improvement. I was convinced I ruined the whole painting with the sky, as the lighting angles aren’t realistic at all, but I think it all works reasonably well together in the end.
No idea what I’ll start tomorrow.
For now, here’s a gif I made of Apple’s live version of the photo I posted yesterday. That extra disk space needs to make itself useful!
I’m not feeling very confident about this one. Tomorrow I’ll finish it with power lines. I’ll also touch up the trees some. The main point with this one was to learn how to paint pine trees like we have in Louisiana. That didn’t exactly happen, but I think I might have made progress? I really just need to sit down and practice them. Here’s the whole painting so far:
I guess the tree on the far right is the best one? Of course, that’s the one I did first. I need to play with them more. Here’s the demonstration I’m attempting to follow. See those trees? They’re perfect.
I didn’t like the clouds until I put the super dark purple trees in front of them. Now I think they’re pretty nice. We’ll see what I think after I add the power lines.
I’m currently covered in (big) dog, so I’ll try posting from my phone. We’ll see how this goes. Here’s a sunset background that I hopefully won’t mess up when I finish tomorrow. There is always time. Here’s the not-cut-off whole version:
I’m trying not to be skeptical.
In other artsy news, I finally went through my drawer of watercolor tubes and made little swatches. They’ll eventually have holes in the tops and be bound with a binder clip, but I couldn’t find a plain hole punch for the life of me.
There’s no significant puppy news today, but here’s a cute picture I took this morning:
Sooooo turns out I shouldn’t have been so skeptical. This watercolor turned out beautifully. My only issue is what to me looks like too much busyness near the bottom left. Even with that, though, I think it’s good enough to frame. Here it is in all its glory:
It’s from a tutorial by Ekaterina Smirnova, one of my favorite watercolor instructors on YouTube (and the reason I joined Skillshare). I’m soooo happy with this painting, especially since I was so skeptical at the beginning.
In Things I Want To Paint News (there are lots), here’s the sun hitting a tree (elm?) from the far side as I see it every morning. I’m determined to do this justice sometime in the near future:
A fun note: I subscribed to Foot Cardigan a few months ago. This month, I got pizza socks! I’m pretty sure that’s a thing I Totally Needed. Last month, it was an eye chart. $12 well spent.
And, finally, in all-important Puppy News, potty training is coming along surprisingly well. We’ve only had one accident in the house today, and that was when I was in the shower. I should note that I’m Helicopter Mummy, but still, she’s learning to paw at the baby gate toward the back yard, so we’re making serious progress. She also only wakes me up once per night, around 2am, for a potty break. Lucy is a pretty excellent puppy.
Soooo this painting is working out better than I thought it would. There is, of course, still time to ruin it, but I certainly have more hope than I did yesterday. Here’s another link to the tutorial. And here’s the whole painting, which gets cut off in the featured photo. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow, for better or for worse.
Fall finally arrived in Louisiana with a cold front yesterday afternoon. Instead of our usual nineties, the high temperature was somewhere in the seventies. Here’s a selfie I took wearing my first sweater of the season:
Fall is my favorite season. I guess that goes for Winter here, too, especially since last winter was essentially a long Fall. I think we got one hard freeze? I hope we have more of a Winter this year. Anyway, it was not only Fall but a super beautiful day, so Penny and I celebrated by going to Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. I’m pretty sure it has the closest hiking trails to my house. I’m also a huge fan of Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park, but it’s a bit of a trek to get there. We only hiked a little over a mile, or so, but it felt so good to be outside now that there’s less crushing heat and humidity.
We even saw an armadillo!
Here’s an even more impressive photo: Lucy is growing so fast! I’m pretty sure she’ll be as big as our house soon!