Monday, December 21, 2015

watercolor and pencil in strathmore 500 mixed media book

i'm still here, practicing painting loosely with watercolors (again!).    we're getting a lot of snow, so besides the usual stuff there's much shoveling going on.

i wanted to wish you  happy solstice - and a merry holiday season in general.   i hope you have a beautiful one!

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"I continue to dream."

~ Langston Hughes, from “I Continue To Dream”

Saturday, October 31, 2015

'susan edwards' ~ watercolors, acrylic paint, gouache, colored pencil and oil pastel on teabag

last january i was asked by the documented life project to be a featured artist at the end of october.  it seemed so far away at the time!  interestingly enough, i started painting on teabags again in early october, which fits right in with the theme for the month, 'translucent papers'.   i'm gonna share a project that uses teabags to make prints.  since i'm not someone who likes to work with prompts they  created a very broad prompt for the week - 'just create'!

here are the supplies that i used, but  you really don't need more than watercolors and matte medium.

1.  watercolors - this is my big slant well palette which has watercolors in the front section, and gouache in the back.  you don't have to use both - you can use only watercolors, or only gouache.

2.  colored pencils - because they can be helpful on tiny paintings.

3.  white oil pastel - i just like using it on faces.

4.  white gouache - white watercolor will work as well.

5.  blending stump - for spreading the oil pastel around.

6.  liquid matte medium

the  brushes that i used for painting...  if you're going to use white oil pastel, don't use your good brushes - the oil pastel will wreck them.

what we're going to do is paint on a teabag and make a print from it.   it's easy and there are no rules...  you could use water soluble oil pastels or caran d'ache neocolor II crayons instead of watercolors!

any kind of empty tea bag will work; i'll use two kinds - one that unfolds, and one that doesn't.  i'll start with one that doesn't.  i like to use teabags that have already been used, but you could empty the tea from a new bag and proceed!

first i drew the face and shoulders - i dressed him in a jacket and tie.   i used an 8B pencil because it shows up well.  i've found that it's good to keep things simple, partly because you're working on such a small surface, and partly because tiny details are probably not going to show up once you make the print.

here's what the teabag looked like just after i put white oil pastel on his face.  for places i couldn't get to with oil pastel and a blending stump, i used a white colored pencil - i like prismacolors because they're soft.

if you're not familiar with using watercolors and oil pastels together on faces, here's how i do it.  and, you don't have to use white oil pastel for the skin - you can use only watercolors, or watercolors and gouache. i just like the effect of white oil pastel and watercolors together.   after i put the white oil pastel down i added watercolors and white gouache.   i have no 'method' for this; i just fool around with watercolors and gouache until i like it.

next i laid the painting face down on a piece of paper.  i used some 100% cotton printmaking paper that i had - you could also put it face down on a page in your journal. 

here i've  squirted liquid matte medium on the back of the teabag, and spread it around/mushed it in (with a 1/2" flat brush) until the teabag is completely saturated with matte medium.  i haven't used matte *gel* medium for this, but i'm pretty sure it would work as well.  

when you're sure that the teabag is saturated with medium, carefully lift it up and lay it on another piece of paper (or on a journal page).  as you'll see, some of the paint from the original will have been transferred to the other piece of paper and you'll have a print.

 i gently pressed the teabag onto another piece of paper - all that matte medium glued it in place.

now let both the teabag and print dry.

this is what the original and the print looked like just after i picked up the teabag...  the original looks like it did before i made the print; you never know!

'james edwards'

after the teabag was dry i added a bit of red watercolor to his lips, and white gouache to his skin to bring back some highlights.  i glued the tag down so it wouldn't flop around.

'james edwards' younger brother'

this is the print after i added more white oil pastel  and gouache to his face, and watercolors here and there.  i just messed around with him until he felt done...

now an example of a teabag that can be opened up...  everything's the same, except opening the sides of the teabag after you paint it.   or you could open the teabag first and then paint it!

after i opened the teabag...

laying face down with matte medium slathered on the back.  i carefully pressed down with the flat brush all over the teabag to make sure the medium had soaked through everywhere.

the original on the left (i pressed it onto a page in my 'daily book') and the print on the right.  the print is on a 4" x 6" piece of paper that i later stuck in my 'pochette', along with james and his younger brother.

'susan edwards'

the teabag/original after i added more oil pastel, watercolors, and colored pencil...  i covered up the hat with ivory acrylic paint because it seemed like she needed a bird on her head instead of a hat.  : )

'jeanette edwards'

the print after i messed around with it.

so you can see more detail...  i put white oil pastel on her skin, and then added watercolors.  i used the black colored pencil to bring a little definition to her eyes...  she's pretty crazy looking, but she seemed to wanna stay that way.

i think my favorite thing about doing this is that it's an easy way to start two paintings, which may or may not end up looking like each other.   somehow the print usually ends up looking like the alter ego of the original.

another teabag painting (on the left) and its print...

i hope you have fun with this!  please feel free to ask questions in the comment section or via email!

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“If I paint my dog exactly as he is, naturally I would have two dogs, but not a work of art.”

 ~ Johann W. Goethe (via tumblr)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

watercolors and gouache in pocket moleskine sketchbook

after the last post we had a couple of weeks of hot, smoky weather, then it cleared up and cooled off - and i was outside walking as much as i could.  seeing what the end of summer looked like in the forest.  here it is september 8...

i finished the pocket moleskine sketchbook i was working in; the painting above is one of the last pages.  instead of buying a new book for my 'daily book', i'm using the book i made with arches text wove (last post).   

this paper is truly a joy to paint on; having the pages be a little thicker is the only improvement i can imagine...   i'm doing pencil drawings on the backs of pages when i don't want anything to show through on the front side.

watercolors and gouache on arches text wove

paintings i did before i made  it my 'daily book'.

watercolors on arches text wove

if you research arches text wove you'll often read that it's good for 'light watercolor washes'.  i've found it to be good for light and heavy applications of watercolor.  it's strong paper and colors layer beautifully on it.

my newest love...   i read about watercolor paper coming in 'pochettes', which is a fancy way of saying pieces of paper inside a cover.  i thought 'aha!  i can make a pochette!'  

watercolors on BFK rives

i cut the text block out of an old book, then i ripped up sheets of BFK rives printmaking paper and saunders waterford 90# hot press watercolor paper.   these paintings are on BFK rives, a 100% cotton paper that i *love*.  i bought the cream color and it is luscious.

BFK rives on the left and saunders waterford 90# hot press on the right.  the saunders waterford is smooth but still has a bit of tooth.  it's the only hot press paper i've ever tried that i like.  and it's off-white, not white, which is a big plus for me.

using the same colors i painted on BFK rives (left) and in my little arches text wove book.  i couldn't choose a favorite - they're both gorgeous papers.

the front of my 'pochette'.  it was a book of fairy tales by nathaniel hawthorne...  i made the closure with 1/8" elastic and an old button.

watercolors in strathmore 500 series mixed media journal

and one more new paper!  a 40% off coupon was burning a hole in my pocket when i went to the big city to get my car fixed, so i got a soft cover strathmore 500 series mixed media journal.  again, *nice* paper!  also 100% cotton and a joy to paint on.

watercolors and gouache in strathmore 500 series mixed media journal

you can buy series 500 mixed media paper in sheets, too.

 maybe my biggest painting love - the little watercolor book that i take out walking.  i'm almost finished in it...

there's something special about painting outside, and i know i've said it before.

flies may be bombarding you, and squirrels might scold you continuously until you think they'll have a heart attack, but you keep going,

doing the best you can do while swatting flies and worrying about squirrel heart attacks.

and one more big  love...   

left in this tree, which has orange paint on it because it marks the boundary of a 'partial cut unit' in the national forest. 

it's been a wonderful summer for me, and i hope it has been for you, too...  

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ink in pocket moleskine sketchbook, quote found on tumblr ~ thanks M!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

 watercolors on arches text wove, 5" x 6"

i decided to practice painting roses realistically before proceeding with painting them loosely.  i wonder if you can paint flowers - or anything - loosely without understanding its basic form?   i think you have to know what something really *looks* like before you can paint it realistically or loosely. 

what do you think?

 ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

in my 'daily book' i've done a lot of ink and watercolor paintings.

  ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

this is j. herbin's 'lie de thé' ink.  because it's not waterproof it bleeds into the watercolors beautifully.

  ink and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

a couple of days ago i looked back at these pages and thought about how much even a tiny bit tells about a particular day.  it's easy to think that you have to make each page complex - or at least something that takes more than a few minutes.   but no...

    ink, pencil, and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

woodpecker feather ~  pencil and watercolors in pocket moleskine sketchbook

i used paynes grey and van dyke brown for these feathers.  i love them together.

  ink and watercolors in arches text wove book

the other book that i've been painting in is one that i made with arches text wove.  it's a beautiful 100% cotton paper that's widely available in sheets.  it's quite thin, but hardy.  nothing bleeds through, but you can see dark images faintly on the back side of the page.  watercolors and ink are a dream on it. calligraphers use it a lot.

 ink and watercolors in arches text wove book

i (mostly) made the book for drawing faces with ink that's leftover in the dip pen when i'm done drawing/writing.  i draw as much of the face as i can before i run out of ink.  but!  i can see that i'm gonna be using it for other things, too.  it's sweeeet paper.
 pencil and watercolors in arches text wove book

this is a poor pic, but pencil is nice on it too.

to make the book i followed a link on seth's blog to jose naranja's post about bookbinding.  he takes the paper out of pocket moleskines and puts good paper back inside the cover.  i took the text block/paper out of an unfinished pocket 'handbook' that i had.  it isn't perfect, but it turned out pretty good!  i wouldn't buy a new book just for the cover, but, the 'handbook' was languishing in the closet...

when it hasn't been hot, i've been out walking.  that's the badass paint set sitting on a rock, waiting for me to finish taking pictures.

a new butterfly for me - it looks kind of like a yellow swallowtail, but it's not. 

instagram...  thanks to the help of lisa graham and kathy dorfer, i've been posting pictures there.  i haven't *totally* figured it out, but sort of.  i'm thinking about doing it instead of blogging.  or not.  i haven't decided.  i don't think i'll do both.

anyway, i'm lynne.hoppe if you're there!

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“Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no—just let me be myself—and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.” 

~Vincent van Gogh in a letter to Theo, March 11, 1882