Jellyfish Fun

 

I drew a small quick picture of a jellyfish this week in my sketchbook.

Here’s my sketch…

(22 minutes)

And here’s my painting…

(Which took about 25 minutes.)

I made a bit of a big mistake in that I didn’t use any reference.  I should have done but my pain was bad, so I drew the sketch in bed and didn’t get around to looking up reference.   I think it really shows too.  Ho hum – you live and learn.

Originally I used a deep yellow and purple colour mix but I think it looked better when I added reds and blues to it which is what you see here.

Advertisements

Love’s Sacrifice – Completed

This week I completed the bigger project I’ve been working on for a few weeks –  ‘Love’s Sacrifice’.

 

This painting meant quite a lot to me.  I think that might be why it took me so long to complete.

I know that most people nowadays don’t follow the same faith as me and that makes it difficult to talk about these things because, although it is the truth most central to my life, I have no wish to push it onto folk who don’t want it.  I feel quite strongly that faith is only real when it is freely chosen and not forced.

For me the Christian faith is simply about walking in the way of love everyday as far as I am able.  My experience of love is that when you really love another person you put them before yourself, you want what is best for them and you are willing to give of yourself for their well-being.  That’s what this picture means to me.  It’s about the cost of love and the power of love, when given, to make others whole.

Apologies to those who are not religious or who follow another religion, I’m not so good at talking about these things.  I hope I haven’t offended anyone.

 

 

Canyonlands

 

 

My inspiration came from sunny Utah this week.  I watched ‘127 Hours’  again.  It’s  a film about a guy called Aron Ralston who went canyoneering without telling anyone where he was going or when he would be back.  He was really experienced in the outdoors but got caught out  when a large boulder shifted and trapped his arm leaving him completely stuck.

Official poster of Danny Boyle’s film ‘127 Hours’

After watching the film I was struck by the beauty of the canyonlands.  The nearest we have to this kind of thing is the Cheddar Gorge in England and because of the rain the land is very green and lush, quite unlike Utah’s harsh orange beauty.  So I looked through a lot of photos of the canyons and the mesas and decided to make a picture of them.

Pencils…

 

Watercolour under-painting…

 

Nearly finished – just working on the final touches…

 

Final colour with Winsor Newton Gouache…

 

I used a similar style to last time (England in the Summer) where I avoided blending and just used shapes to convey the surface of the landscape.  I like the clarity and solidity of each field of colour and because I really like that, it really helps me avoid painting every detail and instead look for the general shapes which is something I find really hard.

 

England in the Summer

 

Earlier this week I decided to have a go at painting with a less realistic look.  I decided not to allow myself to use a small brush and to make a more, what I call, ‘blobby’ painting.  My plan was to throw on some darker lower layers and then add more detail in layers and go lighter in tone as I got more detailed.  I used gouache, although oils would have been lovely for this.

Rather than painting on location I used an old photograph of a place near where I used to live.  It’s looking out from what is know locally as ‘The Bluebell Wood’ onto a local farm.

Here’s the photo…

Once I’d got the main shapes and structures down I stopped looking at the reference to avoid the temptation to make it too accurate and too close to the original.  It turned out to be a fun and easy way to paint!

🙂

I also had planned to finish my other painting but I got sick in the middle of the week.  I’m on antibiotics again.  I don’t know why I keep getting unwell so often.  My best guess is that one of two things really kicks it off.  Either I don’t get enough sleep because of the chronic pain and my immune system get’s weak because of that, or I get badly stressed about something (very frequently because of my autism) and that weakens my system too.

I have previously asked my doctor for help and advice with this and he said I need to have a ‘healthy lifestyle’.  I told him I eat a good diet, I keep my body clean, I try to get as much rest as I need, I don’t drink or smoke or take any illegal drugs.  He said I should exercise more.  This is hard because I need crutches to walk more than 10-20 metres and sometimes I end up in tears just trying to get to where my car is parked.  So I asked him how I could do that given the mobility problems I have and he just shrugged his shoulders.  I thought that was really unhelpful.

So I decided to try to manage this better on my own since he’s clearly not going to help at all.  I’m finding ways to better manage stress and allowing myself more sleep time when I miss sleep because of pain.  I’m also pushing my consumption of fruit and vegetables and topping up vitamin c.  Hopefully things will get better.  I feel so rubbish again now.

 

 

Small Art Projects

This week I worked on a few smaller fun projects, leaving my bigger painting ‘Love’s Sacrifice’ alone for a bit.  My son is doing his exams and I’ve been concentrating on being there for him.

So I began the week looking at some beautiful macro photographs of tiny animals, like this miniscule moth photographed by Johan J Ingles Le Nobel.

I’ve always loved macro photography with a passion.  So many beautiful tiny details!  Le Nobel’s work is brilliant!

I didn’t intend on sketching this picture and was just playing around in my sketchbook whilst in bed one evening when the beauty of the photograph came into my mind…

So I decided the next day to give it some colour.  I used watercolour paints with Prismacolor Pencils over the top.

Here’s the final painting…

I wish I’d got the eyes exactly the right shape as they’re the main feature of this animal’s face.  The drawing was ok but successive layers of paint slightly changed the final curve.

 

Next I drew an ‘Eevee’ which is a little deer Pokemon.  (Please note the design of this little guy is created and owned by the Pokemon franchise.  I just made a painting of him.)  I used gouache for the painting so I could get really bright cartoon-type colours.  It was kind of fun!

Then finally I sketched a high alititude landscape in pencil…

I think this would have been more effective if I could have created a greater tonal difference between the foreground and the background.  Part of the problem was that my scanner wouldn’t pick up very light pencil for the far mountains unless I darkened them.  There seems to be a cut off point where the scanner couldn’t see very light pencil even when it’s obvious to a person’s regular eye sight.  I could have darkened the foreground more to cater for this but I didn’t think if it at the time.

I also coloured this picture to see if adding some colour helped.  First I added three shades of green to the trees and some basic blue sky lightening towards the top.  Then I added yellow to the light areas and purple to the shadows to give the picture a warmed look.

 

Love’s Sacrifice #2 (still unfinished)

I’m still working on my bigger project, ‘Love’s Sacrifice’ although I’ve been struggling with my health in the last two weeks as well so I’ve only done about 2 hours of painting in that time.  I’ve completed the background, laid in some basic hair and begun to add the final colour to the body on the right hand side.  I’ve not allowed myself to extend a project beyond a week or two before and I am finding it’s lovely to take things at a more relaxed pace.  Anyway, this isn’t a finished picture, but here’s where it’s at at the moment…

 

My plans now are

  • to complete the body colour, adding a small soft reflected highlight on the right and the main direct highlighting on the left,
  • to finish the hair properly and then
  • to add the crown of thorns and the marks from him being scourged by the soldiers.

Autism and Trying to Paint Freely

This week I worked on trying to paint more freely with watercolours.

I have a mild form of autism.  While this is good in some ways, in that I can focus really deeply and have some cool interests and I always try to obey the law exactly, it can also be difficult too, sometimes for the same reasons!  When I’m really focussed on something I really hate to put things down unfisnished and I’m not great at listening when I’m really concentrating.  I have to have a rule with myself about my interests so I don’t go on about them continuously and become boring for others.  But the thing that’s difficult in terms of painting is, oddly, this desire to follow the rules exactly all the time.

The trouble is, with painting, following the rules translates into that childhood thing of not colouring over the lines.  Now that’s great if I’m going for a realistic or comic style look, but there’s more to art than that.  I really love looking at art which is more impressionistic and expressive where the colour doesn’t always stay within the lines.  Some of this type of art is incredibly beautiful.  But I find it almost impossible to do.  So, with some help and encouragment from Ink Flamingos and Alli Farkas , I had a go…

My first attempt was to draw a green woodpecker…

When  I began painting him I spilled the paint all over, but then immediately dabbed it up with a tissue.  Below is the best I could do to have the paint go over the lines.  I really hated it.  It made me feel like swearing.

Then I put on some blues for a background…

Again the paint was moving about and I felt quite distressed and ended up dabbing a lot of this up with some paper towel.

Then I got quite annoyed with the painting and tried to tighten it up ‘properly’.  I ended up just making a bad realistic style painting where I attempted to correct the errors…

You can see in this picture that, rather than have the movement of the ink over the lines as a part of the beauty of the picture, I corrected it and reworked it to try to get rid of it.  It doesn’t work at all.

I felt really fed up with this and I very nearly gave up on the whole adventure at this stage but then I decided to have one more try.  This time I thought I would paint the back ground very free and wild first and then paint a more standard watercolour figure over it, using limited areas of wet on wet to control the paint.

I also thought carefully about the colours I was using.  I used a deep cadmium yellow for the background with a pthalo blue over the top.  The pthalo blue is a nice transparent blue with a bit of a green tinge to it naturally.  So I thought that in the places where the yellow paint sat behind the blue it would go green and might add some more to the painting.

Again to try to make it loose, I began with a gesture drawing of a woman doing that dangling thing on some cloth which you sometimes see in a circus act…

Once I had the gesture I filled out her anatomy and gave her crazy hair…

 

Then I painted the background.  This was SO hard – it felt like I was deliberately spoiling the picture…

(I couldn’t help but remove the yellow that went onto the body area with a tissue.) Then I went back to painting more carefully to finish…

I know it’s really only an expressive background with a figure which maybe has some expression because she was drawn from a gesture, but it’s better than I’ve done before.  I think I might try some biological styled drawings with more expressive backgrounds like this next.

 

PS:  Sorry this post was late going out – I was unwell Thursday night, yesterday and this morning.  Getting better now I think!  😀

Love’s Sacrifice #1

So the bigger project I’ve been working on in the background these last couple of weeks is a picture which came out of the words of a song we sung at Church this Easter.  The phrase which really stuck with me was ‘love’s sacrifice’.  I just couldn’t get the feeling of those words out of my head and eventually they became a picture.

Here’s my sketch.  It actually took a few tries to get there with this image because the body position was quite difficult to pull off – particualrly his left hand which is mostly hidden by his right knee…

 

I drew on A3 cold-pressed watercolour paper and was planning to paint with Winsor and Newton watercolour paints.

However, I couldn’t quite picture the colours or style I wanted.  So I photographed the sketch and then made a quick colour study in the computer.

At first it was like this…

But I didn’t feel that the background colour was really working, it seemed too flat to me, so I tried a few different colours…

 

 

Eventually I settled on this colour plan for my painting…

 

So I began painting the figure with some lighter skin tones…

 

Then I gradually deepened my colour and added more shape to the shadows…

There’s still quite a lot of work to do here.  I need to fill in my basic background next and then finish the loin cloth which is going to go much darker under his right leg.  After that I have this idea of switching from watercolour to black ink to put in a layer of much finer detail to the portrait.

 

Health Problems

I was hoping to have this finished by now but I’ve had some problems with my medication for the neuropathic pain condition I have – my body is not responding well to it at the moment.  So I’ve been taking less and consequently I’ve been in a lot of pain for a while now.  It was OK here on my blog for a couple of weeks because I tend to post things a long way ahead of time but now I’m right up to date and still too sore to paint.

Plans and Ink Flamingos

Anyway, I’ve got less I need to do next week after work so maybe things will get a bit better.  If I get a chance to, I will finish this painting, but if I have less time I might have a go at a style of art I’ve been talking to another artist on WordPress about.

Last week Nicola, from Ink Flanmingos did a really interesting and beautiful piece based on Merton College in Oxford…here’s a linked picture…

‘Merton College’ by Nicola at Ink Flamingos

Here’s a link to her blog too…     Merton College by Ink Flamingos

You start with a drawing and then do a really loose colourful wash over the top before tightening it up with more layers later.  It looks amazing and I was thinking, when looking at it, how hard that would be for me, because splashing a loose wash on seems, well, mega scary.  I love precision and tight lines when I’m painting and they’re almost like a security blanket for me, but I actually really enjoy looking at the results of much freer work which other artists like Nicola can do.

So we’ll see what I manage to come up with.

 

 

Carl Grimes Fan Art – ‘Drawing with Ink’

This week I carried on working on my bigger project and also worked on some comic fanart for a friend’s son (an older teenager).  He’s really into the comic version of ‘The Walking Dead’ by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (with later art by Charlie Adlard).

He asked for a fan art picture of Carl Grimes when he gets shot in the eye.  It’s based on Charlie Ablard’s original art.

It’s not really the kind of subject I usually draw – I’m not really into horror – it’s too scary – but I do really enjoy making pictures for other people so I had a go.

Here’s the sketch…

It was done on Bristol Board with my graphgear mechanical pencil.

Then I inked it.

I began inking in the normal way but then, about half way through I saw a really inspirational video on YouTube.  I had previously posted a link here but when I left a courtesy message on this person’s YouTube page they deleted it.  Now I don’t know what that means.  I thought I was following the proper internet etiqette and being polite and respectful but with the autism there’s always a chance I did something wrong so I’m going to err on the side of caution and not link to this chap’s video anymore.

Anyway what I really noticed about his technique was that he wasn’t outlining or inking the pencils, he was drawing with ink.  He was using the pencils as a guide but still drawing.  Maybe it’s a subtle distinction, but for me it was a powerful learning point.  So I continued the rest of the inks for this Walking Dead fan art piece concentrating on drawing with ink rather than ‘going over the pencils’ or ‘outlining’.

Finally I added some tones with a waterbrush.  I had a mixture of ink and water in that to give me some nice greys.  And then I added some strong red watercolour for the blood.

So here’s the final picture…