365 Days of Art: Day 209 – Finishing “The Pinnacle”

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

I’ve been working on this “Pinnacle” project from Dreamscapes Fantasy Worlds by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. I’m in the section about skies right now. This painting isn’t actually about the dragons. It’s more about the dramatic sky.

I finished it up tonight. A few things I noticed:

  • While I know I need to work on my detail work, I also know that I won’t actually know how well I am doing until I switch to the high quality paper. This was done on illustrator board because that is what the author uses. It’s not my favorite medium, but I have a few sheets left and I want to use them up. Therefore, I’m not sweating the small stuff.
  • I ended up damaging the paper when I was trying to lift some of the blue away from the dragons. This came back to haunt me. My distant dragons didn’t do very well because the paper was damaged.
  • I didn’t like how the brush stokes dried with the detail work, so I put a layer of water over all the close up dragons. They look much nicer now.
  • If this were my original work, I would probably go ahead and add some more detail, but it’s not, so I won’t waste time on it.

Anyway, here is the final painting. I’m so excited because I think I only have two left and then I am done with this book and I can start the book on animals.

This is what it is supposed to look like:

Have a great evening, everyone!

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365 Days of Art: Day 208 – Drawing a Forest Stream

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

I am not going to have time to get out the watercolors and paint dragons tonight, so I am going to begin drawing a forest stream. I think I took this picture near Mingus Mill in the Smokey Mountain National Park. I’m aiming to get the initial sketch done tonight, and I will continue to work on it when I have evenings where painting would take too much time. (That’s the goal, anyway…)

This one has lots of rhododendron, which it turns out are kind of annoying. Their leaves are just big enough to actually need to be outlined instead of smudged, so this might be interesting. I’ve laid down the initial sketch, using just the rocks and a few of the big tree trunks. I’m taking out the dead trunk in the middle because it is annoying.

It looks bare bones right now, but it will look great once I can get the leaves and water in. Getting the rocks in the right position is always the most important part. Here it is:

Here is my reference shot. This is actually the picture I currently have on my phone’s Lock Screen. (Note that I am removing the tree trunk in the middle):

I love the long exposure function on the iPhone!

I’m hoping to eventually do some kind of lantern picture in the woods with a stream like this in the future, so I’m definitely glad to do this exercise.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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365 Days of Art: Day 207 – glazing the Dragons’ First Layers

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

Tonight, I did the initial glazing of the dragons from this project I’m working on from the book: Dreamscapes Fantasy Worlds by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. It’s definitely nothing exciting, but it helps to see the dragons laid out. I hope to finish the dragons tomorrow.

Here is what I have so far:

Have a great evening, folks!

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365 Days of Art: Day 206 – Fixing Clouds and Painting a Rock

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

I’m still working on the “Pinnacle” project from Dreamscapes Fantasy Worlds by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Today I worked in two things:

  • I fixed the clouds I had finished yesterday. (More on that below.)
  • I painted the rock the dragon is standing on.

Okay, so why fix the clouds I worked on yesterday? I had mentioned that I wasn’t as fond of them as I had hoped, and I mentioned a proportion issue between the cloud up front vs the smaller ones.

As I was looking at it today, I realized it wasn’t a proportion issue. The problem was a distance issue. There are a couple of ways to make object on a two dimensional piece of paper look like they are in the distance:

  • Overlapping. Showing objects in the foreground overlap those in the distance.
  • Lack of detail. The farther away something is, the less detail we see.
  • Color change. Generally the color of something in the distance gets darker and more hazy blue or purple.

When I looked at the clouds in my painting:

  • My big cloud didn’t look like it was overlapping the small clouds right next to it. I fixed this by 1) adding some blue around the big cloud in the foreground and 2) lining the inside of the cloud lightly with grey to make it distinct from the blue clouds in the background.
  • My big cloud ended up with less detail than the little clouds. Now, part of my issue with this was the alcohol I used. The alcohol kind of bound some of the blue to the paper and I couldn’t lift it off, so those details I was stuck with. However, I fixed this problem by 1) adding in some more detail to the big grey cloud in the foreground and 2) muting some of the detail on the distant clouds with water.
  • Since the distant clouds were already blue, I didn’t worry about making them more blue.

Anyway, here is what I have so far:

Here is what I did yesterday, which kind of shows how the clouds weren’t working.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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365 Days of Art: Day 205 – Finishing the Clouds

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

I’ve been working on a project called “The Pinnacle” from Dreamscapes Fantasy Worlds by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law for about a week. It features dragons, which are awesome, but I think the whole thing is really about the dramatic sky. To make the sky, we were to drop some alcohol into the wet paint, which created great shapes. My task tonight was to finish the sky by using those initial shapes and making them into dramatic clouds. I used two methods to do this:

  • Darken the areas that were already dark.
  • Lighten areas that were already light using the lifting technique.
  • Make more clouds so it looks natural, again using the lifting technique.

Here is my finished sky.

I’m not as fond of this as I wanted to be. Actually, it looks better in person. This new phone makes such big contrasts in the pictures that aren’t actually there. I think the big problem was that my splatters were much to small. I needed to use an eye dropper instead of a brush. It’s kind of like I’m dealing with baby clouds on the top and this huge thing on the bottom, and the proportions are wrong.

I also had trouble lifting some of the parts that were already touched with alcohol.

Here is what it looked like before I started darkening and lifting:

We will see how it looks when I am done.

Have a great evening everyone!

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365 Days of Art: Day 204 – Drawing a Toy Banana

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

Today is one of those days that it is hard to believe I’m a parent. My cousin came to visit today and tomorrow with his four boys.

Yes, there are four boys in my house, ages 4 to 10.

Being with my cousin reminds me of all the trips we took together as kids. I can’t believe we are both parents. We are the boring ones sitting outside the pool, enjoying talking to each other instead of swimming. We are the ones having to make decisions about whether we put the kids to bed now or give them 5 more minutes in the pool. We have the reading glasses and torn, sore muscles. We are the ones who groan when we stand up and sit down. Who on earth gave us this responsibility?

Anyway, that being said, the kids got five more minutes in the pool, and I’m sitting at my kitchen counter, trying to get a price of art completed and blogged about before midnight.

I don’t have time to drag out the watercolors, so instead I’m drawing a banana. A rubber, toy banana because I’m allergic to the real ones. (It’s actually a really cool toy banana. If feels very lifelike.) Because I like you wonderful people, I am going to refrain from adding in the stuck in dog hair and saliva from the four year old.

Here it is:

Here is the original:

Happy Friday everyone!

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365 Days of Art: Day 203 – Working on the Clouds

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

I’ve been working on a project, The Pinnacle, from the book, Dreamscapes Fantasy Worlds, by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Two nights ago, I used splatters of alcohol to make the beginnings of clouds. Today, I added some grey clouds at the bottom, a bit of lemon yellow at the top of the picture, and I began working with the alcohol drops to turn them into better looking clouds.

I’m considering a lot of this part a grand experiment. I’ve been lifting some of the paint here, darkening areas there, etc. I also got frustrated with using my old Coteman #2 brush (that never actually had a point) to lift the blue. It was too flimsy. I decided to cut it down to make it more of a “stiff bristled” brush everyone says to use, and that really worked!

Anyway, here is my progress today. I still have a lot of clouds to make:

Here is the area I worked on, right under the dragon’s wing:

Here is my brush after I cut it:

Have a great evening, everyone!

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365 Days of Art: Day 202 – Drawing my Dog’s Tag

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

Tonight was date night. However, my daughter was still up when we got home, so I read her a book and put her to bed.

I fell asleep in the bed. That was around 9:30. I just woke up 15 minutes ago and it’s 11:20, so you can do the math. I didn’t have time to do much, art-wise, so I drew my dog’s dog tag. His name is Chewie. (Yes it is after Chewbacca because he has Chewbacca paws.)

Here it is:

Here is the real thing:

Here is Chewie (notice the furry paws):

I’m exhausted. Have a great evening everyone!

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365 Days of Art: Day 201 – Clouds of Alcohol… (with Dragons

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

I’m working on a new project from Dreamscapes Fantasy Worlds by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Yesterday I completed the initial drawing portion of this project. Today comes the sky. And it required alcohol, so you know it’s gonna be good.

Okay, so I used rubbing alcohol instead of the fun stuff, but I have heard vodka can produce the same effect.

Tonight’s process:

  • Start with a wash of Cerulean Blue. I made sure to keep uneven and sloppy because skies with clouds are uneven and sloppy.
  • Drop in some Prussian Blue.
  • Splatter rubbing alcohol in big drops.

So I’m this little step, we were supposed to avoid painting the three closest dragons.

Yeah. I’m so done with that.

I hate slowing down the wash so I can paint between the lines and then the wet on wet doesn’t work because everything is too dry. So I just kind of painted over the dragons and lifted off the paint when it dried. (I’m told a magic eraser can help with this too.)

Anyway, rubbing alcohol dropped in watercolor paint is awesome. I need to do this more often. Eventually, we are supposed to use these lovely drops to create swirly clouds. That will be tomorrow night’s task. I’m really excited because I have an idea for a lantern painting (here is my initial sketch concept), and I need some clouds to make it look mysterious, and I may try this technique with that.

Here is what I have so far:

Have a great evening, everyone!!!

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365 Days of Art: Day 200 – Dragons!

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year.

How fitting that on Day 200 I get to start drawing a subject that has always fascinated me: dragons! I’ve pretty much loved dragons (and all forms of fantasy creatures) since my Dad introduced me to The Hobbit. Today I’m starting a project from Dreamscapes Fantasy Worlds by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law with dragons in it. It’s called “Pinnacle,” and it’s actually more about painting a beautiful, dramatic sky than it is about painting dragons. Tonight, I drew her initial sketch. I took out on of the background dragons because I am using a different sized paper and I ran out of room.

A few things:

  • When I first started working through this book, I traced the images for the projects onto my paper using graphite paper. I realized that I wasn’t actually going to progress as an artist if I didn’t try to freehand draw the images myself. Now, I draw everything on my own, using her work as my guide. Yes, sometimes I end up being a little off, but my drawing skills have vastly improved.
  • Tonight, I struggled with some of the flying dragons. Then I remembered that most real artists draw the backbone and a rough skeleton and build on that. I didn’t draw a full skeleton, but I did draw the backbone of each flying dragon, and boy did that help!

Here is the picture. I left off about 1/3 of the bottom, that will be “dramatic sky” to be filled in with paint and rubbing alcohol tomorrow.

Here is hers and what it will look like after the first layer of paint and alcohol:

Have a great evening everyone!

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