365 Days of Art: Day 8 – A Tulip

The challenge: Create some form of visual art, no matter how small, each day for a full year. I’m on day 8, and it has been a bit of a struggle today.

I’ve finally finished all the beginner food items from the book: Watercolor Success in Four Steps by Marina Bakasova. I’ve moved on to flowers, and today’s little tulip really destroyed a bit of the ego.

I didn’t have any of the colors, and I think it really made a difference. She called for Rose, Green, Green light, and Umber (not Burnt Umber). I used Permanent Rose, Sap Green, Hooker Green, and Burnt Umber. Nothing worked right. The Burnt Umber kept pushing the sap green out of the way when I did the “little drops,” and the permanent Rose spread out too fast and didn’t gel in those tiny drops like in her picture. I did a second attempt (see the right pic), but I used a layering technique instead of using drops to darken. It worked better, but the paper started disintegrating. (Strathmore Student Grade paper. Enough said.)

My first attempt is on the left. The second attempt is on the right.

I definitely got frustrated, but then I decided to start playing around with the paint. What if I used a combination of layers and droplets? What if I used the paint straight from the pan instead of watered down with water? Did the colors I used matter? I discovered something amazing:

Layering is awesome, and the intensity of the color magnifies with each layer. I also prefer layering to dropping water on wet paint, but that is me.

I started playing around with sap green. Could I make a simple brush stroke look like it had dimension? I layered the sap green a few times, letting it dry between layers. Then I added a layer of burnt umber and got a really good looking stump, almost like a barrel cactus, and the burnt umber gave it a more intense, shadowy effect.

It’s silly and nothing, but one of those things that awakened something. Maybe this is how doing a bit of art everyday helps develop skill. The brain starts thinking and experimenting and discovering.

On to bed, y’all. See you tomorrow. 🙂

About M. B. Weston

M. B. Weston is an award-winning fantasy, pulp, young adult, steampunk, and paranormal author. Her attention to procedure and detail gives her works an authentic gritty, military feel that takes an adventure tale to the level of a true page-turner. Weston’s writing attracts both fantasy and non-fantasy readers, and her audience ranges from upper-elementary students to adults. A gifted orator, Weston has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous writing and science fiction/fantasy panels at conventions across the US, including DragonCon, BabelCon, NecronomiCon, and Alabama Phoenix Festival. She has served on panels with such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. F. Lewis, Todd McCaffrey, and Jonathan Maberry. Weston has spoken to thousands of students and adults about the craft of writing and has been invited as the keynote speaker at youth camps and at several schools throughout the US.
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