Alpaca Sketch, continued

Alpaca Sketch in watercolour

Alpaca (Watercolour Sketch)

A very brief post tonight just to share stage two of the watercolour Alpaca sketch I started last week, or was it the week before… it’s much less sketchy now, having had a session of fiddling applied to it! Oh, and for latecomers, here’s stage one.

Surprisingly, I still quite like it despite the messiness, but it definitely still needs some work around the chin (or chins?)… and maybe his eyes are looking just a bit too shiny and glazed, like ball bearings ūüėõ

Fallow Deer Graphite Sketch

Fallow Deer Fawn (Graphite)

Fallow Deer Fawn (Graphite)

I haven’t done a graphite sketch for ages and for some reason I’m just not attracted to all the half finished watercolours I have sitting around… a very good friend of mine (Gina) mentioned today that these are commonly known as UFO’s, UnFinished Objects. Well, I’ve always been a big Sci Fi fan ūüėČ

So, anyway, today this seemed like a good excuse to pick up the graphite sticks and have a play with a greyscale sketch. Who knows it might also help my ongoing difficulties with tonal values (well, of course it will!!). So, again taken from Paintmyphoto, this is a beautiful Fallow deer fawn from a photo by Lenora Melville.

I actually thought that being such a compact and interesting pose it would¬†be fairly easy to draw, but I was so wrong… the back end fell into place quite easily, but head and neck¬†were very difficult to get right. Luckily you can’t tell, but there were three or four attempts to get to¬†this result – and the nose is still a bit long (that seems to be a common problem, noses are always too long). I am very happy with how the spotty fur turned out though, and I thought that would be the hard part!

Hands off my Nuts! Squirrel Study

Hands Off My Nuts (Watercolour)

Hands Off My Nuts (Watercolour)

Finally some of the madness has gone out of the week and I’ve spent a pleasant¬†hour or two this afternoon painting this handsome watercolour squirrel hoarding nuts for winter. (photo courtesy of Paul Sherman, Paintmyphoto). I did start this one with a light sketch as I’m still not confident getting eyes and such in the right place without one! And even so his nose is still a bit too pointy….

With regards brush strokes he’s a bit tight and fiddly ¬†– I was trying to be loose and¬†hoping to get a softer look for all the¬†fluffy fur on his arms but the edges kept drying – I enjoyed painting him¬†though, which was mostly the point of the exercise. I had¬†fun dropping colours and then salt in for the rock underneath him too¬†ūüôā .

It occurs to me that my objectives have changed a little bit over the past few weeks, and today is a good example. I still have an ideal¬†in my mind, a¬†dream¬†of the style I’d like to achieve, but I’m less worried whether I get there or not… I’m enjoying letting the painting take over a bit,¬†waiting to see what appears rather than¬†trying to force it.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not getting as much practise as usual and I’m unconsciously¬†being a bit kinder to myself ūüėõ It will be interesting to see what transpires as a result!

Sheep Shape…

Sheep Sketch (Watercolour)

Sheep Sketch (Watercolour)

I was extremely pleased with how my painting of Rhona at the wedding turned out, but still aware that I would love to paint more freely and loosely I spent more than half of last week trying to capture impressions of the Bluebells in our front garden. They failed terribly several times and so, after some hair tearing, I looked back at my Jean Haines books and videos hoping to gain inspiration and insight.

This afternoon I spent an hour or two following a tutorial from her book Atmospheric Watercolours¬†on painting sheep. The first go wasn’t very¬†good but I’m quite pleased with this one – I wish my Cadmium Orange had more yellow tones, as Jean’s does, and it needs a bit more detail around the faces but otherwise I feel this is a great start.. or recovery, depending on how you look at it.

Sisters, Pt. 5

Sisters (Watercolour)

Sisters (Watercolour)

It’s been one of those ‘pretty good’ days today, a lovely relaxing Sunday with a windy dog walk this morning and some watercolour education this afternoon, followed by the Sunday Times cryptic crossword at the German Club – and we finished it all except for one stubborn clue!

The education session was a chapter or so from a recent book purchase, Mastering Composition by Ian Roberts, which thankfully is simple to understand and very enlightening. I also watched a video by American watercolourist Stephen Quiller who uses colour to great effect in his work… if I can learn even a tiny bit from each of these guys I know my work will improve dramatically.

I’ve been fretting over my lack of skill in making a good picture out of the things I see around me, things that inspire me… I take lots of photos but then the paintings I make them into don’t quite work somehow… so I’m really looking forward to understanding how to go further than just copying what I see and being able to interpret things better, to make interesting compositions and use colours that add drama and emotion. Perhaps this is a natural progression as I start feeling more confident about making the brush go where I want it to… it’s very exciting realising there’s always more to learn ūüôā

I’ve also worked a little more on the painting of my Pilates Instructor’s two beautiful pups today – this is taken from one of her own photos so I can’t take credit for the composition. The colours are similar to the photo but I’ve been limiting the palette to Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre and Permanent Rose. Having said that, it’s beginning to look a little bland so I think before it’s finished I’ll have to introduce something to make it pop!