Yellow Cheeked Tit, Stage 3

Yellow Cheeked Tit (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Yellow Cheeked Tit (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

After our Chinese class today the Yellow Cheeked Tit looks much happier now he’s sitting on a branch, instead of floating in mid air šŸ™‚ .

A lot of the tree was painted with dry brush strokes, first brown then darker after more ink was added to the mix. Finally, a pale Indigo wash was brushed over the branches and then the flowers were painted with Carmine and a small brush.

This was quite a simple composition for our first lessons back after Christmas, but still quite challenging – my biggest criticism of mine would be that the bird is a bit stiff and you can’t imagine the weight of it on the branch… I probably got the centre of gravity a bit wrong…. maybe I’m being hard on myself, but I feel I should always be looking for ways to improve, and I did say I was going to try and push myself harder this year ;-).

Yellow Cheeked Tit, Stage 2

Yellow Cheeked Tit (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Yellow Cheeked Tit (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

My homework for Chinese painting class this week was to transfer the initial painting of the Yellow Cheeked Tit we started last week onto rice paper, in colour. As usual I’m a little bit late with this but it’s looking good so far…

Based on our reference image I think the breast should be a little bit more yellow and it’s looking a bit stiff as well, but hopefully adding the branch and blossom for him to stand on tomorrow will help to soften the overall effect. I need to make sure the speckled feathers on his neck become more random and natural looking as well – they’re suspiciously leopard like so far, or even a bit like a bad case of measles!

The Biggest Wave. Pt. 4

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

Despite the heat I managed to spend an hour watercolour painting this afternoon… it took a concerted effort to use more water and still the paper dried much too fast, but it was good to get back to this painting before I lose interest completely :-P.

I’m still struggling quite a bit with the water and waves, so after a while trying to improve the foam in the foreground I resorted to getting a first wash on the boy, his clothes, skin and hair. I finally chose my colours based on picking up some of the accents elsewhere in the picture.

It’s going to be 31 degrees again tomorrow so it’s touch and go whether any painting will be done – unfortunately our house is hotter inside than it is out at this time of the year, which makes painting really tricky.

Ready For a Soaking, Pt. 3

Colour Thumbnails (Watercolour)

Colour Thumbnails (Watercolour)

After removingĀ all the maskingĀ fluidĀ from the giant wave painting yesterday I was faced with a decision… do I use the colours of the photo, or try to pick better ones? Hopefully it’s an indication I’m learning something, because this would never have entered my head a year ago.

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

As a result I spent an hour this afternoon painting little thumbnails, trying out different ideas… something else I would have skipped past previously and tried to work out in my imagination. I have to say though I don’t really like any of them. However, at least I’ve discounted some combinations and there are a lot more to try if I feel inclined! I’m not sure I particularly like the original either, so I have some thinking to do.

I also spent some time redrawing the boy in the picture – unfortunately one drawback of using masking is that the pencil marks are lost when the masking is peeled. I just hope I haven’t ruined the surface of the paper with all the messing about.

Day 364: Ready for a Soaking, Pt. 2

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

An Unexpected Wave (Watercolour)

I feel like I’ve gone a little bit bezerk with the masking fluid today :-). I thought I’d begin a painting of the giant wave straight away, while the subject is still fresh and appealing to me, so I spent this afternoon sketching a light outline and saving some white areas with masking fluid. The paper is quite a bit larger than my original sketch so there’s hopefully room to see the facial features more clearly. It’s also a different shape so I made up a bit of sandy beach in the near foreground and a glimpse of sky at the top.

The masking was actually great fun to apply: usually it’s a bit of a chore, you can hardly call it painting, but today felt quite creative – I splashed it, dripped it, poured it on and pushed the pools of masking around with the back of a pencil! I’m very interested to see whether it works for the picture or not. I feel this area will need several layers to get anything like the right effect, so I suspect the masking may come off again tomorrow, perhaps more will go on, maybe not šŸ˜›

I also had lots of ideas for how to paint the sea and the crashing wave, but they all disappeared the moment I sat down and dipped a brush in water! I can see it’s going to take patience and imagination to make it work and I’m already silently hitting myself for wondering if I’ve started out right… the ‘good’ me is telling myself it doesn’t matter at this stage, anything can be worked upon or even taken out again – that side is trying hard to silence the regular me who’s whispering ‘the sea’s too dark already and why did you choose to use that blue?’