Last night was the end of the figure drawing section in my 10 week watercolor workshop at Syn Studio. We did three days; fast sketches, portraits, and then this long pose. We were working with photographer Rebecca Carins as our model. I’ve become an instant fan of her work. And, in fact, she’s just released a book – the opening is tonight in Toronto if anyone is at large in the city.
I’m seeing some solid progress among the student work as we continue to invest in the process. Everyone was able to complete this complex setup in 3 hours, and in general this mix of tight drawing and loose washes is starting to click with people. If anyone’s interested in the course, we’re running it again in January. Here’s the info. (Syn Studio)
Went out sketching the other day with the MTL:USK group. Brought two watersoluble pens to the Mount Royal Plateau. My new Lamy Safari Extra Fine, and equally new Kuretake #13 brush pen. (Jetpens.com) I swapped out my usual Pentel Pocket Brush, in favor of the Kuretake, to enjoy the water-soluble properties of their cartridges. Here’s some lines, followed by clear water melting. It’s a neat magic trick. World’s most convenient watercolor kit.
I can also report, the Kuretake is capable of much finer work with the point (vs. the Pentel GFKP Pocket Brush). It’s about twice the price however, so there is that. As well, the K#13 has a metal barrel, that I find quite slippery, so that’s a bit annoying. But you can’t have everything! You have to love the convenience of a convincing ‘real’ (nylon?) fiber brush in a fountain pen format.
Wow, things have been busy, and it’s been a long while since Barcelona 2013. I’ve finally uploaded some pics of the event. We had a great time, and are looking forward to Paratay in Brazil, 2014. Mini-Gallery up on my Flickr (Here).
Looking forward to Paraty Brazil 2014. Here’s a sketch from Eduardo Bajzek, who has scouted the location for us.
In what is becoming an annual tradition, I was recently at Dawson College doing a demo for the Illustration department watercolor class. Thanks to Lucy Trahan for the invite.
Another annual tradition, in honor of Halloween, is my annual PoeTrait. (Ok not every year. Here is my PoeTrait from 2009). I could have sworn I did that last year.
As I was looking for a suitable subject to demo, and it had been awhile since I sketched Mr. Poe – here he is again, this time in watercolor.
I should say, I don’t consider myself a portraitist, in the sense that I prefer to draw my idea of a person, rather than a dead-on likeness. So you’ll forgive some exaggeration in his physiognomy. I want to capture the barely contained churning thoughts roiling in his stately dome. And that pale sickly complexion that hints at his upcoming descent into the drugs and madness which ended October 7th, 1849, the day of his inadequately explained death.
Here’s the progress between my three passes of watercolor. Admittedly the changes are quite small in the last step – but that’s what you want – you’re just reinforcing the tiny dark shapes. In a high-key image like this, there aren’t that many darks – mostly just in his hair. When working Light to Dark, Large to Small, often each step is much faster than the step before. But you do need to let it dry between passes, or your final dark touches won’t be crisp.
In the event I’ve piqued an interest, here’s an online resource to read some Poe.
Second project for the watercolor class at Syn Studio was this cast drawing subject. A small statue of Ganesha. The goal here was a classic demonstration of Tea, Milk, Honey – my phrase that encapsulates a working method which is simultaneously Larger-to-Smaller, Fluid-to-Gel, Wet-to-Dry, Lighter-to-Darker.
Here’s the progress steps. Drawing>Tea>Milk> and then Honey (above).
Key thing to remember: Work Wet on Dry: Each pass must be bone dry before the next. This allows you precise control over what edges are hard and what are soft.
Note how color in the first pass is super arbitrary. Just have fun with Pouring the Tea. Then you can draw in shadows with Milk, and re-enforce only the darkest dark cast ‘contact’ shadows with the final Honey pass.
Since this one we’ve done another day on still life subjects, and are graduating to working with the model. This promises to be a lot of fun, introducing people to life drawing with watercolor!
When my friend Shari suggested going to Oka to sketch, the first thing I thought of was the Oka Crisis. I have very vague memories of events back in 1990. I can recall it was an armed standoff between the Mohawk and the Sûreté du Québec instigated by local developers plans to put a golf course on top of sacred ground.
On arrival at the State Park, we were impressed to find people still manning the barricades 23 years later.
I shouldn’t joke. The situation with the Mohawk was serious business. Today the park employees appear to be on strike over injustices that could not be made clear to me, as they had no English and I have no French. Perhaps the strikers should take a page from history. They could get much more attention to their cause by blockading the Mercier Bridge.
In any case, we were allowed in, and enjoyed the day painting in the park. We had remarkable weather for October, surround by amazing fall colors. You wouldn’t know it in this painting.
Someone who is a landscape a painter will have to explain to me why I can’t seem to wrap my head around pictorial composition out of doors. Shari and I were both attracted to a marshy area with overhanging dead trees casting interesting reflections. I find I’m always immediately locking into these compositions that are not landscape paintings at all, but are in fact portrait studies of trees or rock formations. I can’t banish this instinct from Urban Sketching to stick a detailed subject front and center :)
Well, still, was a great day painting in this last gasp of fall – I can apply myself to scenic views again next year!
Last week was the first session of my 10 week watercolor course at Syn Studio. I started people out with some very simple still life situations. The old Fruit and Veggies. I just wanted them to try out the use of wet-on-dry zones to separate shapes with hard edges. (Work loose inside firebreaks of dry paper). I started that Mango with the ‘Drawing with Clear Water‘ trick.
I talked about working in three passes – Tea Milk Honey – but with something this simple it might have been hard for them to see the benifit of that. Tomorrow night however, we’ll be doing much more complicated studies. The learning curve starts immediately! (Oh I also did a tiny tentative bit of scratched paper on those limes. Thanks J.S.Sargent! Good trick).