For learning about drawing, sketching & watercolor, there are some amazing videos & books out there! Teoh Yi Chie, sketch artist, covers a wide range of related subjects with great depth. I learned from one of his tutorials about the book, Making Colors Sing by Jeanne Dobie. With it I am exploring the nature of individual watercolor paints in terms of transparency to opaqueness & how to mix colors.
Anne-Laure & her site "Watercolor sketching" with demonstrations is wonderful. I learned about her through multi-talented Blog artist, La Table de Nana, who is also generous in sharing resources.
How the Internet has changed the nature of studying & learning! The educational systems of just a few decades ago were more limited. However, my university experiences without the Internet but with live people & campuses were also very rich. Being immersed in a culture of learning is invaluable. Learning how to learn.
What I wish is that universities in the US were free & equally available to all young people,
as they are in some countries. But that is another subject...
Inspired by some books about Nature Journaling which I had brought to our Sketchers' Group, I found myself recently drawn to a chaotic, even junky field of "weeds" during a foggy morning walk. The fog moistens colors & guides my eyes to objects up close, the books remind me to observe small things. I was astounded by the Queen Anne's Lace, & by the changes she is going through as we move increasingly quickly toward autumn. Having my portable watercolor set-up more figured out, it is easier to stop spontaneously to sketch. The water bottle hangs in a bag at my side, the small watercolor box rests on the book. As I walk, the book & pen stay out of the bag, prepared for sudden stops.
In Season: A Natural History of the New England Year states that the myth that New England has 4 distinct seasons is not true, because there are "as many seasons as one wants to make of them, innumerable happenings that run into each other". Changes are varied: matings, bloomings, migrations, emergences, hibernations, deaths...The Queen Anne's Lace was showing a number of simultaneous changes: One disc was slightly curling in like an upside down umbrella, others were closed up in round cage like forms with dark burgandy seeds arranged in round patterns...
Clare Walker Leslie's Keeping a Nature Journal is a "bible" on nature sketch journaling.
All of her books are artistically & scientifically pleasing & inspiring.
Hannah Hinchman is another guru of the nature, or illuminated journal. Leslie was one of her mentors. Hinchman talks about the magic transformation that occurs while walking & observing in A Life in Hand:
"In the early stages of a walk, colors seem only pleasant & ordinary.
If I am outdoors long enough...all the colors begin to become more brilliant & distinct..."
Frederick Franck, in The Zen of Seeing:
"For the awakened eye, nothing remains a mere thing. It reveals itself to be,
instead of an object, an event, in the timeless abyss of time. "
Queen Anne's Lace, on my foggy morning definitelly became a magical event!
Welcome to New Zealand, meant for young readers, is super inspiring with various "walks" & ways to organize observations. Lovely, colorful handlettering is an integral part of the pages.
Clare Walker Leslie:
"Nature offers us a thousand simple pleasures~plays of light & color, frangrances in the air, the sun's warmth on skin & muscle, the audible rhythm of life's pull & push~all for the price of merely paying attention."
Some one in our Sketchers Group said that watercolor is less forgiving than oils. True. But I'm learning that one can go in & modify. Above, a cloudy, rainy scene on a Maine pond. Originally the sketch was too vividly colored. I went in with a wet paper towel & softened up some parts.
This Camden Library Reading Room sketch kept bugging me. I realized that the blues were too intense & unnatural. Again, I went in with a wet brush & a wet towel & lightened them. Now it brings back nicely the memory of that day. See the tops of the windjammer masts? Unique location has that Camden Library!
The grasses in this memory sketch originally had a weird silhouette.
I went in lifting some blues & then adding color.
We had our 5th monthly sketch group meeting this morning.
I get so inspired by the different journals, by the different processes,
and by the enthusiasm & stories of the participants.
I'm grateful to our public library for hosting us, & I'm
just plain grateful that I get to do & share this fun thing in life!
How pleasant it is to paint with a friend (who happens to live just down the road.) "T, want to come over to my house to play?" "Yes!" In the midst of dot napkins & cards, giant pearlescent color paint dots, & 2 travel paint boxes (previous post), T made the painting below at my dining table. Pretty joyful, no?Above, part of my ongoing exploration, while thinking about a friend who told me that Cerulean blue is her favorite color.
"R, you want to go out painting?" "Yes!" Yesterday we painted in a café & then at the Library. The mutual back & forth of enthusiasm & ideas doubles the fun. I always did thrive in my teaching & library work by sharing the joy with my colleagues. But I often draw & paint alone...
I also played watercolors with enthusiastic out of state visitors last week. My energy was renewed & revived!
Dots rule! The colors above are duller because I was using up mixed color puddles left over on my palette from a more vivid painting. I made an entry in my small daily diary about painting with T.
A small, spontaneous exploration painting teaches me more about what the paint likes or doesn't like to do, & shows me some lovely color bursts. Whoosh went that yellow!
In past lives, T & I both taught art to preschoolers, (at the same time & almost in the same place!) She & my Spirit Guide Message Blocks remind me to paint the way those children did.
Occasionally I take great pleasure in buying stuff that I don't really need. Toys! Colors! Frivolities that spark joy. (So are they really frivolities??) A new paint box with "Pearlescent" watercolor pans from Rockport Blueprint (Buying local at this shop often comes with Willow's expertise in showing you stuff). Color dot cocktail napkins. A deck of E. Francis Paper mini cards.
And~A new Cotman watercolor travel box. Yes, it's true, it's not unlike the one I have, but it has an extra snap on mixing palette. I customized the box by removing most of its Cotman color "cakes" (student grade, some streak) & filling with my own Winsor Newton tube colors ("professional" quality).
The color strip? I recently experimented with watercolors with a (delightful!) visiting friend who wanted to try watercolor. Paint strips with a flat brush, then dab & dot & run wet colors into each other, & watch them (with fascination) do their thing. The page of rectangular color swatches? Free from a paint company brochure.
These little investments go a long way. More & more I believe it is important to receive gifts of joy that come my way. And to share them.
This coast of Maine attracts many painting workshops which attract many summer vacationers. They come from Massachusetts. Pennsyvania. Indiana. Alabama. Canada...How lucky I am to live here! I am so in love with "my" midcoast Maine!!
I attended a day of a class of Mel Stabin. I was thrilled that the location that day was "my" Camden. In the afternoon, after painting a harbor scene, I sought refuge from the heat in "my" library, the place where I often do my ink & color sketches, usually of people (see previous post). How fun to try a painted sketch this time, & larger, trying to apply some of what Stabin had demonstrated in the morning. And how uncertain too...
After I got home I experimented more, on a small scale. No drawing, just seeing what the paint and the brush were up to. I am trying to work more with wet on wet which is what watercolor does best. Stabin says let it play...Let IT decide. A curious interplay between control & letting go of control.
When does something go from an enjoyable activity to a (good) habit? Well, it has happened for me as most Sundays I find myself in the Camden Library's reading room. While others read, I sketch. (This drawing is not all scribbly, like many of mine because it is a remake from the first draft sketch.)
A portrait of a dear artist friend in my library's Belfast Free Sketchers group, which I facilitate once a month (we're going to twice a month beginning September!) This sketch IS scribbly! These may be sketches of other people, but they are self-portraits too. Folks doing the very things I love to do!
My town's Arts in the Park Fair, down by the Harbor, got a rainy Sunday morning. I donned my new yellow raincoat & blue umbrella & went down to take photos. Of people with umbrellas. I have loved umbrellas since I was a wee little girl. My colorful umbrella gave me fancy dancing powers. Singin' in the Rain.
I looked forward to rainy days ~ still do!
Diane Horton, (with her Monet Poppy Field umbrella) is a popular local artist.
How cheerful people were even though the rain was washing things out.
Ooooh, colorful umbrellas, reminding me of my first one.
Blog Post, October, 2012. Boston Rainy Day.
I was sketching through a café window that faced a busy intersection.
Umbrella. Parapluie. ParAsol. (Polish with accent on the 2nd "a")