Adventures In Watercolor 4

As promised, here is my final piece from my watercolor class:

For our finals, we had to pick a photo (NOT a painting!) and reproduce it on 18 x 24 paper. Mine was based on this photo of the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland. As you may have noticed from my previous paintings, trees are kinda my specialty, so this seemed like a good choice. I’m pretty satisfied with the end result; I only wish it could look more transparent, more like a watercolor painting – here, I added so many layers that it looks more like a gouache/acrylic piece. I guess I just need to practice more…

And here are some more paintings that I’ve been working on since the class ended:

There is still a lot I need to learn though, so once my schedule slows down a bit, I’m going to see if there is another class I can take.

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Adventures In Watercolor 3

So here is the next batch of my watercolors. After tackling flowers and still life, we were on to landscapes, which I prefer, because it doesn’t require drawing precise shapes. We started with monochromatic landscapes first:

Then we moved on to full color:

Stay tuned, because it’s our “graduation ceremony” this weekend and I’ll get to pick up my final piece to show you guys. And I’ve been painting regularly (now that school has started again, I try to complete one painting per week) so there will be more to come!


Adventures In Watercolor 2

In the second week of class, we moved on to still life and flowers from real life. I was still struggling a bit with the shapes and how to create light/shadow, but I did improve slightly.


My painting and the real-life setup, for comparison

We also tried our hands at portraits – humans or animals (again, by copying from existing paintings or photos.) I’m completely hopeless when it comes to drawing people, so I chose a rooster. He turned out… OK-ish, I guess? I can’t get the face and the eyes right, so it looks like he’s in shock 😛


Adventures In Watercolor 1

As promised last week, here are some of the watercolor paintings I did over the course of my class (it’s a 5-week class, and we’re in our last week now). I put this in chronological order – as you can see, my earlier attempts were pretty clumsy…

Anyway, the themes of our first few weeks are still life – flowers, fruits, and food. We only copy from existing paintings, since we weren’t good enough to paint from photos and real life yet (that would be later.)

This is a cake, in case you can’t tell…

This I did at home, based on a photo I took of our fairy lilies. I wanted to try the wet-on-wet technique, but I wasn’t quite there yet:

More to come soon!


Adventures In Sketching III

It’s been a while since I touched my watercolor set, but here is the last batch of sketches that I did a couple of months ago. They’re of a looser style than my previous ones, which I prefer – I’m not great at drawing, so with this style, I can just lightly sketch the outline and go right in with the watercolors. As usual, they’re based upon my photos.

A flower stall in Amsterdam

Singapore’s Chinatown

A beach in Batam, Indonesia


A house in the Cotswolds and the path in front of our house (what it used to be, anyway. Now there are apartment blocks on both sides)

I’ve been wanting to get back to sketching for a while now, because work has been so busy that I want something to relieve the stress. The problem is, because I’m so busy, I just can’t seem to find the time to actually sit down and sketch. I guess I have to make the time instead of just telling myself “Next weekend…”


Adventure In Sketching II

I’ve been trying to sketch every day, and the results are looking… well, I wouldn’t say “better”, but less clumsy than my first attempts.

I’m trying different styles. I can’t draw very well, so first I tried sketching very lightly with a pencil and then going straight in with the colors, but I think that this style is too loose for me. I’m not comfortable enough with watercolors yet, so I keep making mistakes and making a mess of everything.

 

Here are the more controlled, pen-and-wash sketches. I prefer this, though so far I’ve only tried it with simple drawings like houses and barns. The moment I tried to add something spontaneous – like the tree and bushes in the sketch of the houses – it ended up looking like a mistake again.

I’ve also tried a mix of the two, like with this flowering branch (it’s a crepe myrtle, in case my sketching skill isn’t up to par) and this tree. I’m more careful with the branch and the tree trunk, but I can afford to be freer with the flower and the foliage because they don’t require a lot of details.

Still a lot to learn, but so far I’m enjoying it.


Adventure In Sketching

It’s been a while since I dabbled at coloring with watercolor, and I’ve missed it, but the whole thing has become so much of a hassle – finding the drawing, printing it out, and tracing it – that I didn’t feel like getting back into it. I briefly contemplated buying those adult coloring books (they’re all in the Vietnamese equivalent of the 99-cent bin now – told you guys it was just a fad) and a box of pencils, but it didn’t really appeal to me. So my art supplies just languished in my drawer for nearly two years.

Lately, though, I’ve been itching to paint again. Inspired by my blog friend, Mike, and several Instagram accounts I’ve been following, I wanted to try actual, proper watercolor painting, not just coloring. There’s another reason, too: I’ve been really busy this summer, but the work is so tedious that my mind was constantly wandering, and I found it difficult to concentrate. I knew I needed something to relax my mind. So I dusted off my brushes, dug out my watercolors (which, thankfully, are still good), and whipped up two quick sketches:

They’re pretty clumsy, but considering I haven’t touched a brush in two years and haven’t painted in even a longer time, I think they’re OK. They took me about an hour, and I felt so much freer with these quick sketches than with the coloring. I don’t have to worry about the techniques, and I can experiment more – I did watch a few Youtube tutorials, but just to get myself in the zone. Plus I had the brilliant idea (if I do say so myself) of basing the sketches on my photos (these are from my Euro trip last year) so I won’t be short of subjects. Let’s see how long I can keep up this new burst of inspiration – I get bored and distracted so easily – but for the moment, I’m enjoying it.