Monday, September 29, 2008

Trilobite II Watercolor

Trilobite II , 7 x 10 inches, watercolor

I had so much fun doing the trilobite watercolor the other day, that I just had to do another one. This is a different trilobite, stylized again. I decided to give this one a more watery color scheme. I've got an idea for a similar one, but with a different animal. The planning has been as fun as the painting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Radio TV Hospital

Radio TV Hospital, copyright Sydney Harper

Radio TV Hospital
9 x 12 inches, acrylic on panel

I started this painting a while back when I wanted to try out some gessoed panels. The subject is a tiny oddly shaped building near Pope's Tavern in Florence, Alabama. It used to be a Radio TV Hospital. There was something about the odd shape and the broken sign that appealed to me. In reality there were a lot of houses around the area but I decided to simplify the painting so I could focus on the building. I might do a little more tweaking but basically it's finished.

I learned a lot while painting this. I'm still not used to this gessoed panel. Even after all these layers of paint, it feels slick compared to canvas. Maybe I'll try another brand after I finish these or even make my own. I spent a lot of time trying to get the perspective right since this isn't a normal box-shaped building and since I don't paint that many buildings. I'm glad I did. I used yellow to highlight the sunny side of the building instead of white. I'm not sure if it's obvious from the photo but this worked really well. (Thanks to James Gurney for all of your posts on color and light.) The painting started out as an experiment that I almost abandoned a couple of times, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trilobite Watercolor

Trilobite by Sydney Harper

Trilobite - watercolor, 6 x 5 inches
copyright - Sydney Harper

I've always been fascinated by trilobites, the prehistoric extinct arthropods, ever since my zoology professor brought a trilobite fossil into class. So this weekend I got my own trilobite fossil out to sketch. I wanted something colorful, not your typical scientific publication drawing. So I muddled around with some colored pencils for a while until it came to me. I like using colored pencils to work out ideas, especially when color is an important part of the idea. Since trilobites were segmented, why not make a stylized version with the segments separated. So after much drawing, this is my watercolor version. I like how it turned out. It has a lot of potential.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Looking for my muse

Rick Waiting by Sydney Harper

I've been traveling to conventions and vacationing and just being busy. Now I've just got to get my muse back on track. Sometimes my art focus feels disjointed, often brought on by people asking what I paint. (Answer: Whatever I'm in the mood to paint.) There are things I don't often paint or draw, people for example. I've been trying to work on that more lately. Otherwise, it's mostly what stirs me. Robert Genn's recent letter on Working Your Muses and Jeannette's post about What Warms Your Soul got me to thinking about focus again. So I made a list of all of the things that have interested me and stirred me. There's art and museums of course but there's also nature, water, geology, science in general, cityscapes, moonlit nights, and plants. I keep adding to the list but it's all starting to come together into something (what I don't know). It's getting my muse anxious to start. In the meantime, since I've been working on sketching people, this is a sketch from a photo of Rick while he's waiting to do a magic show. It's not a perfect likeness but it's not bad. We were at the mall and it was one of those moments when the light was perfect. So I snapped a photo before he caught on so I could sketch it later.