Saturday, July 18, 2009

Three Mockingbirds

A little over a year ago I made a bunch of quick mockingbird sketches with the idea of a painting or drawing or something.  You can see a few of them at the link in the previous sentence.  Luckily I made lots of notes and stashed a couple of not so good reference photos. Plus if all else fails, we have plenty of mockingbirds around the house.  That was the last I thought about it until last night. I grabbed my old sketchbook, a piece of charcoal paper and my Pitt pen set and started drawing.  This is the end result.

Mockingbird drawing

Three Mockingbirds, 9 x 12 inches (8 x 10 inches displayed)
ink, gouache, and white charcoal on paper

I added a little bit of white gouache for the white feathers and a teeny tiny bit of white charcoal here and there.  I love to watch mockingbirds running around the yard looking for food.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Watercolor Papers and Moonflowers


Moonflower, watercolor, 5 x 5 inches

I’ve been painting the latest batch of small watercolors on some watercolor paper samples I have.  Normally I prefer Arches 140 lb or 300 lb paper.  It’s what I learned on and it takes a lot of punishment. Every time I try a sheet something else, I end up regretting it.  Since I’ve been using these samples, though, I’ve found a few that I might try again. 

Unfortunately the paper I used for this painting was not one of them. I lost the little identifying label so I don’t remember what it is, but hopefully I won’t run into it again. If you’re putting down multiple washes like I did here, it just doesn’t hold up. Pretty soon it starts bleeding and pilling. I ended up stopping before I planned to stop.

So if you’re just starting out with watercolor and having trouble, try some different papers. You might hate Arches and love some other paper. To me there’s a huge difference between watercolor papers.  So don’t assume it’s you, it might be the paper. 

In spite of the paper problems, there’s a lot I like this painting. I might try another version on a different paper one of these days. Moonflowers (Ipomoea alba) are one of my favorite flowers.  They’re one of those remarkable flowers that blooms after the sun sets.  They’re similar to morning glories except they’re white. The other remarkable thing about moonflowers is that hummingbird moths love them. I had never seen one in the yard until I planted moonflowers. They do look a lot like hummingbirds at first glance.