Hot Press Watercolor Paper

…makes me want to cry.

I’m trying, I really am, but I am not winning at this type of paper.  I’ve read comments and perused tutorials and all of that stuff.  “Don’t soak it”, “Soak it for 15 minutes”, “Gesso the front and back so it doesn’t buckle”, “Only use it for drawing!”, etc…

My first attempt was using watercolor pencils.  I sketched my figure out, did a bit of shading, and liked how it turned out!  Then…I added water.  Mistake.  I only added a little bit of water, not a lot, and it was still a disaster.  So, in an attempt to fix it, I added more paint/water.  Of course, it got worse.  The paper buckled and pilled.  In some sections the paint just lifted right off, leaving my lady speckled.  Frantic, I tossed aside all water-related mediums and attempted to smother her with oil pastels (that I don’t even know how to use).  I was desperate.  Hopeless.  The painting was destroyed.

I started off my second attempt being a little cocky, giving a little sashay in my step.  “I’m going to gesso the shit out of it!” and that I did.  Paper didn’t buckle or pill!  It made the surface a bit rough, and that was okay.  I lightly sketched an image on the paper, using a ruler, gettin’ my perspective right and everything.  Then I added the paint — acrylic this time.  Watered-down acrylic.  It wasn’t the best move.  It didn’t do what I thought it would do.  The paint still sort of lifted off, so I reduced the water and added more paint.  That seemed to help, but the background lost its subtly tinted sky and bare landscape and was replaced by rough spots and brush marks.  I like dry brushing.  I might even say I’m not terrible at it.  But, I didn’t want to dry brush this one.  I wanted it to be smooth, fluid, and pretty.  It, too, is a disaster.  It looks like I squeezed a whole bunch of acrylic paint on my hand and mashed it on the paper in a fit of rage.  It’s terrible.  I threw my brush against the table, took a hot shower and cried while in the shower.

I’m a basket case.  I’m not giving up, though.  Today is a new day!  A new day to completely wreck anything I touch!  A new day to make a zillion more mistakes, possibly cry some more, but also figure out what I did wrong and try something else.  I thought that what I was doing wrong was to even attempt to do any artwork at all, but I need to nudge that out of my head with a hard elbow.  Maybe.  I’m full of self-doubt today.

If you have comments or advice, I’d love to hear them!  In fact, I think I need it.

And it’s done…

I’m not sure how I feel about the finished product. I do know that I’ve fallen in love with Golden soft gel medium, though. So…hooray for love!

I think the bristol was a good idea, along with the canvas. I needed more coats of paint on the bristol, but it seems like it made more sense for the ravens than the canvas did, due to its smooth texture allowing more light to reflect (as with feathers).

I will be doing more work like this. Scissors are hell on my hands, but I like the idea of what could be.  If you have thoughts or ideas, share them!

Ravens1 (Large)

More progress pics…

I’m cutting out my birds. All but one are made out of canvas. Bristol is my go-to for most things, so I decided to try that and see how it matches up with the canvas birds. I’m not sure about it. Initially, after painting it and putting it against the background, I didn’t like it, but 2 coats of paint later, it might be okay. It doesn’t have the texture of canvas, of course, but I kind of like it. Perhaps mixing materials wouldn’t be such a bad thing?  The Bristol bird is the largest one in the last pic.

B1 (Large) B2 (Large)

 B Group (Large)

The progress pics…

My lady underwent some changes. I lost my knife in the move, so used all purpose shears to cut her out. I’m not thrilled, but this is leaning more toward an experiment than anything, so it’s cool.

The background canvas was one of five that I had mass painted prior to moving. I haven’t fulfilled my intentions with them, so I grabbed one to use for this. Eventually I’ll go back to those, but I’ll save that explanation for another post.

So, here they are.  If you have thoughts, share ‘em.  Thanks for looking! 

R1 (Large)R2 (Large)Bk1 (Large) Bk2 (Large)  

34 Going On 12

(an immature 12)

One post since 2014. This makes two.

I would say I feel like a failure for not keeping up with this or that, but that’s not entirely right. I’ve been keeping up with other things — taking care of myself and my surroundings. Simply, unwrecking my world.

I moved and that has improved my surroundings. The lull that I’ve entered is delicious. It’s much needed and will allow me to carry on the next time shit gets wrecked. Wouldn’t have it any other way, though. All good is just as bad as all bad, yeah? A different kind of bad, anyway. Like a Michael Jackson kind of bad.

While searching for new digs, one criterion was having a dedicated room for doing art. I’m still unpacking, but my brushes and paints are out. I found scraps of canvas that I cut a while back and have started a painting.

Confession: I have been notoriously careless when it comes to painting (or doing any kind of art). My needs (what I thought) were to simply get out whatever is in my head. I get the image out, but it’s a bastardized version of what I wanted to do. My impatience let the shoddiness slide just so I could move on to whatever was next. And if nothing was next, then I did nothing. Since coming to this shameful realization this year, I have kicked my impatience in the teeth and now it’s in a semi-conscious state and unable to speak.

This painting is taking much longer than normal. It’s not even a quarter of the way done. This is driving me mad, but I need it to drive me mad. It’s good for me! Plus, the more time I take on it, the more I’m spotting these horrendous mistakes that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen/cared about if I was rushing. Intention is good. Discipline and all that.

Now that I’ve embarrassed myself by sharing all that, let me share what I’ve done so far:

wip jul 17 2014

The Sketchbook Project 2014

This thing has to be postmarked in three days. THREE DAYS. I’ve been making progress — more progress in the last week than I made in 6 months — and I still have a bit to go. 9 pages, I believe.

My biggest issues with this project (or any creative project) are fear, poor planning, and choice of medium/mediums/media. When I’m making something for someone else, terror strikes and I feel paralyzed. If it’s for me, then I don’t care and somehow it turns out well. Anything else, though, and I feel incompetent. Smooth lines become jagged from a shaky hand, choosing a color palette is nerve wracking, subject matter–forget about it.

However, in the past few days, I discovered a workable theme, a palette, and — most important — the medium! The pages of the sketchbook are not typical heavyweight paper; they have their limit. In the past, I’ve attempted marker (which bled through) colored pencil becomes time consuming depending on how it’s used (I like to make it saturated and blend blend blend), pastel gets all over the place, and paint wrinkles the pages too much. I have a tin of Derwent Inktense pencils. I use them once in a while for various things, but didn’t use them on the sketchbook until recently. HOLY HELL! They’re magical!

Granted, I’m only using a variety of reds, but still. The paper doesn’t buckle, the color is saturated, but isn’t bleeding through, and adding water gives my hand a much-needed break from the blending of colored pencils.

So, with three days left, I’m pretty sure I can swing it.  Also, sorry for the bad photo!

Image

Sketchbook Project 2014…

Every year I do the Sketchbook Project offered by the Art House Co-Op in Brooklyn, NY. And every year I don’t send a damn thing in.  Well, last year I did.  I think.  It’s just that I get so excited about it and then completely drop the ball because of a variety of factors: fear, fear of being judged, fear of…being judged.  And fear.  Of being judged.

It (me) = Total Wuss.

I think that’s what it is.  Plus, I feel like I have absolutely zilch to offer.  Who wants to see drawings of dismembered humans whispering secrets to other, naked, humans surrounded by red ribbons?  No one, that’s who.  I haven’t drawn that yet, but it’s in the works.

Until then, here is an in-progress picture (self-portrait type thing) of me whispering to me.

sketchbook project