Art

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.

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Art

Illustration Friday: Heights

When I was younger, I had to wear a Milwaukee brace. The name sounds fun because “Milwaukee” is involved in a lot of neat things, including beer, but this was not fun. Though it did a variety of things to me, the relevant-to-this-post thing is that it did not allow me to look down. It held my head up and forward and it took a lot of getting used to. With each step, I felt like I was going to fall off the edge of whatever I was standing on, even if what I was standing on had no edges – didn’t matter. Thus, I became afraid of heights. Walking on ground was frightening enough…walking on anything elevated was a nightmare. Thankfully, the elementary school I attended was kind enough to give me a key to the elevator so I could completely avoid the stairs.

So here is my translation of Illustration Friday’s “Heights”:

Art, Drawing

“Kindness…”

That’s a possible title: “Kindness…” I finished this last night and I’m not sure how I feel about it. While I was still in the sketching phase, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make the male subject’s face similar to the previous pieces or if I wanted him to have a peaceful appearance. I went with peaceful and while inking it, I felt as though I had made a mistake. Now I’m not so sure that I did… I think it might work.

Art, Drawing

“Where Do You Come From”…

That is a working title, although I’m sure I’ll keep it. First thoughts are generally the ones I go with.

I am not thoroughly pleased with this piece. I felt that I really rushed it, especially today, and that impatience lead to a slew of problems. I intend to redo it at some point after I’ve given myself time to look it over and nitpick.

One thing I’ve been trying with these last two pieces (talking about the post prior to this one that has yet to be titled) is to play with the paper and see how tolerant it is. I use this paper a lot – Bristol Smooth. It’s one of my favorite papers to use, but I’m not so sure it’s suitable for pastels. Or maybe it’s the repeated erasing and aggressive rubbing that did it in, but not long into working the sky the paper started to pill up – mainly around the female’s head. It all went downhill from there.

One thing I like about the picture are the expressions. While the faces aren’t nearly as expressive as I wanted them to be, I feel like I still got some of it out. It’s certainly an excellent starting point for the next attempt at this particular piece.

I’m growing accustomed to this sigh I get when I finish a work – usually right after removing all the tape. It’s…relief. Pleasure. Excitement and anticipation. I like it! My rotator cuff, however, does not and is super pissed.