WWM 2019: Days 13-19

During Days 13 – 19 of #WorldWatercolorMonth2019, I got really busy!  So with no further ado, paintings.

13.  Glassy

I wanted to catch the reflections of the clouds in the smooth water of the lake.  Not sure if it worked – the photo showed perfect sky-clouds in the foreground.

14.  Furry Things

When I was a kid, furry caterpillars were our friends.  Cats, too.  Furry enough for all.

This kitten is from a YouTube study / practice by Maria Raczynska that I followed. It was a lot of fun!

15.  Monochromatic

In the heat of summer, it seemed a monochromatic scene had to be a cold winter’s day in the mountains.

16.  Relaxing

I thought a lot about this prompt.  Many things came to mind that I enjoy, but I realized that the beach, in all forms of weather, is one of my favorite places to relax.  Not being especially good at blending sand colors, I referred to a book by Geoff Kersey called Watercolour Seascapes.  His book is a series of studies that demonstrate specific watercolor techniques and employ a limited palette.  The first painting is from the study I did from his book and the rest are varied places.  The last painting is one I did from a photo I took several years ago of a beach here on the Central Coast of California, either Refugio or El Capitan beach.  Smooth sand and sunny days or a rocky shore and a cold, rainy day – both great ways to relax along the seaside.

17.  Music

Balalaika and Blue Tit.

18.  Clouds

California is an endless blue sky at times.  Other times, the high clouds of the rainy season and the sun are blocked by low-lying coastal fog.  When the two compete, the sky is endlessly changing and fascinating.

19.  Splashes of Color

As we move through #WorldWatercolorMonth2019, I am alternating watercolor with gouache.  Both need different techniques.  Gouache, being opaque, opens a new world as layers of paint can be built up and one color can be covered by another whether it is light or dark.  Mistakes can be hidden!  Watercolor requires more forethought and has more happy – and unhappy! – accidents.  Here, the opacity of gouache allows for splashes of color and a more impasto and impressionistic use of paint.

World Watercolor Month 2019 is proving to be very rewarding.  I am focused on painting, which is one of my retirement goals.  Learning and developing my skills and knowledge of water media is expanding, and though I produce a lot of dreck, I see improvement in many ways.  To me, the biggest one is that I am beginning to anticipate my approaches to varied areas of a painting, thinking ahead as to how I can accomplish what I want to see.  That’s good news.  I know what I want to produce – that is, the kind of paintings I like, and which I think are expressive of my thoughts – and while I am a long way from it, I can also see myself moving forward to accomplishing my “artistic vision” as it were.

World Watercolor Month 2019 – Days 7-12

World Watercolor Month 2019 continues, and amazingly, I have been able to keep up with the daily prompts, even with plumbers tearing out and fixing a leak, and just other life things that conspire to keep me from painting! Some paintings are quick and easy to do, but others may involve several hours, especially the ones in gouache.  Some are easy to do in that ideas come to mind rather quickly, others more challenging.  For instance, the 13th one is “Glassy” – glass?  mirrors?  reflections on glassy water?  Those are the challenges – how to interpret the prompt.  The interpretation can be literal or figurative.

Here are my interpretations for prompts 7 through 12.

WWM #7: Shiny Things – Reflections on the Ocean

WWM #8: Flying High – Migrating Monarchs
WWM #9: Shadow Play
WWM #10: Ocean Creatures
WWM #11: Simple Pleasure – The Natural World
WWM #12: Blossoming – Vine and Flower-Covered Buildings of Yore – All in Bloom!

Right now, most of my art supplies are hidden in shelves inside boxes!  Funny how things just vanish.  I am really frustrated in some ways, and rather amused in others.  I still have to make a final choice in paint for the damaged wall, but that is easy enough.  The real work is repairing the wall, putting in the drywall, mud, tape, sanding, taping, painting, painting, painting, moving back in . . . leaks are expensive, not just in money, but in time.  Oh well!

World Watercolor Month 2019 – Days 1-6

Click to enlarge!!

It seems that as the global world contracts, our ability to reach out expands. The internet is both demon and angel in this regard. I get tired of the constant barrage of news and texts and sales from varying companies, all on my phone and on my computer, but then one finds wonderful communities that meet one’s needs or interests. Such a community is Doodlewash, and Charlie O’Shields Facebook group. Annually he posts World Watercolor Month, which has prompts to follow. While he does this every month, World Watercolor Month is especially delightful as people from all over the world paint the subject matter and post it somewhere online, such as Instagram (using the hashtag #worldwatercolormonth2019), and elsewhere. It’s a lot of fun to see what other people produce and how they interpret the prompts.

So, here we are on Day 6 – World Watercolor Month is July. Last year I did Inktober and had so much fun, learned a lot, and thus I decided to do World Watercolor Month 2019. Being retired, there is finally time! The prompts I have done so far are:

  1. Primary Palette
  2. Sunny Sky
  3. Picnic Food
  4. Family Fun
  5. Loose & Free
  6. Window View

Here are my interpretations.

1. Primary Palette – Blue, Red, Yellow – With Some Secondaries Created from the Primaries
2. Sunny Sky
3. Picnic Food
4. Family Fun – Let’s Dance on the Beach!
5. (Foot) Loose & (Fancy) Free – Sale the World!
6. Window View – Looking In? Looking Out?

One of the goals I have for this project is to alternate between transparent watercolor and water-based gouache, which is often known as opaque watercolor. Both require different techniques. In watercolor, you work light to dark, and leave paper unpainted to depict white. You can cheat by using liquid frisket to mask out areas, but there are challenges in using it, and sometimes frustrations. You can also cheat by using the water-based white gouache to touch things up, but purists frown on this. Gouache, being opaque, allows you to build up layers, and you work, in general, from dark to light. Dark gouache colors dry lighter than they appear wet, and lighter colors dry darker. What a head spin! Gouache also requires a lot more time to paint a picture that seems simple compared to watercolor – but that is my experience so far. I am pretty new to gouache, so I am really in the baby steps of learning how to use the medium.

I hope that I will be able to continue to do my paintings every day for July. I am alternating days of watercolor and gouache, with odd-numbered days being in gouache, and even-numbered days in watercolor. We have another water leak in our house, but hopefully the planned repair will be quick and cheaper than the last, without any jack-hammering the foundation. This might keep me out of the studio a bit, but I plan to continue painting so will be moving things to other parts of the house a bit and create a studio space somewhere . . .

Enjoy the wonders of summer!

Iron Gall Ink – A Quick Update

I spent most of the day dyeing with indigo on yarn . . . and some silk. A long day! But, on the list of things to do was to decant the iron gall ink I have been making over the past week.

Success! It is a really beautiful ink! It flows well off the flex dip pen nib as well as the quill I cut a few days ago. I’ll blog a bit more about it later, as at the end of a long day, I’m really tired, but really content with both the dyeing and the ink.

Gum Arabic – The Last Ingredient

Today is the final day for adding ingredients to the iron gall ink.  I added 25g. of gum arabic to the ferrous gallate (new name for the oak gall / ferrous sulfate heptahydrate solution) to create the final product of ink. Until the gum arabic is added, the solution is really just a solution or a liquid. My gum arabic was in a powdered form, so I simply placed it on top of the liquid in the jar, and shook it a lot. Since adding it, I am continuing to shake it. The gum arabic to the left is in its most common form – hardened sap. It has a jewel-like quality, I think – a lot like amber – and besides using it in ink, it is edible and has many uses in the food industry.

Gum arabic, the hardened sap of the acacia tree, is used a binder in ink, controlling the ink’s viscosity – how the ink flows.  It adds more control into the ink’s behavior, such as eliminating or lessening feathering, bleeding or cracking when use on paper or parchment. An element of luminosity or shine is another characteristic it imparts to ink.

In addition to controlling viscosity, gum arabic helps the ink to adhere to the paper. The water in the ink evaporates, and left behind is the colored portion of the ink; it is the gum arabic which acts as a glue to stick the ink’s pigment to the paper.

An ink – or watercolor paint or gouache – needs the gum arabic to give it the right consistency or body to flow easily, but not messily, from the pen or brush. Other pigmented inks may also crack, and the addition of the gum arabic helps prevent this; I don’t believe that iron gall inks suffer from cracking.

Soon enough, the ink and quill will be put to the test of actually using it!  Stay tuned . . .