For the past couple months, I have been branching out with new types of media! As a classically trained artist who majored in Drawing (with a personal focus in illustration), this means leaving the comfort of what I am very good at to enter a realm where I am sometimes fumbling around in a dark room. At times, I am tearing up paper, and at other times I am proudly showing the work off to friends and family. The cliche or art is of course to always be challenging, experimenting, expanding, growing, etc. Of course, it's always nice to stick around a bit in that comfort zone once all the experimenting starts to pay off and you actually develop skills with a medium. It is also fortunate that starting a new medium isn't from scratch. There are obviously going to be transferable skills. So I've branched out into 3 different ways of working: Ink and wash, watercolour (also acrylic inks), and gouache. I'd also like to try out acryla gouache, but that's another set of paints, that I'll just as soon wait to buy.
Ink & Wash
Ink and wash has kind of been the transition into something new. It's baby steps. I can work in watercolor and any lack of skills or understanding of the medium, I can make up for with line work. It's a nice way to work for me as it bridges both worlds and creates a nice juxtaposition between organized and neat line work with loose watercolour strokes. The 2 pieces I used this technique for are the Osprey Nest and the very regal looking Great Horned owl.
Watercolour on the go!
I am really starting to love this medium. I am slowly but surely getting better and better at it, and the more I learn, the more I want to try new techniques. I have been searching out the watercolour masters and drawing inspiration from their work. This is an opportunity for me to relinquish some control over my medium, and allow it to act the way it is intended. Watercolour has a mind of its own, and as a right brain technician, this is a great way to challenge my own way of working, forcing me to let go a little bit. As I've said in previous posts, I am a fairly recent father, this means that I work wherever and whenever I get a chance. This also means that I need to be mobile. One of the things that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE(!!!) about watercolour is that there is a whole artist-level tier of the medium devoted to working while you travel! Plein Air painting is a huge deal in watercolour (this means working on location for those unfamiliar with the term). Now while I am not exactly a Plein Air painter (though I do intend to try it as I love to sketch on location), the practice and tools dedicated to supporting the Plein Air painter fit my work style of painting on the go so perfectly!
I have invested in a nice artist grade pan set of 24 colours. Being patient, I was able to find a really good Rembrandt set for $75 CAD on Ebay. These typically retail at around $200+, so a great deal. The set even comes with a fairly good quality red sable #6 round brush.
Now, from everything I've read in my research, this is more than I will ever need! This is true, but as I am new to this, I thought I would get the 24, see what I'm using, and purchase the tubes later down the line so that I can make my own pans using a palette that suits my needs. Now I will say this, having 24 colours means not a lot of colour mixing, which is great as I have limited space on my mixing palette and I don't want to have to carry an additional mixing palette in my bag. If you're anything like me, and you don't just work in a studio, and you like to work at the kitchen table, or on the go, or wherever you are, I really recommend pans. I have a good set of tubes as well, and they have advantages such as creating larger washes, easier to mix colours, etc, but ultimately, the pans are how I love to work. I've also asked my wife for a few travel Da Vinci cosmo-top sythetic brushes for my birthday, I'll maybe blog about them once I have them. I'm also getting myself a little Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag from MEC (Medium size) that will fit my Arches 12 x 16 watercolour block, and all my supplies. This will make it easier to cycle with all my gear. Last week I had a bit of a scare where I was commuting back home with my painting in my Deuter 20L pack with no waterproofing and the sky opened up on me! All I could imagine was my work running down the page!
Anyways, aside from watercolour tools fitting my life style, ultimately I love the end results of it, otherwise I obviously wouldn't bother. I have been immersing myself in as many youtube tutorials as I possibly can, narrowing down to my favourite online watercolour bloggers, and learning as much as I possibly can from them. As I get a little better, I hope to create some of my own time lapse videos. The latest images I've made (below) can also be found in the main gallery and will be for sale via print and the originals are still available as well.
Last but not least I have dabbled a little bit in gouache. I really like this medium as well. It has a lot of the similar attributes of watercolour mixed with traits of acrylic and oil paint. I think the biggest mistake I made was that I went too thick to fast with the paint. Like acrylic paint, the medium is opaque, but like watercolour you can 'lift' or rewet and muddy your colours below. If your base layers are too thick, the blending happens very easily. Next time, I will build my layers up a bit slower. Another thing I really enjoy about the medium is that it has very convenient setup, and you as it's a water soluble medium, clean up is relatively easy. When I have more time in the studio, I will sit down and work more in gouache, but for now, I will be focusing on watercolour! Below is the Magpie I created using gouache.
That's it for now! see you soon!