Thursday, December 14, 2017

Going large

I've been wanting to do a large painting for a while. I usually do the standard 9x12", 16x20", or mini's. For this one I picked a 36x36" canvas, and since it does not fit on my easel, I attached it to the wall. This is my progress over a few weeks.

I chose to paint a sky picture, since I'm always looking at clouds. I used a couple of my little 6x6" paintings as a reference.
Here it is with the first blocking in of blue sky.
 Next was light grey and darker areas.
 Then some lighter areas, and trying to get that layered look of clouds.
This is about the stage where I start doubting myself if it will go anywhere, the stage to push through and keep going.


That fun stage of making the clouds pop with whites and very light greys. Besides the greys I used a little yellow here and there on the top of the clouds.

 Adding the ocean and beach (too yellow).


The original 6x6" has a person on the beach and nothing else, but I thought for this one it needed just a bit more. The clouds are still the main attraction, but the beach needed something too. So I added some more texture and specks of color, with a couple of seagulls and sailboats in the distance. You have to look close to see them.
I tweaked the clouds a little more; sometimes you can keep picking at a painting endlessly, but that does not make it better so you just have to say 'finished' and not touch it anymore.

This was a lot of fun to do, and it won't be the last large one I do! Working large felt like a little more freedom, specially working with large brushes. None of that tiny work, not until the end anyway. 
Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Making ink

And just like that, months go by without posting. Plenty of art has been happening, but lets start first with the black walnuts. They were so abundant this year that while walking on the lawn you'd risk twisting your ankles on the dropped walnuts. I got the idea to make ink with them, and did some internet searches on how to do this. There are several websites, this is one of them.

I tried different ways of making the ink. In my first batch I cooked the whole nuts, in which the ink came out kind of light. I could have boiled it down more to concentrate the ink I guess. I also found out there are bugs in the shells, so in the next batch I peeled the blackened shells off and removed the bugs. I boiled the black walnut shells for a few hours, let it sit for a few days and boiled some more. Then I filtered this slurry. First through an old nylon stocking and then through a filter I use for maple syrup. This filter clogged very easy! Next time I will boil the walnut shells in a cloth bag, so I won't have to filter as much (hopefully).
Next I boiled it down to the concentration and darkness I wanted. In my first batch I did not take into account that you have to add alcohol as a preservative, so after the rubbing alcohol was added it was even lighter. So the second batch I boiled down darker than I needed, and when the alcohol was added it was the right color.

Boiling outside in an old pot:






Looks like motor oil!

















Second time filtering, a very slow process!

















I played around a bit using the ink with a brush and with a dip pen. I love using the ink with the dip pen! I also love that after drawing with the dip pen you can take a brush with water and soften some of the edges.



This one was done with a brush only.










In this one I drew the picture in ink with the pen, then went over the lines of the cat with a wet brush, dropping more ink in with the pen to make some parts darker.

A couple of Christmas cards.

If you are going to draw or paint with ink, have fun and experiment away!