IN this weeks image, we chose to paint a watercolour depiction from a photo supplied by a photographer to the Facebook group Free Reference Photo’s for Artists. My photo of the finished artwork is actually a little desaturated compared to the original, but for this blog entry it will suffice.
As artists we need to ensure that any reference we use we have permission to use. The only exception might be if you are painting something just for your own eyes. Copyright protection laws apply not just to music and video, but to visual images as well. The Facebook group is therefore an excellent resource for artists as this allows us to put our creations on display. The photo to the right was kindly added to the group by Lisa Lombardi.
Looking at the two images side by side I am shocked by how upright I have created my rendition. The boat should have a much more pronounced lean to the left. If I had made more of an effort to measure things I am sure we would have a tighter and more accurate painting, but we’re aiming to capture the essence of the wrecked boat and not undertake a photographic analysis of it. Equally I have missed out content in the foreground and far distant trees and coastline. As artists we are in control and should seek to include or exclude items that we feel will add or otherwise to our creations. I’ve also added in a smudge to the left to hint at grey clouds or impending rain. I just felt the composition needed a little something extra. The paper used here is just a thick cartridge and thus has buckled as the paper expanded. I could of course used a purpose made watercolour paper, but I have had this paper for 10 years and neve done anything with it so this seemed like a good use for it.
The above is the final result of my endeavours to produce a mug design for use by my sister in her motorhome. I think it also qualifies itself as image number 8 on my 52 challenge. Hard to believe that we are nearing double figures and that time is flying past so quickly. In my earlier posting I referenced the sketching phase of this project, so won’t repeat the process here. The image above is however designed to be custom in that various parts can be removed such as dog, sister and brother in law so technically the graphical image could be used again (or parts of it).
The design was then printed out and applied to 4 x 11oz mugs to be supplied to my system. The results were I feel pretty darn good… almost professional someone once said to me about a previous project. At this time that comment was made, I did wonder if the surgeon who said it would appreciate me calling him almost a professional surgeon! Perhaps not, but that was then and this is now.
One thing that seems to get little discussion is the process that an artist has to go through before they start a finished artwork. In the same way that a computer programmer needs to scope what is required before typing anything into a computer, an artist goes through a similar journey in their minds as to what will or will not work on paper. Even after all this brain stage, they can still end up rubbing something out that at first seemed a great idea. With this in mind I have posted a photo below of some of my scribbles..
In the above image, you will note several attempts at visualising what will work as an image. In this instance, I was looking at a pen/computer image that I can print onto a coffee mug for my sister and brother in law. Clearly it could have just been a photo that I printed, but an artwork I feel offers the chance to create a more personalised image. You will note the rough scribbling, none of this will ever make it to the final stage so it’s more about getting ideas onto paper.. Finesse can come later. First thoughts were man holding glass of beer, but this may change to holding the handlebars of a bicycle (the brother in law is a keen cyclist). Sis has a choccy Labrador so some kind of doggy with perhaps a vacant stare would be good. Sis mostly walks the dogs as does her own artwork/reading so maybe something will reference this. The Motorhome ideally will be on a camp site (this means I can pull out the awning and connect in an electric point.. Some semblance of trees in the background and just a hint of the big city to the far left to indicate escaping from suburbia. The end result will need a lot more effort, but will be printed onto a couple of china mugs similar to the one we created below.
In this image (again with acrylic) I decided to have a spot of fun and create a slightly off the wall image depicting a fishing boat returning to Looe harbour in Cornwall. A process similar to Image 6 was used to create the sky, but the sea was painting using a mix of Ultramarine, Pthalo Blue and Titanium white in one go. The overall image incorporate distortions to the harbour buildings, boat and general scene. Orange seems to be a common colour for fishing boats and thus the main character for the scene was orange. The boat in the harbour we change to red which is also a popular boat colour. Trees were loosely painted with no great attempt at detail. The additional the fisherman on both boat and wall adding a touch of human elements. The addition of stylised gulls dates back a few years and these just a little more off the wall style to the scene.
Onto image 6 and for this we chose to create am image using acrylic paint onto canvass depicting a scene from a holiday trip on the river Fowey. To be fair, my abilities with the brush and paint leave a lot to be desired. I can paint simply things, so in this case I decided to stick with a smaller canvass in the hope things might be bother quicker and easier. I started with a quick pencil rough of a scene looking down the river Fowey towards Boddinick.
Using an hb pencil we put down some light marks (bear in mind that the paint will pull off anything heavy which can have less than pleasing results on light blue sky scenes. Using ultramarine blue, pthalo blue I put down a very light wash of colour. Allowing this to dry before working over with a thicker mix in three shade including a touch of titanium white . Using a 1 inch brush we could blend the shades into both the sky and river. It was then a case of adding in details to trees, buildings, ripples in the water and then details into the sailing boat.
I found taking the time with the details and being prepared to work layer over layer was the best method. The good think with acrylics is the drying time. The bit thing that I found to my detriment is that cheap acrylic paint is mostly fluid. the pigment isn’t there and this means going over previously painted areas to try and build up the colour. I had four better quality artists colour paint and these gave a much better result. Motto of the story here is that buy better quality paint. You’ll get a better result first time which will allow you to spend more time on enjoying the painting process.
Thought it was time I picked up the pencils again. This one is still a work in progress, but should be complete by end of this week. It is from an old WW2 photo of Russian sniper Roza Georgiyevna Shanina. What I failed to spot in my initial decision was the number of targets she had accumulated to her name. 52 kills before she was fatally wounded.
Roza (from the history) joined the Russian army after her brother had been killed earlier in the conflict. Snipers as the Werhmacht discovered to their peril, were deadly and Russian women in particular were as deadly as their male comrades. I guess perhaps one of the first examples of equality or perhaps girl power (albeit deadly)!
Watercolour portrait of elderly fisherman. Painted onto medium weight cartridge paper. This image caught my imagination due to the life the man has clearly led. Using a small brush, we did a quick sketch using a grid technique and then started with the left eye. Due to cartridge paper being used, no heavy washes could be used otherwise the paper would have buckled.
Following on swiftly from our first image, we have a second one exploiting those merry people who love nothing better than getting the most out of their tiny underpowered machines. As in week 1, this image was a pencil sketch, onto A3 paper, lined in and then digitized to computer. Once coloured up, the scene lends itself to a number of potential uses. This one we felt would be ideal for a Fathers day mug design.
Rising to the challenge to create roughly one artwork a week with a completion date of 31st March 2022. The artworks will be in a variety of mediums, including pencil, coloured pencil, pen, acrylic, digital through to a blend of media.
Some artworks may take longer than a week, and some may take less, but the aim is to end up with 52 artworks.
As we created the artworks, they will be posted online in our #52_art gallery. We will aim to also include short video clips, photographs of the development and the occasional YouTube live broadcast one of which is included below.