Tag Archives: Daniel Smith watercolours

Muskoka River Ice Wash

Muskoka River Ice Wash, Hahnemuhle 150 dpi 2Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

In trying to not copy this in detail from one of my Black and White photographs of the Muskoka River, I may have been too representational. In spring when the ice melts it is driven down  stream by the heavy break up pushing from the north. Here the engorged river had poured over its’ shoreline as large slabs of ice and rapidly moving water drove on.

NOTE: Just a word about my Hahnemuhle watercolour book… although I really like the paper I’m disappointed with the fitness of the binding. I am only 15 sketches in and the pages are separating from the binding. I don’t paint into the gutter of my book, keeping a good frame around my sketches, so it is not because of water.

My hope is that this is just a fluke – I bought a lemon. I’ll contact the company to let them know. In the meantime, here is a photo I took that illustrates the issue.

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Four Tomatoes

Four Tomatoes;  Jan 31:18 Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolours

I dated this sketch incorrectly … Today is February 1st not the 2nd.

These were some really ripe tomatoes about to go into sauce so I decided to sketch and paint them first.

I took a risk and applied masking fluid on the branches and leaves and the paper handled it beautifully. It actually felt quite liberating to use the frisket instead of struggling to paint around such tiny tendrils.

Chillin’

Chilling. Jan 29:18 Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book; Daniel Smith Paint; Platinum Carbon Pen

This is a rather domestic sketch and something I would normally do in my Stillman and Birn Alpha 6×9 but because I am committed to 30 sketches in the Hahnie ( yes a pet name … what can I say), here it is.

I did a light pencil sketch then straight to paint and then inked a bit. Sketching with the book on my lap certainly changes perspective.

Here I let myself sketch and paint much more loosely, wanting to break free of the mess of yesterday’s effort. It actually felt quite good.

Breakfast Pears

Breakfast Pears Hahnemuhle ( 30 sketches in the Hahnemuhle)Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith Watercolours

With yesterday’s aloe vera I worked wet in dry so that I could practice layering a bit. After doing a light pencil sketch of the pears I soaked them with water being careful to leave the area around the stems dry. The green pear has an under layering of lemon yellow ( I did end up having some Sennelier) then sap green, and palette mud that consisted of a soup of greens. I dropped in some Potter’s Pink in the red area and then deepened it with Perylene Maroon.

The yellow pear has an initial wash of lemon yellow, then Mayan yellow and then Burnt Tiger’s Eye Genuine for the brown. I had also dropped a bit of the Tiger’s Eye into the green pear.

The shadow areas are, yes, palette mud. But I do know there is some Cerulean Blue Chromium in it since I’ve been playing with it lately to mix grey.

I really enjoyed wet in wet and felt much less frustrated than yesterday.

January Sketches 2018

                                             HOLDING AN ORANGE

Orange in Hand and on plate Alpha 5x9 S&B From Jan 2018Stillman and Birn  Alpha 6×9

I filled my first Alpha sketchbook in November and although I had intended to not start another, I found myself missing the familiarity of it. I was playing with making orange and sketching my hand. I used Buff Titanium and Potter’s Pink  on the hand which looks terribly lifeless.

                                              ORANGE PEELS

Orange peels Alpha 5x9 S&B From Jan 2018Stillman and Birns  Alpha 6×9

The orange peels and the orange in the first sketch were mixed from Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange and New Gamboge.

 

                                                      CLEMENTINE

Clementine orange Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

I had the Hahnemuhle a few weeks before I started using it. It felt too good to use at my level of skill. Finally I dove in. I’m discovering that I treat my sketches differently using the Hahnemuhle and I’m loving that I can layer in it.

                                            THE POTTERY SHED

The Pottery shed Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

There is so much to learn about painting snow, and I suppose the good news is, I have the rest of the winter to practice!

 

                        

 

 

November and December 2017 sketches

                                                         LEAF TEMPEST

Leaf Tempest on Hwy 27 (used masking fluid on leaves) Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha, Daniel Smith watercolours

Driving home from town on a blustery November day I was delighted by the golden leaves dancing and swirling through the air in this leaf tempest. I wondered how I could sketch this scene so that the leaves could be painted free of any background wash and I knew I wouldn’t be able to skillfully  paint around them. I needed to protect the white paper within the leave shapes I had sketched out.

This meant using masking fluid, but would it rip up the paper in my Alpha skethcbook? I decided to jump in and give it a go, masking the leaves, the white lines in the road, the fence posts and the rocks at the base of the tree.

                              STRANGE SKY ON THE 10th LINE

Strange sky on the 10th Line Moleskine watercolour bookMoleskine Watercolour Journal, Daniel Smith watercolours

Driving the side roads around my town provides opportunity for great views of expansive skies. My goal was to work loosely and to use colour well.

                              ICE CREAM SHOP IN THORNTON

Ice Cream shop in Thornton Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolours

This was a much tighter sketch than I’ve been doing and my first effort in my new Hahnemuhle sketchbook. I was excited to try this book and ordered it based on a review Mary Owings of Owingsart did on his YouTube channel.

 

                          ICE FISHERMAN ON LAKE SIMCOE

Ice Fisheerman Lake Simcoe Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

I have made this sketch before in my Alpha and written about it in an earlier post. I repeated it because I wanted to increase the contrast and make the day appear brighter. And of course, I wanted to correct the perspective on the ice hut.

                           THE HOUSE DOWN THE HILL IN WINTER

South Window house Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolours

The view down the hill from my south window is beautiful on a sunny, snow draped day. I’m finding I’m more willing to use colour freely in the Hahnemuhle and Moleskin. I’m excited to learn how to paint snow.

 

 

October 2017 Watercolour sketches

          “DON’T SKETCH OUT OF YOUR IMAGINATION”, he said.

             Dont Paing from your imagination in Alpha S&B

I often use my Alpha sketchbook to make notes of what I’m learning, where I’m stuck and I will often jot down things that the YouTube painters and sketchers  whom I respect offer as useful direction.

Steve Mitchell from the YouTube channel, The Mind of Watercolour gave some advise about how to improve. When he said “Don’t sketch out of your imagination.”, I wrote it down because I see so many sketchers doing just that. Steve suggested we gather resources and select among them to put together our composition.

So of course I had to learn that for myself, and thus the mess above! The house and hills were more from memory of the landscape surrounding my town but the tree was straight out of my head. I can only apologize.

                                                     ALONG A SIDE ROAD

Fall landscape from memory in Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha

I’m still wanting to keep it loose so that I’ll be inclined to play more with colour, although I must say I really want to sketch more realistically.

                                    TREE ON THE SOUTH LAWN

Tree on the south lawn in Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha 6×9

This wonderful old tree stands next to a grand fir. I focused on just this tree since it’s canopy was still so full and it’s bark so warm in late October.

                                                     RENE LE CHATEAU

Rene le Chateau Tour de Magdala Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha 6×9

This is from a photo from a time when I led pilgrimages to France and Greece. I am really pleased with this pen and wash rendering because I finally got perspective and even managed a little shading!

                                        THE HOUSE ACROSS THE ROAD

The House across rhe street Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha 6×9

The house is large and visually complex, and truthfully the tree interests me more. I used the house here just as a frame for the tree.

                        

                                                       LUNCH AT WILLIAM’S CAFE

Lunch at William's Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha 6×9

There are only a few pages left in this sketchbook which has become a comfortable place to live and play. Naturally I’ve been thinking about my next sketchbook and this leads to questions  about what my needs are as a novice watercolour sketcher – questions about paper quality, ease of use, best opportunity for learning, and so on.

Avoid and maintain, I always say! So off I went to William’s for lunch with a mystery novel and my sweet Alpha in tow.

 

September and October 2017 sketches

In mid to late September my part of Ontario experienced an intense heatwave. During this time I had been keeping an eye on a large field of pumpkins, waiting for just the right time to watercolour sketch them. I was hoping for a bright sky filled with lush clouds.  Just that sort of day arrived, yet soon after arriving at the field I packed up and retreated home. It was 104F with a hot and high wind blowing.

I managed a few photos of the field and made the following paintings at home using various sketchbooks. I’m testing a few, looking for ‘my sketchbook’.

Pumkin Field along Hwy 27Stillman and Birn Alpha 6×9

Pumpkin field on Hwy 27 Global watercolour handboodGlobal Arts Watercolour Handbook

                                     

                                                      THE BLUE HOUSE

The Blue HOuse in Thornton againAlpha 5×9

I returned to the pancake house for that table by the window to have another go at the house. Funny how my eye fools me. I thought I had managed correct perspective this time, but clearly not.

 

GOURDS

A couple of gourds Moleskine watercolour bookA couple of gourds Moleskine watercolour book 1Moleskin Watercolour 5×8

I did a pencil sketch only before painting these, passing on the ink. The scan appears lighter that in the sketchbook, nevertheless they are still  too pale and lack richness.

Two Gourdes in Alpha S&BStillman and Birn Alpha 5×9

These were straight to paint if I remember correctly.

 

 

August and September 2017 Sketches

For various reasons that I won’t go into here, there was a huge pause in my sketching from April to August and I really missed it. I started back at with with a ‘sketch anything’ attitude and moved out from there. What follows is some of that.

Make up BrushesI was encouraged to begin sketching again with the purchase of Perylene Green from Daniel Smith and with a ‘sketch anything’ attitude I took some make up accessories out to the sun porch and immersed myself.

House down the hill in summerLooking out my south window and down the hill a bit, this gray house and the steep hill behind it fill the view. There is so much information in the view – the house, its dimensions and perspective; the treeline in the distance and the enormous trees beside it that shield the road and the foliage clustered around the sides and back of the house. I wanted to keep all the greenery loose and let the house be more accurate. I’ll come back to this view again since it is quite a teacher for me, especially around dropping perfectionism.

Blue house in ThorntonOne of the challenges of sketching for me is doing it in public, but I’m determined to get comfortable with it since there is so much to be gained. This house is kitty-corner to a pancake house in town. I decided to sketch it over a light lunch. This is also in my Alpha. I have to say, I had a great time. The waitresses were interested in what I was doing so we had some fun conversations. This was my first time in this restaurant and patrons who live in town and are regulars came over to chat. A woman who does wood burning introduced herself and showed me photos of her art – impressive!

Blue house in Thornton 1This is entirely about the boat. I had been practicing boat shapes since I very much want to sketch the marina in Barrie. This was also another plein air adventure and some of the learning was in the practicalities of a manageable sketching kit and something to sit on. Of course the refinements will be ongoing and seasonal. Now remember … this was just about the boat, the rest is just, well , the rest.

The following two sketches are of the view from my back porch. The first I did in a Moleskine 5×8 and the second is in the Stillman and Birn Alpha.

View from the back porch Moleskine watercolour book Trees behind the yard

And to round out this post, here is Castor peering out the porch screen, waiting for the occasional chipmunk or red squirrel to enter the scene I’ve been sketching.

Castor Saturday in the porch

FEBRUARY 2017 – MARCH 2017 : A Handful of Sketches

Japanese Tea Set

In February in Ontario there is no plein air so what is around and at hand became my subject matter. I sketched in pencil first and as you can see, it’s rather loose and wonky. This was also my first learning of mixing gray for shadows. The paint is Daniel Smith.

Japanese Tea Set 1Here I did a pencil sketch first then penned over it with a Pigma Micron pen, and again the paint is Daniel Smith.

Mug PracticeOvals, the mouths of cups, mugs, plates, saucers … you get  the idea, are an ongoing challenge for me, so I draw a lot of mugs and cups. Just as a note, on almost all of the sketches done in the Alpha sketchbook you can see shadowing of the sketch on the following page coming through. I hope it’s not too distracting.

Remembering BodhiMy girl kitty Bodhi passed away quite suddenly at the end of February and I very much wanted to do a sketch to honour her memory. I tried to sketch her from a picture but at this stage of my learning was unable to anywhere near doing her justice so I gathered up her toys and sketched them instead. This was done with M. Graham paint but this scan is nowhere near as vibrant as the paint on the page.

Ice FishermanOne of my photography projects was of the ice fishermen on Lake Simcoe. This is from a black and white photo. This sketch was when I woke up to perspective …. see how I’ve sent the roof of the fish hut off into orbit? It’s become a theme, sending rooftops into orbit. The light this day was heavy and overcast, the snow on the lake slushy with big puddles of water everywhere.

Here’s a snapshot my assistant took of me working. I’m including it to show you how dull the light was.

Me with 4x5 ice huts Lake Simcoe