Thursday, November 7, 2013

An ABC of Still Lifes (and More on Arches)

11/7/13 Still life A B C. Copic Multiliner SP pen, Van Gogh watercolors,
Arches 140 lb. hot press
Still lifes and single objects have never been among my favorite sketching subjects. I get the whole Danny Gregory Everyday Matters concept of drawing something – anything – daily, because it’s the process of regular drawing that’s important – not the particular subject that’s drawn. And in the early months when I first started drawing but before I discovered urban sketching, I followed Danny’s lead and drew a mug, a bowl, a pair of scissors, or whatever object happened to cross my line of sight. While the process excited me (just as it does now), I have to admit that still life subjects never did.

Now that I’ve committed to NaNoDrawMo (41 drawings to go in 24 remaining days), and the weather has taken a severe turn for the worst (buckets of rain, standing water on the highways causing major pileups and a high wind advisory through 8 p.m.), I can’t afford to be picky about subject matter today. Still lifes it is.

However, one of my struggles with drawing any old household object is having too many options: Shoe – but which shoe? The contents of the upstairs medicine cabinet or the downstairs? So to make it easier, I’ve given myself the assignment of making still lifes in alphabetical order.

11/7/13 Still life D E F. Copic Multiliner SP, Van Gogh watercolors, Arches paper
How did I get this idea? I happen to have an object for X, which is generally the hardest letter to come up with when doing an alphabetical anything. So if I get that far into the alphabet before NaNoDrawMo is over, you’ll find out what X is.

(Edited 11/29/13: I made it to X and, in fact, finished the whole alphabet.)

In the meantime, I present today’s three still lifes: A B C, D E F, and G H I. (The D could have doubled for C – both candy and chocolate – but those are Dove chocolates.)

One thing I was excited about was being able to give the Arches hot-press paper a chance with watercolors. The sizing that I complained about yesterday with fountain pen ink turned out to be OK with a Copic Multiliner SP pen. That same sizing, however, makes the paint sit on the surface for much longer than I’m used to, which made painting a bigger challenge today than usual. I suppose skilled painters prefer the sizing for that very reason – they can do more on-paper mixing and blending, for example, before the paint sinks in – but I’m a long way from knowing how to take advantage of that surface. (I did lift some color in spots and had to re-wet the paper a few times, and it did hold up well, as I expected.) And even though cold-press paper isn’t pleasant with fountain pens, I miss its organic texture.

11/7/13 Still life G H I. Copic Multiliner SP, Van Gogh watercolors, Arches paper
To further complicate the formula, I decided to try different paints: the set of Van Gogh watercolors that I received at the Urban Sketching Symposium last July. Some colors are the same as what’s in my everyday paint box (Ultramarine, Lemon Yellow, Sap Green), but others were new to me (Madder Lake Deep, Azo Yellow Medium, Cerulean Blue Phthalo), so it was both fun and challenging to try a different palette. If I fall in love with any of these colors, they are all in removable half pans, so I can pop them out and put them into my faithful Trader Joe’s tin. (I’ve already scavenged the mixing tray from the Van Gogh set for my portable setup.) And I used “real” brushes instead of waterbrushes – yet another variable thrown into the mix!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had fun setting up the still lifes and experimenting with the paper and different brand of paints. Nice work on these.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...