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Old 04-03-2012, 07:24 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

Thanks Margo, Jacqui and Pat!

Margo - Having had a Blue and Gold Macaw for a number of years (not with us now) I understand what a large bird bite can do. Those jaws are formidable! My knee is doing better than before the surgery, and I'm working hard at rehabbing it, but the problem is there's almost no cartilage left in the joint, so there's only so much better it's going to get. I've been riding an exerbike and walking about two miles a day with Rosie, so am getting exercise, but it's still pretty much always in some level of discomfort. I'm guessing a bionic knee in that leg is probably no more than a couple years away. Rosie, interestingly, is not usually vocal at all. However...when she decides to be, she gets some amazing howling barks out of that little body! We've been having two ducks show up in our back yard eating the bird seed we put out every day, and when Rosie sees them, she sounds like a crazed coyote. She also 'talks' to us like Siamese cats are known to do - like she's asking for something, but we're never sure quite what it is...usually I just take her outside, which is fine with her. She would spend all day and night outside if she could - she loves her walks.

Jacqui - I am still finding Rosie tough to draw, and having her around makes me more self-conscious about not getting a drawing 'right'. I have to get past that and spend more time doing sketches of her.

As to the watercolor landscape, this one was (I hope) kind of a breakthrough for me. I've tended to be too tight and overwork watercolors. After watching an Eric Weigardt video on painting more loosely, I tried on this one to incorporate some of what he said. First, he tries not to thoroughly mix colors, rather he'll put two or three color puddles down on his palette and then just quickly trace an S-shape through them to get them to mix in various degrees but not homogeneously. Then he 'gets in and gets out' on the support with those partially mixing, trying not to use too many layers. If you do this correctly, it gives nice color variegation and interesting 'granulating' (Eric's term) of colors. So I did that here. I also used only one large (1 1/2 inch flat synthetic) brush for almost the whole painting to force myself to make larger marks. I wet the whole paper first (after doing a light graphite sketch on it) then first painted the sky with a graded wash. The distant trees were added wet-in-wet with a thin pigment mixture to make them lighter in values, then more of the closer trees, using only the flat brush. Some of the shorter closer trees were done by rewetting the paper and going back in with dark pigment while the paper was still damp to try to get softer edges (there are still too many hard edges in the painting in my opinion - it's an area I still struggle with). The water was next, with the snow just being the white paper. Then the fallen tree trunks and rocks were painted in. That left the snow. On the largest areas of snow, very little if any pure white paper was left - I used very diluted blues and violets in various areas. The final step was using white gouache to add the snow on top of the rocks in the stream, the fallen logs, and some of the trees in the background. I waited until the painting was dry before adding the gouache. And, that was it...
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Last edited by JTMB : 04-03-2012 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:33 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

All sorts of cool critters you've captured here. Glad you are healing as well as you can from your surgery.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:15 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

Very nice watercolor, John. It has the misty look definitely.

The fountain pen and wash cat is superb too.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:28 AM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

John thanks for the in depth explanation of how you painted your landscape. I thought for sure I'd get snow paintings done this year but in my immediate area it doesn't stay very long at all. One must go up in the mountains to paint and then you have to worry about driving home on icy roads!

When I first started sketching and painting my dog I would have a Book Of Bea, her name is Beatrice, that I put all my work in. That way I wouldn't have to look at my meagre growth every time I opened my sketchbook. I filled a number of the medium sized Visual Journals both the water color and mixed media, the latter was actually very fun with the watercolor. I quickly grew bored just painting her the natural color and a riotous variety of colors started gracing the pages, it got to be so fun I ceased to worry about how accurate anything was and then I actually started to get good at it. The majority of paintings were Bea asleep as she is rarely still for 2 seconds otherwise. I have no moved on to quick gestures on a page while she is awake. Of course that means that most are unfinished but I just quickly sketch whatever part of her body is prominent or interests me. It helps to just think of it like the quick gestures at life drawing, get what you can and move on to the next. Charcoal or pastels can be fun for that and it helps you keep from getting too caught up in the details. I wish I had been sketching when Bea was in her cute puppy phase, remember how quickly that ceases to be.

It's been very fun for me to watch your progress, it's probably much faster than you realize. It's very hard to be objective about your own work, isn't it?
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:02 AM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

Hello John. . . even though you've not been posting much, you've obviously been very busy with your art! Love the African Grey parrot especially. . . that second sketch looks like your puppy but I know you said they were all from RIL.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:17 AM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

Thanks Debby, Sandra, Margo and Rainy!

Margo - I definitely need to take your advice and just start drawing and painting Rosie without worrying too much about how exactly accurate things turn out. And you are correct - the only lengthy poses she does are when she's asleep...and being still young and energetic, she is very quick to wake up and check things out if she hears or senses the slightest activity going on around her.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:05 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

Really like the watercolor landscape.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:29 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

You will be amazed how good you get at speed sketching with Rosie as a model, a good skill to have when doing sketchcrawl type activities!
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:37 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

John, thx for the description of your process of painting the landscape. i was curious because I sometimes hate being so tight and detailed and because I love landscapes. You did such a beautiful job.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:37 AM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

Awesome job on the landscape. Thanks for giving a description of how you did it. I took a workshop with Eric and he is great!
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:51 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

great advice from Margo there
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:31 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

Thanks cat1lady, Margo, Pat, Joan and Vivien!

I definitely will get more sketching of Rosie going forward, and I know it will help push the abilities up. I'll plan on carving some time out over the weekend.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:41 PM
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Re: John's Drawing Practice Sketchbook(s)

It will be fun John and you won't regret it, once you get into doing it it's as much fun as life drawing. It is life drawing with a model you know very well.
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