A nice Saturday’s work

This afternoon I got the chance to work on the piece I wrote about earlier this week.

I started out referring to the photo and thumbnail and doing a sketch my Canson mix media 7×10 sketchbook (I’ve almost finished filling it! This is a rare thing for me) in Dr Ph Martin Bombay ink doing washes and figuring out what I did and didn’t want to include.

Ink sketch: washes, rigger brush and fan brush

After it was completed I moved on to working on the painting. I used mutt last sheet of Legion Stonehenge 10×14″ in hot press. I’ll have to buy another block because it’s so nice to work with.

The washes went down well. The paper didn’t warp. Everything worked out nicely.

While things were drying I started on some bookmarks but those will be another post.

Until next time. Do art.


A walk on a trail and inspiration

Last week I decided to take a walk on one of the local trails over lunch. I needed some inspiration as I haven’t had much time to do art or when I had time it felt blocked.

Since it is winter and all the trees are bare it’s a good time to look at the structure of the trees. Similar to how you should know how the skeleton and muscles under the skin to draw realistic people it’s good to know what’s going on under all that foliage.

Naked trees!!!

I like to take photos on my phone for landscape ideas when I’m wandering about. Some of them could work well or at least give me ideas on how things should look. Perspective examples so to speak. Others are just for my imagination.

Do you see the lion or is it a baboon?

I took many that help with perspective, like when a path dips down to go under a bridge, or up and around a curve.

Down and around or up and around?

It was a good walk and perusing the photos afterwards leads to inspiration.   I tend to draw out the ideas on post-its so that I can rearrange them. Occasionally I’ll do them in my sketchbook but the bad ones put me off from these creative process, with Post-its I can just crumple them up and toss them into the circular file cabinet. Only one sparks my interest currently.

Photo and basic structure thumbnail

I suspect this weekend I’ll create a ink wash test piece in my sketchbook to get my values and focal points worked out and then create a watercolor out of it.

Until next time, do art.


What do you see?

Yesterday was a fun and successful day. On my way home from work I knew I wanted to work in ink, that it would be a night scene, and had to be loose. No other preconceived ideas, just have fun.

After dinner, working out, and some chores I settled into the studio with my sketchbook and inks.

Dr Ph Martin Bombay inks are really wonderful and versatile. I use them for nib work and as a acrylic paint. I spray them with water for effects, I thin them for light washes, mix them, just amazingly useful.

For this piece I used the dropper on the bottle to transfer the ink to the paper, sprayed it with water to spread and thin it and then brushed it to cover the whole page. After that the fun began. I used paper towel to lift the still wet ink to make clouds, fog, and the circle for the moon. The moon seemed to dim so I added some white paint to it.

Next came the trees. Both rigger brush and nib were used. As I worked I decided that I wanted a couple birds in the branches so these trees had to have branches by the moon and then some in front of it to push it back.

At this point I thought since I had some birds, maybe I should add some bats flitting about. Then the animals and people worked their way in. At this point I wet a wadded up paper towel and added yellow and red hues to it to make it glow. I thought about splattering some titanium white and creating halos around them on it to add fireflies but thought it might make it too busy.

What do you think?

So after finishing it I showed it to my daughter and she asked if there was a creepy thin man hiding behind the tree. Then after posting it a friend asked if there was a little lost boy there. Each person that views our art brings their life experience to it and creates their own story in it if we let them. A painting is a open door into the worlds we create. A snapshot in time and they bring themselves to it. I really prefer to let the viewers write their own story in my art. I think it reaches more people that way.

What do you think?


Ink landscape and musings about the creative process

So life is busy as usual. Is it busy work to distract myself or am I genuinely busy? I don’t know. Social media can be a huge time sink if I let it. I finished this piece in my Canson 7×10″ multimedia sketchbook this week. It’s finally done and I thought I’d share it.

I had found a photograph on the web that inspired me. What inspired me about it? I liked the framing of it. The way the rocks seemed to cascade down the slope, the trees formed a path. I started out thinking I would combine using my Copic Multiliners with my Tombow dual tip markers. I did my initial under drawing and then used the tombows for the background trees and sky and I think it works well.

Excuse the photo, it was late and the lighting in my dining room isn’t the best

But as I tried to bring it forward the effect wasn’t as pleasant to my eyes. It felt like it conflicted with the sharpness of the line work when I used it for shadowing under the distant trees.

How many times do we as artists draw,  paint,  write ourselves into a corner?  At that moment in time I was looking at it going “Oh God, this is awful! What was I thinking?  It’s ruined.   Into the bin with it! Start over!” but as I’ve written before there’s always a ugly stage in all art and we need to work past it.

Off on a tangent, sorry…

I don’t know how many times I’ve been reading a scifi or fantasy series and thought “Ohhh…I wonder how the author is going to write the protagonist out of this one?”. I remember one series that I really enjoyed. J. V. Jones’ Cavern of Black Ice. The author’s style and descriptive writing really drew me in and to be honest was the only reason I picked up a book to read that wasn’t a technical manual in years. After the first book I really looked forward to the second book. When the second book came out I enjoyed it but by the end all I could think was that I didn’t know how she could write the heroes out of their situations without using a deus ex machina. The next book was supposed to come out soon so I waited, and waited, and waited. The book was delayed a very long time it felt like and when it came out I felt disappointed in the resolutions. This is not to say I regret reading her books. They are really wonderful and I still recommend them to anyone interested in fantasy works but it felt like she, like many of us, had painted herself into a corner.

We now return you to our regularly schedule program

The middle ground was killing me… how much detail?!?

In the end I continued on with my multiliners and have a nice piece but I wonder… should I have finished the piece with Dr. Ph Martin Bombay inks to colorize it? Do some watercolor washes? I really don’t know. I kept fiddling with it. Adding more details until I wasn’t.


Any suggestions?


Back to it

With Inktober over and work and life being full I’ve only managed to do one piece. I grabbed a scrap piece of Arches 300# watercolor paper it’s 7.5×11″. It’s a river bank scene.

It felt good to work on it. I think I’m subconsciously working on a plan fir a series because I seem to be adding similar elements to different pieces. I’ll have to wait and see where it will go.

Until next time.