Hello all, after a longish break from blogging here I am again, this time with a painting technique that I tried out for the first time only recently. Well, maybe not, but I can’t remember if I painted with my fingers during kindergarten years.
The inspiration for this painting is the word “mirror”. I have read about the ability of horses to mirror a person’s feelings and thoughts, so I chose to represent this word with two horses. Furthermore, I painted with both hands at the same time, mirroring their movements. For the final touches I used one hand at once, but always the same hand for the same side of the painting.
I used a A2-size sheet of paper, acrylic paint and a base layer of diluted tapestry glue (it kept the paint moist for long enough to edit any part of the painting at will). The whole process took a bit more than half an hour.
I sort of like the left-side horse better than the right-side one. The shadows have more contrast and make it look like it bends its head towards the other horse, which is a bit more static in pose.
I consider this almost as a screenshot of a thought. If I were to paint it again, I would work more on the planning, blocking proportions, and on the actual process of putting paint more accurately on the paper. This version is almost pure movement, which has its purpose and right, but makes me feel it is not a full thought.
And not last, the feeling of applying paint directly with my hands had something refreshing, daring, and direct, a feeling that I want to savour again. Acrylic paint is not toxic (but always check the instructions on the tubes!) and it washes away pretty easily with warm water and soap.
A few weeks ago I started a more regular drawing routine, with the plan to scribble anytime I wanted, and produce a finished drawing once a week. Some time ago my fellow blogger Anne Leueen made a post about flying change – but it took me until today to make a drawing out of one of her pictures!
I chose one of the pictures where horse and rider faced the camera. During the flying change, the rider communicates the change of lead through body and leg positions, that’s why the shoulders, hips and legs look more on a S-shaped line than on a vertical. That bend is what I wanted to capture on my drawing. Therefore I decided to use only black and white, no shadows at all, and let the lines be the protagonists of the scene.
It was not easy to visualise the proportions of horse and rider, so I used the pencil-as-a-ruler technique, and started tracing light lines. I discovered that it was especially difficult for me to copy the proportions on the horizontal axis (and I would have made the horse and rider either too broad or too slim, or an ugly mixture of both) so I rotated the picture 90 degrees on the left – so that the head of the rider was on the left side – and rotated my paper accordingly. I kept drawing, checking where lines met: the rider’s hand next to the horse’s eye, the rider’s arm on the tip of the horse’s ear, and so on. It helped me to know a bit about horse anatomy, but I don’t see it as necessary.
When I felt I scribbled enough, I took a new sheet of paper, went to a window to trace the drawing with a graphite pencil. Back to my desk, I traced most lines with a black pen and filled the darker areas with a felt-pen. I briefly thought about adding shadows, but decided not to, at least not for this drawing.
I hope this explanation can give you some ideas on how to approach drawing, and encourages you to try!
Today I wanted to make a painting out of yesterday’s study of a foal. At first I thought of watercolour, but as I tidied up my pencils, pens, paints and paper in the past few days, I thought I could give acrylic paint a go. I have little idea of the proper techniques so I just tried painting with blue. Here is the result:
I especially like the neck, with its soft shadows. I painted several layers over the legs, but I’m not as happy with them as with the neck and head. Any tips from more experienced artists? Just type a comment below! I’d be very grateful for your feedback.
Yesterday evening I wanted to test the new watercolour paper I bought a while ago, and as I had limited time and no real subject in mind, I practiced the blending of two colours. I made different tests with more or less water, often too much water 🙂 and finished with a cloud and a horse.
My current difficulty with watercolour is to guess how much water I am using, therefore how diluted is the colour I’m using. Therefore I’m starting with simple, abstract forms instead of real objects. Comments and suggestions are always welcome!
I picked Horsepower by Chad Hanson on Flickr and drew the minimum amount of lines needed to reproduce the scene. I then put one layer of watercolour after the other. I suspect that the paper had to be prepared before painting, because it bent a lot and made a strange effect on the left side. Maybe I used too much water. As a first result, it is not so bad! For sure I need practice in painting uniform surfaces (not like the darkest layer, where you see all brush strokes 🙂 ) but this painting encourages me a lot.
Thanks my fellow bloggers for your inspiring posts about watercolour, and I hope that some of my readers feel like trying watercolour as well!
Yesterday I came across this post from Sunnyfae about negative painting, a (watercolour) technique that requires to paint all around a given shape, therefore leaving the lightest areas of the canvas free. Here is one of her drawings:
I absolutely love the technique, so I looked up for Linda Kemp, the artist she mentions in her post. I found several videos on YouTube, and this one sounded great for my beginning with this new technique. Linda explains how to approach the painting in a mid-way between completely free and completely planned – by deciding the subject, colours and overall shapes before starting. The painting process will then be focused, while remaining free on local decisions (brush strokes and colour density). I like that approach and it suits me in this moment. You can browse other videos and find the one that speaks to you and invites you to try painting!
Thank you Sunnyfae for your inspiration, and do keep us posted with your progress and discoveries 🙂
Last week at the supermarket I saw a 18-set of acrylic paints and bought it at once – but I didn’t open them right after coming home. I wanted to find a good subject, read a bit about painting techniques, find the right paper/cardboard. A week passed and I realised I would never start painting, if I waited to make something great at the first try! So I just opened a few colour tubes and doodled on a piece of paper, with a broad pencil:
I felt happy with the result, because I tried various ways to hold the brush, various densities of paint (with more or less water), I mixed the colours, overlayed some of them. I think that setting small goals for a first experiment is more rewarding that starting with a proper subject, that has high chances to turn out ugly 🙂
I hope this helps you in starting with the art/hobby that you like so much, but feel intimidated – “what if I try and I don’t like what I can do?”. Starting with a test of tools and techniques, or just some free doodling, is a good way to break the “white canvas fear” and give you courage to practice further.