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I Love Rain June 27, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I love the sound of it hitting the roof and the dampness and rich smells it brings.  Thunderstorms are even better.  When I was a kid we lived in Florida and we would get some real frog-stranglers from time to time.  The best ones knocked out the power.  I LOVED it when that happened!  The parental units would light the hurricane lamp & candles and we would have fun family discussions.  Ah well.  Now I live in middle of the driest desert in the U.S. and it almost never rains.  The forecast says we might get some this week.  Probably not, but there’s some hope.

Poor Dave over at GR is getting swamped, so he isn’t loving rain right now.  I would send him our weather if I could.

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That’s A Stretch June 23, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.
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I wrapped up the third week of my six week class yesterday.  After we finished the second church Wednesday evening we learned the next trick in the watercolorist's toolbox:  Stretching the Paper.  This entails taking a largish piece of watercolor paper and immersing it completely in the water and keeping it there for a minute.  Then the paper is taken out, allowed to drain for a bit, and then secured to a board with a special tape with water activated glue.  This then allowed to dry COMPLETELY for the next 24 hours or so.  When the paper gets wet, it expands of course.  When it dries it normally resumes its former dimensions.  The special tape prevents it from doing so, and as such it is stretched to its previous wet size.  All the time we were doing this the instructor assured us that painting on stretched paper vs. unstreched paper was like "night and day!"  He didn't elaborate as to why but I had an idea though, and I was right.

The next day, my board was bowed under the strain of the contracting paper.  Not a whole lot, but very noticable.  One of the other young gals in the class had a problem – her tape ripped.  I think she got her tape too wet in spots and the glue didn't hold all the way around the perimeter.  Better luck next time!

The instructor selected the next image:  a tropical beach scene.  Sea and sky – we meet again!

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Not bad.  I'm particularly pleased with the sea part.  I'm starting to not-suck at this.  And YES the stretching is a good thing!  When working with watercolors the paper always warps, puckers and curls.  This makes large, soft blending and flowing washes very difficult.  Color runs away from water concentrations, remember.  Here the paper is streteched to it's water saturated size and it stays FLAT!  It is so much easier now to do things.  Night and day indeed – I love it.

Tomorrow it's back to the art supply store for stretching tape and boards!

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It… June 23, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.
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Is to paint a mission!  Twice.  Here's the first one – a small (7.5" x 10") quick sketch to get a feel for the subject and see all the details & whatnot.  Not entirely horrible.  The picture we were drawing from was muddy and indistinct in some areas – you had to look very carefully to figure out what was going on.

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Water, Water Everywhere June 23, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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We continue with the black and white, but explore some more complicated subjects here.  Now we are starting to look at real compositions.  (more…)

Gimme Shelter June 22, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.
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Now we get into some lessons about handling different values.  This is the range of light to dark.  We are to come up with some sort of regular structure or geometrical shape and do it three times.  Once each as a a light, medium and dark featured composition.  And do it fast.  Hokay.

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These are just in black and white. Sorry but the camera is putting in blues and the flash is washing stuff out.  Crude looking yes, but the basic concept is there.

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Watercolors Continued… June 22, 2006

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After the ugly bottles we started getting into landscape elements.  The instructor painted a couple happy trees, one via brush only and the second using a sponge for the leafy material.  I don't usually draw happy, leafy trees.  I like naked, "attack" trees. 

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More Watercolors June 22, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.
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Here's our first exercise after the sea stuff.

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I Am Not Dead June 19, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Busy at work learning new Database-Fu, busy at class.  Lots of new watercolors soon – tomorrow, I promise!  I’m learning lots of new stuff, and my drawing skills are getting better.

iPod update: I’ve bought two songs so far from iTunes, What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes and Sugar Sugar by The Archies.  Yes, make fun of me if you must but I was delighted to get them (99¢)!    I love one hit wonders, don’t you?  I think I’m going to get Lunatic Fringe by Red Rider next.  If you have any great one-offs for suggestion leave them in the comments.  Thanks!

That’s it for now, I’ll be back soon with cool stuff.

Watercolors Up! June 13, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.
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Last night was our first run at a subject after some instruction.  We were shown a couple ways to approach sea scapes and then left to create one of each using the methods we were shown.  The first is with the sky done wet-on-wet, the sea done wet on dry. We were then supposed to dry it really good, then apply a light glaze to add some additional color.  My sea wasn't completely dry so the colors smudged a bit.

Seascape 1 (more…)

Sorry Again for the Blogligence June 13, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Been busy at work and going to my class at night.  Here's a few updates and a response to a question.

Watercolor Class – Last week we were praticing strokes, learning how to do washes, color theory, paint mixing, doing value scales, etc.  Tonight we did a couple sea & sky scenes.  I'll put up pictures tomorrow.  While the instructor & I have very different political views, he is a good teacher and we're getting along quite well actually.

A while ago I ordered some new CD's from my music club, one of which wasn't the one I ordered, so I sent it back with a letter.  I finally got the correct CD!  It is Behind the Sun by Chicane.  No, I'd never heard of them before, and to tell the truth I didn't even remember why I got it or what it was supposed to sound like.  So, I pop it in and…electronic / trance stuff!  Hmm – interesting!  Quite good actually – I've only recently started listening to this style of music.  I like the meditative qualities.  I found a podcast of this stuff too.  A guy sends out a two-hour long mix of songs – Trance Rotation.

Regular reader Muslihoon asked If I'd ever considered selling my artwork.  A simple enough question, but with a rather complicated answer.  Boiled down to its elements though is: yes I have, but I couldn't sell my stuff at a high enough price to compensate me for the time it would take me to make it.  I tend to keep them myself, or give them as presents to close friends and family.  I'll put up a longer post about the intricate ins-and-outs of Selling Art.  It's an interesting subject – y'all will enjoy it.

Speaking of which – Kevlarchick has been very patient and hasn't bugged me at all about the whereabouts of her Whim.  It is coming.  I had some early ideas and started to flesh them out, but then had some other ideas.  Now I'm learning quite a bit in this class and I'm holding off to incorporate new skills.  Hang on KC!  I was just gonna dash something off, but now it looks like you're gonna get something really cool!  Good things come to those who wait.

That's it for now, I'll post more soon.