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September 30, 2023

Five-minute September studies

I haven't done any digital photo studies in a while, much less my beloved five-minute grayscale studies. What better time than now? I took a different approach this time. Treating it like a sketchbook page. Just start drawing and see where it goes. I started off at 5 minutes per sketch before moving on to the next picture. But after that I took a few extra minutes to fine-tune the details. 

These are all based on photos from early fall of 2010. Ahh, what a time!

September 29, 2023

Maui waterfall completed

(Art instructor voice) In the previous update we saw the waterfall with a fairly basic color palette. Textures give an otherwise flat color plane more definition. The first layer of color is meant to define the main hues and values. 

But subtractive shading is where the fun really begins!! The waterfall is very red and purple, but with the right colors that can be toned down for a more natural look. By no means am I going for a realistic depiction. But I do want it to be believable!

I love how this came out and I am excited to do more. I love art, man.

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Bee-teor shower

September 26, 2023

Quilt painting (with a view)

Making sporadic progress on my quilt painting. The best part is improvising along the way in case I want to change direction. I'm settled in now, so I can resume my artistic adventures. 

Last night was good. My cats hung out with me while I painted and listened to podcasts. It was a cozy evening.

> Next update TBD

September 22, 2023

Devil's trumpet

This isn't really my best work but I do love the colors. The underpainting was done in shades of neon yellow and orange. Ultramarine blue for the backdrop. I used cooler colors to paint on top: titanium and zinc white, mixed with hints Persian rose, titanium buff, and king's blue. For the backdrop I painted over it with emerald green.

The main reason this didn't come out to my liking is because I didn't consult my reference as much as I should have. But it's all just practice. Instead of going back to make changes I would rather just start over completely.

10.3.23 update: Click here to see my second attempt! 

Waterfall WIP

A progress update on my Maui waterfall. This is not my most recent update as I've made significant progress since then. But I will save the final update for later! 

The goal was to keep the palette as limited as possible. Introducing new colors into the mix comes later. I'm having a lot of fun with this.

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September 17, 2023

Pink hydrangea

During my summer vacation I encountered some big fat lovely hydrangeas. Later I drew this in my sketchbook over the summer and colored it on my ipad. Took a while just because I only take out the ipad when there's absolutely nothing to do. But I quite like how she turned out. I have a Procreate timelapse that I'll post later. 

The dust is starting to settle over here and I'm ready for some new art adventures!

September 11, 2023

Road to Hana: Waterfall (WIP)

I haven't done much art in the past couple weeks due to moving and general stress, but the dust is starting to settle. New art, digital or traditional, is always a good sign! 

Yesterday I started coloring this sketchbook drawing of a waterfall in Maui. The goal is to approach this as if it were a physical painting. My program of choice is Paint Tool SAI version 2.

Some fun things I did to increase the painterly effect:

  • Painting with a textured marker brush. I chose the marker brush because it maintains whatever opacity you set it to - it does not build up unless you start drawing on another layer. This allows the drawing and underpainting to remain visible.
  • The grainy texture also helps the vibrant colors of the underpainting show through. 
  • Added a subtle rock crystal texture to the entire layer. 
  • Lastly, adding a subtle fringe layer effect gives it character. 

The goal is to paint everything on this one layer to give it a solid foundation. The intention of this layer is to establish color and important forms, but still look as finished as possible. This is my digital equivalent of painting alla prima. The marker brush blends heavily and picks up other colors. 

I am aiming for expressive colors and forms. I don't want a photorealistic picture of the waterfall. I want to show you what a photograph cannot. It is an exercise in design, creativity, and curation of elements. 

> Next update

September 7, 2023

Bee-teor shower

She's coming along well. Next I will decide which details to emphasize. The coloring is fairly 'realistic' style but maybe I can take it in a funkier direction.

September 1, 2023

Bee visiting a meteor shower

I know next to nothing about flower or plant identification. I could point out a pineapple maybe. Everything else I need to google. Apparently this flower is called verbena bonariensis, aka, Meteor Shower! Love it!!

Here is my first coloring attempt. I have not been doing much digital in general lately. Things are hectic and I'm not doing well mentally, but once the dust settles, I should have the proper energy and focus for digital art again. Right now, I feel antsy and listless with digital art, just because it's not tangible like my oil paintings. It just doesn't seem real, and right now I need something to ground me in reality.

So, here's a work-in-progress of version 2. I've learned a lot of lessons from painting in the past several months, and am applying them to my digital methodology. This includes being more deliberate and focusing on specific spots. Usually I will messily paint over the entire image and fine-tune later. But this new approach is more like painting in real life: in a physical setting, paint is limited, and there is more strategy involved. I want to bring that slow, deliberate consideration to my digital artworks. 

Maybe I am bored by digital lately because it feels too forgiving if you make mistakes. You can Ctrl+Z. You can experiment with different colors and effects, all just a click away. Meanwhile, I would liken traditional art to a brain teaser puzzle: you have to carefully consider every move you make, or else it's game over!