Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday Sketching

My kitchen table didn't show anything interesting, so I have chosen to sketch a part of my kitchen instead.
What you see is where I cook our food, baking cakes and so forth. The house we live in is a hundred year old beauty, which we've restored. We've kept the intire house as close to the origin as possible. We did find some original kitchen parts, but they couldn't be of any use. 
As you see below, or actually you won't be able to see it, I have chosen to hide the ventilator behind a tiny curtain. At first I frightened it would be very fatty in a short while, but it works fine. 

My kitchen is a very small one, but we have all we need, and all the modern equipment have been embedded. 

Even though each room is quite small, it doesn't feel that way because of very high celings. All over the house we have lots of beautiful details, the carpenters, back then, worked in a completely different way than today.

Well, that's all I had for you today, enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Have you ever made a mandala?

I often make mandalas,

but this one isn't new. Do you have a certain way of doing them? From where do you get the inspiration to do one?
Most times I just sit down and make them. Sometimes I've made some for friends and that is always a challenge, I'll try to make them personal and fit the situation given. The one I show you today were inspired from the morning radio news. They were talking about how to get the youths, that are finished school, an apprenticeship. Too few companies are willing to hire an apprentice, and that's too bad. How on earth can the youths start working if no one are willing to give them a chance?
This was what inspired me, and I called my piece: Learning before flying.

I always start to draw my mandala, I don't use a compass any more, but I like to draw help lines. Top to bottom, side to side and both ways diagonal. That gives me the center and I have eight lines to work from. Any pointed star or flower have their points measured from the center, the rest is free handed. The above photo shows a finished drawing.

Next step is to get some paint down, and while painting I might prepare for later steps by adding some darker spots (shadows). In this particular one I used Neocolors 2 for painting. It is at this point all the fun starts, for me.

The pen work is what gives the final form to all  the elements used. I always try to be as accurate as possible to achieve the best result. Often there will be contradictions, and I'll have to think over again. But that's part of the fun.

Last step is the shading, and the shading is what lifts my subjects from the paper. It always thrills me to see a successful work rising from the paper and people always, without exception, want to touch it to assure themselves that it really is flat.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you enjoyed it and happy PPF everyone!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Paint blobs as tools.

Many times if I can't find inspiration,

I have a little trick to get my mojo flowing instantly. Some years ago I got the inspiration for this by watching all the you-tube films showing mono printing on gelli plates. Now, I didn't have a gelli plate handy, but I had a glass square. I did some experiments on that glass plate, and boy did that pay off. Most times I even do a second print, after spraying a bit more water onto the plate. The second print won't be as rich of colors as the first one, but many times more interesting. Normally I use watercolors to make my paint blobs. Below is the glass plate randomly filled with watercolor paint, Twinks.

Next thing is to lay the paper carefully on top of the paint. I use my hands to go over the paper, and I often add some books on top for a short while. In this specific example the result was what you see in the photo below. It's at this stage all the fun begins. Some of my paint blobs shows quite obvious images, others might hide well. In this particular case I spent a couple of days to bring forward what was hidden. Very often I reject the first obvious image to see if I can bring out it's full potential.

I'm very pleased with this one, and as you see it wasn't the most obvious image. When I first spotted the troll, I could also see (with a bit imagination) the contours of the map of Norway. To use the map, shows the troll in it's "real" size. A "real" Norwegian troll is very large. He is banging his hand towards our country, and thereby causing some real thunder. As a child I were frightened by thunder, but my parents told me it was just the trolls that were out strolling. Somehow that left me without fear.

Let me end by telling you my little trick. I always keep some paint blobs handy, and when I can't find inspiration I grab a paint blob, and my mojo is instantly present.
Give it a try, it's very fun and activates the imaginationn.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday sketches, sliced fruit.

Banana, handymans favorite fruit.

I was so glad to see this weeks challenge were sliced fruit. I knew I had bananas, so I would use one for inspiration. That was what I thought, but handyman had eaten the last one for breakfast this morning. Therefor, my sketch is improvised.

I used ink for sketching, and water to to let the ink bleed a bit but it doesn't show much in the photos. I've never liked messing up my pieces, but I can feel my resistance against that fading away. I made another sketch yesterday, much more messed up and I really liked it.

I'm so excited these days, my brand new set of Sennelier aquarel paints are on their way to me, and I can hardly wait for them to arrive. I've only had some old pan watercolors that aren't much good.

I'm so happy for this Friday sketches challenge, it makes me sketch alot more. I've even found myself thinking, oh, I'll have to sketch this. And also, I use my sketchbook to try out things I'm going to make in the future.

It has always been hard for me to make backgrounds in my paintings, but I find that's much easier too. The sketch book allows every entry, and there's nothing to be afraid of.

Find your sketch book and join this challenge you too.

Trying a new substrate.

In fact I have used brown paper earlier,

but not as a substrate for watercolors/ Twinks. I know it's not acid free and all that stuff, but it's not likely I will become a Rembrant either. I love a rough surface, so I thought of trying this one. What I did was to wrinkle up the brown paper and smooth it out, several times, to achieve a softer and much more textured surface. I used my iron on the paper before I anchored it to a 140 lbs watercolor paper. Below you see my starting point.

First thing I did was to put some paint to my paper, just to have something to start with. When I saw what my paint did to the paper, I truly had my doubts. Would the paper dry back to the surface I spent time to make, or would it all be messed up. Of course it would dry, but what about the wrinkles?

To my big surprise, it dried back to the surface I had prepared. Isn't that a bit strange? In wet condition, all the wrinkles were gone but they revived. I am, of course, happy for that it's just that I don't quite understand it. Below is my piece with paint and dry.

I had been sketching this beautiful old house with a tower and a conservatory and everything was very nice, but I had difficulties transfering it. I ended up sketching a new house which was very easy to transfer. Stright lines only. I used a nib and ink to strenghten the lines at the end. This is how it looked like.

Now, the painting is the fun part so it's just to turn the brushes. The house first, and the same thing happened over again, the paper lost all the wrinkles, and it looked scary. With the house done I left it for drying and all went well. I did it all in parts and let dry in between, and voila........ finished painting.

It was very hard photographing this process, because the wrinkles caught too much light, you know, I used the Twinks for paint. Just a tiny bit penwork and it was done.

Not too bad result, and I learnt a lot during this fun experiment.

What was your last experiment?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Light, does it matter?

I did a fun little experiment with light the other day.

What does light have to say for the expression of a piece of art? We all know that light matters, but can light turn a specific mood into a completely different mood? Yes it can.

I used a card to paint a rainy scene, it was a rainy day here, so I guess I was inspired by that. I actually drew this quite fast, so it's no masterpiece. It's a cabin situated by the sea/ fjord.  It sits on the bedrock and pretty close to the ocean. Now, imagine you were in the cabin looking out at the rain, what feelings comes to mind? Probably, oh well, it'll soon pass.

If you look at the next photo, what feelings would appear then? Do you recognice the change in mood in the photo? Much darker, more depressing and the question, will it ever stop?
I have to say, I never gave this issue serious thoughts untill I made this card. The actual card has colors somewhere in between these two. It's very interesting doing small experiments like this.

The diagonal "wet" drops/lines are made by a far to big brush. They should've been much finer. I was hoping to be able to actually rip marks in the surface along the drops/lines, to make it look alot more like actual rain.

Now, I wasn't because my piece had been drying too much. I think the surface should have been wet, or at least damp.
What was your last experiment?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A study in form

The other day

I tried my hands on giving form to a subject using dark, light and one color only. I ended up using three green colors, but only tiny drops of two of them.
I lightly sketched my subject using a green watercolor pencil, that's all. After sketching and some work with the paint I had a piece looking like the one below. The peas look much greener in this photo, it's the light used only that makes the difference. Still a lot of work to do.

I kept working. while I could hear the teacher in a class I'm taking say, take your time. I took my time, and it sure paid off. Instead of leaving the background without paint, I chose to add some blue color as you'll see below. Why I didn't think of making the blue color with stright lines is a mystery. Note to self, always think while working! Well, so far so good.

Next step was to add highlights and shadows, and boy did I do that! I simply ruined my entire work. White and gold pens used in a generous amount. And then the shadow, failure as well. At this stage I had to take a looong break. Notice that I even signed it before I realized my failure. Oh my! I have no clue where my mind was while doing this, but apparently it was not with me. In this writing moment there's a text line from Pink Floyd coming to my mind.........."there's someone in my head, but it's not me..."

During the break, I realized my work was ruined so it wouldn't matter if I did it completely. I therefor decided to try a rescue maneuver, new failure would not matter on top of a ruined work.

I actually was able to fix most of it, and the end product came out pretty well, if I might say so myself. I used water and paper towel to remove as much of the white pen as I wanted to, added a darker blue in the background, which works even better than the first one, strightened up the lines and then added my shadows using charcoal. All in all it was a great work session, containing lots of learning for me.

This piece measures 15 by 15 cm's and was done on a hand made paper, and this time I let my sign be.

Thanks for popping in!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another sketch.

New week gone, often wondered where time goes. When I go, I know the road is behind me, but the next day the same road is still there. Where does time go, and where is it comimg from? Is it the same 24 hours over and over again? No, I'm not crazy I started wondering, that's all.

I've been sketching all week, and this one is one of them. It's a flower spreader from the dark ages. In real life it's black with gold decor, but that was to dull to paint so I chose my own colors.
It's meant to sit in the bottom of a glass bowl, keeping the flowers in place and spread them in a fan-like way.

The funniest thing is, when doing it's job, it seems like the fish is swimming amongst sea grass. All the flower stems looks like sea grass. There are many different types of flower spreaders, but I have neven seen anyone like this one before. Cool thing bought in an antique fair some years ago.

I had some left overs, and used them to give the fish an opportunery to express himself. I think he's saying : Hey, where are my bowl and the flowers, I'm sick and tired of being on dry land.

Below is a photo of the real one in use. I'm sorry for the quality of the photo, but you can see all the stems surrounding the fish. I even removed one just to let you see the fish a bit better.

The Friday Sketch challenge is so much fun, and it's open for you too. Come join us, click the Friday Sketch button on top of this blog and join in!
This Friday I had already made my sketch, next week I'll wait till I see Dion's lead. I've also seen people share the colors used, and that's a great idea, so I'll try remembering it too.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Well, not quite a street view.

It's Friday sketching again,

although I've been sketching all week. I have chosen to show you a sketch of my highly treasured horse. I found him in a second hand store and couldn't love him more, even if it was a gift from someone I knew. As a matter of fact I think he's a donkey, but I call him a horse.

He sits on the table in our hallway, and each time I pass him (several times a day) I can't help smiling. He seems so happy to rest on the shelf under the table. He's made of ceramics and has a smooth surface. I used twinkling H2o's to paint him.

I'm a newbie to sketching, and it truly amazes me that I can achieve fairly good results. It must be the fruits of all my art making during the last three years, and from all the useful stuff I've learnt from Dion Dior during Twinks 1 and 2. So, thank you Dion I'm sure I couldn't have chosen a better teacher. I so much enjoy this new found way of making art, and if my sketches are not that good, much can be done during the painting process.

The next photo shows my stretched horse, I can't do anything but laugh and you're allowed to laugh too. I'm not used to draw/sketch one subject over a spread like this and that confused me. All the same, I like the horse as is.

I have told myself to let go of all expectations, let it be what it is and be happy. It's not always easy to keep that in mind, but I'm trying. I hope you'll be patient with me, and I promise to do my very best. Also,  remember I'm a Norwegian and English isn't my main language, so please, bear over with me if I don't write/express it all correctly.

I forgot to put in some shadows, but it doesn't matter. In fact, I like the look of him flying over my spread, looking like a happy free horse.
Well, that's about it, I hope you're leaving with a huge smile on your face, it helps the mood and my horse has done a little magic for you too.

Thank you for popping in and if you left a comment, thanks for that too. I love to read what you have to say and each comment is much appreciated.
I'm looking forward seeing what the rest of you have been sketching too.

Be sure to make this weekend good for yourself and those around you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Learning color values.

I have made a decision to practice painting faces,

I so much want to improve my skills on color values and smooth transitions. Not that I'm thinking of making real life paintings in the future, but real faces have real colors and transitions and they are the best tool for me as inspiration.

So, one of my newly bought sketch books now has been turned into my private facebook. Since this is all about painting and mastering the colors, some of the faces will be traced and some I'll draw myself. I'll probably use a photo for inspiration for each face, I've already downloaded alot of then from the internet. What I like the most is a face with caracter, lived life so to speak. I also found some really good portraits of children with clear and good expressions.

My first face is a traced one and shows a gentleman in his mid 50's I'll guess. I have no idea who he is, found on the internet, but he has this good expression in his face.

Now, I'm especially pleased with his eyes and ear. The most important thing for me to remember, while painting, is why I'm doing it. Color values and transitions, that's what it's all about. I'm so looking forward to this exercice, and in the future I'll have a book full of faces. Perhaps one day I can paint a face even without drawing it first, wouldn't that be something?

Have a really nice day, and thanks for popping in!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring is here.

Now is my favorite time of year

some small flowers have sprung, but most plants are yet to come. It's a wonderful thing waiting for the garden to come alive, and in June watch the beautiful peonies flowering. It's almost so one could wish to stay out all night just to enjoy their lovely sight the short periode of time they're flowering.

I did a quick round in the garden this morning, and things are definitely happening. The most colorful sight today comes from these little guys. They add some beautiful color splashes into the garden.

Next thing that made me happy is my rhubarbs. I love the first rhubarb soup in Spring. I also use them to cook rhubarb porridge served with vanilla sauce. And most years I make some pots of jam too, fresh rhubarb, dried apricots and a tiny bit smashed bananas. It tastes heavenly on luke warm bakery.

The snowdrops are here as every year. Our garden is an old one, so the snowdrops grows in large spots in the lawn. It's a pretty sight. The crocuses are mostly gone, the rain and wind treated them badly this year.

The next one is what I'm most excited about, it's my peony tree. I did plant it two years ago, and last Summer it came with one flower. I wonder what comes this Summer. The flowers are not filled, they are single, fragile almost like poppies. I can't wait to see it happen.

Now it's time to start some work here. I have a sketch to do, some houskeeping and grocery shopping.

What are you up to today?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sketch Friday

Finally I found

some useable sketch books, and now I'm going to sketch alot. Sketching has never been my thing, proportions and perspective never lived in my pens/pencils. No matter how hard I have been trying, my results were nothing but trash.

Now, on the other hand, it seems they ( perspective and proportions) have come to collaborate, and I'm thrilled. The fact that I'm taking the class, Mastering Twinks part two, and newly found my sketch books of a certain standard, does help my inspiration. These are my books.

Last week in February I was in Majorca, and while there I took lots of photos that now will be turned into sketches. Below is an abandoned spanish house, partly falling apart. The lovely old spanish architecture is about to disappear, as in many parts of the world for that sake. It's a shame, but it's the future.

This lovely site is located along the road between Palma and Luc Major.
I've done many many trips to Majorca, and have lots of photos from every trip. Now they'll come to good use. Lucky me!
Dion Dior invites to participate in her sketching Friday project, and I'm going to commit to that. I'll probably sketch alot more than that, so each Friday I'll post " the best of the week". I'm really happy for this opportunety to practice sketching, black pen only. Perhaps I can turn good at doing it in the future.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Practicing sketching.

When sketching,

I always use pencil and eraser, and the eraser normally is more in use than I like. Now I've desided to practice sketching using black pen only. I guess it's a matter of practice until my subjects become good enough to share.

My first try was a scary one, but surprisingly went well. I sketched one of my favorite coffee mugs. A cup has easy lines and isn't too hard to do, so I had a certain guarantee to have success. ( win win situation) But, I did never expect to achieve a result like the one I actually achieved, and that gave me the needed amount of courage to continue.
Here is my mug and a couple of sugar cubes. Normally when I sketch all the lines becomes wonky and the whole subject is out of porpotion. This time I'm happy with my result, and want to try more. I used Twinks to paint.

Just for fun I'll share a photo taken using the flash light. The twinks really shows off here, and my mug seems to be made of aluminum foil, don't you think? It's the same painting in both photos, daylight and flash light.

This looser way of doing it saves time and gives just as good results as the sketching I normally do. How do you do it?
Enjoy your weekend.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Back after a lovely week in Spain.

It is good to be back home.

It always feels a bit strange to just be on holiday doing nothing. First thing this morning I put my fingers back in paint and I enjoy it. Far too long since I did that now, so it was about time. I painted this face in a very rough tecknique, not at all sure it would work, but it did. I'm very happy with the result even though I see some small things that could have been better.

The first photo is taken using a flashlight, and some of the roughness disappeared.

The next one is taken in daylight only and is much better. It's painted on a handmade paper which has a difficult surface to paint on. The binders in the paper is uneven and make the paint show uneven too. That's why I chose to paint in a rough style.

I have some catching up to do in my class and also to visit your blogs. I'll be there soon.