Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Woodland Peony - opened seed pod

I'm liking this Woodland Peony seed pod, so I've done another sketch. This time, the pod has burst open and spilled out most of the seeds. As before, I used pen and ink and colored pencil. It's shape is so distorted from the original star-like pod that it is hard to recognize. When I first saw it I was surprised. I think I assumed the pods would crack open and the seeds fall out quickly (especially since they look so plump and heavy.) Instead it sort of inverts and the seeds appear to ooze away slowly.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Woodland Peony - seed pod

This is a sketch of a woodland peony seed pod. It has such an interesting-looking star shape and the pods are beginning to burst open with bright red and dark blue seeds. I used pen and ink (mostly for outlining) and colored pencil.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Impatien flower - monochromatic watercolor study

This is an interesting little watercolor study of an impatien flower that I did for a botanical illustration course. It was our introduction to watercolor and we were learning how to do a variety of washes, get the feel of the brush(es), and learn lifting techniques for the leaf veins.

We were allowed to pick any color to work in, and I just loved this shade of blue. I think this was Windsor-Newton blue-green shade. Obviously, it doesn't reflect the actual color of the plant, but it turned out so beautifully. I really enjoy the purity of just using one color. Probably why I like pen and ink and graphite so much. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Japanese Crane - Colored pencil

I was going through some old notebooks and found this rendering of a Japanese Crane (or Red-Crowned Crane) that I did in colored pencil several years ago. I drew it from a photo I took at the Amersfoort Zoo in the Netherlands. I remember originally not liking my rendering very much - I think I wasn't pleased with the gray pencil I used in the middle of the body since the bird is very white. But looking at it on it's own, not compared to the photo, it's not too bad! :) I thought it might be a fun thing to put up since I have been posting a lot of black and white lately.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

House portrait - pen and ink

This is a house portrait that I completed recently. It was a birthday gift for the owner. I love doing house portraits in addition to the pet portraits and other artwork. They have to be precise in the perspective and proportion, but they don't have to be dull. For example, all of the landscaping that is around this house softened up the look of the portrait and gave it a bit of liveliness. And getting the details just right really helps the portrait come together and become a unique piece of artwork for the owner.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Final graphite - long-haired dog

Well, I think I've finished the final graphite rendering of this lovely dog. I like how the shading turned out. I will still experiment with pen and ink to see if I can create a nice version that way. I think it may look better in graphite, though. We shall see...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still working on graphite - long-haired dog portrait

Another phase of the graphite drawing. This is definitely taking longer than usual, but I think some of the shaping is coming together. I will continue to work on this and then begin an ink version to see if that will translate. Hoping to use this as sort of a map to the pen work.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Continued graphite drawing - long-haired dog

I decided to proceed with graphite in order to really get a handle on the fur, shading, etc. Once this is done, then I will have a clear idea of the pen strokes to use with pen and ink to do that version. I often find with my house portraits that I really have to have a solid pencil sketch, if not a more detailed pencil rendering, before I proceed with pen and ink. It helps to cut down on errors when I am inking. Certainly, with the longer fur here I want to make sure I have the shading and form mapped out before I go near any ink!

I think the shape of the face and the fluff of the fur is coming together nicely. As you can tell, I'm working very lightly with the graphite. Once I get the shaping and form in there more clearly, then I will continue to darken where needed and it will begin to pop more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Graphite or pen and ink? New dog portrait

I'm working on a new dog portrait. This one is of a beautiful, fluffy dog with long, white hair. I've done a rough sketch in graphite, but am unsure if the final will be in graphite or pen and ink. I am planning to do some work in both mediums to see what looks best. Because the dog is all white, I don't want to overwork it, either way. So, this will be an interesting challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pencil drawing of Lucy - sprawled in the sun

This is a pencil drawing of our cat, Lucy. She was sprawled in the sun on the floor one day. I did this to try and experiment with rendering her fur. I like how it turned out, though it is more of a rough finish than I usually do. It would be interesting to take this and render it in pen and ink, or finer pencil, or even colored pencil. She is a gray cat, so the graphite works well in terms of color for a sketch like this.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finished! Dog portrait is done.

I have finished the dog portrait! I think it turned out well. I'm glad I took the time to really look at the shading and fill out a few more areas. I think the nose, eyes and mouth are much better.

I can always 'feel' when it is done and usually have someone else look at it to make sure I have captured the subject. In looking at the photo, I can see areas of shading that may be slightly different, etc., but the essence is there. It is very important not to overwork it once you feel you have a good finished drawing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inking of dog - nearly done

I am nearly finished with inking the dog portrait. It is really taking shape now. Just some additional shading and shaping around the mouth and darkening around the eyes and it should be good to go.

Pen and ink work continues - dog

I am making good progress on filling in the fur. I like how the nose turned out, though I can still see a few small areas for tweaking. That will come later. What is important right now, at least in my process, is to continue filling in fur, seeing how that takes shape, and beginning to add some more depth and shadow as I proceed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dog portrait - the inking begins

I have begun the pen and ink work on the dog portrait. I am hoping to scan in several stages so you can see how it progresses. I think the eyes are looking pretty good at this point, so I will continue working on the fur and see how it goes!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another pencil draft of dog

Here is another draft of the dog in pencil. I made some additional tweaks on his eyes, the fur around his nose, and the nose itself. I've started the pen work on 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, which takes ink very well. I usually use bristol board, but did not have any on hand. I'll be posting stages of the pen work as it progresses.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Draft pet portrait of a dog

I'm currently working on a pet portrait of this lovely little dog. He has very expressive eyebrows and ears, I think!

As I look at this pencil draft - the final will be in pen and ink - I notice that I need to even out his nose and also make sure his eyes are the correct size. If you don't get the eyes just right, it doesn't matter how well-rendered the fur is, etc., it just won't work.

Stay tuned for further drafts and/or the final result in ink!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Impatiens studies

These are some studies of an Impatien that I did for a botanical drawing class. I like this one because it shows the one leaf with a tear in it.
And the one below includes some of the flowers and a bud. I really enjoyed the habit of the plant - the way the leaves draped and curved. Fun one to draw.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Iris studies

These are some studies that I did of a beautiful iris plant this summer. I was trying to work on the form of the leaf and bud and also played around with some detailed studies of the petals.

I wanted to see what I could do with colored pencil as well as some ink.

Negative space studies for botanical art

Welcome to my blog! I hope to use this site to show works in progress (botanical, wildlife, house portraits, pet portraits, whatever else comes to mind...) as well as other interesting sketches or projects that might not make it all the way through to a final piece. It's always fun for me to see artwork in different stages, including rough sketches and studies, so I thought I would share some of my own.

This particular post shows some of the negative space studies that I did in a beginning botanical art course. I love these because they really force you to see the space around your subject, rather than focusing on the subject itself. Very useful for helping one to learn how to 'see' differently.

The one on the left is a ground-cover rose bush, and the one on the right is a holly bush.

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