Friday, September 21, 2012

Not too long ago I did a series of blog posts where I suggested other options for projects but I thought that for this series I might talk a little about the design process.  To me it is such a personal journey to design a project.  You as an artist are trying to appeal to the masses while staying true to your inner vision.  That can be difficult when you are trying to balance the two.  I have often felt like it was similar to when you have young children at home and you are trying to be wife, mom, career person, and artist.  That is a particularly difficult balancing act, while you can't compare your need to share yourself artistically to raising your family it still can be a difficult struggle and for those of us who love the arts it is the food for the soul.  My solution is to make sure that I have some time each week to paint or draw for myself. 

I recently designed a wedding box for my daughter's wedding and it was a labor of love.  Not only was it for an important person in my life but it was for one of the most important events in her life.   She had definite ideas about what she wanted the box to look like, I don't know why we would be surprised about that as we raised both of our children to be strong individuals.   She wanted a scene that reflected her and her soon to be husband's life and much of that revolves around the out of doors.  They love to hike and backpack. This design was to be the focus on their wedding invitations as well.  No pressure, right?  I was a little worried and hoped that I could pull it off for her.  Needless to say I got started designing and had three different versions by the time that I was finished.  I did all of these in pen and ink before ever starting to paint.

I knew that they wanted the mountains Pilot and Index which are down by Yellowstone Park and they wanted an Aspen Tree and Sunflowers somewhere on the design.  I started out with a rough sketch that just lined out the basic design and the format for the design and had my daughter look at it and naturally she had ideas using her "scientific eye" as she calls it.  Her college degree is a science based degree and she has often been called on to help me with designs when I needed an unbiased scientific view.  I then went back to the drawing board and made the changes that they wanted. This was another process and it took a couple of tries before we had worked out the details and   I think this was almost a year in the making but I felt that the process and the finished product were all worth it.  You can see the sketch below and of course once the sketch was finished it was time to start painting which is another story.  LOL. 

The box turned out beautifully and the day was perfect for the happy couple.  I'm happy to report that they are married now and working on starting this new phase of their lives together and we couldn't be happier. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Watercolor Pencils Sunflower Tutorial

Have you every used Watercolor Pencils?  They are fantastic and so easy to use, my favorite brand is the Faber Castell brand although there are so many great brands available on the market.  I've done a quick tutorial showing how to use them.  The first two photos that you see above are steps 1 and 2.  I like to work light to dark and have roughed in the sunflower using a creme colored pencil in the first photo and then darkened it in using a golden yellow.  You can see where I've darkened in my shaded areas and have begun to layer colors over the top to slowly build up the cast shadows of the sunflower.  In the second photo I began to develop the colors in the center of the sunflower and have further deepened the shadows by using a Burnt Sienna colored pencil. 

In step 3 I darkened the shadows of the sunflower using a dark brown.  In step 4 you can see that I have activated the paint with clean water and further added detail by lightly adding a small amount of black.  It is not necessary to activate your paint and may just use them as colored pencils as well.  They are a very versatile medium and I would like to encourage you to give them a try.