Saturday, June 18, 2016

#37: Doc & Duke

We toured Ocala, FL. This area is also called the "Horse Capital of the World" as there are more horses, per capita, than anywhere else. The area has a huge Thoroughbred breeding and training presence, but there are other breeds represented as well. While there, we took a carriage ride past some of the farms. Doc and Duke, sweet black Percherons, provided the horsepower.

I decided to make notecards for fellow travelers, I decided to try the black gouache and white charcoal pencil technique I had learned in an online class with Val Webb. 

What I liked about this drawing:
It always amazes me how much can be done with black and white. I love how the character of the horses seems to come through. I like that the dots, bits, buckles and hames look like silver. 

What I might do differently:
I needed to take more time smudging the white, and blending it into the black. I didn't have any paper stumps or tortillons, but I'm sure I could have improvised with something - or I could have put the piece aside until I had the chance to visit a shop. Well, heck, I could still do that! I should have used more of a dry brush technique for the hairs sticking up between the ears. 

What I learned:
I forgot to leave the eye white. I think had I been able to use charcoal to make the eye black, instead of using the white charcoal to make the white areas of the eye, the effect might have been different. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

#36: Adventure Trails

While traveling on the Grand Circle we had the opportunity to see ancient petroglyphs (images scratched into rock) and pictographs (images painted on rock). No one is quite certain why the ancient ones left the images, and what their true meaning might be. However, there are a number of images that are found throughout Arizona, Utah and Colorado. We can only guess at the interpretation. 

I wanted to emulate the Indian images to tell the story of our Grand Circle tour with Adventure Caravans. I wasn't pleased with my finished piece. There was too much contrast between the small pictographs and the background image, so I tried again.

At the end of the tour I gave the second finished piece to the president of the company who happened to be touring with us.  The possible interpretation of the images is: Many people danced together and traveled from one valley to another for 42 days. The community was moved, and the people experienced success and happiness in their new location. 

12" x 18" watercolor on rag paper

What I liked about this drawing:
I liked the color variations of the background, especially the splatter. The background is very reminiscent of the red rocks we saw throughout the tour.

What I might do differently:
I began with a mottled yellow background and then used a masking fluid to reserve the lighter colored area for the pictograph images. It might have been interesting to vary the backgrounds of the images, so that they had more shading of yellows and lighter oranges and reds. 

What I learned:
After I viewed my first attempt, and realized that I didn't like the contrast of the spiral images and the other pictographs, I remembered the "disappearing purple" technique I had been introduced to at a drop-in "paint with me" session in Arizona. After masking the pictographs I wanted to remain light colored, I painted the spiral in a  light purple. Then, when I put on the layers of oranges and reds, the purple grayed out and became a subtle shadow.