Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been playing with some new colors. I’ve found that I’ve been using the same Daniel Smith colors quite a bit when painting my daily postcards for the lunch bag.
But I wasn’t entirely happy with my choices. So I decided to try some other colors. A few I already had and just hadn’t used for a while. Some came from a new palette set I just bought (the Pacific Northwest set, curated by Molly Hashimoto and available at Art-Toolkit.com.
I don’t expect to keep all of these as my daily go-to colors, and I may add others.
Note the lack of reds. This isn’t the palette I’d use for flowers or birds. It’s pretty much meant to be the one I use for my animal paintings.
My chart looks a bit rough. That’s because I wanted it to show the colors as I would use them. I lifted color in areas, layered with glazes and did many of the things I’m not supposed to, lol.
In the past, I’ve mixed my browns, but having fallen in love with Piemontite Genuine, I decided to add Hematite Burnt Scarlet Genuine. It’s lighter and oh! It granulates so beautifully. What I’m finding is that it’s a lovely base color, especially allowed to blend into the Nickel Titanate Yellow, Naples Yellow or Monte Amiata. When I’m trying to get that ticked fur color, the granulation sort of does it naturally.
Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Daniel Smith watercolor on a Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Jack Richeson Richeson Grey Matters Synthetic Watercolor Flat 1/4Photo courtesy of on Pixabay.
Believed to be the rarest feline on earth, the Amur Leopard lives in a harsh cold climate of southeastern Russia and northern China. Sort of a success story – their population, in the wild, has about tripled in the last decade.
The ‘sort of’. That’s still only about 85 leopards. Even in zoos, there are under 200 of these beautiful animals.
Artwork: Daniel Smith Watercolor on Hahnemühle cold press Watercolor postcard.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – another cute sea slug is found. A couple of weeks ago, I post a postcard painting of the Leaf Sheep sea slug and now …
The Bunny sea slug (not to be confused with the sea hare (a not nearly so cute sea slug) looks like a fluffy little bunny. Those ear like protrusions are actually sensory organs and what looks like fluffy fur are actually fleshy rods and knobs. And you don’t want to eat this guy – they are toxic.
Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Daniel Smith watercolor on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Jack Richeson Richeson Grey Matters Synthetic Watercolor Flat 1/4Photo courtesy of Nghangvu on Pixabay.
Doodlewash prompt ‘fish’. Earlier this month, when the prompt was ‘parrot’ I painted a parrotfish. I thought is was only proper to turn around and paint a Kingfisher for the prompt of fish! Ain’t I a stinker?
Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Daniel Smith watercolor on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Neptune Round, size 8. Photo reference courtesy of skeeze on Pixabay.
Did you know that there are no blue birds -it’s all an illusion. Some birds are gray, but the way the light creates magic with the protein molecules in the feathers and voila! the human eye sees BLUE! This is called a structured color.
And by the way, it isn’t just flamingoes that get their color from the food they eat. Red, yellow, and orange feathers are created by carotenoids that the birds get from flowers, roots, seeds, and fruits.
Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen, Daniel Smith watercolor and ARTEZA Real Brush Pens on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Neptune Round, size 8.
This painting is what is known as a ‘line and wash’ because it is drawn in pen first and then painted with watercolor.
Before You Start
The BBC has been advertising their new series, Seven Worlds, One Planet, which features the Golden Snub Nosed monkey. Every time the commercial plays, hubby asks me for a postcard painting of one. Trouble is, there aren’t any photos of them on any of the photo sites I use for reference.
This means lots of prep, because I have to come up with my own composition, researching the subject and figuring out how to draw it without taking too much from any one photo.
Recently, I received a Hahnemühle 1584 Notebook (review to come in the near future) which has dot-grid paper in it. I decided it would be perfect for my studies.
First, I did a study working out a pose. I used the dot-grid to help me figure out proportions without using a ruler or getting too worried about being exact (sorry for the shade along the gutter, this was done on the first page).
On the next page, I did a study to figure out proportions of the face.
While working on this, I put some thought into what I wanted from the finished painting, and what ‘gotchas’ there might be.
I was choosing to do a baby, so I wanted to capture that halo of fuzzy baby fur. I also knew that even though in real life the snub-nose is cute, it also looks a lot like the nose on a skull.
(This scan is darkened so you can see the pencil lines. You should pencil lines in lightly)
Using my studies from the 1584 notebook, I penciled in the monkey, focusing on proportions and placement of facial features and limbs.
Not sure if you’re up to drawing this? Art Tutor has a great grid program that will help by applying a grid to your uploaded photo. You can also crop and adjust color and value.
Values= dark to light. When you establish your values, you are deciding where the darkest areas are, and some of the important mid-tones.
The babies have very light fur, so I kept the pen drawing fairly minimal, mostly mapping out the sections of the fur.
I decided that the delightful blue face on these monkeys was closest to a cerulean blue. Since I also intended to use Buff Titanium, an off-white that easily turns green when mixed with blue, I had to use some caution.
The monkey’s fur was done with a layer of the buff titanium, and a mix of Aussie Red Gold and Monte Amiata, leaving the lightest areas the white of the postcard.
I used Cerulean blue for the sky, and various mixes of lavender, Rose of Ultramarine, Aussie Red Gold and the Monte Amiata for the rest of the background. Then I let it all dry.
I’ve never used the color lifting method to try and get that fuzzy halo furry look and decided to experiment. I began to lift color all around the edges of the fur. This is done by wetting the brush, lightly brushing where I wanted to lift color, blotting the brush on a paper towel, then dabbing in the same area to pick up the water just applied. Some of the color comes up too.
Unhappy with the background (I didn’t plan it – I usually don’t, but should have this time since I didn’t have a reference), I fussed with it quite a bit until I spilled water on the lower left corner, and then couldn’t get it to take color.
I let it all dry.
With a purple Arteza watercolor brush pen (the type where the pen is prefilled with watercolor), I added color and pumped up my values so there was greater contrast. The color in these brushes is more of a dye, so it takes where the paper is too damaged to accept pigment watercolor. I used it throughout the trees to tie the colors together.
I decided that I wanted lighter fur around the face, and I didn’t want to lift more so I grabbed my Uniball white signo and added some white ink.
Overall, this took far longer than my usual daily postcard – about 4 hours.
And Where You Can Buy Them
Hahnemühle 1584 Notebook (this is a new item, so it may not be listed on websites yet)