To paint the sea: is it a process or is it a state? Maybe one leads to the other?Anna Iltnere, discussing Philip Hoare’s Risingtidefallingstar
If you follow me elsewhere on social media, you know I’ve got a massive penchant for drawing challenges. Inktober is a perennial favorite, so this year I tackled 31 6×6″ watercolor paintings of sunrises and sunsets. Each image was painted from life wherever I happened to be on each day of the month, starting with a basic silhouette of the sky at dusk or dawn.
The final result spanned Portland, Long Beach (WA), New York, and Richmond, and looked something like this:
While prints of all these images are available in my online shop right now, I’ve also decided to sell off the original paintings themselves to help raise some end-of-year cash to help with book printing in 2018.
Buyolympia will be listing the originals (unframed) in batches of 5 over the next few weeks every Tuesday and Thursday. If there’s one you’ve got your eye on, be prepared to act fast! The framed pieces that pre-sold at Portland’s tiny llama gallery earlier this week went real quick.
You can check out the current selection at Buyolympia and take advantage of their free shipping promotion to snag some other gifts for the holiday season while you’re at it. Happy shopping!
I had a ton of fun wrapping up these watercolor paintings for my top-tier backers on the Baggywrinkles Kickstarter last week. Here’s a look at the final lineup of paintings:
Clockwise from upper left, we’ve got El Galeon (hiding behind PDX YAR’s First Mate), L’Hermione, Brig Niagara, and Kalmar Nyckel (in disguise under a different paint job, for reasons outlined in this Tumblr post).
In the process of getting all of these done, I learned a bunch about making time-lapse videos, which you can check out below:
And if you’re curious about the tools used for these projects, here’s a sneak peek at a post I put up for my supporters on Patreon all about my watercoloring setup:
I put up an informative essay each month about some aspect of my creative process, along with a load of other content for folks to read/watch/listen to/generally enjoy. I serious adore Patreon as a platform for making more of this work possible, so if you haven’t already checked it out, go take a peek! (There’s a lot of free stuff there, too, if you don’t want to commit to chucking some money my way each month.)
More news coming next week! Stay tuned.
Something a little different today: a process GIF from a recent illustration commission! This cat portrait was done start-to-finish in Manga Studio with Frenden’s blue pencil and Hairpin Sable inker brushes.
You notice how the cat really comes alive in that last frame when the white highlights in the eyes come into play? Every time I add those to a piece I get this really vivid memory of going to art classes as a kid.
My teacher’s name was Sharon Butler. She was a realist painter from South Africa who painted waist-high stones to look like living cheetahs, crouching in the greenery outside the studio. The two rooms in her establishment were filled with the perpetual, chalky scent of pastels and Prismacolor pencils. We’d get pieces of illustration board handed out every time a new project began, cut down to the appropriate size. I completely lost track of time every session I spent there. My only job was drawing, as well as I could.
This was pre-internet, so Sharon kept a morgue file in the inner room. It was a metal filing cabinet—dull beige and taller than I was at the time—crammed full of photos and magazine clippings. There were folders for horses and dolphins and birds and architecture and chairs and people and costumes. Every manilla folder had a grouping by subject, and since Google simply wasn’t around yet we’d fight over who got the best picture of the dolphin to draw from.
I drew a lot of animals when I went to those classes with Sharon. She’d stop by while I was struggling to render a hummingbird as something other than a crude cartoon, giving suggestions on how I could better train my eye to see what was actually in front of me. The second-to-last touch, before the fixative stopped our pastel smudges from scattering off the page, was to add a dot of white in each eye. She taught us to use a Q-Tip or the back end of a paintbrush.
At the time it felt like wizardry—the amount of life that tiny dot of white could bring to an otherwise flat animal.
It still does, kind of.
Wrapped up this little triptych of sea creatures last week for a client in Seattle. They were so much fun to paint! I really enjoy working with vibrant watercolors. He asked for a layout where they could hang staggered on a vertical plane, so I overlapped the elements from each one to give them a little continuity. I couldn’t really get them to match up perfectly in the WordPress interface, but this is close.
If you’re interested in a small watercolor commission of your own, I currently have some slots available. Get in touch at lucypcbellwood[at]gmail[dot]com for more info!