Friday, December 25, 2015

Inspiring View

A quiet, little inspiring view to end the year.

                                              Watercolor on 140 lbs paper, 8x10

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Through the Trees

Once upon I time I worked nearly exclusively in pastel (really. . .just look at the posts from 2004 and 2005; they cover a 15 year period).  Then for whatever reason, I stopped.  Now part of it is due to watercolor being more portable.  However, after playing around with my beloved Unison's this weekend, I caught the bug again.

Its a bit rough but it is a very good start.

                                      Pastel on Mi-Tientes paper 9x12

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Doodling in Pastel

Just a quick doodle, in pastel no less.  After touching up the "Rocks at Dawn" in pastel, I could not stop.  Now I want to break out my pastels in 2016 and thought I would just play around (it completely busted out of its little box).  What was most fun was taking a wet paint brush to pull the pigment around in a rough wash and then going over it again with more pastel.  

                                                 Pastel on paper (sketch book)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Rocks at Dawn Revisited

I never really liked this painting when I finished it.  I was still using cotman watercolors and had not come close to understand how to use them.  The plan was always to either go back or try this picture again.  Well, I decided to touch up the painting with my beloved Unison pastels.  I did not do too much (further defined the rocks by adding yellow highlights and dark purple and brown shadows and making the clouds more wispy with a light blue plus the bit of angry clouds in the upper right).  

All in all, I like it better.

                      Watercolor & pastel on 200 lbs watercolor paper, 16x12

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Jolly Monk

I hear it is great place to grab a beer and some wings and some sliders. . .

                            Watercolor on 140lbs watercolor block, 9x12

Friday, December 04, 2015

Waiting for the Keys

It is that time of year again. . .thinking about family, Christmas and then the Keys.

Trying to work more and get better using the"wet-in-wet" technique.  The goal for this was to do a much more "atmospheric" and moody sky.  I am still have having issues controlling the water to pigment ratio.  I think the paper needs to be soaked more to really open up the fibers (which is tough to do with paper on block paper).  That being said, I do like how the sky turned out, it is a bit more organic and flowing then previous skies I have attempted.

                               Watercolor on 140lbs watercolor block, 9x12

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Delivering the Pumpkin

This became something different than it started out (the plan was for a much simpler background among other things).  The figure, for the most part, turned out okay.  However, I did not achieve the correct skin tone and then broke one of the cardinal rules of watercolor: I overworked it and went over it again and again (and gave the poor girl sunburn).  

No tube green was used for the trees in the background which is unusual for me.  I do tend to over rely on Sap Green and Deep Sap Green.  So to shake things up, I took up the Mind of Watercolor challenge and mixed my greens from various yellows and blues.  The end result was/is. . .encouraging.

                                   Watercolor, pen & ink on 140 lbs block 9x12

Friday, November 20, 2015

Saying Farewell to Fall

The trees have mostly lost all their leaves, so I am a bit late for a tribute to the fall foliage.  Here is a final farewell to fall.  Winter is coming. . .

A bit of pen and ink, a bit off calligraphy, and finish it up with a whole lotta water color.  I like the contrast of the vibrant orange watercolors and the dark ink.

                                                  Watercolor, pen & ink on paper

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Feed the Trees

Returning to an old subject matter just as the leaves were beginning to turn.  Mayhap not the best, but not the worst.

                                 Watercolor on 140 lbs paper 9x12

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker

A fun little multi-media piece. . .watercolor with pen and ink and a bit of calligraphy (still playing with fonts).  I have not seen our pileated woodpecker at the feeder for awhile, I wonder where he has gone.

                                             Watercolor pen & ink

Friday, October 23, 2015

Inktober - More Sunset

Noodler's Apache Sunset in a pilot parallel pen. . .flourishes with Jinhao 159 (Goulet medium nib).

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Inktober - Lost in Love

Noodler's Apache Sunset is an extremely high shading ink.  And the pilot parallel pen 6 mm pen is a the perfect pen to showcase its potential.  The flourishes were done with a modified Jinha0 pent with a Goulet #6 nib.  I was just goofing around, but I really like the gothic-esque lettering.  Wish I could easily crop out the scribbles up top.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Inktobober - yama-budo

Inktober entry and a day off!!!  Below is using the Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with a Spencerian modification. It took a bit to get used to the softness of the nib, but now I feel I can consistently produced thick and thin lines.

And here are some doodles with a glass brush and a dip pen (blue pumpkin nib).  Just randomness.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lopsided Sunflower

Sitting at breakfast I noticed out of all the single sunflowers adorning the tables at Perry's, only mine was lopsided.  But I thought, hey, it is a little beat up and missing some petals on the left side, but it has the most character. . .which was apropos. It demanded to be painted.  And so I did.

                               watercolor pen & ink on paper 5.5X8.5 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Inktober Part One

So, there is this thing called Inktober that I found out about last year. . .in November. And I was like, "What?!? How did I not know about this?" But this year, I am ready, sort of. Below are some quick sketches using two different Pilot Iroshizuku inks: yama-budo (burgundy/pink) and ina-ho (brown/gold) drawn with a glass brush.  Lettering with a blue pumpkin nib.

Friday, October 02, 2015

It was a dark and stormy tree

It is a cold, blustery and crappy day today as we wait for Joaquin.  Perfect for my mood.  I have not painted in a while and this was done without photo reference, visual reference or under drawing.  I just. . .painted.  

The sky, a mix of deep apatite blue and french ultramarine, and the deep dark greens, providing a contrast to the tree, reflects the puissance of the weather.

                                      Watercolor on 200lbs paper 14x10

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fun with Ink

Trying out my new glass brush (yes, glass).  It is super cool and you can get an amazing amount of line variation by changing the angle of the brush to paper.  Here is a quick sketch of a horse in ink.  I like this Super 5 ink (Delhi), it is as soft yellowy-orange.  And it is yet another three legged horse, of course, of course.

                             Super 5 Delhi ink (glass brush and blue pumpkin nib)

And here I am just having fun with a high shading ink (Apache Sunset), blue pumpkin nib and some water.  
                    Noodler's Apache Sunset ink (blue pumpkin nib and pilot parallel pen)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Labor Day - Washington Rock

Sitting at the base of Washington Rock, NJ and looking up.  In 1777, This is where General George Washington watched the troop movement of General William Howe in New Brunswick, NJ.  The high ground of this natural rock outcropping provides an unobstructed view of over 30 miles.  You can still see NY City today.  I thought about painting the vista, but looking up at the stone wall was more interesting.

                                        Watercolor, pen & ink 5.5 X 16.0

Monday, September 07, 2015

Scotland Vacation - Edinburgh and the Highlands

After staying in Glasgow, we headed north to Edinburgh and the Highlands.

In Edinburgh, We had a fantastic view of Edinburgh Castle from our hotel room.  Drawing buildings is not my thing but I I could not pass up trying.  We toured the castle for day before taking a three day tour of the Highlands with Haggis Adventures.

                            Edinburgh Castle watercolor pen & ink 5.5X16

Our first stop at Dunkeld Cathedral was not as long as I thought (a theme that would repeat itself through our tour), which is a shame because this is probably the best drawing of a church I have ever done, even the perspective seems correct.  T took photos and I may one day complete the painting (though probably not; too many other photos references waiting to be painted).
                                     Dunkeld Cathedral watercolor pen & ink

Another quick stop and another quick sketch.  I cannot remember the name of the river but the meat pastries I ate there were awesome.
                                    River watercolor on paper 5.5X8.5

This is one of my favorites sketches from the trip.  I sat sketching the ruins of Old Inverlochy Castle with an elegant writer pen (while a swarm of midges made midge-meat out of my legs; sometimes we must suffer for our art).  I love the simplicity of this piece, from the washes the pen creates (the blue-gray and pinks) to the limit grass
                             The ruins of Old Inverlochy Castle elegant writer and watercolor

And finally, the Isle of Sky, looking across the Sound of Raasay toward Scotland.  I could have stayed here for hours.   I could have stayed at just about every stop on the Isle of Sky for hours.  There were gorgeous vistas, in every direction, as far as the eye could see.  And the sky changed rapidly, from a deep cerulean blue to somber clouds of grey.  But I knew we only had a short time so I could only manage a small painting.  The famous Kilt Rock was off to my left, but there were too many tour groups and photographers milling about to get a good view for a painting, so I chose the opposite vista instead.
                                   by Kilt Rock watercolor pen & ink on paper 3.5X11

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Two Points for Gryffindor

London is a wonderful city for architecture.  Unfortunately, I am not always inspired to draw and paint buildings.  But there was a park. . .and there was a statue.

                                                   pen & ink on paper

Next up, more from Scotland.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Scotland Vacation - Glasgow

I did not do as much painting/sketching while I was in Scotland as I intended, but I did do a few pieces.  Just too much to see and too much to do.  T did take a ton of beautiful pictures, so I have a plethora of source material to use for future paintings.

Below is one of the few watercolors I did.  It is not the most dynamic view of the Glasgow Cathedral (the best views had me standing out in traffic) but it is one of the best urban painting I have ever done.

                            Glasgow Cathedral watercolor, pen & ink on paper 8.5X5.5

On my first day in Glasgow I sought out  Mother India's Cafe for lunch (it was awesome, T and I ate at its sister restaurant in Edinburgh. . .twice, it was that good).  Sitting at the restaurant gave me a good view of Kelvingrove.  Below is the quick sketch. 

        Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, pen & kiowa pecan ink on paper 3.5X5.5   

While in the Kelvingrove did do two sketches with water soluble ink (nice shading) and a water brush.  It was a great museum and I spent the entire afternoon.  I wish I had done more sketches of the Great Irish Deer (Elk). I admit to not being familiar with this particular megafauna but looking at its antlers and their 8.9 foot span, I can see how the legends of the Irish Wild Hunt were started.

                       Giant Irish Deer skeletal pen & ink on paper 5.5X8.5

And here is a sketch of the statue of Robert the Bruce (at Bannockburn).  Never made it to Stirling Castle (next time)

                                 Brian Boru statue pen & ink on paper 5.5X8.5

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Feeling Froggy

A bit of illustration and a bit of abstraction.  All froggy.

                            Pen & Ink and watercolor on 140lbs paper 9x12

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Tree in the Abstract

A bit of abstraction and negative space.  I had other intentions when I started this but liked the result. . .

                                         Watercolor on 180lbs paper

Monday, May 25, 2015

Throwing paint down

Been spending the majority of my creative time playing with inks and calligraphy (not posting everything) and have not painted much as a result.  I really wanted to throw down some paint and have fun on beautiful day.  I am most happy with two things: 1) The background green is mixed on the paper not tube green like the tree foliage (I put down hansa yellow medium and dropped french ultramarine and cobalt blue to mix) and 2) I am getting better at spattering paint.  

                              Watercolor, pen & ink on paper 5.5X8.25

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Rule about Bears

A simple ink sketch using two of my favorite brown inks with a little bit of watersoluble crayon to round it out.

                    Pen & ink, neocolor watersoluble crayons on 180lbs paper

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fun with new ink

Trying out new samples of Pilot ink.  From left to right is Ama-Iro (sky blue), Ajisai (hydrangea), Shin-ryoku (forest green) and Yu-yake (sunset).  These inks are quite vibrant and make nice washes.  I put shin-ryoku in a new Lamy (neon green) and have enjoyed writing with it.  Once I finish the chiku-rin in a different pen, I am going to try the ama-iro. I love how intense the tree in the second picture turned out.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

San Diego

Lot's of conferences in San Diego but not lots of time to sketch.  One on the plane (the pen kinda sorta exploded, hence the dark arm on the one passenger) and one from the hotel.  Both sketches are small and fast..

                                                Pen & Ink on paper3.5x5.5 in

                                                    Pen & Ink on paper3.5x5.5 in

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Back to the Middle Brook

A short hike off the beaten path for a different view of the Middle Brook.  Forgot to bring water, so it was fortunate I brought waterbrushes (pre-filled with water).  Used pen and ink, watercolor and crayon for this piece. 

               Watercolor, pen & ink and watersoluble crayon on paper 5.5 x 16.0

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Sketches in Brown Ink

Some random sketches/doodles using Noodler's Kiowa Pecan ink. While it may not be water resistant and therefore not good for water color under drawings, I like taking advantage of its beautiful shading (shifting from dark brown to an almost yellowy raw sienna) and water solubility to create fun washes.

            Blue Pumpkin nib with Noodler's Kiowa Pecan Ink (and a bit of water color)

Friday, May 01, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bridge over the Middle Brook

Another beautiful Sunday and another opportunity to paint.  I am enjoying the surreal effect and look of watercolor on top of "activated" ink from the elegant writer.

              "activated" elegant writer marker and watercolor on 140lbs block 9X12

Friday, April 24, 2015

Calligra-Friday and Backyard Tree!

Calligra-Friday and my neighbor's tree collide in today's post.  I wanted to try out my new Caran D'Ache watersoluble wax pastel crayons, and what better subject that my favorite tree?  Exactly.  And to complete the sketch, I found this quote from Hal Borland.  The quote was a perfect compliment, especially using Pilot Isoshizuku chiku-rin ("Bamboo Forest" yellow green) ink. 

                     Watersoluble crayons and chiku-rin (Isoshizuku) ink on 180lbs paper

The Brause No. 361 "Blue Pumpkin" nib is notoriously difficult to control for mere mortals like myself (the nib exhibits a great degree of flexing but holds limited amounts of ink when dipped and therefore runs out of ink quickly).  People have created nib reservoirs for the Pumpkin (and the Rose) with masking tape.  It works, but is only a temporary solution.  However, I saw someone on the interwebs take a reservoir from Brause Bandzug italic nib and attach it to the Pumpkin.  And wow, does that little reservoir make a huge difference.  Glad I have my own personal McGuyver in Tina who kindly did the nib "surgery" for me.

Friday, April 17, 2015


One of my favorite quotes from my favorite book.  The nib fought me on this.  I tried a temporary nib reservoir (but the tape fell off) and without it the ink did not flow well. Not my best effort (I need to work on my flair). . .but not bad.

                       Murasaki-Shikibu (Isoshizuku) ink on rhodia dot paper

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lake Creighton

This past Sunday was a beautiful day.  The perfect day for a hike and a painting.  For this piece I once again used the elegant writer pens for the initial sketch.  And unlike the eagle, I added watercolor over the top of the activated pen.  This marks a bit of a departure from my normal style (what ever that is) as this looks more surreal than anything else I have ever done (which is kinda cool).  There is a bit of "mud" where watercolor wash met still wet pen ink (I need to be more patient) but over all, I am quite pleased with this. 

           "activated" elegant writer marker and watercolor on 9X12 140lbs paper

Friday, April 10, 2015

Eagle Eye View

I saw this awesome instructional video by Karlyn Holman on the Cheap Joe's youtube channel on how to make incredible and unique washes using the Speedball Elegant Writer calligraphy pens.  I never would have thought to try this, but it is so cool.  I love how the ink creates blue-gray washes when the ink is activated with water.  And if you dab a particularly wet wash with a napkin, it lifts up pink!  How crazy is that?!? All of this great gradation of color from one pen. I initially intended to add watercolor to the sky but decided this picture did not need color.  To show how wild the washes are, I posted the black and white drawing is below.

                          "activated" elegant writer marker on 9X12 140lbs paper

                               The simple black and white of the drawing.