I am not racing through this course I’m taking. First, I discovered I need to get a real set of watercolors. The ones I have might work for a kid in grade school, but are completely useless for this. But that’s okay. I’ll find something that looks good and order it. Meanwhile, I went through two videos on shading to create a 3D image and learned a few important lessons, not the least of which is to make sure when you are creating a multi-layered painting, you have to wait until it’s dry before you go to the next level. If you hurry, it will all bleed together and ruin your lines.

He really IS round

Hurrying has always been my biggest fault. I played the piano too fast too. Photography has taught me both patience — waiting until the shot “arrives” — and then hurrying to get as many shots of that flapping bird as I can before he or she flies away. Watercolors are another interesting combination of hurry-up and wait.

I painted a few small peppers the other day. Three colors: red, yellow, and orange. I used a combination of ink, watercolor pencil, and watercolors. I could manage them because they are each a primary color.

A bit sloppy with the brush, but not too bad; at least they look like peppers. I also just notice I used the wrong year in the date. Oops. I’m sure I’ll have it nailed by February, March at the latest.

Most things are not a primary color and that’s where my watercolors fail. No range of shades, no pallet, and the brushes are worth what I paid for them — not much. I need better brushes. I should have known because I use better brushes than these to do makeup, so why did I think super cheap brushes would work for painting? If they wouldn’t be good enough for eyeliner, they probably won’t work well for much else.

I was reasonably satisfied with the produce, so I decided it was time to try another bird. We have been assaulted by marauding grackles, so what else could I do? What I didn’t count on was how very difficult it would be to find the right colors. Especially because grackles are shiny, almost metallic in bright light. Even using my fine quality watercolor pencils, there were so many shades of blue from nearly black to turquoise, purples, red, greens, browns, orange.

It looks like a grackle. Most important, I got the body shape right. Even the beak is the right shape. I didn’t have the right yellow for the eye, though — and there were not enough shades of red, purple, blue, or green. Grackles have a lot of colors. I’m not even sure it’s possible to count them.

At least it looks like a grackle and it doesn’t look flat. Not fully 3D, but not flat. That’s a big improvement from the cardinal — who really WAS flat. Though I’ve noticed that many renderings of Cardinals look flat. That might be because they are such a solid single shade of red, it’s hard to make them look “round.”

I’m not sure what I’m going to try tomorrow. I was considering celery. Texture. Celery has texture. Or a Blue Jay. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Categories: #Sketchbook, Anecdote, Arts

Tags: , , , ,

19 replies

  1. From what I know from listening to Naomi talk about it art can be an expensive hobby. She buys student grade materials, better than the basic stuff but not quite as expensive as the good stuff. When she can afford it, she buys the good ones. Same with brushes. It makes sense to buy the best you can afford because cheap stuff doesn’t look as good and probably isn’t as nice to work with. Difficult on a shoestring budget but there are some things it’s worth splurging on.
    I do like your birds. I’ve never been good at drawing myself. Mum was and I think Naomi gets that from her where I am better with textiles, knitting etc while Naomi doesn’t knit or sew at all.


  2. The paintings are fantastic! I’ve tried it but nothing looked like anything I ever envisioned. Good for modern art, but not something that resembles anything else. I did find a glaze that makes a lot of colors look neon but was in a store full of art supplies and don’t remember the name of the glaze. The geckle looked shiny to me, so I love it!


  3. Very impressive for someone who is just starting out!


    • I could always draw — really doodle — pretty well, but I never managed to make anything look like the thing it was supposed to be. Now I’m learning to draw things that look like what they should look like. If anyone were to ask me what tool I use the most?


      I spend a LOT of time erasing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For a few first endeavours, I’d say brilliant! I haven’t the patients to wait I’m afraid. Keep up the good work because honestly, I love these, the peppers and birds. Incredible. Wished I could get my grand daughter’s work to you to see. You’d enjoy for sure.


    • Take pictures. Send them. Cell phones are great for that kind of photography!

      Patience is MY hardest requirement too. I’m always in a hurry and I’ve ruined a lot of things because I rushed. So now, I’m taking my time. It helps that I’m old and I move slowly anyway 😀


  5. The grackle is wonderful! You did get the shape, and that is key — if the colors aren’t quite right, remember that they aren’t always perfect in nature either — but it looks as if you really did get them very close to perfect! Keep it up!


    • Thank you!

      I got the bird’s shape and the color groups are in the right places. I wasn’t able to get that red-violet and blue-purple — and a shade of red I can’t even describe except that it’s close to burgundy, but with a bit more pinky purple in it. My 72-pencil set doesn’t have nearly enough blues and reds — and barely sufficient browns — AND only ONE black pencil which is ridiculous. I have to order a bigger set of colors — when I have the money, but I had to order a set of real watercolors yesterday AND brushes — and even cheap brushes are expensive.

      I sometimes forget you have to get the tools before you can do the work. i had hoped I could make do with inexpensive materials and buy more as needed — but I need them now. At least it’s watercolors and pencils, not oils, canvas, and easels. That would probably kill me 😀


  6. The shape of the Gackle is very good. Once you have more colours, you will be terrific at painting. I have the same with my fondant art. A lot of patience is required, especially with flowers, as the layers of petals have to dry properly. That takes about a week. Standing figures must also dry thoroughly before they are assembled or the legs collapse. I also have to buy a lot of shades and use a good paintbrush.


    • I ordered a better set of watercolors, though it’s just 24 colors, so they need to be mixed to get the right colors. I haven’t done that in a very long time. Also, the new ones come in tubes. I’ve never seen watercolors in tubes before, but apparently the colors are stronger AND you only need a tiny bit of color, so the tubes last a long time (or so everyone says). I also ordered brushes Not the best, but the really good ones are REALLY expensive. Also, I’m going to need to see what sizes I use the most before I invest. I have some brushes — sable — stashed and I have to find them. They were expensive, so I saved them in case one day I wanted to try painting again. They’ve been in a case, so I figure nothing has happened to them in these last 20+ years. The “water” brushes are handy, but none of them are well made. I wish we had an actual shop so I could ask questions and get my hands on the actual products. The only shop we have only sells acrylics and oils.

      Drying time is going to really stretch my patience.

      What do you think of gouache? I know it’s not watercolor, but it is water-based — and I think a bit sturdier than watercolor. Have you used them?


      • HI Marilyn, I have never painted with any medium other than food colouring. You mix that with an edible alcohol base. I also have sable brushes and they were expensive. They are old now and need replacing but all our art shops have disappeared over the past two years of the pandemic. I’m hoping at least one will come back. I look forward to seeing what you do with your new colour box.


  7. I agree with Sadje. I wish our grackles looked that pretty. And you did get the body shape well 😀


    • Thanks!!

      Do your grackles have really LONG tails?

      The same grackles we get here also populate the west coast, Canada and sometimes Mexico. If you haven’t seen them up close in bright light, they would look black. However, there IS a grackle — the Great-tailed Grackle — which is all black but has a very long tail, sometimes longer than the entire rest of the bird. Next time you spot one, see if he has that long tail (sometimes puffy as well as long). The females are nature’s favorite color, brown. You could miss them in the crowd.

      If you are seeing the Great-tailed Grackle, that would mean they have migrated north since they are usually down in Mexico. I’m just curious about birds, so forgive my nosiness!


  8. For a learner, you are doing marvelously.


    • Thank you 😀

      At least I’m beginning to get the shapes of things. The color problems is more because I don’t have enough colors to work with — not to mention that grackles have so many colors! They are really gorgeous, though. Good thing considering how much they have upped the amount of food I have to put out — about double! They better at least be beautiful 😀

      Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: