Abstraction

I have challenged myself to produce work that draws on my love of color and the translucency of watercolor, and still has an element of landscape and figures. As an artist, it's important to try new directions in our art. What worked well for me 20 years ago in graduate school, doesn't feel the same now. Honestly, I tried, because I love that work! But I am not the same person I was then. Then, I was heavily influenced by my love of English and European literature and drama, urban scenes of people, buildings, etc. Now, I love color, the countryside, and I still love people, but I see them in a less stylized and characterized way. 

This new direction is evolving, but that's what being an artist is about!

Drawing in Pen & Ink

I love drawing with a fountain pen! There's a richness in the ink as it flows from an actual nib onto quality paper. Lately, I've found it really frustrating when, after I bought an "art" pen, the ink would stop flowing mid-line and I would be forced to go back over the line and try to smooth it out, ugh. Not to mention "splotches!" 

I found myself in Vroman's (my local independent bookstore here is Pasadena, CA), standing in front of the fountain pen cases, wondering if these pens designed for actual writing would be better than what I was using?  I splurged and bought myself a small aluminum Kaweco pen.  

Sometimes, you CAN blame your tools, not the artist! Incidentally, I love sketching in pen & ink because it's freeing exercise for more detailed paintings, etc. These sketches, largely portraits, are quick and easy, but sometimes a simple line can convey much personality and emotion. 

Easily, one of the best decisions I have made, my little Kaweco, paired with a bottle of Noodler's Ink is such an absolute joy to use! The ink just flows so smoothly. 

The Magic of Liquid Acrylics

 

I have recently discovered liquid acrylics! If you have never used them as a medium, I highly recommend giving them a try. I love the watercolor-like affects (see green wall in my painting Man with Dog, 2017 below). I have been using the brand Golden, their "high flow acrylics" range.

Watercolor can be a challenge, in that it's difficult to paint layers without the work becoming "muddy" and over painted. With liquid acrylic paints, you can easily layer your work, because each will dry and cover the others really well! 

You can see in the are of the green wall in my painting that I was able to thin the paint, which enhances the painterly effects. This is what is so appealing about watercolor, seeing the brushwork and letting the light from the paper's surface shine through. 

I also tried using Golden's Acrylic Glazing Liquid, which thins the paint, but found that my brush strokes became too prominent. You have to be careful about using too much water, as it can cause the pigment to separate and adhere less strongly to the paper. 

Here's a close-up of the face on my figure. I loved the fact that I was able to get coverage as well as translucency! 

Thank you!

-Elizabeth, 2017

Draw Every Day (a challenge)

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So here's the thing, I love the idea of setting a daily challenge for myself and actually following through with it! if I am honest with myself, it doesn't always work out so well! 😏

But I am up for the challenge (again)! This is something I started today, it's pen & ink on board at the moment. I plan on painting it with transparent acrylics. Stay tuned!