Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mt. Sinai Watercolor Studies

I just finished three small watercolor studies of Mt. Sinai harbor marshland.  It felt good to start painting again, I have been focused on silverpoint drawing and colored pencil drawing lately so this diversion was good for me.  It also forced me to update my website with six new pieces- a task that I have been neglecting.  

Friday, December 11, 2009

This time of year when the reeds in the water turn a gorgeous golden color is one of my favorite times to walk the dogs down to the harbor and enjoy the scenery.  I took my digital camera with me and took at least a hundred photos of various views of Mount Sinai bay area at low tide as the sun was setting.  I love the warm light and long shadows at that time of day.  I imported the images into iPhoto on my computer and actually use the computer as a sketchbook.  I do my cropping and color enhancements and corrections digitally then 

use my photos as references for my artwork.

For this series of work I already painted two small 6” x 6” watercolor paintings-one of them was sold at Gallery North at one of the exhibits I was in there. I think I am going to continue the series of small studies in both the square and rectangular formats and maybe also experiment with a few small silverpoint drawings of the landscapes as well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This is an ongoing series that I have been working on using silverpoint.  They are close up views of Peony flowers that grow every year in my garden.  I photographed the flowers with my digital camera, cropped the images in Photoshop and printed them out to use as reference photos.  I like to photograph in bright sunlight in order to get high contrast images-bright whites and dark shadows.  Silverpoint drawing has a limited range of values that can be achieved so a careful rendering of the image is required or everything will be gray.  I make sure to save the white areas so my value scale will be more dramatic.  And, silverpoint drawings do not reproduce well, the subtle nuances can only be seen on the originals,  jpeg's do not do the art justice.

Artichoke Silverpoint Drawing

I just finished this artichoke drawing today using the obscure art medium of silverpoint. Silverpoint is the art medium that the art masters, such as DaVinciRembrandt and Durer, used to draw with.  Before pencils were invented, this was the material that was used for drawing and sketching. I discovered this medium while taking a Botanical Illustration class at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.  The instructor, Laura Vogel, brought in an amazing drawing of a Locust bug that she created in silverpoint and I was mesmerized. Immediately I went and bought the supplies and got to work. The way it works is that a piece of sterling silver wire is placed into a mechanical pencil holder and drawn on a special clay coated paper.  The silver will not work on any other paper.  Traditionally, the surface for drawing was rabbit skin glue, but I have issues with that, so it’s clay coated paper for me.  Silverpoint can not be erased, any mark that goes down, stays down so careful planning is required before beginning.  Another interesting element about it is that the silver in the drawing will slowly tarnish over time creating a warm patina, which I love.