In between bottle feeding the five goat kids out in the pen, I managed to work up a charcoal study of a cougar from a photograph provided by Grace Carpenter for an art challenge on a forum I read. Unlike the tulip bud I started yesterday, I managed to get this one finished before a jealous indoor kitty sat on it. Said tulip project has both paw prints and a butt print on it in addition to the dry pastel smearing. I really do need to remember to turn my works-in-progress over so the working surface faces down. Enough grumbling from me about yesterday’s aborted project – back to today’s drawing.
This is just my first sketch of it, mostly for the experience points, and also to see how well I liked the crop of the original photo. While I am mostly pleased with how it turned out, I think I want to try it in white pencil on black paper as that may be a bit easier to get the whiskers to show up like I want. I also need to work on the chin and lower muzzle a bit better, but I decided to upload it and make prints available from my Pixels store.
The amusing part of this story is I scanned the drawing and was almost ready to upload it when I noticed I had forgotten to add in the whiskers and lightest highlights. So, just for the giggles, here is the first scan, before I finished it up.
It may not seem like a lot of difference between the not-quite-done version and the final version, but I can see it and therefore cannot unsee it.
Now, for the geekiness that is me: This oversized house cat really is an oversized house cat, despite some of its other names like puma, mountain lion, or in this region Florida panther. It isn’t even in the panther genus, unlike actual lions, so I guess puma or cougar are the best names for it. Cougars are related to my jealous little feline monsters … and this is very similar to look on Stripe’s face this morning as I tried to get her off yesterday’s drawing without smearing it.
Now, for part two of my unplanned month of drawing that bled into the last day of 2021, and continued to the first day of February, and lasted the entire month of January. (Wow, that makes it sound really long!) Considering it is still in progress, I guess we are now well beyond the month idea, so perhaps I should call this a season of drawing? One big advantage drawing has over painting is how quickly it can be set aside to go do something else, and considering I have two nanny goats due to kid in the next month I think it is safe to say I’ll be working with dry media until probably mid to late March because one of the pure JOYS of having my goats is bottlefeeding the kids each spring. Even if I want to take a break from monochrome charcoal, I have soft pastels (I often call them dusties), pastel pencils, regular colored pencils, and even oil pastels, though the oilies will smear if a cat walks across before I’ve sealed it.
Enough rambling – back to the drawing spree I am still currently doing. A couple weeks ago, I got an email on a list I subscribed to for a free tutorial offering the “legacy class bundle” for a discounted price. I thought it over, then decided the sale price was fair and bought a whole huge heap of video tutorials, and decided to start with the drawing ones. I am bouncing around as to which one I do any given day, depending on my mood, and here are the first pieces I’ve drawn with the tutorials. I should probably mention the artist who made the tutorial bundle does photorealism. I call what I do just realism, as I don’t actually try to copy a photo down to the tiniest detail, but there are all kinds of small tips and pointers littered throughout the videos’ run times that can benefit me even if I don’t go as detailed as she does.
First, I just had to start with this rose in charcoal. Seriously, what is not to love here? I enjoy drawing and painting roses, and apparently people enjoy seeing drawings and paintings of roses, and a single white rose against a mostly-black background is about as dramatic as you can get without using color. To be honest, sometimes the monochromatic charcoal black on white can be more dramatic than color (when the stars align just right and and the picture feels like it just flows out from the pencil). This is in 8 by 10 inch format, and the very first page of a new sketchbook, plus I put it in the top corner instead of centered on the page so the original for this will not be available to buy … but I can do it again if someone wants me to, and in different size or aspect ratio. I do have prints available at my Pixels store, but I didn’t upload it to RedBubble because I am not sure my charcoal work looks as good there.
The very next day I wanted to do another drawing, and picked a reference photo for a different tutorial. It was a video on how to transfer an image from a printed photo onto your art paper, so this is me taking the tips and general method from the rose video to make these two flamingo heads. Flamingoes are definitely one of my favorite birds to draw and paint, and this image just caught my imagination. This time, I centered the 8 by 10 inch image on my not-quite 9 by not-quite 12 inch sketchbook page, so if anyone wants to purchase the original I can remove the page and trim it down with no problem – if you live outside my area you can buy through Daily Paintworks. Or you can get prints in your desired size at my Pixels store.
Those of y’all who have known me a while are already wondering how long it took me to go completely off the tutorials to do my own thing … and the magic number was three. Two days after drawing the flamingo heads, I decided it was past time I did a horse in charcoal. It took me a while to pick out a reference photo, but in the end I went with a galloping filly. I decided to try using hot press watercolor paper instead of multimedia or charcoal/pastel paper, and that goes back to the tutorial series. It is the first time I’ve used watercolor paper for something other than watercolor, and it is also the first time I’ve heard of using a dry media on paper for water media. I think I need to try a few more times before I can say if I like it or not, but it does have a different feel than normal dry drawing paper. This one is an actual 12 by 9 inch pad of paper, and the original is available for purchase through Daily PaintWorks. Prints of various sizes are available at my Pixels site as well.
I mentioned at the start of this post that my drawing kick kicked off on New Year’s Eve, and that is because I drew the winner of December’s frame giveaway that evening before bed. Since Murphy’s Law governs more than just the army, the winner wants her portrait to go into the frame she won. I am still knocking the rust off my people-drawing skills, and there is a series for that in the big legacy class bundle. First things first – an eye study since the eyes are the main feature that will make-or-break a portrait. I had my dog-eared almost-full old sketchbook within reach, so this is one I am not offering the original … and I have not uploaded it for prints either. About the only place I could see this in a frame and on a wall would be the waiting room of an optometry office. It is still “good training,” as we used to say in the army.
So this brings me current, as of today. I have tutorials on drawing the nose and the mouth to work through, then one on doing a whole face. After that, I may feel brave enough to try my hand at Dorothy’s portrait again. Yes, again – I did try early in January and was not satisfied with the result (which made the sale on the tutorial videos quite timely for me). I may be very much behind my self-set schedule for getting this out, but as I remarked to my husband yesterday, I won’t call a piece done until I am satisfied with how it has turned out. If that means I need to redo it until I get it to my satisfaction, well we did that in the army as well!
I am finally getting to the final image from the black and white challenge, which ended up being a photograph I took in early July of my husband’s jalapeno plant, cropped, straightened, and with the color taken out. I had a busy day out of the house that day, running errands up in Palatka, and was tired both physically and mentally once I got home. I really was not happy with the result, and immediately planned to redo it and replace the image with something better, something more “me” than a cluttered and busy photo.
That something else ended up being the very next challenge, which I started with the Calla Lily painting in acrylic. Since the theme for the next challenge was “anything goes,” I figured to do up three images from the black and white challenge in color, using acrylic paint since I could use the practice with that medium.
Some days, the paint just flows perfectly, and the painting comes together “like magic,” as the saying goes. Then, there are days when I feel as though I am fighting every step of the way … and the first day of this painting was definitely a struggle. I blocked out the position of everything easily enough, but my first stab at the background color turned out too purple, so I mixed up some more paint and tried again, with this time being too light a blue. Then, when that dried, I noticed I did cover the too-violet paint well enough in some spots, so I went over it a third time, using the paint straight from the bottle. Then, I turned my attention to the green leaves and stems.
At the time, I only had two shades of green at hand, and neither one was dark enough to be a good jalapeno green. I tried mixing, but at this point it was time to put the critters up for the night and I was frustrated enough I needed to suppress the urge to throw the canvas across the room. That’s usually a clear sign to stop working on it, and try again the next day. So, this painting knocked me out of the short, three-day “anything goes” art challenge, which requires one completed work each day of the challenge. Dropping out of a challenge is only a minor disappointment for me, and one I actually prefer to posting up something I don’t like.
After officially dropping out, hubby was home and asked me what part of the painting had me so frustrated. When I got to the part about not having a good green, he started digging around his bunch of paint (he has used this brand for several years now) and started pulling out half a dozen shades of green for me to choose from. Then he remembered some blending medium that slows drying time that he tried but doesn’t use often, and also a wet palette setup to keep the paint you mix up on the palette from drying while you work.
With the expanded selection of greens available the next day, this painting came together so much easier! This one I actually like, and it is currently on display at El Amigo Mexican Restaurant – because that really is a perfect place to display a painting of a jalapeno plant that has a couple white blossoms, one dark green fruit, and two ripe red peppers (when jalapenos turn red, they are called chipotles). This particular painting may not be perfect (and to be honest, it isn’t because I can spot mistakes) but I like it much better than the photograph.
I’ll likely do a similar painting, or maybe recrop the photo for a more close-up view of it, and hopefully it will have fewer mistakes and be less frustrating. For those who may want a print either larger or smaller than the original 11 by 14, check out my Pixels store. If you want this printed on apparel or swag, look here on RedBubble. For the original, you can email me (“artist” at this domain) or message me on Facebook – or call the number on my business card at the restaurant.
Circling back to the black and white art challenge, this piece was the fifth one I drew, although it will technically be the last I post of this series, as I will explain in another post. I actually made this drawing before I did the single Calla Lily, and I was pleased enough with this piece to do the other. Like the others in this series, the reference photo used is color, but has enough contrast in values to make for a nice monochrome picture. Like the previous calla lily I posted, I am thinking of doing this one in color with paints, though I am still trying to decide between using acrylic versus oil paint.
Just like all the others in this series, I used 9 by 12 inch black paper and two different brands of white colored pencil. If you are interested in purchasing the original, you can message me on Facebook or email me directly (“artist” at this domain) to arrange. I do offer shipping, which is extra, but I will pack it to minimize potential for damage. Like the other drawings in the white-on-black series, I can add color for additional cost (for an example, see my Christmas Candle post).
If you prefer to have a print either smaller or larger than the 9×12 inch original, check out your options at my Pixels store. For this picture printed on apparel or accessories, browse my RedBubble store.
I still have one more image in this series, although I have replaced the original black and white photograph with an acrylic painting. That post will be next!
I did both of these pieces from the same reference photo, and both turned out nicely in my opinion. I worked this drawing first as the sixth in the black and white challenge, done on 9 by 12 inch black paper with white colored pencil. I included as much detail as I could, keeping the pencil point sharp to even get most of the dew drops on the white petal while trying to capture the light and shadow.
As the black and white series progressed, I found myself enjoying these white on black drawings a lot when I chose a good subject for it. I will be returning to this medium for more white flowers in the future, with and without additional colors.
As I’ve noted in the caption, the original work is available (unframed). I will ship (packing and shipping costs are extra) so if you want the original, you can message me on Facebook, or email me direct (artist at this domain). If you prefer a larger or smaller print, those can be ordered at my Pixels store, while apparel and accessories are at RedBubble.
I will likely be revisiting this particular reference photo for more work … as I already have. The art challenge immediately after the black and white challenge was “anything goes” in terms of theme or subject, and I wanted to redo the calla lilies in color on black canvas, using acrylic paints since they do dry quickly enough to scan the same day. I chose this particular photo reference for my first painting, and had two 8 by 10 black canvases gessoed to my desired smoothness prior to the challenge starting. On that first day of the new challenge, the painting flowed smoothly from my brush with ease.
I think 8 by 10 is going to be the smallest I paint for now. I know some artists love working on a small scale, but I must confess to dreams of working on LARGE canvases at some point in the future. That will likely involve a cat-free studio space, so for now 18 by 24 inches is probably my upper size limit, while 8 by 10 looks to be the smallest I can be happy doing.
For the acrylic on stretched canvas, the original is available, again you can either message me on FB or email me directly. Prints large and small are at my Pixels store, while swag is at RedBubble. I should probably mention that the image I uploaded to both print sites is the original high-resolution scan, without the domain name on it. I am going to be putting the domain name onto all my smaller and lower resolution images because the battle of image theft is about as old as the internet is. I should have done it as soon as I got this domain name.
Continuing with the artwork I did for the black and white challenge, after doing the bald eagle head study, I decided the white pencil on black paper technique works best for drawing white flowers. When I shared yesterday’s White Cosmos post on Facebook, my mother remarked that the petals of the flower have an almost transparent illusion to them, which seems to confirm my impression. (side note: I cannot see where or how to link to an individual FB post, which is a big reason I like blogs so much better.)
As promised in this post title, day four of the black and white challenge is a white rose, rendered in white pencil on black paper, and in a close-up that goes beyond the frame of the picture. I found this one to be almost meditative to draw and lighten, and while I did not push the highlights too bright, I took care to work on the light coming through the petals in a “glow” appearance. I was not trying for a translucent appearance with the cosmos’ petals, but that was exactly my goal for these delicate rose petals.
If the lines of this rose seem a bit familiar, it is because I used the same sketch from the same reference photo as I did for my watercolor painting, Electric Yellow Rose. I reversed – or mirrored, or flipped – the image, which was simply a matter of pulling that page out of my sketch book and holding it up against the window to draw it on the back of the sheet before transferring it to the black paper. Sometimes I want to explore an image in multiple media, so I try to make small changes to it so no two are exactly identical. I guess you could call this a fair warning, as I absolutely love this particular reference photo and will probably do it in acrylic, pastels, maybe charcoal, and definitely in oil paint at some point. The shadows and shapes and play of light on and through the petals is just so visually interesting and even fun to wrestle onto paper (or canvas, soon).
The original drawing is currently available, so drop me a message on Facebook or email me (artist at this domain) if you are interested, and yes I will ship (shipping and packing charges additional). If you want a print either smaller or larger than the 12 x 9 inch original size, you can order those through my Pixels store. For those who prefer to wear their art, or have it on household items, click through to my page at RedBubble to get it on various swag.
This was my second effort for the recent black and white challenge, a single white cosmos flower in white colored pencil on black paper. Simple and elegant, but simple is not always synonymous with easy! The foreshortening on the nearest petal was tricky at first, when I had tried this image before in regular graphite pencil in my sketchbook, but reversing the paper and pencil colors actually helped for this version.
If I were to redo this in color, I would only be adding the shades of warm yellow for the center, and some green for the stem, as the petals rendered beautifully in just white on black. When I first finished this drawing, I wasn’t certain I had the look, but now over a week later I can say I accomplished it, and am pleased with it.
While I experimented with the bald eagle head for the third day of the challenge, I returned to the theme of white flowers for the remainder of the challenge where I actually drew something. More on that in the next post.
A head study of a noble bald eagle, worked in white colored pencil on black paper. This is actually the third in my white-on-black series, and the only bird in the series, and is itself a continuation of a page from my sketchbook (if you want a print of the sketchbook page, grid still on it, I have that uploaded to my Pixels store here). As a shortcut, I transferred the outline over to my black paper, and while I am extremely pleased with how the eye turned out, I am not so sure about the rest of the drawing. I just cannot pin down what seems off to me, though I do know exactly what I did that made the eye suddenly look so lifelike, so on that point this drawing is a success.
Not every image is suited to being rendered in white on black. Some look better as black on white, and others just don’t look right either way. After doing this in white on black, I decided I would rather have done it in charcoal, preferably on a warm white or sand-beige toned paper, with white pastel pencil to do the highlights. This being a strict black and white challenge meant I’ll have to get around to that idea later. This drawing did convince me that my white-on-black is best suited for white flowers with strong shadows, so that is what the others (save the last) are. I still really like how the eagle’s eye turned out, a week later. I suppose an all-white bird might work with this style, so that is something to revisit later perhaps.
After the blue-feathered bird series, I shifted gears as the next art challenge was black and white, or greyscale in photo editing terms. No other hues, not even hints of actual color other than black, white, and the neutral greys in between. I did not start out with a particular theme-within-a-theme, but I did end up staying in one major category and did all seven challenge pieces with white colored pencil on black paper.
I started out with this lovely reference photo of a white magnolia bloom in mostly shadow, with just the furthest forward petals hit by sunlight. While I’ve wanted to draw this image for a while, I knew I didn’t want to do it in the traditional black on white paper. Since I had been experimenting with colored pencil on black paper, and laying down a white layer first (see A Single Candle and Christmas Candle) I knew as soon as the theme was announced that this would be my first work.
I actually had to use two different brands of colored pencil to get this effect, but I had just bought five new white pencils that work great for laying in most of it with a more translucent white. The really fun part of these pieces was that instead of working to darken in shading, I worked to bring the lights lighter as needed.
I haven’t actually sealed this yet – I had been toying with the idea of putting a color layer on some of these – but that can be accomplished in a day, so if anyone wants the original, you can message me on Facebook or email me directly (artist at this domain dot com). If you want this image but smaller or larger, you can order a print at my Pixels store, while apparel and accessories are at RedBubble – note that all links offsite open in a new tab/window.