Monday, July 09, 2018

World Watercolor Month 2018 Week 1 (July 2-8)

So I've been doing World Watercolour Month.  I found out about it on July 2, hence why July 1 is missing.  But this week I managed to do a piece a day, even hastily on July 2!  This is a little blog showing my progress per piece and inspiration - basically a more expanded version of what I've been posting over on Instagram.

In all cases, clicking the image of the finished painting will take you to the full-size posting on deviantart.

July 1: Sir Not Appearing in This Film
I did not know about World Watercolour Month on July 1.

July 2: White-Throated Kingfisher
So Day 2 (my first day), I decided to tackle a white-throated kingfisher, for many reasons:
  1. I found out about World Watercolour Month via a watercolour group I belong to on deviantart around 6pm, so I had to finish and scan a piece ASAP;
  2. I'm most comfortable drawing birds and desert landscapes;
  3. It seems like the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is a super popular subjects among watercolourists, BUT...
  4. I've, uh...never draw or painted a kingfisher ;
  5. from the birders I follow there are so many kingfisher species, just as stunning as the common kingfisher, if not moreso; and
  6. kingfishers are fucking adorable.
White-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) and Google images of the lovely beast.

The kingfisher piece didn't take very long.  30 minutes, maybe?  That's also why I messed up and have a band at the neck that doesn't exist on any photo I've seen of the bird, as I was trying to rush to get the piece finished, scanned, and submitted online.

July 3: Golden Marmoset - primary colours
This day was, in my opinion, a massive success.  The suggested prompt was primary colours, so I picked three colours I don't really think of as "going together".  I didn't know what my subject matter would be - perhaps steak? - but that day a primate-loving friend texted me AND direct messaged me on instagram, begging me to paint gibbons!  What's funny about this is that since I went to the Antwerp Zoo on a trip to Belgium in June, I'd been wanting to paint a gibbon, especially after reading an article about a two millenia old Chinese crypt that held the bones of an extinct gibbon species.  But the only animals I've ever painted are birds, and the only drawings I've done of other animals are doodles of my dog and of cats.  I never like to dive out of my comfort zone, so I decided to draw a golden lion tamarin, aka golden marmoset (Leontopithecus rosalia) to test the waters.  With its beautiful fur and mane, I knew it would be the perfect way to see if I could draw non-human primates, and also test out that primary colour challenge.  From the pencil sketch and inked version I knew I was doing well, and wow.  I was very happy with the final piece.

Process of the Golden Lion Tamarin painting.  Full size of the final posted on my deviantart page.

July 4: Wise Crow - saving an old drawing
This was a pencil sketch I did months ago that I actually hated.  I love the lyrics of the Nightwish song "The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove" and wanted to draw something inspired by it, but I detested the sketch I did back in March.  It just...I could not make it look like a crow.  I drew other crows in my journals...but it seemed this paper was cursed.  I got home late that night, so I decided to take out the sketch and see if I could salvage it.  The inking was...okay.  The jewelry looked right, even if the crow didn't.

Originally, I had wanted the setup to look like a Yu-Gi-Oh! card. So I looked up the Superstition Mountains outside of my hometown and added those in.  And perfect!  I did  go in with watercolour pencils for detail and deeper shadows at the end, but wow.  I shocked myself, especially with the colouring on the crow.

"A crow flew to me, kept its distance. 
Such a proud creation. 
I saw its soul, envied its pride, 
but needed nothing it had." 
From "The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove" by Nightwish.

July 5: Meh
I'm including it, but this one was a failure. I wanted to represent an Asian paradise flycatcher in flight, as I found them to be phoenix-like birds. I challenged myself to do it with Chinese ink and a bamboo brush, using simple brush strokes. I didn't plan much, and I believe that was my mistake. I would have scrapped it right away, but because of World Watercolour Month I made myself finish it. I'm glad I did, because I will try this again, with proper planning.

July 6: Direct Watercolour Landscape
I lost the photo I used as reference.  I challenged myself again- just brush to paper, no initial sketch. This is a cheaper watercolour paper so it can't take many layers, so when the paper was done, I thought it still needed more. So I went over it with a fountain pen. I liked working on it and how it came out, and will try on better paper.

July 7: Great Bay Wildlife Refuge
Last Saturday I went birding and took a photo of a particularly striking view.  Even though the photo is an iphone snapshot and doesn't capture the magnificence of that view, it was still stunning.  I had to paint it.  Given how good my World Watercolour Month tries have been coming out (with the exception of Day 5), I decided to paint from the photo I had of last week's adventure.  I decided to do a primary colours challenge again, with a different set of primaries in my palette.  Came out fine!

July 8: Pink-browed Rosefinch
I wasn't sure what to do for today, so I looked at the prompts for inspiration.  Today's was "something flying" so, since I love painting birds and am now comfortable painting them, I hopped right back into my comfort zone with a pink-browed rosefinch (Carpodacus rodochroa).  I'd actually painted one of these in May, as a quick 10-minute sketch.  That one is shown here, just because.

And that wraps up week 1 of world watercolour month!  I'm posting these day by day and progress as I go on my Instagram profile, if you want to check that out!

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