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:
- 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;
- I'm most comfortable drawing birds and desert landscapes;
- It seems like the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is a super popular subjects among watercolourists, BUT...
- I've, uh...never draw or painted a kingfisher ;
- from the birders I follow there are so many kingfisher species, just as stunning as the common kingfisher, if not moreso; and
- kingfishers are fucking adorable.
(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
). 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!