I have experimented many times with blogging over there years. In fact, one of the *many* reasons my blog name is "here was there" is a nod to the fact that I'm putting content here that was once was somewhere else (there). This particular post was initially shared on my now defunct blogpspot blog and the image has been shared oon my Instagram account @herewasthere
In the past I have left the blog for the greener looking pastures of social media or even to try more commercially driven websites. But recently I have noticed that I still read a few blogs and often wish that I had a good one of my own.
For me, blogging has been about many things over the years. Mostly about my interests which have included technology, fitness, outdoor adventure, photography, writing, and most recently art.
So with that introduction here is a blog post about, well, all of the interests stated above.
I often paint digitally. When I do, I paint or sketch on my Samsung Note 8 using the awesome Artrage app (technology and art interests... check).
Sometimes I paint on my phone while outdoors.... after a long hike. (outdoor adventure and fitness interests... check).
The above painting was sketched while I sat on a rock after a steep hike to Horsetail Falls. This exact place is called Horsetail Falls Trailcamp. I have visited the place several times and love the beauty of the meadow that appears after exiting some thick pines trees.
I didn't finish this painting onsite because it started to rain but I did sketch enough and took a reference photo so I could finish at home while remembering the hike and the moment.
It truly is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors and my art hobby. Painting on a phone is a nifty way of doing "plein air" painting with out the need to lug around more traditional art supplies.
Who knew that drawing or painting a tree trunk would be so entertaining for me the last few evenings. I kind of stumbled upon a new technique while doing it. For this piece, I used a colorful and scribbly underpainting that I did with watercolor pencils and used a bigger wet brush to blend it all together before starting on the more detailed drawing on top that was done with the same watercolor pencils. I used them mostly dry for the detailed work but sometimes I did additional blending with water.
This was kind of inspired by a podcast interview John Middick did with Tracy Frein on the Sharpened Artist Podcast were they talked about doing detail on top of a somewhat chaotic underpainting. That process kind of resonated with me so I tried it here.
The paper I used was inexpensive watercolor post cards and the pencils were Caran D'Ache Museum Aquarelle and Supracolors with a few Arteza watercolor pencils. I'm learning that the opacity is strongest with with the two Caran D'Ache brands (in that order) and not great with Arteza pencil because those seemed more transparent with less pignent but but at times I wanted that transparency. Either way I'm sure I would get varied results depending on the paper and pencil combinations.
It was a fun approach, so I think I'm going to keep practicing it.
The portability and cleanliness of watercolor pencils is the number one thing that drew me to the medium. Pencils and paper are arguably the most portable art supplies there are. I can quite easily keep a stash of pencils and some paper in a case or bag and carry them wherever.
Inspired by a recent viral James Gurney YouTube video, I snapped a pic of an airplane just before I boarded my plane and then sketched and painted it while on the flight. It was a really nice way to pass the time.
I was able to pull out my pencils and paint compactly and cleanly and with the Derwent waterbrush I brought. This tiny painting which measures 4”x3” was done on UArt 400 sanded pastel paper that I cut down to size before I left. I stored the pencils, paper and waterbrush in the Global Art Canvas Pencil Case - 48 pencil size. It's almost 5x8x2 inches which makes it VERY portable. The smaller case forces me to have a limited palette. I carry 24 pencils on one side of the two zippered case and 2 water brushes and my cut down paper in a cut down plastic folder on the other side. I also carry a paper towel, a small ruler, and a pencil sharpener. I can fit the whole kit in a jacket sized pocket or any bag/pack I might be carrying
(I earn a small amount if you buy from the product links above)
Pulling out my pencils and paper drew the attention from those that sat next to me but not in a bad way. The man next to me was very interested in watching and made comments as I progressed as to how good it looked. The flight attendants made a few nice comments as well. Just after we landed, the man next to me asked if he could snap a picture of the painting. I let him and it kind of made my day to get such nice compliments.
I spruced the painting up a little bit later that night while in my hotel. It is a really nice way to pass the time both in the plane and at the hotel. I think I make sure I do a little art piece like this a part of every trip I take.
I've made a goal to do 100 posts on this blog. Why 100? Because there are a couple of different challenges around the internet that focus on doing 100 things. One is the “Design 100 Somethings” project by one of my favorite illustrators Jake Parker.
But perhaps I was most inspired by Andy J. Pizza's podcast and Skillshare class. Andy preaches taking on a “Side Quest” as a creative challenge and even his “Creative Pep Talk” podcast was just a side quest for him. In his Skillshare class, he talks about the fact that you shouldn’t decide in the middle of a marathon how far you are going to run. As it relates to starting his podcast he said that he committed to do 100 episodes before he allowed himself to change course or even stop doing his podcast.
So 100 just seemed like the right number to shoot for. For me it is a super challenging goal but it is also doable. My ultimate goal is to see what building an art related website will teach me.
As part of this personal challenge, I wanted to make the goal more visual and tangible for me. So I had a little fun and created a paper chain of 100 links.. When I write a post, I get to remove a link from the chain. The picture here is when I was half done with 50 links. Those are simple blank index cards with random Neopastel2 colors blended with water on each card. I cut each of my 10 index cards into 10 strips for a total of 100 links.
[Picture: Chain with index cards.]
Kind of dumb but it was fun and it was motivating for me so I went with it.
I don’t plan to do the 100 posts in 100 days. That is far too aggressive for me. What I will do is post at least once a week because I know from experience a regular cadence as well as a deadline is necessary in challenges like these. What I will do every day is write or edit. I will write or edit for a minimum of 10 minutes a day on mainly blog posts but I may deviate and write whatever I want for 10 minutes. This approach is a combination of the book Writing Down the Bones [https://amzn.to/34QTNgV] and the book Make it Happen in 10 minutes a Day [https://amzn.to/2wVt1HN]. Both books have been a great inspiration to me. (I make a very small commission for purchases made through the above links.)
My weekly deadline to publish will be Wednesday night by midnight. I may post more often but that is a minimum. If I only post once a week this goal will take 2 years. I am prepared for that, but I don't think it will take that long.
Either way I am sure I will learn plenty this year!
I've been thinking a lot about this bird I saw last month at the San Diego Zoo. It is an East African crowned crane. My first impression of it was: Wow, what is the point of that feathery crown? It doesn't seem very practical.
But then I thought, nature's creations are beautiful, and that's a good enough reason. ...and that made me smile and I took a photo.
I'm not sure me drawing a picture of it was very practical either. ...but doing it made me smile too. Sometimes we just need to draw, sketch or paint for fun. The result will be beautiful in its own unique way.
So, here's to letting fun be fun and beauty be beauty.
Hey bird, you be you and I'll try to do the same.
Now for the details of the drawing
I used Prismacolor colored pencils and Prismacolor Art Stix on some generic black paper. The Art Stix were the most fun to use on this piece because they really added a looseness to the feathers on the bird but especially to the background. In my reference photo, the background was mostly greens and browns as you might expect in a natural setting but I wanted to play a bit more with some cool colors (cool colors those colors on the color wheel that have a blue tint rather than a warmer red tint). By using the lavender, blue and light greens, I achieved a feeling of depth because visually speaking cooler colors tend to recede into the distance and warmer colors tend to come forward.
I think breaking away from attempting to render the background as the photo reference had, helped make the piece more fun. Having fun was largely the point of doing the piece. Learning a bit more about color was also fun.