Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Watercolors

Here's a couple more watercolors. The apples & pitcher was a class assignment. The fish paintings were done as homework to demonstrate different techniques (clockwise from upper left: salt, alcohol, masking fluid, spatter). I think watercolor is really effective in portraying water (duh), so I really like the way the fish turned out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


My watercolor painting class has a couple interesting things about it. One is that there is an inordinate amount of female students in the class (I'm not complaining). Two, my professor is really awesome. She's an unbelievable artist, and also a very good teacher. Which is good because I sort of have a phobia about watercolors, due to a rather traumatic experience I had in a Sunnyvale class a couple years ago.

We are taking it step by step (which that other class didn't do). The first painting is black and white. In the second, we are trying different watercolor techniques like salt, alcohol (on the paper, not drinking), spattering. Watercolors are different from oils in that you build from light to dark, which sort of reminds me of charcoal. Also it's more difficult to correct/modify things, so you need to plan ahead better. I've found that it's also quite a bit more pleasant, because you don't need to deal with the fumes or solvents that are a problem in oils.

Monday, September 22, 2008


We painted these landscapes from photographs in the first class of Landscape Painting. The interesting thing is that despite my total lack of skill and training, it actually looks kind of nice. It's cool because you don't have to worry about total accuracy and can concentrate more on making a nice picture. I'm looking forward to trying more of these, but it may be a while since I dropped the class; dropped it like a used Kleenex.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Zhang Zi-Yi

Before each semester starts, I like to do one big project. This time I chose the incomparable Zhang Zi-Yi! I've collected quite a few photos of ZZY, but this one is unusual in that it is a full profile. It turns out profiles are a LOT easier than full-on or three-quarter views. Also the hair is really cool in this one, which is good practice for a really complex drawing I am planning. I really like how this one turned out. The Char-Kole I used in the hair gives a really rich, deep black. Also I like the detailing of the shoulder of the dress.

More Portraits

After all those toned paper portraits, I decided to go back to what I like the best: vine and compressed charcoal on white charcoal paper. These are two small portraits I did to get back into the swing of things. They turned out reasonably well. It's still difficult to work with the vine charcoal, especially when I'm out of practice. I used mainly vine on these, and they have a very gray feel to them, which I'm not sure I like.