Daniel Smith Artists Materials recently shared a post I wrote for their blog featuring an in-depth look at how “Buster in Blue” was developed. The article includes plenty of photos, the “why” behind many of my decisions, and a list of all the Daniel Smith Watercolors used.
Artists find inspiration from many different sources. Visuals of course fire our imagination, as does scent, memory, music, a place, or a snippet of conversation. A contrast of textures can get us thinking about technique, as can a new brush or a handmade paper.
Sometimes inspiration is sneaky, and catches us by surprise. I recently rediscovered a favorite poem, and realized how perfectly it captures the way I feel about painting, especially landscapes:
I shall keep some cool green memory in my heart
To draw upon should days be bleak and cold.
I shall hold it like a cherished thing apart
To turn to now or when I shall be old.
Perhaps a sweeping meadow, brightly green,
Where grasses bend and the winds of heaven blow
Straight from the hand of God, as cool and clean
As anything the heart of man can know.
Or it may be this green remembered tree
That I shall turn to if the nights be long,
High on a hill, its cool boughs lifting free,
And from its tip, a wild bird’s joyous song.
A weary city dweller to survive
Must keep some cool green memory alive.
Grace Noll Crowell – Keep Some Green Memory Alive
Even in the portraits I paint, whether they be people, animals or objects, I realized that I look for that breathing room that nature offers us. A sense of stillness, a moment of calm, a feeling of rest-that’s what you’ll find in most of my paintings. In a juried show filled with vibrant color and intense energy, they often get overlooked, waiting for the second pass to catch a viewer’s eye. That’s OK-it’s easier to live with a whisper of a breeze than a gale-force wind…
I am absolutely in awe of this sketchbook! This is one of those moments when I love Facebook – somebody shares something, and we all discover something wonderful. There are links in this brief article to Dina’s website, Etsy shop, Instagram and more.
You would think that every pigment that could be discovered has been discovered…but no. This rich, vibrant blue is the result of heating a chemical soup containing black manganese oxide to 2,000 degrees.
Studies indicate it will be a safer alternative to some of the more toxic blues on the market. Read more:
Found a helpful article from artist John Lovett on different blue watercolors. He covers the characteristics of each, and shows lots of samples of color in action:
One of my ongoing goals is to spend more time in my sketchbook – live sketching is a great way to get better at seeing what is essential in a scene or subject.
Lucky for me, there is a fairgrounds nearby, and there are horse shows there nearly every weekend. Riders do a lot of waiting next to arenas, so it’s a great place to catch a quick sketch.
While the horses are relatively easy (more on that in a future post), riders have faces, and those are not so easy. YouTube to the rescue! I found this great video from Art of Wei that shows an easy method for drawing a head & face from any angle:
I love talking with other artists, or reading their stories. It’s always interesting to hear what experiences or approaches we all seem to share, and what motivations and processes are so very different.
In this article from Artist Daily, Frank Eber talks about the importance of drawing, plein air painting, and inspiration.