[the occasional] Dumb Sketch

Backing away from the daily sketching of 2015, to observe more slowly and acutely.

Barn–#147

An Experiment with Layers

Barn-05262015

I’m too impatient to wait for color to dry. On this I worked hard to wait. I’ve been tracking some of the techniques you all use and wanted to try some for myself. I’m trying to put convincing shadow in the right places, but it didn’t quite work as I had hoped. I’ll try again.

Do check this spectacular image: reference here

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About kirkistan

Kirk Livingston is a copywriter in St. Paul.

25 comments on “Barn–#147

  1. memadtwo
    May 27, 2015

    I’m impatient too. And mostly I still don’t wait.
    You always get clarity in your images though. Often mine just turn into mud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      Thanks. Some folks are really good at adding just the right highlight. I aspire to that.

      Like

  2. createarteveryday
    May 27, 2015

    I think you’ve done a nice job with this, Kirk! And again, I see your perspective continuing to improve. You make me wanna get there too! Did you use other mediums besides ink and watercolor? Oh I’m so impatient with the drying. I’ve ruined so many things by not being patient. Art is really teaching me that (very slooowly)….

    Liked by 2 people

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      Thanks. Watercolor is easy and tricky at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • createarteveryday
        May 27, 2015

        Yes! Perfect description.

        Liked by 1 person

      • createarteveryday
        May 27, 2015

        For shadow on your red barn, try mixing in some green (red’s opposite on the color wheel) to the red. It seems nonsensical, but I’ve never had mixing the opposite color not work to give a convincing shadow, or even for a dark value that’s not a shadow on another object, for example.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kirkistan
        May 27, 2015

        Wow! Thank you. I’m gonna try that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. weisserwatercolours
    May 27, 2015

    good on you for doing this so nicely. the perennial wisdom of watercolourists-past is that optimally, the painter should only place down one wash (layer) and that’s it. That would require precisely the right value for the barn, with no touch-ups or additional washes–same for the sky, the grass, etc. One wash. I’ll let you know when I manage to do even one painting meeting that criteria (smile). The reason for this is simple: watercolour uses the paper for white. The paper breathes through the pigment to provide luminosity. The more layers (washes), the less luminosity.
    Another comment please….in order for a landscape to achieve great integration, one’s greens are best made from scratch rather than used from a tube. IOW, the blue of your sky and the yellow of the field are mixed to make a green for the grass. That makes your grass appear visually integrated and less garish–leaping out at the eye like some kind of foreign entity–and lie down in harmony with the rest of the painting. Usually grass and greenery is not the subject, therefore one does not want to draw undo attention to leaves and blades and shoots but have them as accompanists to your main theme. The great challenge of painting Spring and Summer is the sheer quantity of green everywhere. Trying to find many complementary and diverse greens to enhance a landscape is not easy, but again, are (to many painters at least) best achieved through the mixing of existing blues and yellows within the chosen pallet for a given painting. Use this as you see fit (or not!). Personally, I do mix my blues and yellows for my greens, but also find I have to add a touch of a tube green of some kind to help out. Many blues and yellows are not really compatible in creating a nice green.

    Liked by 2 people

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      Thanks for this! I’ve read your comment a couple times and I’ll reread it. Watercolor is very tricky. I thought that one wash was optimal, but I cannot seem to figure out how people (like yourself) get variations in color that suggest shadow. Your comment helps me understand one of the primary benefits of watercolor is the transmission of light. I’ll think more on this.

      Liked by 1 person

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      So layers would be more appropriate to oils or acrylic or some more opaque color vehicle.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. weisserwatercolours
    May 27, 2015

    It shouldn’t be really anywhere but in the back of one’s mind. Trying to do everything in one ‘go’ is a recipe for losing one’s hair in bunches. But….say the barn is being done….the paper is dampened and your chosen red is dropped in….keeping the paper damp by a touch of clear water with another brush (if need be), you drop in a touch of the blue of your sky for the shadowed area. When the paper dries, you’ll have done both the lighted and shadowed parts of your barn in one wash.
    Shadows are a study in themselves, but a rule of thumb is to use the blue of the sky and a brown of your earth, for shadows themselves are a tone which incorporates the ground and the sky. Cerulean blue (often used for summer sky) and Burnt Sienna are a classic mix for shadow under bright sun.
    Some watercolourists simply ignore the one wash bit.
    They prefer to lay down a wash for the barn of red, wait for it to dry and then lay a 2nd wash of blue over the red in the shadowed areas. This will make for a very crisp, hard-edged shadow which bright sun causes when cast on buildings.
    In grey weather, shadows are very diffused, and for that a dampened paper is almost requisite.
    Many very good watercolourists keep their paper slightly damp throughout the majority of their painting. Only once near completion do they allow it to fully dry, and then very carefully add hard-edged detail–and not too much. This serves to do what your black ink is doing — bringing out the detail.
    I hope this is of some help. But please, you are yourself going to learn the most from the medium itself, as it helps you understand what works and what doesn’t. This will help to have you avoid trying to do things the way others do them, and do things the way you alone wish to do them.
    Personally, I shy away from demos. I would rather find out things through my own trial and error rather than watching someone do things the way (s)he found out through their own trial and error. But that’s just me. I get easily swayed by another’s style and wish to copy it, and that isn’t good (for me).

    Liked by 1 person

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      You are helping me out quite a bit with your comments. Thanks, I can use this. One of the things I’ve begun to realize is that I do things badly and so come to my own conclusions and practice. But it helps to hear from people who have gone before. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sonya
    May 27, 2015

    I really love this, Kirk. I’m no painter, nor am I qualified to speak on the subject, but this image makes my heart sing. The colors are so bright and cheerful. I’d like to spend time on those rolling hills.

    Like

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      Sonya, thanks for your kind comment. That’s the way it made me feel too. I hope you took a look at the original reference it was spectacular. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  6. createarteveryday
    May 27, 2015

    Kirk…..I just tried to draw our shed out back from 4 different viewpoints. It’s very very tough! And I’ve been watching lessons on perspective! Did you find a good book, or lesson, or are you mainly learning by trial and error? I have the patience (and lately, the brain) of a gnat. Your suggestions would be most welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      Gosh. I’ve not seen a book on it. It’s just trial and error for me. mostly error as you’ve seen.

      Like

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      Will you show your sheds?

      Like

  7. createarteveryday
    May 27, 2015

    Kirk, I keep posting comments and then I don’t see them. I’m doing this at your site, not in the app, so let’s see if it works. I could post them but not sure how to make it work for letter C. I’ll try and figure out how.

    Two of them were ok. The other two….one got erased multiple times, and didn’t survive, the other one makes no sense and ticks me off. Because in real life, I could see no roof. In the drawing, there was a roof. Can’t figure out how to draw it right so there’s also no roof in the drawing. Patience isn’t one of my virtues!

    Liked by 1 person

    • kirkistan
      May 27, 2015

      “Ticked off” seems like a reasonable response. It reminds me of the back steps I drew a few days ago–they got wacky as the got to the right side of the page. I also like your phrase “in real life.” I’m chuckling almost out loud as I type. Because at the end of almost every drawing I look at it and say something like “There’s no way I can see that piece.” And it usually a roof. I really have to work hard to make sure what I’m drawing doesn’t display the roof that I can’t see. I completely relate!

      Liked by 1 person

      • createarteveryday
        May 27, 2015

        Ok, I’m glad. Well, not really, because I don’t want you to be frustrated either but at least I’m not the only one. You draw lots of buildings and I think those kind – anything involving perspective – is just harder!

        Oh and don’t get me started on the steps. I’m gonna look at your steps again. I am determined to get this! I was never good at geometry but this is all formula-based. So in theory, it should be easier than say drawing a flower. But it isn’t, it’s much harder. Haha maybe cubism should be my title for this!! Must.figure.it.out. Argh!

        Liked by 1 person

      • kirkistan
        May 27, 2015

        It sorta feels like a puzzle, doesn’t it? But I really like those clean lines when I get it right every once in a while. Keep the faith.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. ann christina
    May 28, 2015

    You did a great job on this, I think!!! It´s a picture full of light, and I think the shadows are completely right. I use a hairdryer sometimes when I´m not patient enough. That works quite well – but the look is slightly different (very little difference though). You also have to watch out that the hot air does not blow the watercolor in directions you don´t want it to go… But it helps. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kirkistan
    May 28, 2015

    She really is. And a much better artist than me.

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2015 by in Dumb Sketch, Learning to draw, Sketch and tagged , , .
On a clear day.
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