Bluffs over Durango

Durango sits in a valley, created by the Animas River. So there are magnificent views of the mountains from almost every point in town. This particular view is part of my morning commute into town. I love how the shadows show off the definition of the ridges – but it has to be the right time of day. In the afternoon, everything is flooded by sunlight and is flattened out.

For this morning’s sketch, I sat in the park just a few feet further upstream from the rafting sketches.

An Afternoon at the Animas River

Further down the Animas River from the bridge is a series of rapids that rafters and kayakers love to play in. I took an afternoon break and enjoyed a late lunch before sketching the beginning of the rapids. These are easily accessible from one of the many parks in town.

Trying to get better with my watercolors, so I experimented with adding some color to the sketch.

Of course, since I didn’t have to leave just yet, I didn’t. While sitting a few different rafts came down. I thought they’d be a fun challenge to capture in sketch.

Which Witch?

I’ve been having fun playing with my watercolors, and decided to try a new type of project. While I have a comfortable grasp on drawing portraits, I haven’t spent much time adding color to them.

While my sis-n-law was visiting and trying on a hat that I crocheted, I snapped a quick photo of her. Currently in the middle of re-reading the Harry Potter books, it occurred to me that the image would make a great illustration of a witch.

I quickly sketched her out and added some color to the sketch. Definitely not my best drawing, but as a proof-of-concept for a new-ish style and the addition of color, it worked fairly well.

After years of practice capturing every detail and trying to draw realistic images, I am trying to develop a looser, sketchy style. I love the zig-zags in the hat and the wrinkles in the bottom right corner of the shirts, so I’m making progress.

A fun experiment, one well worth repeating.

Words and Watercolors

I’ve always loved the intersection of pictures and quotes (the stick figures series is a prime example). So when I stumbled across a new drawing-plus-quotes project while reading a watercolor book, I couldn’t wait to try it!

Not only do I get to peruse my quote collection, but I got to try out a new watercolor technique. Win, win!

The heart and rose are on post-card sized watercolor paper. After finishing the painting I added in the quote with a drawing pen.

 

Ashley on her bicycle was the first painting that I did in this line. It’s not yet complete, as I haven’t yet added in a fitting quote – though I do have a couple of them picked out. This is a larger work, nearly 8×10″.

Not sure what happened with that “antenna” sprouting up out of Ashley’s head – re-painting the image will give me more practice with the procedure and the materials and hopefully end up more as I intended it. 😀

Art in Big Bend

After leaving Brant’s I headed further west in Texas to visit Big Bend National Park. Even though it was hot (and I’m out of practice with the heat, so it felt pretty miserable) I explored the park for 4 days. Of course, I carried my trusty little moleskine pocket sketchbook everywhere. In addition, on bigger hiking days, I tucked a few sheets of watercolor paper into my daypack and a mini art kit.

On the first day in the park I hiked into the Santa Elena canyon. Tucked in the shade of the cliffs, sitting next to the Rio Grande river, it was nice and cool. I loved taking a few minutes to capture the scene. The cliffs on the right, across the river, are Mexico.

The next day included a hike up to Emory Peak, the highest point in the park. After reaching it and enjoying lunch, I pulled out my watercolors and tried to capture part of the scene before me.

It was hot and humid, so it didn’t take long for my watercolors to dry out. As they did, I pulled out my little sketchbook for this quick render. It’s a zoomed in view of a slightly different angle of the Chisos mountains.

After getting back from the mountains, I zipped around on my motorcycle for a bit more sketching and painting.

The bright buildings in Boquillas, Mexico, really stood out against the natural desert backdrop of the mountains.

I sketched out this fun tunnel that leads down into the Rio Grande Village campground, where we stayed during our visit. Later I’ll go back and add some watercolor to it. On one of the trips out of the valley the timing was perfect and the sunset was highlighted within the tunnel. Of course, that was heading the other way on the road. This direction gives layers of mountains to play with and a big sky above them.

Painting in Dry Tortugas

While I spent most of my time in Dry Tortugas sketching, I did complete some watercolors as well.

For the first I sat on the beach and sketched out the nearby lighthouse, with the fort nearby for scale.

With the sketch completed, I tried to capture the amazing colors in the water and the textures of the clouds in the sky. There were pelicans cruising by, scouting for fish. On the rainy morning, I went up to the second floor and found a comfortable spot looking out a window over the keys. A corner of a fort’s bastion provided an interesting contrast to the organic expanse of the water and keys themselves. I didn’t actually add any paint until later in the day, but the color of the water was more dramatic with more light so I’m glad that I waited.

 

 

Playing with Paint

Most of my time is spent sketching or drawing. I don’t consider myself a painter, but I certainly like the idea! The idea of having the whole world of colors to play with is intoxicating.

Here are a few paintings that I’ve created over the past couple of years. Each of them are painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints. All but the abstract boxes and landscapes are subjects or concepts that I’ve been repeating (exploring in depth) throughout much of my artistic life.

(Click on the title for more details about each of the paintings/series.)

Each of these is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylic paints.

Hear, See, Speak no Evil

While enjoying a cabin in the California mountains, I decided to monkey around with some paints. The Hear/See/Speak concept is a concept that continues to capture my attention (like the triptych featuring Ashley). This was a fun painting to work on and was a good way to ease back into acrylics, since I hadn’t used them in some time prior to this.

The colors don’t look right in the image – it’s an emerald green background and a yellowish-brown fur and face.

Hear, See, Speak no Evil  is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics. It was completed in 2015.

Abstract Boxes

There is some abstract art that really captures my attention, that intrigues me and draws me in. Most of it, however, I just don’t understand. Maybe that’s the analytic side of my brain coming out, or a lack in my artistic education, or… -shrugs- Whatever the reason, I generally prefer representational art, and that is definitely what I make most often.

In an attempt to further my understanding, sometimes I try my hand(s) at making abstract work. Abstract Boxes is such a piece, playing with the golden ratio and a variety of colors.

It is painted on 8×10″ cold-rolled watercolor paper with acrylics.