As I added branches to my latest illustration project, I wondered, “What was I working on last year?” I asked myself the same question at the end of the Summer and the answer was interesting. When I looked back to Summer 2014, I saw the start of my watercolor and ink style. I could pinpoint that first project where I added the ink details, and something clicked. The first couple of projects from Summer 2014 looked one way, and then a change took place.
Now, when I look back to last Fall, I see that I continued to work in that style. I actually don’t see much of a difference between last Fall and this Fall. To me, the projects are almost interchangeable.
But I don’t feel stagnant. I still think I’m growing and developing, and I’m happy to have found my style. Especially, after years of wondering how to find your style!
One of the things I’ve learned about myself since starting my creative resolution is that I’m inspired by the seasons. I’m already seeing signs of what’s to come and I’m looking forward to it! Paintings (and sketches) of shells and the ocean will soon be replaced by leaves and trees and other Fall things! I can’t wait for the leaves to change…and the weather to cool down. 🙂
Here are some of my favorites projects from last Fall:
After my run today I had to take some shots of the Dogwoods. The two Dogwoods, on either side of our front walk, have sentimental value to me. They were in bloom the first time we looked at our future home. We posed in front of one of the Dogwoods when we brought our daughter home from the hospital. The house itself has changed – expanded to fit our family that also includes two sons. But the Dogwoods have remained and every time they bloom, I’m reminded of the early days and that this is home.
Finally I sat down and carved my first linocut. It’s amazing – when you make a date with yourself and commit, you follow through. I had been putting it off, sketching ideas for the design, until I realized the design didn’t really matter – it was about trying out the tools and learning the process.
I sketched an idea I had in pencil, directly onto the “Speedyball Speedy-Cut Easy” block. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to attach the carving blade to the handle, but I got it. I was surprised at how easy it was to carve. I carved around the trees first. For the owl I used a thinner blade to add texture (to show the feathers). I messed up with the beak when I momentarily spaced on what I was supposed to carve off – the negative space. But again, this is a learning process.
I used the back of the block, because I wanted two colors. I transferred the eye shapes over to the back with tracing paper – although they mostly fell within the moon. These fine details didn’t really print in the end. And I did it wrong – it should have been the mirror image of the eyes and moon. Imagine my surprise when the moon ended up on the left instead of the right. There were other mistakes: I should have wiped the carving before printing. I didn’t carve deep enough, but this led to a happy accident because I liked the texture it added and the yellow through the print. I can’t wait to do another one!
Here are my steps:
I finished my moon painting! I was working from a photo I snapped last week. Once I sat down and painted the background – I was sucked in. For the next few days, whenever I had a minute I pulled it out.
After the background dried, I softened the edge of the moon, to give it a glow. When the background was dry I started adding the tree branches. I decided to work with India Ink instead of the Payne’s Grey watercolor, because it is a richer black and less opaque. (It’s the test on the left.)
I wasn’t happy with how the branches were turning out. They seemed too stiff. So I wet all the areas where I wanted the branches to be, and added the ink. At first, it was a bit out of control (too much ink on my brush), but I got the hang of it. I guided the ink along to create the branches. I was happy with the results. The branches were much more natural looking.
Here are a few of my favorite pieces from 2014.