I came across these crows in the Target parking lot. With the bright blue sky, the orange trees, and the crows flying around, it was beautiful, so I snapped a few pictures. Ironic that it was in a parking lot! My husband said a flock of crows is actually called a “murder.”
I started by drawing, in ink, a few of the crows. I added the sky and the shape of the trees in watercolor.
When that dried, I added a few more crows.
I realized the sky wasn’t blue enough, so I added a richer layer of blue. I also added more oranges and browns in more definitive leaf shapes.
I drew the outlines of the leaves in ink. I added more orange and brown to give the trees more depth. I tried to cover up and soften the line that the second layer of blue sky had created between the sky and the trees.
I’m not sure what made me start this Winter scene the day after Halloween. I guess I was thinking about the weather to come! I was inspired by my “ready to fall” painting, which started out as an ink drawing of a tree.
I drew a few simple tree shapes. Then I painted the sky and ground around them. On a whim, I salted the sky section to give it that frosted look. (If you’ve never used salt before it is a cool technique. Salt your painting when it is still wet. The salt absorbs some of the paint. Wait until it is completely dry and then brush off the salt.) I was happy with the effect. It reminds me of frost on a window. I added white to the trees and a few splatters of white for snow.
I told you I was into trees! Trees and leaves! For this piece I started painting, very wet, with watercolor. After the painting dried (a little) I went back and added more color and some leaf shapes. When that was completely dry, I started drawing, in ink, the shapes of the leaves and the lines of the bark. Then, I added more color.
I love the style of this. It is so fun to doodle in ink. You kind of go into a trance where you are half paying attention. Sometimes it takes a little bit, but eventually I find my groove. I find it helpful to add the ink while I’m watching TV!
There were a couple of parts of this piece that were bugging me, so I did a little retouching in Photoshop. I don’t normally do this. I’m a Graphic Designer and spend a lot of time using Photoshop. I prefer to keep my art “handmade,” but I loved this piece and had to fix those nagging issues.
I need to start clamping down my paper to a board or taping it. My paper buckles and the paint puddles.
Here’s where I added more color and the hint of leaf shapes:
Before computer retouching. I’ve added details in ink and more color:
My abstract painting sat unfinished for longer than I care to admit. I thought it would be so easy, but after I painted the background colors, I was stumped. I even tried to get my faithful readers to vote on how I should finish it. Needless to say, they were as uninterested as I was!
Finally, I’m ready to bite the bullet, and just finish! I have to admit I have been itching to buy new canvases to start a couple of new projects. But, I am forcing myself to finish a couple of the outstanding paintings: the abstract, the jellyfish, and (I can’t forget) the bike! Okay, so I may not finish all of them!
I did a couple of sketches (freehand and on the computer) to determine a direction for the abstract painting. I am most interested in #1, the bird on the branches. I’m going to search online for a stock photo, to use as reference for my tree.
I found an image I liked and started painting. The branches were a lot more detailed, than in my sketches. Every time I work on a drawing or painting of a tree, I notice I tend to make the branches going in a similar direction. To compensate for this, I’m turning the canvas, every so often. I like how it is coming out so far, but I think it needs more branches! Leave it to me to turn an “abstract” into a detailed painting of a tree. I just can’t help myself!
I finally got the hang of painting branches. I applied the blunt part of my square brush onto the canvas. I got a much more realistic limb, than when I was doing strokes with the brush.
I’m almost there. I just need to fix a couple of the branches that look weird because they get thicker, further up the tree, which is probably physically impossible! I could add branches forever…time to stop!
The final step is adding the bird. I’m nervous about where to place him! In the end, I don’t think this painting qualifies as an abstract! But, I’m happy with how it turned out. (And that it is done.)