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Showing posts from December, 2019

Google Maps 'urban sketch'

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I've always wanted to try actual urban sketching - as in on-site sketching of a building - but I haven't had a chance to do that yet. It's always been from photos. With my recent back injury (slipped disc), I've been house bound for about 2.5 weeks so far. For a bit of practice, I figured a quick painting from a photo reference would be the next best thing. I hopped on Google maps, went into "street view" mode and looked up my Aunt's apartment building in Montreal (we write letters and I thought it would be nice to send her a copy of the finished painting). To get the entire building into the frame, I manipulated the Google Map street view into worm's eye view perspective. A little tricky to sketch, but fun.

Materials for this sketch: I drew and painted this in my etchr A4 hotpress sketchbook. I sketched things out with a mechanical pencil first, then added the watercolour and a bit of white gouache for highlights. Besides the green used in the trees,…

adventures in handmade watercolour paint

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I've ventured into unknown territory, making my own watercolour paints, for my own use (not to sell). The entire paint-making process has always fascinated me, the way artists through the centuries have made their own paints out of natural pigments. The same is still the case today, even though we have a lot of synthetic alternatives to those natural pigments (some of which are no longer available and/or far too expensive for an amateur artist's pocketbook). Paint is basically a pigment dispersed in a paint binder - a medium that adheres the pigment to paper, so it won't just flake off when dry.

So far, I've made paints from 15 pigments... and I have another 27 yet to try!

The paint you see in these photos is malachite (PG39) - a lovely cool 'mint' green which is transparent, semigranulating and nonstaining.

I only make small batches at a time, filling only 2 or 3 half pans per pigment, but that will last me for a bit. I started with a few favourites that I use…