My COVID Stories: My Art Journey Continues

title page

It has been six years since I started picking up that brush again and thirty one years since I learned how to paint. Yes, I learned how to paint from the womb. Nah, I am a relic. Ha!

At the start of the year, I wrote about getting my hands into digital illustrations. I had plans of getting a cheap graphics tablet just to get some creative juices flowing. We all know that many of our plans for this year did not happen. I only created a single digital illustration this year. There was a toon me challenge on Instagram where you turn into cartoon the half of youf face. This was my take on that challenge.

illustration

On the positive side, I had ample time to do some watercolor artworks.

I have packs of postcard sized watercolor paper. So I started practicing painting dews. It is always a challenge for me to paint any form of water.

dew watercolor

So this is the first artwork for 2020.

leaf dew
And then Taal happened. I saw a video of the plumes of the erupting volcano.

taal volcano

Whenever I have pockets of free time, I paint on the watercolor postcards. A rocky brook, this time around.

I realized that I also made a rocky landscape 5 years before and I think I improved a lot.

I really think that constant practice matters. But then again, my art is also fueled with those intangible things like mood, inspiration and feelings. I think no amount of practice would help improve my art when those things are amiss. Even if I have the time but I do not have the inspiration, I don’t paint. There are no deadlines for me. But that‚Äôs just me. Other artists operate differently.

I always try to challenge myself. I have always avoided painting people because they look like caricatures when I paint them. Then I figured I will just paint the back view. Thus, this postcard piece. The reference photo is from unsplash.com.

And I tried to paint something metallic.

My aunt celebrated her 60th birthday last year. I had no gift. Ha! I was supposed to give her a koi painting after she expressed that she wanted one when she saw what I painted for a cousin. She wanted something bigger. I was not able to paint one for her birthday. I think it is never too late to give her one especially that I have a reference photo from the only place in the world with the widest variety of koi- Nishikigoi No Sato!

So after painting non-flowers, I had to go back to botanicals. Flowers are still my favorite subject for paintings.


By March, a friend messaged me if I have a painting that I can donate to a fund drive to help fire victims here in my city. There was a huge fire in a densely populated area. Many of the victims were informal settlers who took refuge in the community covered court. I had paintings in my file but they were unframed so I made one with a subject that has been brewing in my mind for a while.


Then COVID-19 happened. Although it has been on the news since the end of January before we left for Baguio, it was March 15 when community quarantine started and we were supposed to go to Dinagat by March 20 so it was cancelled. I can only dream of the sunrise/sunset by the sea.

My cousin also sent me bunch of beach photos. He had a bright idea to go to Batangas before the community quarantine. I sighed and I just painted.

The quarantine was really getting to my nerves. My stress level was up. My projects for the rest of the month were cancelled so I stayed at home, dreamt of nature and painted.


Somehow I needed to keep my mind off the internet for periods of time in a day. What better way to do that than paint a very detailed subject. Strawberries.


Those little specks in the indentations are actually the seeds. Thinking about it now that I am gardening, we should have saved some seeds! Here’s a backstory: These strawberries are the ones we bought in Baguio. They were huge so we were really enticed to buy even if it was expensive. The vendor told us it would last a week. We just have to leave it in room temperature in its packaging. Fast forward to 5 days after while we were still in Manila, the strawberries had molds. My inner brazen self was telling me that I could eat the parts without molds. Hahaha My cousin who is a nurse insisted that these should be discarded. We should listen to our health workers, right? So we threw away Php 900. Ouch. This painting was my therapy. A friend offered to buy it so that is also my therapy. ūüėČ

strawberries
There were other things that occupied my time while in quarantine. And many of us are familiar with these scenes. *wink wink*


The thing with art is that I always try to challenge myself with something new. This time around I wanted to paint realistic hair. I found a Youtube video detailing how to paint hair and I applied what I learned in this piece.


On the other hand, this piece is not a new concept. However, this is a testament how my art is about how I feel and how I see things. I just wanted to paint peonies. Ha! This is the original piece.


I feel like it was too plain.  So I painted a dark background to make it pop.


Now I kind of miss the old painting. This is the trouble with watercolor. I cannot undo what I did unless I repaint everything. I just have to live with it. Just like life. (Naks! May reflections?)

I was also invited to an online art sale and exhibit, Love in the Time of COVID-19. Thirty percent of the proceeds of the sale was used to support relief operations for micro and small entrepreneurs, artists and designers that are affected by the pandemic. I sold seven paintings for that cause. Some of the paintings were made years ago. I just kept them for my dream art gallery. Yes, in my dreams, I will have my own art gallery. I guess the art gallery of my dreams had to wait. (Wala kang pera, Kat!)

The last two paintings, I did them in May which I also included in the art sale after the other paintings were sold. I am thankful for those who appreciated my art- most of them my friends. When you get such support from the people around you, you realize that not everything is bad in this pandemic. My friends also bought pieces from my artist friends. Thank you so much, friends! I feel the love! I have framed some of the works my friends bought.


My friend in Japan lives Niigata where COVID cases and population density are so low that they can spend their weekends outdoors. During cherry blossoms season, she sent me a lot of dreamy landscapes. They were so beautiful I could cry! So I painted them. I painted two pieces so far and I have at least two more planned when I have the time.


My cousin’s birthday came up and I promised her a painting. She wanted koi after she saw my aunt’s painting. I no longer want to paint koi for a while. I do not have a decent reference photo that I truly love to replicate. I told her I don’t want to repeat the same concept in my painting. Since her name is Cherry, I painted cherry blossoms for her. I even wore my dress that I painted with cherry blossoms.

I was busy with work from May to July so I was only able to find few pockets of time to finish a commissioned piece which almost has the concept of three paintings this year- the back view of a woman. This time, I painted the side view and placed a lot of red roses since the recipient loves red roses.

I shipped this framed painting without glass but it was protected with cold wax – the same way I did with my largest painting to date.


July was world watercolor month and I wish I did a few pieces but I just couldn’t find time to paint. I really do not paint that fast. I take my time. I plan how to execute it. It is a therapeutic process for me. I wish I can be prolific but I am not and it is okay. I still have a number of commissioned pieces on my list and I am thankful for the trust. I’ll take it one rest day at a time since, surprisingly, I still have projects coming in my other job. I thank God for the opportunities because, with this pandemic, my thoughts often wander. Should I find new ways to earn a living? Should I start a full-time creative business with my art? I tread this path carefully. Austin Kleon wrote in his book, ‘Keep Going’: ‚ÄúOne of the easiest ways to hate something you love is to turn it into your job: taking the thing that keeps you alive spiritually and turning it into the thing that keeps you alive literally.‚ÄĚ Art truly feeds my soul so I try to nurture it well. I try to keep it that way.

But then again he also said something about keeping a daily routine with art which I do not have yet. So far what I do is to challenge myself with a few techniques once in a while and I try to improve on what I already know. Hopefully, in time, I find my own rhythm and continue to produce pieces I really love. Never mind if others do not like it. I paint really for myself and, if others appreciate it, it is already a bonus. Art really helped me ease my anxiety with the pandemic. I get to create scenes I wish to see even if I am stuck in my little corner in this world. I hope I continue to find inspiration in the world around me no matter how bleak things are. I hope everyone struggling in this pandemic is able to figure out how to cope in these trying times.

 

How to Paint Realistic Cherries in Watercolor

How to Paint Cherries in Watercolor

I finally got around into writing another art tutorial. It is almost the end of July and it is World Watercolor Month. For this month, I challenged myself to not paint flowers so this tutorial is about painting cherries.  The reference photo for this painting is from Pexels.

I always start with a drawing and I marked all the areas where I put my highlights and shadows.

How to Paint Cherries in Watercolor (1)

I used Raphael kolinsky round brushes (size 2 and 4) and I used Daler-Rowney watercolors. For this painting, I used alizarin crimson, cadmium red, prussian blue, chinese white, viridian and yellow ochre.

To get the colors I wanted that are close to the dark red plump cherries. I play with these three colors: alizarin crimson, cadmium red, prussian blue. I mix alizarin crimson with prussian blue when painting the areas and the shadows. I used the individual colors to match the different tones in the cherry.

How to Paint Cherries in Watercolor (2)

Whenever I start painting, I always have this fear that I would be wasting my time trying to paint and end up with unsatisfactory painting. I like to scare myself that way. (Praning-praningan. hehehe) When I started, the first cherry did not look like a cherry at all. Honestly, I was not sure if I am going to successfully paint it but I continued painting. It took me almost two hours to complete the painting.

As you can see there were areas that I avoided painting, those are the areas for highlighting. Cherries have shiny skin. To show that shine, you need to leave areas unpainted because it is easier to add color to these areas later than to remove the pigment. For me, the markings on the drawing where to put the highlights and shadows are helpful in the painting process. I have not yet developed the skill of painting from memory. I still need planning on how to tackle a certain painting. I always look at the reference photo as a whole and try to understand where the light source is and how the light casts shadows on the surface. I also try to identify the different colors on the object so even if we see that the cherry is dark red, there are different shades of red you can see and these shades depend on how the light illuminates the surface. This is how I study the subject so that it would closely resemble the real thing.

In every painting I work on, I always have a tissue near my palette to easily blot the excess water on the brush. I also have another paper on the side where I test if I mixed the right color.

My usual painting technique when using watercolor is to apply my strokes using a dry and more saturated color on the dark areas and I gradually spread the color using a wet brush. I use this technique when my subject is either a flower, fruit or animal. It may look like I am very certain and precise about my strokes and colors.  In reality, I am really looking at the reference photo every now and then and I paint the different shades on the different areas as I see fit.

At this point, the painting is slowly taking shape. Attention to details is important in realistic paintings. Each little highlight and fine stroke contribute to the painting a whole. This is one of the benefits in learning how to paint; you tend to be very observant of your surroundings.

How to Paint Cherries in Watercolor (4)

All these colors used in painting cherries are the different colors that are produced from mixing alizarin crimson, cadmium red and prussian blue. These are the specific pigments I used. You can also try different shades of red available in you palette. Try to experiment one bright red pigment, one medium red and one dark blue or any combination of red and blue. Cherries have stages of ripeness and different varieties so different combinations of reds and blues could still result to a realistic painting.

Painting a glass jar can look challenging. It is easier to paint it by studying the jar. Understand that this jar is a clear object. It does not have color. The reflection of the cherries on the surface tells us that this is a glass jar. Also try to observe the way the light hits the surface. For the rim and grooves on jar, I see shades of light gray to gray on the surface of the glass. I used the existing colors on my palette . I mixed everything which made the mixture close to black and when I mix black with white, I get grey. The different shades of gray is dependent on the amount of white mixed in. In that way, I did not have use tube of black paint. I get save on paint by the the colors I already have in my palette.

How to Paint Cherries in Watercolor (5)

In painting a jar, you do not have to paint the entire shape. You just paint the reflection and shadows and when finished, you can already see the shape of the container. When looking at the reference photo, I really try to identify the very dark areas and try to replicate it in the painting. The contrast between light and dark adds depth and makes the painting look real.

For the finishing touches, I went over the painting and started blending the colors until I was satisfied with the outcome.

This is the completed painting.

How to Paint Cherries in Watercolor (7)

This is the Youtube video of the process.

Until the next tutorial!

How to Gain a Loyal Customer the Jackson’s Art Way

This post can also be entitled as “How not to go crazy with the Philippine Post Office”.

I am always on a hunt for online stores where I can buy my art supplies. I live in the province and my sources for art supply are in the bigger cities. I bought my watercolor materials from Fullybooked in Manila, Art Friend and Straits Art Co in Singapore. There is Art Nebula which I have already ordered items twice before and the transactions were seamless. But I am hoping for a wider range of products to try. Shout out to Art Bar! Please open your online shop already.

So imagine my excitement when I learned from an artist I follow on Instagram that the art supplies she ordered from Jackson’s Art¬†in UK arrived¬†at her doorstep in just a few days; I wanted to try it for myself. Jackson’s Art has a droolworthy selection of products for artists. I have a limited budget so I picked only what I immediately needed- brushes! I needed brushes for oil painting. I got an oil paint set as a gift from a friend. I also got two blank canvases as Christmas gift from another friend. Yes, I am lucky to have friends who understood my love for art.

So I immediately found myself browsing for brushes and¬†learned that they offer free shipping for brush orders worth more than ¬£20. I availed of the free shipping by ordering 5 brushes. The package was sent via regular post. It was estimated to arrive in 2 to 3 weeks. This was ordered on December 2, 2017. When I did not receive any notice 2 weeks after, I went to the post office on December 20, 2017. The person assigned there tried to check their records and found nothing. She told me to ask for the tracking number so she can look for it in their system. I told them I do not have a tracking number. I did not want to bother Jackson’s Art. I went home empty-handed and decided to go back a week after.

I went back on December 29, 2017. I still did not get my package. The person there told me to get the tracking number because it is easier to look for a package with a tracking number. I decided to email Jackson’s Art to ask for a tracking number. They replied immediately. I was told there was no tracking number because it was sent using regular mail. They were reassuring. They told me¬†that the package may be delayed due to the holidays.

I was patient¬†and I was persistent, too. So I went to the post office again on January 5, 2018. The person there again told me about getting a tracking number. I told her that it was sent through regular mail. She said that they have not gotten through their regular mails. I asked her that if it would be easier if I have a picture of what the package looks like. She said yes. So I emailed Jackson’s Art again about the possibility of showing me a photo what the package looks. They replied that all they can tell me is that it is in a regular padded mailing envelope and they did not have a photo since the package was processed in their warehouse. Carla of Jackson’s Art also told me to inform them if I still do not have the package by January 12.

At that moment, I was too disappointed with the Philippine post that I just decided to wait it out because that is what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to deliver the package (or at least a notice) to my doorstep and not me going to the post office. That is why there is an address written on the parcel! So I went digital, I know there is a Facebook page of the Philippine Post so I sent a message on the possible timeline for regular mail packages because the person in our post office seemed to treat them as last priority. So I got this reply.


It is already the 4th week of January and more than 35 working days since December 2, 2018. No package.

I have accepted the idea that I cannot trust the Philippines Post Office anymore. This is not the first time I have issues with them. The first time happened some years ago, I was expecting a dress from China. It was a blogger mail in exchange for a blog post. A month after it was sent, the sender emailed me if I received the package since it was already sent a month before so I went to the post office to check. I was just lucky that when I went there the package on the table in front of me was my package. It was already marked that they were unable to deliver it twice. It baffles me why they were not able to locate my house when utility companies and LBC are able deliver bills and packages successfully. The second incident¬†was in the early 2015 when I joined a mailing exchange to practice calligraphy. I was supposed to receive 10 to 12 mails every month and I only received 3. So when I went for a vacation in Bacolod that year, I sent myself a post card through a post office there. I¬†never¬†received that post card. My friend, Gail, who sent herself a postcard, too, received hers in Davao City. My city’s post office needs to step up.

This was the postcard I should have received through mail.  This was my Instagram post  in 2015.

I was sad but Jackson’s Art is awesome. Since Carla said that I should email them if I have not received my package, I sent them an email on January 18, 2018.

And this is what I got in reply!

They refunded my payment! No questions asked. In my country, if you want a refund, you need certification that the mail did not arrive and a lot more paperwork. Jackson’s Art is awesome, people!

This prompted me to just reorder my brushes and order the watercolor papers I wanted to try. I picked DHL for mail this time. And I got the package today! Just 5 working days after I ordered them.

Happy mail!! Good job, DHL!

I got my brushes and watercolor pads!


This made me realize how we crave good customer service¬†when it should not be something we beg from businesses. It should be a standard. When their customers are treated well,¬†businesses¬†will surely get much better returns. I ordered more that what I planned to spend initially after I got the refund. Hurray for Jackson’s Art!¬†You definitely gained one loyal customer.

Update:

I got the package from the post office on February 8, 2018.

I have a YouTube Channel!

Three weeks ago, I decided to set up my YouTube Channel.  Clicking on the YouTube icon above will direct you to my channel.

So what do I have there? For now, I have three painting videos which you can follow to learn some of my techniques. This is my way of sharing what I know. This is also my way of giving back.  It was through a YouTube video that triggered my renewed interest in painting. I know that videos can be very helpful to others in pursuing their interests.  I know how videos helped me improve in painting.

In the future, I plan to include travel videos, recipe videos and just  about anything I want to share. I am still new to this and I hope I will be able to improve my videos as I go along.  Oh, there is so much to learn about making my videos better and I am excited to try them!  Please subscribe to my channel and let me know what you think of them.

These are the first three videos up on the channel. Enjoy!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scZAsv2Briw]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZy9jBoM6Qc]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g3VyHa1XzU]

How I Continue to Learn Painting Using Watercolors

I am often asked what websites to visit when learning how to paint. ¬†I would immediately reply, “Youtube!”

My watercolor art journey started two years ago and I have learned a lot since then. I still continue to learn. Albert Einstein said that once you stop learning, you start dying. So I chose to learn unceasingly  (Well, with leisure on the side).

I often refer to Anna Mason’s tutorials when it comes to botanicals. I love to paint flowers. Here is her tutorial in painting a rose:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83C5oitfM2I]

Here is my version using one of her watercolor painting of a rose as a model.
013

Two years ago, I came across a tutorial on how to draw a realistic eye.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ25OngOLts]

I think I have improved the technique since then.
010

 

I continue to practice. I think it is the best way to learn.  Put on the 10,000 hours of work and eventually, I get better than the last time. Here are my recent original botanical paintings.

anemone-katrinacenteno

peonies-katrina centeno

I also follow a lot of watercolor artists on Instagram. ¬†I am currently part of the @wgcollab¬†on instagram, where different watercolor artists share their painting techniques every day. Follow us there to learn more techniques. Use #wgcollab16 hashtag to find the videos. ¬†The videos are also ¬†posted on Facebook via Watercolour Gallery’s page.¬† Here is my painting video I made for this month.

[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/watercolourgallery/videos/1207394052625664/” /]
 

July is also the World Watercolor Month. Find inspiration using the hashtag ‪#‎WorldWatercolorMonth‬ on Facebook and Instagram.
Follow my instagram page: @katrinacenteno
Like my Facebook page: Katrina Karen Art

 

 



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...