More Art, A Poem and A New Craft

I am still not done with my friends’ requests for an artwork (which also doubles as my Christmas gift). My friend, Ernelyn, wanted a bamboo painting with a bird.  I thought this was an easy task since the first watercolor lesson we were  taught in high school was painting a bamboo. However, the artwork I took inspiration from was a thicker bamboo. I used to be able to paint the trunk with one  stroke using a thick brush. Now, I had to use multiple strokes and it required a certain amount of water to make the strokes unnoticeable.  It was challenging. This is the final artwork.

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My friend liked it and that matters most.  (Or she had no choice! hahaha I did my best with this one.)

My friend, Wela, wanted a lighthouse with a sea and some rocks. I let her choose from different pegs. I had trouble with making the rocks look like real rocks but I have to settle with a ‘cartoonish’ version.  I’ll practice more. This is the final artwork.

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She was happy with the artwork that she made me a poem.  My friend (who happens to be a cousin also) writes beautiful poems. She often does this when someone close to her celebrates a birthday.  I requested for a poem on my next birthday and, in exchange, I’ll record a song for her.  No, I am not a good singer. I do not sing when we gather together for a night of karaoke.  I have stage fright. I sing averagely okay when I am alone but put someone to listen to my voice and  no sound would come out.  Thus, I will just send a recording.  Hehe  But when we gathered for breakfast early this January, they urged me to sing which I obliged because a friend who is a very good singer sang with me.

This is the poem she made for me:

A song to sing,
A joy you bring,
To this morning gathering,
Of friends who are truly caring.

A friend since nineteen eighty six,
A gal who’s a wonderful mix,
Of talents and wit,
Of a genius that’s only fit.

Grateful to God for having met you,
A friend who is loving and true,
May you never be blue,
For in His perfect timing your prince
charming will be due! 

Yes, your parents may have gone ahead,
And left you longing instead,
But always remember, in this life there
are no accidents,
Things happen for a reason and not just by mere
coincidence.

So as you welcome the year two thousand fifteen,
Whatever may happen in between,
Stand still and be strong,
For with the Lord by your side, nothing can go
wrong.

What a nice gift! I really have sweet friends.  Thank you, God!

Now back to more painting. These are three different cherry blossoms-like painting which I will ask my friend to choose (if she likes any) since she wanted something similar to what I previously did for another friend.

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Yesterday, I finally tried my pastel dye.  I bought this last Christmas as gifts for my godchildren and I bought one for myself.   When I painted bougainvillea last year, my friend, Mau, wanted the artwork but she is a wanderlust. I told her she would just leave behind the painting in her house which she only visits a few times a year.  I told her I’ll put it in a t-shirt.

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I thought of printing the artwork on an iron-on sheet but I cannot find a sheet here. I asked about t-shirt printing and it was a little expensive which I was willing to pay for but when I asked about it, they cannot deliver at the time when Mau is in town. I have totally forgotten about t-shirt until I saw the pastels in a store.

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This is what  I did. I drew the design using a marker on a white sheet. I taped the sketch on an illustration board which I inserted inside the t-shirt. Then, I began tracing the design.

This is the finished work.

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I really enjoy creating something with my hands.  I am off to do more. I still have some requests to fulfill.  Bye for now!

How I Paint Watercolor Portraits

If you are my friend on Facebook, you might have been sick of me posting my artworks several times in a week since I started on May 1. Nevertheless, I still get encouragement from friends. Some have expressed their interest in my work by asking me to paint for them. The usual request was to paint portraits. Err, I still need to practice that. I have done self-portrait once before as a requirement in art class. What I did was face the mirror and start sketching my face freehand. The sketch hardly looks me like except for the headband since I used that accessory almost everyday back them. With portraits, you really need to get  it right.

Since I know I cannot copy faces by hand, the next best thing is to use gridlines. I picked a photo I wanted to copy. Using photoshop, I added gridlines. I followed the instructions from this site.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

The next thing I did is to draw gridlines on my paper by counting how many squares I need to draw. A little arithmetic does not hurt. 😉 Then I start sketching square by square. This way, even if I did not get the details right, there is one thing I can be certain. I get proportionate baseline drawing.

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Then, I erased the gridlines. (Tiring eh?)
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Then, I started with the underpainting. An underpainting is the initial layer of colors which serves as a guide as you add more and more color. I took note of the shadows and light.
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I added more and more colors to the underpainting until I got tired of trying to make it look like the picture! haha!

By the way, watercolor painting deals a lot of blending of colors. I test my mix by having a blank page of the sketchpad nearby. I try my stroke on an another paper first to test the color.
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I also keep tissues nearby to wipe water off my brush.
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I always stop painting when I think I can no longer do anything about it. Sometimes, I leave the painting halfway or close to completion to rest and get a better perspective on how to improve it.

With this portrait, I just want to move on. Haha
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When I posted this on Facebook, one honest friend commented that I looked slightly cross-eyed in the painting. Still, there were those who wanted their portraits made, too. I promised then they’ll get one from me when they reach 40. Haha! I have to work on those eyes.

Maybe I should start with pets first. I found a random painting of a dog on the internet which I practiced on.

I missed a few hairs  on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting.  Oh, the things you see under the lens!

I missed a few hairs on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting. Oh, the things you see under the lens!

Since my problem is painting the eyes, I found a temporary solution. One cousin wanted a painting of her son with angry birds. I found a solution when I saw her update her profile pic. This is the final painting.

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Cannot copy the eyes? Put sunglasses! hahaha

I hope you get to try to paint portraits, too!

My Own Art Journey and How You Can Learn to Draw and Do Watercolor Painting

We had art classes in high school. Fine Arts was part of the curriculum for two years so I had prior knowledge on how to do watercolor paintings, sketch and use oil pastels. I did not just wake up one day and decide to do watercolor art.

In the past 25 years, I have picked up a pencil every now and then and did some sketching. In college, when boredom inspiration strikes, I sketch or paint. I kept a sketch pad (Care bears pa!).

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I lived in a dormitory so the easiest things to sketch are those near my table. Haha

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I also found time to pick up the brush. No, I had no morbid thoughts on that knife painting. It was the easiest photo of an object I can copy from a magazine. The second painting is an eye of the Philippine Eagle.

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That was in college. I have not really actively engaged in art not until recently.

In recent years, I was really inspired by the artsy stuff that Alessa Lanot does. And I have recently seen Ala Paredes’ work. I used to read her blog and was impressed with her drive to pursue her art. Recently, I have come across her watercolor painting in her instagram. It was really impressive. So I decided to give it another try.

Ala wrote a piece about art and learning: that art can be learned through repetition. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, said something about doing things regularly like it would take some 10,000 hours to become an expert. Relying on sheer talent and not doing anything to improve it is useless.

So, I am sharing with you the YouTube videos I viewed to learn some drawing and watercolor techniques. I have received a few comments about being interested in learning how to paint or draw. The good new is… YOU CAN! You just have to try.

These are the videos:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ25OngOLts?rel=0] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy1KcEJ2YkA?rel=0] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcmfRooP6dg?rel=0] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAvvP-pb6CQ?rel=0] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpbW3Aq0PB0?rel=0]

These are the artworks I did based on the videos:

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For now, I practice by copying existing images on the Internet. I am having fun doing it. One day, I hope to create original work from original ideas.

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In case you are interested on the tools I use, here is the list:

1. Faber Castell 0.7 mechanical pencil+ refill+ Pentel eraser
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2. Brushes + mixing tray. In high school, we only use chinese brushes. I am most comfortable using those. Regular trips to the school supplies store yielded me all these brushes. The blue and black brushes are sets and are inexpensive. (I think I paid Php50++ for each set.) The two brushes on the left were part of the watercolor set I bought.
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3. Watercolor. I have accummulated several kinds in the past month. I am most comfortable using the tubes but I just recently purchased those. In some of the artworks I made earlier this month like the apple, strawberry and flowers, I used the watercolor in palette.
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4. Paper. I use 200 GSM board. I recommend thicker boards for landscape painting. This type I use bends with water-heavy type of painting.
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I think I have shared everything you need to get you to try watercolor painting. Let me know when you have created your work. I would love to see them.

In the Mood for Watercolor Art

I had art lessons in high school. Fine arts was part of the curriculum for two years.  We were taught how to draw and paint.  We were exposed to different tools- charcoal pencil, oil pastels, watercolor, water-based paint. We did still life, landscape, portrait, cubism, abstract painting and murals.  In the  spirit of full disclosure, I am not a beginner.  However, it has been awhile since I last picked up a brush.

I have been reading  Alessa Lanot’s blog for some time now and I am amazed at her creativity. She somehow piqued my interest in watercolor whenever she posts her art.

I bought a watercolor set, brushes and thick paper last week and since May 1, I have been practicing watercolor art.  There are a lot of Youtube videos which show different watercolor techniques. I have been using them for practice. Hopefully, there will come a time that I will no longer have to refer to those videos and will find a technique I can call my own.

On May 1, I painted an apple.

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The next day, I did strawberry, raspberry, pepper and basil.
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The beauty of social media is that you can get instant feedback from friends. They seemed to like my work that I was motivated to do more. By Day 3, I was willing to try another technique, one has an impressionistic feel to it and the other one uses Chinese painting technique.
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Today is Day 4 of my watercolor practice and I think Youtube is running out of videos I can practice on.
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My friend suggested that I should open an Etsy shop and offer watercolor illustrations. Another friend suggested that I should create greeting cards for special occasions. Another one suggested that I should mount an exhibit and raise funds for our alumni homecoming. Haha!  I am thankful for supportive friends who think I have talent in this art form.

I think I still need to practice more. All I have done is copy what others have done. I hope I will be able to create original work someday. Right now, I am enjoying the process and I am running out of paper. I will have to buy another set tomorrow.

How about you?  What craft are you interested in?

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