Michele Clamp Art

Badger Sketches

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Trying some badger poses for a possible larger painting.  This is done with a water brush in a Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook.    Some people love these books but I’m still getting used to it with color.   I really like the colors in the dark areas and the characteristic badger shape.

Also did a couple with soluble graphite and a water brush.    I found this pencil recently during my ‘brush audit’ and remembered how much I like using it.   I don’t think it’s graphite at all - it feels plasticky - but it goes on well and a bit of water creates good light grays.    Best of all you can keep it in your bag and not end up with everything grubby with the graphite.    Even keeping things in a ziploc bag doesn’t keep things clean with a normal pencil.

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Flowers - The Battle Resumes

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With flowers I sense that if I could reliably paint them successfully I would discover something fundamental about painting.    This is why I come back time and time again.  Sometimes I see a flicker of hope and sometimes, like today,  it’s frustrating defeat.   Each time I think I’m on the brink of success but it still often eludes me.   

On the bright side there is a lot to like here.   Just not enough.   

 

Cold Comfort Farm

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Actually I don't know where this is.     Definitely cold comfort though.    It's another wetcanvas.com challenge and very challenging it was too.   Sometimes I wonder whether I'm going in the right direction.    This should be one where I try it again and again until I get it right but I'm not enamoured of the subject so may just put it down to experience.

The sketch looks pretty good though.

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Orrery and The Dangers of Overconfidence

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I went into this one somewhat overconfident.   I've been looking forward to this and as the microscope and callipers turned out so well this was going to be a bit of a treat.    The drawing came out well - took extra care over the ellipses and jumped in.

After a reasonable start everything began to go wrong.   I messed up my nice ellipses and things were getting muddy and indistinct.   After an hour or so I was ready to throw in the towel but after a bit of lifting off of some of the areas it was a case of throwing caution to the wind and 'I can't make it any worse so let's just go for it'.

And in the end I'm actually quite pleased.  The shapes are good and there's a lot of interest in the paint so sometimes it's worth it to persevere.

Orrery
150.00

11"x14"/16"x20" matted

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Brass Callipers

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More scientific instruments today although I suspect these were more general purpose measuring instruments.   The old brass has a wonderful range of color from almost white to dark browns and greens.  Hard to go wrong here really.   Very happy - I think they look great.

Brass Callipers
150.00

14"x11"/20"x16" matted.

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Antique Microscope

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I'm still noodling on the science theme and thought I'd go in a different direction just to see how things turn out.   Modern instruments aren't particularly visually interesting for the most part but antique ones have lots of brass and twiddly things that look great.

Very pleased how this came out.   All those hard lines make it fun to decide which edges to soften and you can really go to town on the softening without losing the image.

 The initial drawing.  Fairly tight as I knew things would get a lot looser when the paint started flowing.

The initial drawing.  Fairly tight as I knew things would get a lot looser when the paint started flowing.

Antique Microscope
150.00
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Lake Garda Boats

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Lake Garda Boats

A marathon session today.    This is the April challenge from WetCanvas and they're always, well, challenging.    See this one from February which took me 3 goes before I got something non embarrassing.   Now this isn't perfect and it is also at a much bigger size than I usually do (16x22 - might not sound much bigger but it really makes a difference) but considering my past form on these things I'm not too unhappy.

Part way through.   Initial washes are on and boats blocked in.  The drawing is pretty on the mark which always helps enormously.

The original photo.   Look at all those boats!!!  My colors are rather drab in comparison but not too bad for a first go.

Edit:  This has *really* grown on me over the last two weeks it’s been up in my studio.   Always the sign of a good painting.      I think he deserves promotion to the inventory pages.

 

A Stage Further

Michele ClampComment
 I wasn't really feeling it when working on the bigger board so went back to real watercolor paper at a smaller size.   Colors are brighter definitely.

I wasn't really feeling it when working on the bigger board so went back to real watercolor paper at a smaller size.   Colors are brighter definitely.

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I left the previous stage to dry for over a day as I was worried whether the paint would stick well enough to put another layer on.   I think it's ok but next time round I'll put a couple more coats of the absorbent ground on.

I did a few digital sketches over the previous version to see how I could fit in other elements.   I was noodling with electron arrangements of the alkali metals,  a dna helix (maybe overdone?) and some common organic molecules.    

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Not great.   It looks like I've just been doodling.    Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.   I quite want there to be a sketchiness/uncertainty to the whole thing which more reflects science as it is done in real life rather than how it appears in text books.

However, when I got down to actually continuing on with the painting it really didn't need all these extra elements so I decided on the electron arrangement to appear behind and half hidden by the elements.    It works well at this scale but in the back of my mind I keep hold of the final size of 4x6 feet.    Will I need more elements at that scale?  Pfft - don't know yet.

So where from here?   Originally I wasn't going to put in all the elements but just have boxes.  As things are progressing I think they need to go in.  I need to work out a way of emphasizing some and pushing others into the shadows without everything getting too regimented.

 

Prep Work and a Test

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This is a real departure.    First off I’ve been asked to do a much larger painting than normal.   About 4x6 feet in fact.    My first thought was that you can’t get paper that big!   I then remembered reading about painting on canvas that had been prepped with special absorbent ground so the watercolor would stick.   This is my first test on a 18x24 board with 2 coats of ground on it.   It’s different to say the least but I quite like the effect it gives.   I’m a bit worried that the paint isn’t actually sticking to it properly so more investigation will have to be done about fixing it permanently.

The subject is science with an emphasis on chemistry.   My initial thoughts have been a somewhat abstract periodic table surrounded by atomic diagrams,  molecular structures and a dna helix swirling about.     We’ll see how things develop.  I’m pretty confident so far.

Lake Bled

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Lake Bled

At first glance this doesn't look too complicated but I wanted to have another go at a lake scene and try and get some movement in the water.    This is tricky as you have to wait until the paper has just the right amount of wetness so the ripple marks spread but not too much.   It didn't work out quite as I'd planned but this is definitely something where practice makes a lot of difference.

Otherwise this isn't the most subtle of paintings.  Too much quin gold which makes the greens far too perky.   I need to work on toning these down a bit.   Buildings came out well though so all in all things came out positive.