Lobster Watercolor – Moleskine Version

I’ve been wanting to do a lobster for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.    We don’t often get the chance to use a lot of red so I made the most of this one.

This was an absolute joy to paint.   All Moleskine lessons learned were applied.   Plenty of water and plenty of paint.  Let the stuff puddle on the surface, keep painting quickly and don’t expect much blending.  In fact this one was more like drawing with paint than anything else.

So the shameless pandering?   Well this was painted to be part of World Watercolor Month on facebook.    I’ve noticed that the paintings that get the most attention are :

  – brightly colored

 –  have a lot of contrast

 –  are not too detailed (phone screens are small).

 –  have an immediate impact (no fussiness).

Think I’ve covered all bases there.

The Moleskine Journey – lightbulb moment

Something clicked here (even though there are proportion problems with the drawing).  This is almost entirely done with quinacridone gold and a mixture of ultramarine and burnt sienna for the darks.

The secret –  plenty of water and plenty of paint.   Let the stuff puddle on the surface of the paper and it will move around (or let you move it around) for a fair while.  

For the first time this felt closer to painting than fighting.

The Moleskine Journey – Vegetables

I started off painting the

in my A4 (roughly 8×11″) Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.    This turned out well and so I came back to it for my next assignment – vegetables.

I’ve often complained about the paper in the Moleskine sketchbooks because, although the paper is thicker than standard, it isn’t really watercolor paper at all.     Proper watercolor paper has some absorbency to it and once the paint is down it will carry on blending with whatever is around it.  This is a large part of the charm and challenge of watercolor – the damn stuff has a mind of its own.   This paper though – you put the paint down it basically stays there unless you go in immediately and coax it around.   And you have to do this quick as the paint dried almost instantaneously.

So it’s frustrating.   But I’ve decided to go with the flow and work with it rather than against it.    And this sketch came out quite well considering I was trying many different things in various parts.   The garlic and the onions were the most satisfactory – simple glazes of color with a few darks drawn in with paint at the end.   The left hand tomato is as close as I get to overworked but I was pretty happy with it.  The stalks in the top right were great fun.   Put in very quickly and almost drawing with the paint here.

Birds again – Dusky Lorys, Lesser Bird of Paradise and a Blue Heron

Dusky Lorys.   the last time I attempted  highly colored birds it was less than successful.  In fact come to think of it there have been multiple terrible attempts.

For instance :

and let’s not forget

In comparison the dusky lorys came out pretty well.

In contrast there was also a blue heron – a little more subdued.
finally for a bonus bird I dashed off a quick lesser bird of paradise.  This is done in a 5×7 sketchbook with a waterbrush and pans.