Watercolor Celtic Knots

Watercolor Celtic Knots

Summer brings some time to experiment with more Celtic Knot Designs. 

The knots look complicated, but really, it’s just math and setting up a grid with a ruler, protractor, and compass.

So, I’ve been working on different equations to see which knots I like, how they look, and how easy they are to paint.  

Sometime soon, I’ll type up some instructions on how to form a knot. Maybe I can even post a video.

But this month has been all about playing with math and colors. The end result has been: there will be lots of new knot pendants in the store in the coming weeks and probably some prints, too.

Is there are color combo you need for your home or neck? Send me an email to start work on a custom project.

 

It’s the most fun to use two colors and watch the washes swirl together. Watercolor was a struggle for me in the beginning because I like to control all the aspects of where my paint/color is going. That’s not always possible with the watercolors. Sometimes they swirl one way, sometimes another. But you have to trust the paint to do what’s best. That usually works out the best.

Check back in the next weeks to see how the knot explosion has worked out and pick up a necklace or wall hanging as a special treat!

See you soon!

Family Tree Celtic Knot

Celtic knots have long been one of my favorite things to draw, although I don’t always have the time an patience needed to complete them…

I love the idea that so many elements can come together to make one complicated image, like in a symphony with all the musicians make something beautiful. With Celtic knots, you can see the unity – and that brings us to family. It made perfect sense to bring family into this picture of harmony and unity. (Not that our family is always harmonious, but it’s a goal worth putting on the wall.)

Trying New Things

White Mandala4 on Blue Dots-for web

It started with an idea to practice hand lettering by making pretty signs with the names of my favorite hymns. In the background of one of those attempts, I tried to draw a mandala freehand with no compass or ruler, which obviously went terribly.

That got me started intentionally practicing mandalas – and here we are. I can combine them digitally with some watercolors I’ve done, and I really like the results.

Where I’ve been

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Felt Pen – Hue Scatter turned “up to 11”. This reminds me of an embroidered Mexican dress.

Good Evening Bloggy Friends,

2013 has officially been the weirdest year of my life.  I’ll have to get into all the hows and whys later.  The short version of the story is that in March I had some interesting medical issues that made me need to take some time to rest and take care of myself.  Most of my art, and certainly all my blogging, had to take a backseat for a time.

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Felt Pen – Hue Scatter turned down a bit.

While I’m not completely “out of the woods,” I’m back to a place, for a while anyway, where I should have time to create and post a bit more.  To get myself back into practice with my tablet, I worked on some creative doodles in Sketchbook Pro.

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Felt Pen – first all drawn with black lines, then added a “screen” layer of greens and blues.

I hope to be back soon.  Happy creating!

Les Misérables: More Volume One Revelations

I’m really making some progress reading Les Mis.  Here are five facts about the book.  The first three don’t spoil any plot points.  The last two may.:

1. Les Mis is very long because Victor Hugo included lots and lots of historical facts.  There are entire chapters of historical facts with maybe one line of character development.

2. While Les Mis is long, Hugo broke it down into small chunks.  It consists of 5 volumes.  Each volume contains 8 to 15 books.  Each book contains 2 to 24 chapters.  On the new Kindle, it will gauge how fast you read and tell you about how much time you have left in each chapter.  It’s the best feature ever.  I can read most chapters in about 5 minutes and when you chip away at it like that, it goes quickly.

3. The free Kindle edition is abridged.  Abridged is lame.  Read the Unabridged version and skim the bits that you don’t care to read. On Kindle, it cost $3.  Hapgood is the translator I’m reading and honestly, the writing is interesting enough that even the historical bits with no character development are still good to read.

Spoiler Alert:

4. Valjean’s backstory is pretty much the same in the book and the musical.  We learn a bit more about his sister in the book.  When they lived together, she had lots of kids and he was helping raise them.  While in prison, Valjean learns that she only has one child with her and no one knows what happened to the others.  The little boy that’s left has to wait outside for an hour every day waiting for his school to open, even in the rain.  Even in the tiny stories and asides in the novel, everyone’s life is miserable.

5. The biggest shocker of the novel so far: Fantine is blonde!  Hugo mentions it more than once.  And after you read about Fantine’s back story, her fate is even sadder.  I can’t explain the whole story here because I’m in the middle of it.  More later, perhaps.

CurlyBlondwebIn honor of blonde Fantine, here is a new blonde girl, drawn on my tablet.  This is not meant to be Fantine.  I just like drawing curly hair and wanted to try it out digitally.

“Oh, Holy Night”: Top Five Christmas Song #1

Oh Holy Night

 

“Oh, Holy Night,” 1855, John Sullivan Dwight

Did you know that it’s likely that Jesus was born in a cave rather than a wooden stable like we might picture of today?  They think they know which cave it was in Bethlehem and the site is a now the oldest Christian church in the world, the Church of the Nativity.

The church door is very low.  To enter, you have to fall on your knees.

Merry Christmas to all…

“Same Old Lang Syne”: Top Five Christmas Song #2

Today, I bring you song number 2:

“Same Old Lang Syne”, 1980, by Dan Fogelberg

Same oldUntil I started researching for information on this song, I thought it was called “Toast to Innocence ”  But it’s not.  It’s called Same Old Lang Syne.  If you can’t remember it, google it to listen and then the images above will make a lot more sense.

I drew this one in ink, scanned it, and colored it in Photoshop.  I’ve decided that Sketchbook is best for me when I’m drawing digitally from the get-go, but if I drew something in real ink and need to paint it, it’s better for me to use Photoshop.

One more song to come.  Thanks for reading along.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Top Five Christmas Song #3

Have yourself a merry little christmasToday’s song: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, 1957, by Hugh Martin. (The original was written in 1944, but Martin added the line that inspired the picture above in 1957.  Thanks, Wikipedia.)

This is such a great bittersweet song.  When I hear the line “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough” it makes the think of a dad holding his son up high in their sparse apartment living room to put the star on the tree.

And, honestly, it was a good reason to try a piece from a different vantage point.

Two more songs to go.  Check back soon.

You forgot cranberries, too? Top Five Christmas Songs #5

I love Christmas songs, perhaps more than a normal person.  In 2001, our local lite rock station started playing Christmas music on November 1st, and I didn’t change the dial until New Years’ Day.  I teach a weekly Bible study for children, and we start working Christmas songs into our song times in September because I’m in charge and I can.

So, this year, for the first year of my illustration blog, I have picked my top five Christmas songs that I wanted to illustrate, but I’ve waited until we were deep into the Christmas season to share because I know that most people don’t want Jingle Bells stuck in their heads for 3 months.

They are not necessarily my top five favorite Christmas songs ever, but they are songs I sing along to in the car and conjured up some fun images.

So, for installment #1: “Christmas Wrapping”, 1981, by the Waitresses. (Or, you may know it as “the one where she has a crummy year and wants to skip Christmas until she meets up with a guy she likes when she goes to the store for cranberries on Christmas Eve.” Remember that one?)

Christmas Wrapping 4

The best part of this song is that you kind of forget it exists until Christmas each year so it doesn’t wear itself out.

I hand drew almost everything with ink and Prismacolors.  This was my first time coloring twinkly lights, and I rather like them.  I added a few backgrounds digitally, and this was my first time to use a panorama photo program to combine two scanned images.  In the past I have intentionally kept my art small enough to fit on the scanner.  Within Photoshop Elements 9, there is a feature called Photomerge Panorama, and it was a breeze to use.

Check back in a few days for installment #2.  There is more to come…

In America-a Watercolor-Digital Hybrid

Here are two new pieces I just finished for a project.  I mixed up the watercolor and digital paints, and it was so much fun.

The Process:

First, with a pencil, I sketched everything on a regular sketch pad.

Then, I redrew everything in pen.

Then, with a pen again, I traced everything onto hot press watercolor paper.  I used my homemade light table, which I will post about another day.

I chose hot press paper because the colors look brighter, and the paper is smoother.  When I have tried to trace onto cold press paper, my pen jumps all over the place.

Then I painted with my watercolors.  There are a few places, like the small boat, the girl’s headgear, that I did wet-on-dry.  I usually prefer wet-on-dry.  But for the ocean water, I had to do wet-on-wet…because it’s the ocean.  It’s all wet.

The make the middle girl’s shirt have a little texture, I blotted it with a paper towel as it was drying.

Then I scanned everything in at 600 dpi.

Obviously, these scans needed some work.

So, the clone tool became my new best friend.

The leaving the island picture only required some small fixes.  The funnels on the ship bothered me. I liked the third one back the best, so I selected and copied it over the first and second funnels.  Then I made the sky a gradient behind the clouds.

The arriving in America scene took a little more work.  I used the clone tool to copy the first boat window and paste it over the other three windows, and then I moved all the windows down a few centimeters.  I cloned along the edges of everything to make it all a little neater.  Then I added a gradient to the sky and the boat windows.

I would have liked to do the skies in the pictures with watercolor, but the statue and the clouds were too hard to work around.  I tried to use my masking fluid, but it was getting all clumpy and just wasn’t working for me.

Then, in the original scan, the cables stretched at the front of the ship were bothering me, so I redrew them in straight lines with the pencil tool.  Then I had to clone stamp over the old ink lines, which was a lot easier than I expected it to be.

The clone stamp worked really well because it pickup up the colors that I wanted and also the texture of the paper.  I love clone stamp.