This week I’ll be talking with Juriaan, a freelance artist in Seattle, WA. ”Jay” and I will be discussing the importance in a strong drawing foundation in ALL of the arts and how to get there in your daily practice. Also, this week there will be a drawing for membership in Leslie Herger’s Old Skool Drawing Class. Be sure to check out The Artistic Biker Live!every Thursday 7-9pm U.S. Central time. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-artistic-biker
19AUG2010Juriaan The Viking will be joining us to discuss quick drawing techniques that can easily applied anywhere, and life as a professional artist!
26AUG2010Ricë Freeman-Zachery will be joining us discussing her amazing textile works, sewing, and meeting great people even in West Texico.
For the last few weeks I have been struggling trying to pull usable audio out of the ustream broadcast so that I could publish the interviews here as a podcast. THAT seems to take a lo-oo-ong time. I will have to figure out another way to do it if I’m going to get all of these recordings online in a more timely manner. But, after the long wait, here is the interview with the Journal Girl herself: Samantha Kira!
For the past few weeks I have been posting on Monday’s Discovery about my attempts to turn a glue moistener into a large waterbrush. Then intent was to be able to shape the sponges and fill them with the color paint I wanted to lay down quickly. In playing with these, however, I have found another application that I rather like. When sketching in the field with a water brush, it is difficult to lay large amounts of color down, like sky or grassy fields. Filling one of these with a blue mix for sky, or just using it to lay the backround wash seems to work fairly well!
Last week, I cut open the cap of this sucker and packed it with polyester batting to help control the flow of water. With out that, the water just streamed out of the moistener and washed the color away just as fast as it layed it on. Once the rubber cement dried to hold the batting in place, this thing worked like a charm! Being that the sponge is synthetic with no natural pits or shapes, I will have to take a pair of scissors to cut and shape it into something more interesting. But it holds paint pretty well and it was able to lay the colors down with some interesting patterns.
I threw this together just to demonstrate it’s effectiveness. I ran out of patience because this is the only thing between me and a beautiful road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas on the bike!
And welcome to week 2 of my playing around with a glue moistener bottle to make a tree sponge. When I saw these bottles on the rack at Wal*Mart a week or so ago, I immediately began wondering if they could be used in watercolors, specifically if they could be modified to make trees. What I discovered last week is that the flow of water through them is too fast and floods the color right off of the sponge. Close inspection of my other waterbrushes showed that they solved that problem by placing a small sponge directly in the flow. I decided to place some floss in the cap of the glue moistener to see if that would slow the flow enough to make it usefull in a watercolor application. I gathered my rubber cement, an X-acto knife, and some polyester filiment I had lying around from another project. Since I will be using chemicals and sharp objects I would like to take a moment to discuss “Shop Safety”. You need a well ventilated area for the rubber cement. And you need to follow all of the safe cutting practices that are outlined in the instruction pamphlet that came with your X-acto knife. Kids need adult supervision. Dad’s need Mom’s permission. Moms, dial 911 and ask to wait on hold ’til Dad finishes.
Cutting into the cap
In violation of all of the safety precautions I just lined out for you, I begin by cutting into the cap. I am cutting at a steep angle so there will be plenty of surface area for the rubber cement. This little piece of plastic was actually tough to cut this way. I think if I do it again, I will just use one of the wife’s steak knives. Lord knows my mother has a drawer full of glued up and bent steak and butter knives from the various projects I’ve done through the years. Mostly, butter knives because they make good impromptu screwdrivers, and once they’re bent they make good pallet knives.
What you can almost make out in the picture is the batting stuffed into the cut away cap. This is a part I hadn’t considered and it will prove to be the ultimate challenge of this project. To use enough batting means to over stuff the cap. This stuff is springy so I have to be careful to get it all inside the cap and keep the cap together while the rubber cement dries. Don’t do what I did. I licked my palm to get some traction and rolled it up into a little ball. It worked, but it’s gross to think about.
Things to do while glue dries
Once the batting was in place, I brushed a little of the rubber cement onto the exposed lip of the cap. Of course, when I went to put these two pieces together I realized just how small they were and how much trouble the springiness of the batting was going to give me. At this point, I consider scrapping the batting and cutting up one of the wife’s dish sponges. I decided I’m too stubborn to do that and eventually did get the them together. I intended to use a rubber band to hold this in one piece, but the pieces kept sliding apart while trying to get the rubber band in place. I ended up holding it together by hand while waiting for the glue to set. As you can see, I have become quite adept at spider solitaire for projects like this.
After several attempts at this, the batting just kept pushing the bits apart. I finally got part of the glue set. I flooded the cracked spots with rubber cement so they would remain waterproof, placed the rubber band around it, slipped the shaft of the X-acto knife in for tension, and set it aside. At 2:45 am, I decided to let the glue sit over night.
Why am I doing this? The idea I have is to cut the sponges into shapes. When I want to create a wooded landscape, I will then just grab the bottles with the right kind of tree shaped sponge, already full of the appropriate color of paint, and dab them on quickly. It’s not any faster than a brush or a regular sponge, but it has been more fun!
Tune in next week during Monday Discovery and we’ll see how it turned out.
As I was walking through the stationary and art supplies section of our local Wal*Mart, I happened upon these little bottles with a sponge on top. They are for moistening glue on stamps and envelopes. I wondered, though, if they might be used as a type of waterbrush. I immediately began thinking about washing paint, painting wet on wet, or… TREES! I don’t know if Bob Ross is the one who invented the idea of “stabbing” paint at a canvas to make happy little trees, but I remember watching it every weekend on PBS. He would take a fat round brush and stab paint, then come back and create highlights with a stiff, flat brush, his knife, or just the stick end of the brush. Then, of course, he would make some white and gray M’s in the sky and call them birds. Happy little birds for the happy little trees. So I bought two of them to experiment with.
I decided to do a quick evergreen. I filled the little bottle up and proceeded to load it with paint. If you decide to do this, remember that for most evergreens you stab from the top down and out in a triangle. For most diciduous trees, start in the center of the base of the triangle and work out and up. That may be a different lesson some day, today we’re just playing with a sponge bottle.
The first thing I noticed was the rapid flow of water on this thing. Loading it with paint was a chore. As a matter of fact, it was hard to tell if I was loading the sponge with paint, or if I was just flooding the pan. Application wasn’t much different. You can see that I was able to get a couple of good stabs in, but after that it just washed the paper. Not bad if wet on wet is what you’re going for, but I was really going for stark and bold.
As the paint dried, I decided to try and add some branches and some highlights with my regular water brush. This is when I decided that I should really look into getting some opaque paints. I knew that if I tried to add another layer of green on top that this would just become mud. Then I remembered the lifting technique that I played with last week. So, I patiently watched Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory with my beautiful young bride and Girl2 while the paint dried.
I quickly found that the sheer flood of water coming from the sponge didn’t allow for any control what so ever, at least not in the application I had chosen. Again, this would have been fine for wet on wet, or even just to create the wash of sky, ground, and shadow. But, as a paint applicator I found it severely lacking. As I stared at it, though, I wondered what I could do to control the flow of water. My waterbrush, for instance, has a bit of sponge inside the tip before the bristles are attached. I wonder what would happen if I stuffed this area with cotton or silk to allow water through, but not a straight flow. I also wondered what would happen if I filled them with paint and used them on a much larger application? Let me play with it for a week and let’s see what all we can come up with. If you have any comments or suggestions, I would love to hear about them! Leave a comment below, or email me.
Tune in for next week’s Monday Discovery for part II.
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