Candles emitting a cadmium glow

watercolor sketch of some candlesThese candles, clad in two layers of glass, reflect and shimmer beautifully in the dim interior and caught my eye. I didn’t spend as much time truly observing them as I may have; rather did a sort of lazy caricature or symbolized portrait of them.watercolor sketch of some candles, in normal colorMy scanner has a really tough time with these new cadmium paints in my kit, so I worked in Photoshop to try to return the colors to how they look on the page, but still not really accurate.
watercolor sketch of some candles, in filtered monochrome colorDecided fuck it and went fully another way with a Nik filter, which produced the monochrome image. I learned from that. While it may be less true to the many colors in the glass, it feels truer. And looks more interesting.

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A recipe for crisp-edged watercolors

photo of desktop showing drawings, paint, and paintingsLast week I posted some gentle little watercolors, and briefly described the process. Here, as promised, is a more detailed view of that process.

Step one: Draw your shapes in pencil.
step one: pencil drawing
Step two: scan the drawings, and import to Adobe Illustrator. Trace the shapes using the pen tool, refining as you go, to create your idealized vector shapes.

step two: scan and trace the pencil shapes in Illustrator

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Some gentle little watercolor illustrations

watercolor of a prawn

Here are some illustrations I’m working on for a project. The process involves first doing a pencil drawing of the shape, which I then scan and trace in Adobe Illustrator so I have a clean-lined vector shape. Then I print it out as just a black outline, and tape to the back of a piece of watercolor paper.

Next, I place the sandwiched sheets of paper on a lightbox, and paint with watercolor. Finally, I scan the painted pieces and use the vector shape as a clipping mask to regain the crisp edges of the original drawing.

It sounds like a long process, but it’s a wonderful way to combine the organic flow of the watercolor with the sharp lines of a vector illustration.

If I have time soon, I’ll put some process pics up here, as that probably sounds like a foreign language to anyone not familiar with the tools involved.
watercolor of parsley
watercolor of a fishwatercolor of a cuke slice and some watercress

On messing about with the interplay of color, briefly

abstract geometric watercolor composition

Here are a couple watercolor studies I did last night involving compositions of overlapping shapes. I haven’t touched my half-pans in months, and it was nice to get out the brushes again.

These are related -somewhat- to elements of a small design system I’m in the midst of at work for an upcoming event. In particular the top one, where the colors are doing their natural combinations when overlapped.

abstract geometric watercolor composition , another

This second composition was rather a departure or experiment that, while some interesting things happened, rather collapsed the visualization of the colors’ transparency. By removing the natural order of color interplay, the whole thing flattened out altogether to the eye. There’s no reason or logic to it.

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The waning light turned gold and reflected in the windows

Painting of Amsterdam rooftops by E Daggar

Here is a painting from a small series I did back in 2007. (It’s hard to believe that was a decade ago!) This is Amsterdam II, and it has been sold! Its new home will be in California, and I’m very excited for its new adventure.

Though I love having my art in my own home, it’s really meant to go out into the world and be enjoyed by others, so I’m super happy that someone loved it enough to buy it. And in this case, he gets the bonus of an original hand-crafted Mad Framer floating frame in the deal.

Unicorns in the pool, and a search for sea-softened stones

Unicorns in a pool in watercolor
Pool mascots (watercolor and ink)

Here are a couple watercolor sketches that I began on the weekend while in Fire Island, and finished last night.

Pool and Pines in watercolor
Pool and Pines (watercolor)

And an excerpt from a text I sent to a friend, regarding a particular mission while I was out on the island:

Twice this day I’ve filled my pockets with soft sea-rounded stones for our purpose. I think there will be a glut, so I will edit them, size- and shape-wise, over coffee in the morning.

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The shapes created by the spaces between things

watercolor painting of poppies in sunlight
Poppies in sunlight (watercolor)

One of the reasons I enjoy poetry is because it comprises all of my favorite ways of making. It’s creating images with words, yes; a kind of storytelling. But it’s about so much more than just the correct or precise words —more than denotation or connotation— it’s also about design.

It’s about how the words interact with the space around them; make a composition, make aural and visual rhythms; remainders as important as omissions.

As in any kind of composition, the negative space is crucial.

watercolor painting: fraternal twins
Fraternal twins (watercolor)