Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Of Journals and Chivalry

I broke in my watercolor sketchbook today, with - what else - a horse. This might seem like it's squarely in my comfort zone, but it's not, for several reasons: 1) I do head studies pretty easily but the left brain is harder to shake on a full-body study 2) he's head-on, which means there's foreshortening involved - scary and 3) it's watercolor.   The first two things I conquered by sketching him in upside-down.  (if you don't know why I did this, you should check out the indispensable Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards).  The third just needs practice, which is the point.

By the way, I used a stock photo from deviantArt for this by Colorize Stock, who has some of the best horse stock photos on dA.  I can't even begin to express how awesome it is to have this resource and not have to take all my own pictures.  You can go to the site and click "Resources & Stock Images" in the left hand column to find stock pics of just about anything.  Be sure to read the posters' terms of use and make sure it's okay to use for off-dA media.

I'm liking watercolor. A few times I was filling in larger areas, I forgot what I was working with and let my edge dry out, so I ended up with a few lines where I didn't want them.   But I absolutely adore the subtle gradations of color you can achieve just by layering the same paint.

It's going to be really cool to page through a book of watercolor paintings, though, so I'm looking forward to filling in this book.  It's got a decent cover but not so ornate it's intimidating to "mess it up" (I'm not the only one who feels this, am I?).  And it's a nice size - around 5 x 8 - so that I can complete a page in one sitting without too much strain.

For Christmas my son Brandon got me this beauty:
Leather stamped cover, handmade pages. Isn't it scrumptious?

Now, I am a journal junkie and I have several.  I fill in the regular old lined ones every day with an average of two pages of drivel written in calligraphy pen, a la "Morning Pages" from The Artist's Way.  This serves to clear a bit of head noise and make room for creativity.  And it's cool to look back at who I was a few years ago.

However, unlined pages want Art (capital A), and I'm just beginning to perceive myself as an Artist.  So I have a lot of these very nice Sketchbook/Journals lying around waiting for me to be awesome enough to fill them.
... and that's all I've done with it, write my name in it, in calligraphy that's a little bit on the rusty side. It smells of leather and epic tales. I don't know what special, amazing thing I want to put in it. Illuminated poetry, maybe. With illustrations. I hope it'll take watercolor but I have my doubts. Still, if the pages wrinkle a little it might not hurt the ambiance of an old, richly illustrated storybook, which is what I'm going for.

What I will NOT do is wait to be awesome enough to fill it, because it deserves better.  Even sub-par Art is superior to Blank.
There. It's not blank anymore. But what to write?  I think I have an idea.  Tomorrow's project, maybe.