Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li
liralen

Experiments and Setups

It's Jet's spring break. He's been giving a me a lot of time, though, at various tasks, but I suddenly found myself painting a lot rather than writing. I got a whole roll of their premium double shuen paper from Oriental Art Supplies for about $20, that's 10 sheets of 27" by 54" paper, which is huge! I'm more used to cutting the 27" by 18" into two sheets of 13.5 by 18" and those are my large paintings. I've cut them down even further for the smaller doodles. So that's a lot of paintings per sheet. So plenty of entertainment and learning.

Amusingly enough, I'm using more of my stores of my cheaper, mildly lower quality papers, first; but I got out the good ink sticks (having given the others away and thrown out the old bottled ink) and my good brushes (again having given the others away to avoid temptation to go back to old tools), and have been finding myself enjoying the results ever so much more.



Ruined Plum and Sparrows WIP
For those that saw the unbacked painting a while back and wondered what happened to it. I backed it and found out that the old bottled ink that I was using ran like mad. Bah humbug. It happened a little on the hedgehog as well, but not nearly as badly as it did on this one, but I'd really tried to make the blacks very, very black on the sparrows. Looking at the one finch I loved of the ones when I was trying them out, I can see that, maybe, I don't have to have it be that deadly a black.

Since that time, I actually have thrown out that bottle of ink. I find that it's just better to not have the temptation, and I bought a very good stick of ink and gave away my medium-all-right stick of ink, and then my mother gave me two gorgeous sticks that are all embossed with real gold leaf and it's bemusing to grind it and get tiny glints of gold in the paintings.

The things one can do for beauty.

Plum and Sparrow WIP
My second attempt which I do not like so much. Though, honestly, it's actually a third or fourth attempt, and this at least had a number of the concepts if not the execution I wanted. I like the reaching aspect of the branches of the first one better, and the attitude of the sparrows better, and this one still has some runny bits about the heads, where my water control was not as good as it should have been.

Still, it hasn't run yet, and I should back it to see... one cool bit of news was that my mother really, really liked how I'd backed one of the chrysanthemums I gave her. So I now know that my backing technique is good. Those two flowers I did with the stick ink as it just felt proper to do an all-ink painting with the stick ink rather than the bottle, and I'm now very, very glad I did. I still need to put together that tutorial somewhere.

I need to go through it again and see if I can use less water and get the glue to stick better or something. I had a little trouble with that last time, but the single shuen's always harder to mount as it just soaks everything up so readily.

Orchid with EarthOrchid
Two orchids in a row. I don't usually show all the orchids I do just for the doing's sake, but these two both turned out better than I'd hoped. Though the more spontaneous one (without the ground speckling) was the more terrifying of the two as I was doing it on the single shuen paper. And I was going without any reference at all on that one, so the way the blossoms turned out was a delight.

I'm finally mastering water control on orchid blossoms, as they're such small strokes, but they have to show all the color variation from a dark tip to a light root. Plus, the "happy dots" of the stamen and anthers are such a big deal as they're the only accent to the flower itself that is perfectly clear. I had fun trying to get the stems to work, and the leaves, as always, are something of a joy and trial. Yes, there is one weak stroke in each of these, and I had to just leave them be. *laughs*

They're a little exhausting because the leaves have to be done with full confidence and a knowledge of how the weight of the brush will make each leaf flow.

Outlined Cherry BlossomsMountain
The exercises in using washes on double shuen paper. The mountain is a much larger version of the little scrap one I'd done earlier, and it captures some of the things I really wanted to work out. Both getting the colors far more vivid on the rock itself and making the upper right hand mountain more ghostly, plus firming up the pine tree in the foreground. I like the pine needles much better, and have made a better go at making the pine tree "sinuous like dragons". *laughs*

The cherry blossoms aren't quite right yet, and I'm having a lovely anatomical discussion of the bits that make a cherry a real cherry... from the longer "stem" that goes from bud to tree, the fact that there are bunches, and that the flower petals have the little notch in the edge! So I get to try this again, the closeup detailing to make it right is amazing for what's possible. I also probably need to find some sized paper, as the exercise of outlining and then washing in the colors is actually, traditionally, done on a sized (blinks mildly at finding sized silk and the *possibilities go boom*) (ahem) paper called "glass" paper. It's extremely detailed work and almost takes me back to drawing... *thoughtfuls* Which I should probably be doing more of anyway.

Still. It was a fun exercise with what I had. I may as well just use the heavily sized watercolor paper I have for my next try with it, as it'll do what needs to be done without the cloud of color from the washes.

Crooked Bamboo
One of my books had a picture of crooked, broken bamboo, and I remembered seeing it that way at the San Diego Zoo as well, so I went for it as I loved the concept of it. Nearly all the bamboo one sees is straight and tall and even if it slants about a bit, it's obviously whole, but the stuff at the San Diego Zoo sometimes gets harvested for the various animals and some of it just gets beat up by millions of visitors to the zoo. And I'd seen some broken off and branchy, so I had fun with this.

I love the idea of it still being beautiful even if it's broken...

Anyway. It was fun.
Tags: painting
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