Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Beauty Beetle

Beauty Beetle


There are benefits of being without a studio and most of my art supplies.  Although I miss an abundance of choice and the freedom of a creative space to really mess up, I am loving the intricate, focused, and gentle process of art making that I am engaged in because of my current transition.


Beauty Beetle


Being back in Australia has enabled me to see my country with fresh eyes.  My senses are heightened by the smells, the sounds, and the sites of this beautiful and magical place.  Because of this, I seem to have more of an obsession with nature than usual, and my art journals and sketchbooks are filled with all sorts of natural images.

Beauty Beetle


The insects and spiders are of particular beauty (if you look past the creepy stuff).  You never have to look far to find them either.

Also, the October theme for The Sketchbook Challenge is "Animal Companions", an although not officially an animal, this little beauty bug (not it's official name) was crying out to be captured in my sketchbook. 

The colors glow and shimmer on many of these insects, which are very much a part of every Australian garden, and their abundance and beauty makes them perfect subjects for my Twinkling h2O's.

Beauty Beetle


The shimmer and sparkle of these beautiful cakes of paint are perfect for capturing these magnificent micro-monsters.  If fact, I have a strong desire to fill a sketchbook with nothing but bugs and butterflies...one of the many projects I have on my agenda.



Beauty Beetle


In the meantime, I have been sitting at the quiet end of my dining room table, my art bag full of Twinklings h2O's, some watercolor pencils, crayons, and a palette of my treasured Sennelier Watercolor Paints, painting these images in as much detail as I can.  

Sadly, the bugs will not sit still long enough for me to study and paint them, so this one was painted from a photograph. But it's a great opportunity for me to observe and then slow down and sketch with intention and proportion.


Beauty Beetle


The process of trying to capture a subject in it's realism is very meditative, and immensely rewarding.  I use this style to practice my sketching by beginning with a light pencil sketch, then move from light to dark using under painting and building up color and depth with translucent layers of paint and pencil.  I love doing it this way, and you'll probably see more of my work emerging in this style as I move through my artistic evolution that has been fueled by change.


Beauty Beetle


The beetle was painted in Twinkling h2O's, and the leaves were done in watercolor paints and watercolor pencils. It was done in my Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook which has extra heavy weight, white, smooth paper.  Similar to hot press watercolor paper.  It is the perfect substrate for this kind of painting and really brings out the color and detail in the subject.

The Twinkling h2O's can be a little tricky at times because their vibrancy and consistency is so strong, but by working them with water and gently washing and blending, I was able to build up colors and tone that closely represented the true life beetle.

For this technique I needed fine tipped watercolor brushes and I have recently discovered the Rosemary & Co line of artists brushes which are out of the UK.  I must say, I truly love them and would highly recommend them.


Beauty Beetle


If you like shimmer and vibrancy in your work and would like to learn more about painting with luminescent watercolors, then you may be interested in my upcoming "Mastering Twinkling h2O's - Part 1" online class which begins on October 17th. 

The class is filled with tips, tricks and techniques for working with luminescent paints, lots of drawing lessons, watercolor technique, exercises, inspiration, and projects.  



Beauty Beetle

I you would like to learn a little more of the technique I used for painting this beetle, then you might also consider "Mastering Twinkling h2O's - Part 2" which is scheduled to begin on February 20th, 2014. 


(This beetle is dedicated to the lovely Zom Osborne, a beautiful artist and inspirational woman who also has a deep connection to natural Australia.)

Thanks for checking in. xx