Dion Dior here. 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.
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.
So I was thrilled to learn that the October theme for The Sketchbook Challenge is "Animal Companions". Although not officially an animal, this little beauty bug (not it's official name) was crying out to be captured in my sketchbook.
The insects and spiders are of particular beauty in Australia (if you look past the creepy stuff). You never have to look far to find them either. Their colors glow and shimmer and they are very much a part of every Australian garden. Their abundance and beauty makes them perfect subjects for my Twinkling h2O's.
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.
In the meantime, I have been sitting at the quiet end of the dining room table, my art bag full of Twinklings h2O's, some watercolor pencils, crayons, and a palette of my treasured Sennelier Watercolor Paints, capturing 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.
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 moving 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 which is being fueled by change.
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.
If you like shimmer and vibrancy in your work and would like to learn more about painting with luminescent watercolors, then please click the workshop and classes tab at the top of this page, or feel free to drop by my blog.
Happy October sketching everyone, I can't wait to see your animal companions.
Thanks for checking in. xx