Posts Tagged ‘texture’

July is World Watercolor Month. I was inspired by that celebration two years ago and, after gathering a bunch of supplies, I finally put brush to paper and made my first little watercolor paintings. They were not very good, but the experience was a lot of fun and I documented it in a posting called Jumping into Watercolor. I produced a few more small paintings during the summer of 2018, but somehow my interest waned.

I spent three weeks last November in Paris and brought along some art materials. Paris reignited my desire to play with watercolor and I was inspired enough to produce some more little paintings that you can see in the posting Playing with watercolor in Paris. My skill level had improved marginally and I eventually painted a few more times before I left Paris.

Alas, I did not continue with watercolors, although I kept buying supplies and watching lots of YouTube videos. A few days ago, I downloaded the list of daily prompts for World Watercolor Month and decided I would try to paint something on as many days as I could this July. I chose to paint in a relatively small watercolor journal that is 5.5 x 8 inches (14 X 20 cm) so I would not feel intimidated by a big sheet of blank paper.

So here are my paintings for the first four days of July in reverse order. The prompt for 4 July was “Quiet” and as I though about it, my mind transported me back to an early morning last November when I watched the sun rise slowly over the Seine River.

The prompt for 3 July was “Playful” and I chose to reprise a painting style and subject that I had used once before. I used a style based on Chinese ink painting (sumi-e) that emphasizes using a minimum number of strokes to capture the essence of the subject, in this cases some frogs and dragonflies.

The prompt for 2 July was “Texture” and I decided to try to paint a wart-covered toad that I had photographed earlier this year. The prompt for 1 July was “Rejoice” and I painted a chubby little bird that was singing.

It is both rewarding and humbling to post these paintings. I feel like a little kid who is excited about producing something with his own hands and this posting serves as a virtual refrigerator door on which I can display my art. Of course I realize that my current skill level is pretty low, but was one video that I watched recently emphasized, “there is no shame in being a beginner.”

I am confident that if I can carve out some time each day to paint this month, I am sure to improve. Most importantly, I am having fun. I was chatting recently with a friend who is an accomplished watercolor artist. She confessed it is a little tougher for her to have fun, because she is a perfectionist. As our skill levels increase in any area, I think there is a danger that we may lose our initial sense of joy and wonder. I consciously try to remain on guard against that danger when it comes to my photography.

If you want to learn more about World Watercolor Month, click on this link or go directly to doodlewash.com. In addition to raising awareness and interest about watercolor painting, World Watercolor Month raises support for The Dreaming Zebra Foundation, a charity providing support so that children and young adults are given an equal opportunity to explore and develop their creativity in the arts.






© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


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Until I got a really close-up shot, I never realized that the body of a grasshopper had so many amazing textures. Previously, I had naively assumed that the body parts were relatively smooth. Click on the image to see a higher-resolution view of the details of the “shoulders,” legs, wings, and antennae.

I hope that no one opened this posting thinking that it was a culinary one. I’ve never tasted a grasshopper, but assume that it would have a crunchy texture. Who knows, maybe it tastes like chicken, which seems to be the default flavor for exotic animal protein sources.

grasshopper_texture_blog© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I really enjoy watching woodpeckers at work—they are so determined and industrious. I find their simple black and white coloration (sometimes accented with a bit of red) to be tasteful and elegant. Usually I end up watching them from a distance or with my neck at an uncomfortable angle as I look high up into the trees or low near the ground.

This weekend, though, I observed a woodpecker—I think he was a Downy Woodpecker—at relatively close range and at eye level. He was hanging upside down on a branch and was systematically pecking away at it. I really like the lighting in this shot and the way it is reflected in his eye. My favorite element, however, is the feathers on the breast area. The texture is simply amazing and looks like almost like a loosely woven fabric. It is a nice contrast to the black-and-white feathers on his back that look like they are stacked from this angle.

I never tire of photographing the same subjects, whether they be birds, insects, or flowers. Familiar subjects somehow seem different when viewed from new angles or in different light.

Downy feather texture

Downy feather texture

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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