Saturday, April 29, 2017

Guanajuato II Part 9. The last sketches.

This is the last part of Guanajuato II series. I named it II because it is the second time I sketched this city. A beautiful city like Guanajuato inspired me to sketch as much as I could. I'm surprised at the amount of sketches I made during my last visit. 
I did mostly only line work on location and just finished adding watercolor tonight. To be frank with you, I like to write my thoughts in this blog as a reminder of what happened at that moment. If I would have done it right away, you and I would probably read about things I don't remember now, but for now I write about I remember. 

There are so many interesting views of the tunnels under the city to choose from. After scouting the marvelous underground paradise I got at least one sketch from the oldest tunnel in the city. 
The same day I made one of the University of the Guanajuato, which is located few blocks from the tunnel I sketched. This is a popular place for visitor, some were curious about me, on the floor doing something. I'm curious about why nobody asked any questions. 
Plaza Baratillo was my everyday stop while we stayed there. Entertainment, groceries, pharmacy, restaurants, bakery. All in this square or short distance from it. I remember in my first visit in 2015 there wasn't any fence around the fountain.... but things change.

My last sketch in this city is the Market. I postponed this task to the last. Truth is that I felt overwhelmed by the monstrous but fascinating main entrance. Also my husband appears on it and because of the significance of my husband in my life, I also watercolor it last because I was afraid to spoil it, but that nonsense fear disappeared once I finished.
Thanks Guanajuato. The end.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Watercolor charts, is it worth it?

As a continuation of my previous post, I want to share with you the watercolor charts I have made. If you read my last post, I've been using Daniel Smith watercolors for the last 6 months. I was curious to see how many colors could I get out of it. I wasn't a fan of these charts because they are, in fact, time consuming, but on the bright side, it really helps to understand how the watercolor paint behaves and what are the results of mixing colors in different ratios. Also on a side note, the process of building your chart is kind of therapeutic. I found out that I really don't go back to look at them often, it is the process of building one that gives the knowledge, it is during the making of it when you learn. I  learned that some combinations makes surprisingly dark colors, or it creates a new favorite color, or you don't have to buy a sophisticated color paint when you can create it yourself!

If you would like to see a chart and learned from it, you would be missing the learning process of building one, that's why I would encourage you to do one for new paint colors, a new brand name, if you want go basic primary colors or do one with your favorite colors, you sure you will make most of your watercolor paint. I promise.

I used two ratios for each pair of colors, trying to keep it close to 1:3 and 3:1. Here I show two charts, artist grade.
Colors included in a travel set

Colors included in the essential set

I knew that the friendly budget Cotman watercolors (student grade from W&N) were good, look for yourself!

If you make or have a watercolor chart I would like to know! Feel free to leave your experience in the comment section below!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Planning my watercolor palette for 2017

I've been playing with colors to make my next palette. I want to share this  process of selection with you.The truth is that I want to be ready for the Urban Sketcher International Symposium in Chicago this July! Woo-hoo! 

I have to mention that I tried (out of curiosity) the Daniel Smith watercolor essential set for several months and I LOVED the intensity and how easily they dissolve once dry in the pan BUT, before I buy more paint, I think it's fair to say (and also fair to my pocket) that I need to finish first other stored paint I have. I think paint last some time without loosing its properties but won't last for endless years, it dries eventually. 

My criteria was:
1. What colors I use the most (which pans have the biggest holes, therefore the ones I like the most).
2. What do I have in inventory (seriously, get them out and use them, paint is not cheap!)
That's it. Base on that, I assigned a whole pan or half pan for each color.

I want to create a new palette with my favorite colors putting together the essential watercolor set from Daniel Smith and my Winsor&Newton old palette.
Right now I have the Daniel Smith paint in a pocket size pill organizer I brought with me to Mexico.  I think they deserve better. 

I'm waiting for a new metal travel palette and empty pans I ordered to finish this project. I plan to do the follow arrangement. I organized the colors by groups.

DS transparent New Gamboge is a new favorite, I noticed I used it a lot, therefore I'll use a whole pan; W&N Yellow Cadmium is opaque but I have a LOT of it, so a whole pan, I have to use it; DS Hansa Yellow Light, semi-transparent, half pan; W&N semi-opaque Yellow Ochre, half pan. I'll switch pan size with Yellow Cadmium when I finish it.

DS transparent Quinacridone Rose, I used it a lot, whole pan; W&N transparent Alizarin Crimson, love it and thankfully I have plenty, so a whole pan; half pan of DS semi-transparent Pyrol Scarlet, essential to make VERY dark colors with Phthalo Blue (GS); W&N transparent Winsor Red, a favorite, half pan, it's going nowhere.

The ones I use most is W&N opaque Cerulean Blue and W&N transparent French Ultramarine. I like better Ultramarine from W&N than DS, it's smoother, brighter, easier to dissolve, and it doesn't shrink when in dries in the pan. I also realized I used DS transparent Phthalo Blue (GS) a lot, although I'll use half pan, I also have similar color W&N transparent Winsor Blue (GS) in storage, so both will make a whole pan. Half pan for W&N Smalt or Dumont's Blue a beautiful purple-blue paint  I have stored. Half pan for W&N opaque Payne's Grey, it's grey but it has a hint of blue, also makes VERY dark color.

I have to have them, it saves me mixing time. Whole pan for transparent Sap Green which I use a lot, I like better the one from Daniel Smith, BUT I have a lot W&N stored, so it will use it until I finish it, then I'll switch to DS. Half pan for a W&N transparent Winsor Green, I have it as a Phthalo Green (YS)

Whole pan for W&N transparent Burnt Sienna, love it, also have lot of it. Half pan for W&N opaque Burnt Umber, it saves me time from mixing color for dark browns. No more new earth colors to try until I finish these paints.

I can see I'm very close from achieving my perfect palette. It looks like I'll have lost of colors on it but for my advantage I know them as the palm of my hand. A-ha!