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landscape

Speedpainting in MediBang Paint Pro

beach sunset

A summer night on a nearby beach, painted in MediBang Paint Pro. Trying out the watercolor brush a bit. MediBang is a pretty neat piece of software, very lightweight and responsive.

Keeping it loose

These paintings were done as a kind of personal exercise with the goal of actually completing something without over thinking it.

This was useful for me since I have a tendency to get caught up in the details and then abandoning my artwork when I can’t get it just right. So the goal here was to go rather fast and focus on the big picture. No erasing was allowed.

I did these paintings in ArtRage 3 studio pro, which is a digital painting software meant to emulate natural media. Doing it this way instead of using more traditional media has both pros and cons, but it does allow for experimentation without being limited by what materials you have available. It´s also nice not to worry about wasting anything or about preparation or cleanup. But it does  allow for near infinite reworking, which is something I try not to do right now.  Computing power is also a concern, my hardware is getting a bit old at this point. You can´t have everything I guess.

Either way, this was a very enjoyable experience and I was actually rather happy with the results.

Do you ever struggle with finishing your work?

Watercolor field

field

I wanted to do something quick and simple  to try out a pad of watercolor paper that i got some time back. When I get really nice art supplies I tend to be afraid to use them. I guess i don´t want to mess up and waster them. So they sometimes tend to sit unused for far to long.

Anyway, the paper in question was The Langton Prestige from Daler Rowney. It´s the 300 gsm (140lb) cold press variety made from 100% cotton. I usually go for the cold pressed papers. This is one of those pads that are glued on all four sides so you don’t have to stretch the paper before painting. It´s probably useful if you are painting outside. I found it to be very convenient, but I also found the finished painting got be a bit hard to remove without  cutting it up by accident. It turned out alright in the end, but it was still a problem.

The sky is painted wet on wet, one of my favorite things to do when it comes to watercolor. As for the color palette, I keep coming back to yellow ochre and olive greens. I think they go well together and there is just something about this combination that is really pleasing to me.

This was created with the help of a reference image from PaintMyPhoto, the photographer being Irini Adler

Do you have any color you keep coming back to?

The salt lake

I was on a wonderful vacation in Spain recently, accompanied by my sister and father. One day we wanted to do some exploring, and we ended up at Las Salinas de Torrevieja.

Since we travelled by plane, with all the weight restrictions and other concerns that comes with it, I wanted to bring as little equipment as possible. So these photos were all taken using the 18-55mm kit lens. They were handheld as well, since my tripod was a bit to heavy to bring along.

This lake is used for salt production, wich means it´s really salty. As a matter of fact, it´s way to high in salt for fish to survive in it. There are other forms of life however, such as a species of algae that´s responsible for turning the water pink. It´s also home to shrimp that apparently attracts flamingos during some parts of the year. We were not there at the right time though, unfortunately.

At least we got to see the beautiful reflections the lake has to offer. The water sitting on top of the salt acts like a mirror. It was a very impressive sight.

New lens: Pentax DA 55-300/4-5,8 ED

Early this summer I bought a new lens for my camera. It´s my first completely new and modern lens, and I´ve been enjoying it quite a bit. When i bought it, I had the intention of bringing it with me during my yearly visit to the zoo. unfortunately, I have yet to visit any zoos. I´ve been very busing, moving to a beautiful new apartment in a new city. But we will talk some more about that later. Now, back to the lens.

I choose the DA 55-300 because it seemed like a good performer for a good price. I was not disappointed in that regard. It also has quick shift, wich means you can adjust focus manually even though you’re using autofocus. It´s really useful. A lens hood is also include, as well as a soft bag to keep the lens in. I think the build quality is good, but it does extend out quite a bit when zooming, wich leads to it feeling a bit unbalanced at times when I use it on my k-r. It would probably fit well on a bigger camera.

Since i only have two autofocus lenses from before, one of them rarely used,  I was very excited about trying it out. It was a pretty pleasant experience. For the most part, the autofocus is rather accurate. I got some nice and sharp photos i normally would have missed. I also value this because it means the lens can be used by my family members with ease. There are some problems in this area however. The major one being that the autofocus uses a screw operated mechanism that tends to sound like a chainsaw. Wich is a problem, since most animals apparently dislike the sound of chainsaws. This is most noticeable when it has a hard time finding anything to focus on. So for shy animals, manual is the way to go.

The manual focus works pretty well. It´s not like my old and fully manual lenses, but I found it to be a lot better than my kit lens. The zoom ring is very wide, and there is no zoom creep that I know of.

The zoom range is very useful, and I was really lacking good lenses in the 55-300 range. It´s a good lens to match up with the 18-55 kit lens for a lightweight travel kit. All the pictures in this post were taken on my first day with the lens and are converted from raw format with no processing so you can get an idea of how this lens performs. I tried to include a variety of subjects.

What´s your favorite lens?

Abstract landscape

Sunset

This is one of the few drawings I have finished lately. I wanted to experiment with making a more abstract version of something that would still be recognizable.

I made this using a variety of different markers, mostly promarkers and copic sketch. It´s on bristol board, wich I bought a while back because it was smooth and heavyweight. It was also recommended by a lot of people. Can´t say I`m a fan though, unfortunately. The copics looked speckled on it, and the ink kept bleeding over the edges. That´s something i have a hard time with. So I don´t think I will buy any more of it.

This time I did a sketch on a separate paper before transferring it over to the bristol board. I prefer working that way, since my sketches tend to be messy.

Picking out the colours was something I found to be difficult. It was easier for the sky, but I´m less than pleased with the ground.

I feel like I learned a lot while working with this. Both about my markers, about colour and about abstraction. There will likely be at least a few more drawings made in this style.  Do you have any ides for subjects?

 

Landscape in watercolor

landscape

I´ve been drawing lots of landscapes lately. So when I felt like doing some watercolor painting, there where plenty of finished sketches to choose from.

I´m one of those people who almost always do at least one preliminary sketch.

This painting is made using three primary colors and two earth tones, mixed in various ways. Just like my previous landscape. I tried painting the sky wet in wet this time however, which I think turned out pretty well. Normally, i´m to scared of ruining things to work with a lot of water.  But there will be further experiments with this technique in the future.I also tried using a fan brush, that I bought at a local art supply store for next to nothing. Might have gotten a bit carried away and used it too much. Oh well, at least I learned something.

There where the usual problems with getting the photo to somewhat match the original painting. It´s not quite there yet, a lot of the more subtle shades have been lost. Overall, it seems very of. But this was the best I could do.

Maybe next time, I will make a landscape where there´s spring. I would need a different green though. What´s your favorite type of green?

Winters first snow

We got some snow today, something I had been looking forward to. It makes things a bit lighter.

I used an old 28 mm lens for all of these photos. There was however a problem with moisture getting inside the lens, causing a blurred spot in the middle. No idea how it happened, but at least it cleared up after a while.

Colored pencil drawings

I have a a5 sized sketchbook that I use for small drawings in colored pencil. It often comes along when I travel, and many of the drawings in there were created during long car rides. I tend to work to big when i try out new techniques and materials, and end up without the energy and motivation to actually finish. So keeping a small sketchbook like this is very helpful.

I did the landscape to try out a set of koh-i-noor polycolors i bought. They were pretty nice, soft and cheap. But the lightfastness is not as good as I would like and they seem to break easily. Oh well. There´s a lot of Derwent Coloursoft in there as well, and polychromos.

One of these is an exercise from a book by the way, the tomato. It´s from Masterful Color by Arlene Steinberg. I found it to be a very useful book, it thought me a lot more than I expected. Do you like to read books related to art? And do you find it useful?

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