This year, I grew a watermelon I’ve wanted to grow since I was 12: the Pink-Fleshed Moon and Stars Watermelon. I read about it in a heritage seed-saving catalogue, and the description of a watermelon with markings like a starry sky took my imagination and gave me ideas of a faerie garden. Moon and Stars Watermelon is an heirloom variety of watermelon that was once thought to be extinct, but careful preservation has brought it back. It produces a lot of seeds, and grew easily in hills with zero assistance. I had a bit of trouble with the weeds this year, but the watermelon didn’t. It out-competed them and produced plenty of fruits.
The watermelons were just as delicious as I imagined they would be. Very sweet and tasty, with plenty of watermelon flavor! It’s so much better than a grocery store melon. One of the watermelons was one yard (91 cm) in circumference!
I painted the watermelon and the leaf in watercolor. The entire plant has these little yellow specks on it, like a whole galaxy of stars. Even the leaves are speckled when healthy, and the seeds are mottled with dark and mid-tone brown flecks. The watermelon also has a single larger yellow spot on it where it sat on the ground, making a “moon” on the dark green sky among all the tinier speckles of “stars.”
The season for watermelon has already passed, but this variety deserves attention. I’ve saved the (numerous, huge) seeds from these watermelons to grow next year.
This set was painted using a single tube of Phtalo Blue watercolor from my watercolor set. The paper is 140 lb cotton watercolor paper. I am really enjoying the challenge of creating an entire painting with just a single tube of watercolors. Perhaps I will try making a larger one some time in the future.
Both this set and the set of watercolors in Yellow Ochre are based on photographs I took of the local forests and landscape. I saw a marked improvement in my art as soon as I started working from not just reference images, but reference images that I took myself or things that I have right in front of me. I think that having seen the thing in person helps give life to the art.
Again using my Speedball Acyrlic Ink and Crow Quill set, I made a drawing based off a photograph I took of a local stream. I used to do really intricate pen and ink work all the time several years ago. It was really nice to get back into it.
I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing that acrylic ink. It has been nothing but trouble with technical issues- first the false waterproofness, and now? It smudges when I erase faint pencil lines from underneath it. I was able to save what had smudged, however, I don’t want to get more of this ink once I’ve used up what I have.
When I make a painting using only one tube of color, I’ve found that I have about 4 or 5 layers of color. The first is a very faint wash for the whole background, which I may or may not blot off portions of with a rag or paper towel to make a cloud effect. Then is a barely-more-saturated background layer. Next is one or two medium-saturated layers of middle ground. Finally, I have the foreground, which is with undiluted or barely diluted paint right from the tube.
This set of watercolors was completed with a tube of yellow ochre watercolor on 140 lb cotton watercolor paper. This project is another iteration of using a single tube of color to create an entire composition. I am starting to get a better understanding of how to use different amounts of water to create different saturations of color. This is a fun, but slightly tricky project, as if you get the saturations wrong, you very quickly find yourself with a blotchy page of undefined color (especially since there is only one color to start with!)
This was a really fun project. It’s another idea I found while looking at painting techniques- basically, you take oil or acrylic, then layer several dark colors in the background as a nebula in the night sky, then sponge or brush crudely some lighter color or white to make atmospheric clouds closer to where the ground would be. After that, you paint in stars. The foreground is painted in flat black, and then backlight is added in any lighter color. My take on this idea uses pine trees, as I think they make a very nice silhouette.
I have a small set of oil paints that I’ve had for several years. I took the opportunity to practice with them on a small, 6 inch by 8 inch (15 cm x 20 cm) premade canvas I also already had laying around. It reminds me of some of the art I made in school, using thick paint over a black background to create a lot of contrast (though this is kind of the opposite). I have a ways to go to improve myself, and I hope to incorporate some of the things I’ve learned or remembered from this project into my future art.
This is the fourth and final landscape in a series of 4 watercolors using only one tube of watercolor.
This project was beneficial to me. I got to see myself improve, even over just 4 pieces! (plus a fifth one that didn’t make the cut.) I have ideas on how I can work this technique into my art in the future, and I got back into using color in my art, something I’ve been struggling with for several years. Overall, I’d consider this project a success.
This is the third in a series of 4 paintings intended to improve my watercolor painting abilities. One of the challenges for this project, for me at least, was learning how to wait for the paper to dry before I did anything else on it. When I’m using ink, I can go to another section of the page and work on that until the other part dries. Not so with this watercolor project. The water is all over the paper, as I my first layer used a wet-on-wet technique to create the atmospheric blur. I had to learn a different kind of patience for this style.
(I think I need to get better tape for my edges once I use up my current tape. The sides kept on curling up and un-sticking themselves in a very inconvenient way!)
The second in my series of 4 forest-themed watercolor compositions using only 1 tube of color. This project is to help me improve my ability to use different saturations of watercolors and to improve my technical skill of watercolor in general. I’ve really enjoyed this project, and I may do something similar again in the future.