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.
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 was a really fun project. While looking up techniques of watercolor to improve myself, I saw many different versions of using a single pan or tube of watercolor to create an entire composition. I thought that this would be a great exercise to improve my ability to use watercolors in varying saturations while also practicing how things fade into the atmosphere in the distance.
My recent watercolor attempt has convinced me that I should pick it up again and try to improve. Here, I’ve made a painting of bare tree limbs and sky to try and get into the fall and winter months. Obviously, I have a ways to go with practice, but I have to start somewhere!
Speedball Acrylic Ink is not waterproof. The packaging says that it is, however, I could easily pick up the ink with my watercolor brush after the ink had dried and I was adding color. Still, I think I managed to salvage this painting of dune grass and I am satisfied with how it turned out. I also used my speedball crow quill for this piece. My favorite part is the texture of the tree.
I also battled with the watercolor paper here, as it buckled slightly. The solution, of course, is to get a thicker watercolor paper, but I have to use up what I have for now.
Also, a little housekeeping has been done on the portfolio section of this website, so it should work more smoothly now!
A longer drawing with the Speedball Crow Quill Pen and Acrylic Ink. Not sure if/what I’ll do for color- I kinda like it as it is, plus this ink is NOT WATER FAST! This is very important to remember.
I had my little ivy houseplant next to me while drawing the whole time, and I think having such a real-word reference helps me improve. Even if I’m not drawing exactly the arrangement of leaves that was in front of me, I can see the way that ivy likes to grow and incorporate that into my drawing.
Here you can see me starting to get the hang of how to make different line weights with this particular type of pen.
Here is a second version of a mimosa tree frond (there’s a tree like this near where I live. It has little flowers like candyfloss and seed pods that make mimosa saplings grow EVERYWHERE.) This one also uses the Speedball Crow Quill and Acrylic Ink set I recently bought, and the green is with my water-based brush pens.
My first real try with my new Speedball Crow Quill and Acrylic Ink set that I recently purchased. I’ve struggled a bit with this new medium, as it’s hot where I live and the ink seems to get a film over it while it is on the nib if I so much as pause for a drink of water. Hopefully, this issue will go away as the weather cools. I added some color in with water-based brush pens I’ve had forever. This was a fun exercise.
Here is a study I did of a crimini (baby bella) mushroom from the fridge. I used a uniball pen that I had at the bottom of my supply drawer, and I’m quite pleased with the outcome. The paper is bristol.
I found the “lots and lots of scratchy lines” style enjoyable, I like the resulting image, and I’d like to try more things in this style in the future.