Reclusive Robot (11/52)

Deep in the mountains lives the last of the giant robot warriors. Wanting nothing more than to be left alone and slowly become one with nature. 

This landscape is inspired by a photo from the Laojun Mountain Nature Reserve. The photo itself almost looks like an incredible painting. I'm still not quite happy with the amount of detail in this painting so I'll probably continue with this style until I don't feel like I'm learning anything. 

Visitors (10/52)

This week I decided to do something different and try a ink-only painting. I did the below sketch at the weekly Meetup I go to with a brush pen. 

Initial sketch

Brush pens are great for doing basic sketches of ink paintings though you can't get different tones. I can't wait to get my Cintiq Companion tablet so I can do digital sketches quickly like this.

Below is a quick draft painting I did on Sunday to see how i liked the composition on the actual paper. After that I did some studying to see how I should actually approach this painting. I think I'm going to do a similar scene for next week to work on improving my technique. 

A quick draft painting

Run, Xander, Run (9/52)

Robot Rob just wants the kitty snuggles, but Xander won't be having any of that. 

Went with a fairly simple piece this week so I didn't feel rushed. I felt it was time for Xander to be featured in a painting so here he is! He's a shy kitty so this seems fitting. Though I'm sure most cats would run away from a giant robot chasing them. 

"The robots won't find me here."

Dubious Dragon (7/52)

I almost forgot to post this! The tiny dragon contemplates sampling the nectar in this exotic looking flower. Might those actually be tentacles? One can never be sure in this mystical world. 

This is from a sketch I've been working on for a couple weeks at a Meetup I've started going to. Seemed like the right time to use it for a painting. This one was painting on fully sized paper. 

I'm closing in one the two month mark for this project! I am quite pleased I've stayed on track so far. 

Swim Time (6/52)

Because there's just not enough platypus art in the world. I really like how the bamboo turned out in this. I think that's my favorite part of this painting. It is certainly one of my more detailed backgrounds I've done for this style. I also need to budget my time better so I don't leave all the painting for Wednesday night which has happened for the past few weeks. I stayed up late last night to finish this so I didn't start slipping on my weekly deadline. There was much accelerated drying with a hair dryer required to get this done in one night.

I also need to need to look into gold paint pens. I currently use a brush with gold acrylic ink but it starts to dry out quickly which makes it a slow process as I have to constantly clean and reload the brush. There just so happens to be an art store right by the Meetup I'm headed to tonight so hopefully I'll find something good there. Though this probably means I would lose the brush stroke look which I might not actually like.

New New New Seattle (5/52)

Welcome to New New New Seattle. Far off in the future when the human race has scattered across the universe to look for salvation, the space whales graciously provide sanctuary. What was New Seattle and New New Seattle? That's a story for another time.

This painting would probably work much better with acrylics or maybe even watercolor as I could have used masking fluid while filling in the background. I've wanted to do a space painting though so I thought I'd give it a try. I thought about not giving it a dark background but after coloring the planet, it was grabbing all the attention away from the rest of the painting. The black made the whale pop out a whole lot more. I started this painting on raw paper but it was just bleeding like crazy as I was using very diluted paint so I started over on sized paper. There would have been no way to fill in the background on raw paper either. 

Dear Kitten

For February I will be donating to the Homeward Pet Adoption Center in honor of Oz and in celebration of my new family member, Xander (who came from Homeward). I am also doubling my donation amount to 30% for my animal related items. 

Prints of Oz Meowl (8x10 | 12x16) and Harmony (8x10 | 12x18) are also now available for purchase.

Welcome to the Jungle (4/52)

It's not all fun and games when it takes forever to come up with an idea for the week. I had a busier week than normal too which was starting to make this task feel a bit daunting. I was trying hard to come up with a landscape idea again to no avail so I tried to just go with the unusual subject matter for Asian paintings theme. This was a fairly freeform painting with just the stegosaurus sketched out first. I'm not a huge fan of how the perspective on him turned out nor how crisp the brush strokes are on him (compared to the rest), but overall I like the look of it. 

With week 4 complete, am I very glad to see I actually made it through the first month of this project and kept on schedule! Just 48 more paintings to go.


Now, as for one big reason why my week was busier than normal....

New kitty!!! This is Xander, he came home with me from the Homeward Pet Adoption Center on Saturday. He's a very shy guy but has made excellent progress so far. Now I just need to work on getting Willow to stop hissing in his cute little face. There will be more photos of Xander to see in my Instagram feed.

Oz Meowl (3/52)

Oz Meowl - Final piece and very first scan on my fancy schmancy new scanner.

Why, look! It's Oz again, sorta. Somewhere in a magical land there's the cutest little Oz meowl... kitlet? I was having trouble coming up with inspiration for a landscape painting so I decided to go with this old idea to keep the project going. If you are you unfamiliar with the concept of meowls, do yourself a favor and Google it.

The sketch

This painting was done on semi-sized Xuan paper to control the bleeding, but I'm not sure if that was the right call. Perhaps I'll do a second meowl painting later on raw paper to see. I debated doing this on watercolor paper but felt it was a better fit for the texture of Xuan paper with all the white space.

Originally my sketch had him with his eyes open, you can still see the faint marks of this in the sketch. I was having trouble getting the expression right so I went with his eyes closed. Partway thought the painting I realized he probably should be squatting more if he was taking a nap. So I guess he's more just basking in the sunlight. 

Harmony (2/52) (and the story of Oz)

Harmony (2/52) (and the story of Oz)

My second painting took a detour from my original plan. The inspiration for this is none other than my cats, Oz and Willow, who would often be found cuddling not too far from this. They were such a great pair that using the yin-yang imagery felt perfect. 

As I briefly mentioned last time, 2015 did not get off to a good start for me. It almost derailed this project before the first week was up. But, I managed pull myself together and continue on doing the only thing that felt right.

Untitled (1/52)

The final piece. Didn't work as expected but things were learned!

So I actually finished this painting on Thursday, but didn't get around to posting it until now. The inspiration for this landscape came from a photo of the Himalayas. This painting did not go as planned, this itself week was actually a disaster for reasons that will be apparent in the next post. For this one, I decided to try a more detailed painting. 

I was happy with my sketch so went to work and reached what should have been the end.

The thing about working with this kind of paper is that it takes on a rather drastically different appearance when it is wet. The paper becomes much more transparent when wet which makes all the paints much more saturated. After it dried I realized there was a big a problem. There was no clear distinction between the foreground and background which took away any sense of depth and made it all blend together. What I wish I had done was use much less texture on the background mountains and put some white space between it and the foreground with some fog perhaps. My options were limited but I decided to see if I could fix this since this is primarily suppose to be a learning experience. If my first painting was perfect that would sure put a lot of pressure on the rest! I actually tried three things, first putting a watered down ink wash on the back of the paper for the foreground elements to make them stand out more, then most obviously applied more blue to the foreground, and finally I added some white highlights to the foreground on the back of the paper. While it helped, I was not really happier with the result. But, at this point there was really nothing else to do so it was time to take what I learned and move on to the next. 

How I spent my winter vacation...

I took most of December off from my day job to relax and work on new art projects. Of course, as it always goes, I didn't get nearly as much done as I would have liked or ended up doing things I did not plan (such as this new website). I did get solid time in on two big things though, exploring Western watercolors and doing Chinese watercolor reminiscent of ancient painting styles. There is a great simplicity in Sumi-e and Chinese watercolor that can be both freeing and frustrating. You learn to live with your mistakes, or as Bob Ross called them, "happy accidents", because there's very little you can do to correct it. But sometimes those mistakes just make you want to rip it up start over >.< Western watercolor on the other hand is more forgiving in that respect though certainly comes with its own challenges. I love some of the watercolor techniques I've seen though that you can't elsewhere so I've really been wanting to try it. 

My first few watercolor attempts where just playing around and trying to paint some random thing that came to mind. This mostly resulted in looking like I was back in grade school. Never an encouraging start, but I knew I just needed more planning. So, I decided to work on two projects at once by taking my sketch for my Chinese watercolor painting and also doing a Western watercolor version of it.

The inspiration for this first set came from a photo of the Laojun Mountains where fresh air was recently collected from and passed out in Zhengzhou.

This is the Chinese watercolor version on Xuan paper. There was a lot more bleeding on this than I would like but that is the nature of this paper when using thinned paints.

This is the Western watercolor version and my first fully completed watercolor painting. I experimented with many things while working on this so it's a bit messy, but hey, that was the point of this. The exact same outline was used for this one as the Chinese version which I decided wasn't what I wanted.

Overall I'm happy since this very much in the experimental/learning phase. For the second set I decided to try using semi-sized Xuan paper as it doesn't bleed easily. And for the watercolor version I decided to try not doing the outline in black ink. This time inspiration came from this amazing artwork.

My final paintings of 2014:

Using the semi-sized Xuan paper made doing this very similar to working with Western watercolor as the water is not readily absorbed by the paper. I missed the gradation effects that occur with the raw paper even though it can bleed like crazy.

Wasn't sure what to do with the background on this one but I didn't want to do the same thing as the Chinese version. Settled on using paint splatters to create some motion while keeping a simple color palette.

I was tempted to save this to be the first painting in my 52 project, but decided that would be cheating. There were some other experiments such as trying out sodium alginate thicker for dye, but this is all I have to share right now.

New year, new site, new project

Out with the old and in with the new. Ditching Wordpress and moving to Squarespace! Much happier with their built-in image galleries and easy editing. Hopefully this means I'll actually update this more then 3 times a year.

2014 turned out to be a great year for DMoSan. Sales were significantly higher than last year and it was the start of Art for a Cause, so I am very happy with the amount of money I was able to donate to both FareStart and Food Lifeline. Thank you everyone that made this happen. Here's to supporting even more causes in the new year!

For 2015 I have decided to do a 52 project of one painting a week. This may prove too big of a commitment but there's only one way to find out! For a while now I've been wanting to learn how to paint in the style of ancient Chinese paintings, specifically the blue-green landscapes that evolved during the Tang Dynasty, and add in atypical subjects such as aliens, dinosaurs, or other sci-fi/fantasy elements. I took a long staycation during December and started working on this thanks to Chinese Landscape Painting techniques for watercolor by Lian Quan Zhen. I plan to at least start my 52 project with this concept. I don't expect every painting to be an overall success but my hope is that each piece will let me explore some idea and hone my skills.