Paintings of Ireland

I traveled to Ireland in February, mainly for the IxD12 conference, but I also had the opportunity to create painting-sketches based on some side trips to the countryside.  I took a few of my sketches from the Cliffs of Moher and did larger paintings.  On the particular day I was at the cliffs, the weather was quite unsettled (moments of sun, moments enshrouded in fog, and moments of rain) so each piece uses a slightly different technique to express this variable atmosphere. I’d be happy to hear your feedback!

One of my sketches of the Cliffs. It was sunny and bright at this moment! 5" x 8" on moleskine watercolor. Contact for pricing.

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December Watercolors & New Series

It’s a new year, and we’ve come to a final installment of watercolor sketches based on the watercolor sketch resolution I made last January.  Who would have thought 12 months would pass so quickly?

I plan to take my learnings from the sketch exercises from 2011 to create more exhibition- and sale-worthy pieces throughout the next year.  In fact, I’ve even started a new series in the last week.  Check out “Killer Poms” below and after the jump.  Many of these will be available for sale.

Manic Grin - Here's a look at one painting from a series called "Killer Poms" (5"x7" - Contact for pricing). Check out the others after the jump!

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November Watercolors

We’re coming up on the end of the year. I was lucky to get watercolor sketches done this month, between the holidays, travel, and general busy-ness. I also hit a snag when I ran out of watercolor paper and tried to supplement with some general purpose drawing paper until the art store opened the next day. Kids, don’t try this at home: it’s never worth it to use crappy paper, even if you’re desperate.

In November I also upgraded from my 5×7 Moleskine Watercolor Notebook to a 10×7 Strathmore 400 Series Field Watercolor Notebook. So far, I’m loving the Strathmore much more than the Moleskine because the spiral binding provides more flexibility, the paper and cover are sturdier, and the aspect ratio of each page is more comfortable.

I had some fun with simple lines and angles in this piece.

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October Watercolors

Trick or treat!  It’s Halloween, and also the day for a watercolor update.  Oddly, I did no pumpkin, ghost or zombie paintings this month. I did some traveling this October so, instead of 16+ quick paintings in my sketchbook, I used my vacation time to create more refined, professional pieces.  I’ve also included a scan of one of them in progress to show a bit of my technique.  Feel free to inquire about purchases of the originals or getting prints made. I’ve been asked how I deal, space-wise, with the large amount of watercolors that I’ve generated this year.  While many of them are nicely tucked away in sketchbooks, the singular, larger pieces are displayed clothesline-style on my walls.  I’ve found this to be the most nondestructive and space conscious way to display watercolors.  Then I only need to frame my favorites.   It’s much cheaper than purchasing frames for everything!

Twine and mini-clothespins are a quick, easy and non-destructive solution for displaying mulitple watercolors.

Enjoy the watercolors from this month, and I’ll see you all in November with another update.

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September Watercolors

I’m pleased to announce month 9 of watercolor sketching. This batch from September is more impressionistic than last month’s illustrative bunch. Many of these paintings were spontaneous and unplanned. For several of them, I didn’t even bother to add blue tape for clean borders. This gave them a very gestural feel.  I also created several vigorous “action” paintings. Enjoy and, as usual, please contact me with technique questions or purchasing inquiries. Cheers!

This turned out to be a lovely portrait sketch. While, in real life, the subject was coyly smirking, I gave her a more

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August Watercolors

Installment 8 of watercolor sketching! After a lighter showing last month, I’m happy to say I’m back to the normal array of paintings for August. Contrary to the usual landscape/realism style, these are primarily surrealist. I’m really quite happy with the “Jellyfish Hair” series, even if it is a tad on the trippy side. I happily welcome your thoughts and any questions about technique.

As a side note, I’ve been asked by a few folks about whether my watercolors are for sale. While there are a few pieces that I do plan to keep for myself, if you are interested, send me a note at kryshiggins at kryshiggins dot com and we can chat.

This is how the month started off. Just some simple pretzels with frisket spatter for salt. Who knew I'd end up with Dali-esque jellyfish paintings later?

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July Watercolors

This month turned out to be quite a boondoggle, and I did not get through a full slate of 16+ watercolor sketches as part of my watercolor sketch resolution. As unfortunate as that was, I still have artwork I produced during the month to share.  I painted 3 detailed watercolors and also had fun creating digital, graphic posters inspired by vintage racing artwork.

I’ll be back next month with watercolor sketches, as usual.  I hope you see you then!

3 12 x 16 Watercolors

These 3 watercolors are based on pencil sketches I did last summer in Italy. This is of a view from Taormina, in Sicily, looking towards the Ionian Sea. I used an incomplete sky on this one to bring some focus to the flowery ruins on the left.

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June Watercolors

6 months into my watercolor sketching resolution, and still going strong.  June had me working on an eclectic array of subject matter, from the abstract to the ridiculously illustrative, and utilizing different paper sizes and media (salt, frisket, and more).  Some of these pieces took me the full hour, and others took a scant 5 minutes.  Which ones do you think took the longest?

A linear abstract using frisket and broad washes

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May Watercolors

This installment of watercolor sketches is a bit different from those of the previous months.  Due to extra time I spent on four paintings while on a trip to Hawaii, there are less sketches in total.

Scenic Paintings of Hawaii

These are more fully realized paintings done on an Arches 10″ X 14″ 300lb cold press watercolor block.  It’s my favorite painting paper because it’s sealed along the edges to other pieces on the block, so that warping is minimized, and it is sturdy enough to double as an easel.  While I’m pretty happy with these, I may go back over a few of them to add more contrast.

A painting of trees in Kona area done at sunrise, with the volcano in the background

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April Watercolors

April showers bring May flowers.  As you’ll see from this month’s selection from an ongoing watercolor sketch project, I was inspired by the stormy skies.  Although I said I’d be continuing on a jump rope thread from last month, I got diverted to a series I can best describe as “fun with frisket masking,” sketching lightning, lava and more.  Check them out after the jump.

Not all watercolor sketches need be serious: here is a little humor piece from Easter.

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March Watercolors

It’s time again for a watercolor progress update.  I’m not going to say much in advance about this batch; I continued on a couple of threads from last month (monks) and ended with a thread I’ll likely continue with next month (jumping rope).  In general, this batch is much, much looser than the last two, as I was trying out a process of 15-minute sketches.  Share your thoughts!

More Monks

This is another Avatar-the-Last-Airbender-inspired piece. A monk manipulating fire.

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February Watercolors

It’s time again for another batch of art from my watercolor sketching new years resolution. I’m now going to post my updates at the end of every month.  Here are the sketches from February, complete with salt, snow and monks.  This batch is a bit more fanciful than my previous ones…let me know your thoughts!

A simple texture experiment to simulate a forest canopy using salt, warm green and cool green.

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January Watercolors

My watercolor sketching resolution is (thankfully) still going strong. I’m learning and creating on a very rapid cycle.  And now it’s once again time to share the progress!  From here on out, I’ll share the updates at the end of every month.  For January, I created 19 pieces, 3 more than the 16 I was aiming for. I’ve also included more specific learnings under each image.  Perhaps in the future I’ll also drop in some tutorials.  In the meantime, you can jump to the end of this post to see a list of the supplies I’m using.

A huge batch of yellow flowers had sprouted up in the local orchard. I tried to simulate their texture by spattering paint with a toothbrush, but I had already laid down too much base green and no yellow popped through. I was also afraid spattering the already-painted backhoe. Next time: spatter on to a very light base color, and do this before adding any other elements.

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