Own Your Encore

My Encore Excursions


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Sunlit Foliage

Diablo Lake

When out on a trail a quick photo and a sketch are a great way to capture the scene and create a lasting memory. While the trail sketch allows the scene to be edited and put in perspective, final color tends to be a studio practice.

In a recent class with Molly Hashimoto she shared some watercolor techniques with yellow to enhance sunlit foliage.

  • Use a non granulating bright yellow such as Azo Yellow or a Hansa Yellow
  • Keep the color pure for the sunlit areas and the paper white under the color

Azo Yellow

Azo Yellow [top] shown with other tube yellows

“One can speak poetry just by arranging colors well”

Vincent van Gogh


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Ink [ part one ]

After 50 weeks of posting about color, I continue to be curious about color in the arts and will continue to explore for another year here. This week it’s ink part one! The curiosity about ink color started when I was setting up some tools for trying modern calligraphy and asked myself ‘how is ink color different from watercolor ‘. More on that another week because this week I learned a new way to use ballpoint pen ink!

It was an unexpected benefit of a class with Molly Hashimoto. She is an accomplished visual artist and author. Our class today was a focus on quick techniques to use in nature journals, mainly to capture landscape and natural subjects. She started out by having us draw with water soluble ink, like this ball point pen…

Water soluble ink pen!

The focus of the class :

  • How to work quickly
  • Use ‘thumbnail’ / small sketches
  • Capture scenes that enhance memory & experience of place

In the past few years I have probably thrown away a dozen water soluble pens because they ‘bleed’ and make a mess of a drawing…and they always seem to end up in my pen box where I am expecting permanent ink. Molly changed all that for me. She showed us how to create a quick thumbnail sketch with the water soluble ink pen and then apply water to complete the visual memory sketch. Pen ink varies in solubility and typically colors are black, blue – of course speciality pens offer many colors. The technique is fun and has a watercolor essence.

Focus on trees using 3 different techniques

I asked Molly about using a watercolor pencil to achieve the same look, she discouraged due to the lack of a crisp line with a pencil. It might work but definition would be lost. So if you ever go on a walk and want to try a little sketch along the way, simply take a ballpoint pen, paper and a water brush. It truly does enhance the memory of a place visited.

Next post, Ink [ part two ] will explore the ancient practices of ink and how ink color was discovered and used around the world.