Artistic License, Colorful Black and (Erk!) Ink Blobs

11:30 AM


Momma said there would be days like this.

What she didn't say was that I should have known better, but I'd do it anyway.

Let me start at the beginning...

8.5 x 5.5 inches
Watercolor and Ink
Stillman & Birns Zeta Sketchbook
I recently received an email from Carole M. of Snap Happy Birding Blog and she hinted she had an image she thought I'd like…

She was right! And I was thrilled when she gave my permission to use her photos as inspiration for my sketch. I chose to use them as inspiration and drew my own interpretation using several of Carole's photos so that my sketch is not a direct copy of any of her images.

Carole had the opportunity to snap some fun shots of these white-breasted woodswallows huddling together. You can learn more here as well as hear them.

As the day was overcast when Carole took the shot, the birds didn't have a lot of variation in the black/dark gray color of their feathers so I decided to use my artistic license and make them colorful.

If I didn't say anything, and you just glanced at the image above, you probably didn't notice the various colors in the feathers. Take a closer look below:
Notice the blues, reds, lavenders, and turquoise
Now, I could have used just black: 
Just a hint of color in the tail feathers
But where is the fun in just using black when I can pull out just about every color in the paint box and play!?!

Our eyes read VALUE first and COLOR second. The cool thing about that statement is that it means that as long as we're using the right value, we can use any color we want to and it will look right!

Isn't it wonderful to be an artist?!

By adding in all the color, the image becomes more lively and entertaining to the eyes. As the colors closely represent black/dark gray, it doesn't make the birds look like parrots rather than woodswallows.

Fixing Mistakes
I mentioned in a prior post that I've been playing around with an Wahl/Eversharp flexible nib seated in a Noodler's Flex Fountain Pen. 

I knew it was just a matter of time before I had trouble with it as it doesn't really sit well in the feed of the Noodler pen, but a girl's gotta try. 

I shouldn't have been surprised when I got a lovely blob of ink on the last letter of the word, woodswallows. 

And, I wasn't. I'd been expecting trouble. 

What I was surprised at is that I didn't stop there and change pens. Instead, I cleaned the pen and kept going…right into another blob as seen on the right:
More than a little annoyed with myself, I wondered how to fix the blob quickly. Rather than futz around with ink, gouache or gesso, I pulled out a scrap of watercolor paper and created a tag. Once I had it cut out, I quickly painted it with raw sienna to give it a little more personality and glued it down to the page. 

I then switched pens (yes, I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I get there eventually!) and wrote the photo credit info. 

Using Your Creative License
Take a look the next time you're painting black or another dark color and look for ways to add unexpected color into those areas and don't get discouraged by ink blobs. 

They happen to everyone.

And last, but not least, many thanks to Carole for her generosity and allowing me to use her images. I hope you'll check out her blog as she always has something new up!

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20 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Even when you look at "black" birds they have other colors mixed in. Even crows if you look at them in the sun. Fun sketch. Mistake? What mistake? It looks like you really jazzed up your sketch. I like it.

    1. Good observations on the "black" birds, Lisa! Ravens and crows are one of my favorite birds to sketch because of all the cool colors. Starlings too.

  2. Excellent solution to a blob problem. Will have to remember that!

    1. Thanks, Katherine. I'd like to say it's the first time I've done that, but it's not nice to not tell the truth….;)

  3. I love your black colors. What an amazing photo it was and such a good idea of yours to paint it.

    1. Thank you, Chris! I loved Carole's photos. She's a talented lady.

  4. I love all that color dancing around in there.

    1. Such poetic words, Elva. Thank you! I think that's what I like about using so many colors in black—it creates energy and makes them sparkle…and dance.

  5. What a lovely final product, and thank you for sharing your boo boo--and the fix for it. It helps me two ways: in not being afraid to make a mistake (and thus not sketching at all) and in showing creative ways to cover up little mistakes that inevitably occur.

  6. You of all people know I make lots of blunders and boo boos. And that I usually find a way to fix them. Fear them? Nah. Waste of time. Mistakes are GOING to happen despite my best efforts. Dang it!

  7. Love this painting…and I love your fix. I assumed you were being creative and added the tag on purpose. I thought…"Laure's always so creative." Then when I read it was a fix, I thought what a happy mistake! It gives the drawing a "being in the field" feel.

  8. Laure - this is super - I do love the variety of colors that you used in the swallows too. As for the ink blog - hooray for being so creative and fixing the blob so wonderfully. Thanks too for sharing a lesson that you learned regarding the flexible nib! Have a lovely week-end.

  9. The tag is a great addition even without the ink blob, so I guess it's good to make mistakes occasionally so we're forced to be creative in fixing them. And the lesson on value is true in quilting too - in fact, the saying there is "value does all the work and color gets all the credit."

  10. Laure' you know I was interstate when your email with art arrived. Now I'm back from the Red Centre of Northern Territory, I've finally been able to access my blog and share you art via my blog too. Thanks so much!

    1. Hope you had a wonderful trip, Carole! Thanks again for sharing the image—it was great fun!

  11. Stopping in from Carole's blog.. I really loved your Woodswallows watercolor.. It is lovely, well done..

  12. Came by from Carole's blog just to see. I admire artists that work with color. I stick to black and white - pen & ink. Very imaginative on how you covered up the ink blob. Well done and I think it made the finished piece all the better. Hurrah for "mistakes".

    1. Thanks, John, I'm not sure I have the patience for pen and ink anymore! I can usually get watercolor to say what I want to…that's not so easy with just black and white.

  13. Popping over from Carole's blog to say how much I enjoyed your sweet painting of the woodswallows Laure. It was especially interesting reading this post and I just know I'm going to have fun looking through your blog - am inspired already. Cheers now :D)


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