Friday, December 2, 2016

departure

I seem to work in cycles. After playing with abstracted images in my Edisto series, I have returned to my familiar mountain landscapes with the aim to take them beyond the literal. This is something I have attempted in the past with watercolor but this time I am exploring other water media as well.

So these two pieces are the first in this exploration. I began with a scene in mind and a few sketches where I focused on what is most interesting to me about the landscape- the movement of the undulating hills receding into the distance, defined by the lighted and shadowed areas.
Both of these works are approximately 8 x 11 inches on acrylic paper. I used water soluble graphite, Inktense blocks, Neocolor II watercolor crayons, Lyra Aquacolor crayons, gesso, and some acrylic paint. Pretty much anything I could think of to throw at it just to see what would happen! This is a departure from what I have been doing with watercolor for the past several years and I find the novelty of working in an unfamiliar way energizing as break from routine and the predictable.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

sketchbook :: food for the feast

We had a wonderfully relaxing Thanksgiving holiday which was spent cooking, eating, sketching, and catching up with a dear friend. I managed a couple of watercolor sketches in my 9 x 12 Kilimanjaro watercolor sketchbook. The clementines above and the sweet potatoes below were both done with watercolor only, no preliminary sketching, just straight in with paint.
That is my preferred way to sketch in watercolor, although sometimes I find myself committed to a composition that could have been better planned.
However, there were no do-overs. The clementines were needed for zest in the cranberry sauce and the sweet potatoes ended up mashed under that blanket of marshmallows. And when we put away our art supplies to finally eat dinner everything was so very tasty.

And now it's suddenly time to begin preparing for the next holiday! In between I am resolved to keep up with my studio practice as I have so many ideas percolating at the moment. I know it's nearly impossible to do everything, but I can certainly try!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Edisto Series

All The Quiet Places
mixed water media on paper
10.5 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

My Edisto series is now completed and available for purchase in my Etsy shop. You can see the entire collection in my shop by clicking here.

Ending Where It Began
mixed water media on paper
10 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I loved this exercise of sticking with the theme of the beauty of Edisto all the while keeping my color palette and method of painting and mark making consistent.

That Alone Will Do
mixed water media on paper
10 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

There is so much beauty to be found on this island, a beauty that requires our strict attention in order to protect and preserve this coastal environment.

To Lose One's Self
mixed water media on paper
10.5 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

And it is a home and a second home to many who find comfort in being by the sea in a small, strong community, away from the commercial trappings found in most coastal areas.

Beckon
mixed water media on paper
6.5 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I also enjoyed the challenge of abstracting this theme just a bit. 

Haven
mixed water media on paper
6.5 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I used my feeling for the place as a starting point and allowed the paintings to develop through the common thread of beach, water, palms, and the light.

Return
mixed water media on paper
6.5 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This is a method that I plan to explore more deeply in future works.

Rhythm
mixed water media on paper
6.5 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.
~e.e. cummings~



Friday, November 4, 2016

Edisto series continued

Edisto II
mixed water media on paper
10 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here are two more paintings in my Edisto series, created with the same process as the first. After sketching in the composition with a watercolor pencil I lay in watercolor washes. Then I build up areas with more saturated watercolor, after which I apply watercolor gesso in selected areas. Then more washes and marks with Inktense pencils. I liked the simplicity of the composition in the painting above, and left a good deal of white paper exposed. This painting shows one of the many little cottages at Edisto beach.
Edisto III
mixed water media on paper
10 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I am enjoying being able to use very saturated color and then push it back with the gesso. This process adds a dimension to the layering of pigment that watercolor alone cannot. And then restating areas with marks made with those wonderfully vibrant Inktense pencils is just fun! The painting above is inspired by the walk out to the beach at Botany Bay. I have read where the Botany Bay nature preserve sustained a good deal of damage from Hurricane Matthew and that it will be quite a long time before it will be open again.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Edisto series

Edisto I
mixed water media on paper
10 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Since my last post I have been busy creating works based on Edisto Island, South Carolina. The painting above is inspired by the many marsh views there, this one comes from Botany Bay on Edisto.
After my sketchbook explorations, I made a suite of small images wothout working directly from a photo reference. Instead, with my photos nearby purely for inspiration, I relied more on memory and pulled some of the graphic elements to create imagined compositions based on my feeling for Edisto. These were done on 1/8 sized watercolor paper. I used some watercolor washes along with watercolor crayons, water soluble graphite, Inktense blocks and gesso.
I am finding that I do like using gesso with watercolor. I discovered this gesso and similar to a watercolor ground, it can be applied thin or thick. I like using it not only to reclaim white areas but also to push the intensity of color back a bit when applied more thinly. It also provides an absorbant surface to then layer with a wash or accept watercolor pencil.
And here is a detail showing the watercolor pencil marks on top of a thin layer of watercolor gesso. Even though I had intended to keep these strictly watercolor paintings, I am so enjoying responding to the image with mark making and the added element of layering the surface. And all of this is causing me to reconsider those acrylics that I tried a while back.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

sketchbook :: Edisto series

Ever since Hurricane Matthew cruised up the East Coast a couple of weeks ago, my mind has been on our beloved Edisto Island in South Carolina. Edisto took a direct hit from the hurricane and has sustained a lot of damage. Keeping up with the news reports and seeing photos of the destruction was, and is, heartbreaking.

I began pouring through my photo inventory from Edisto with the idea of creating a new series of paintings based on that island that we love so much. This top sketch is inspired by the walking path that takes you out to Botany Bay on Edisto Island. Sorry about the wrinkles but this big Seawhite sketchbook is a bit unwieldy for my scanner.
And this one comes from the view out to St. Helena Sound.
Another St. Helena Sound view. I love those tall sea grasses.
I am using a variety of water media with these sketches, watercolor pencils and crayons, Inktense pencils and blocks, a water soluble graphite pencil, charcoal, and a little gesso sometimes here and there. I am exploring imagery from Edisto that is something other than my usual seascapes. You know how I love painting water and waves! But for this series I am looking for a different perspective on that beautiful island, so I plan to explore ideas through lots of sketches and studies.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Raven Rocks

Raven Rocks
watercolor
10.25 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is one more painting in my Raven Rocks series. With this series I have challenged myself to limit my palette in order to use color that is more expressive and interpretive as well as explore a more expressive painting style.  Although I will not post every painting in this series, overall I am satisfied with my results and I am now excited to carry this over into a new theme for paintings. Below are the other three paintings making a suite of four Raven Rocks paintings.
The View From Here
Daydream
From Where We Stand

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

all things creative

For a long time I have kept this place, BlueBird Hill, solely about my art. Paintings, sketchbooks, and drawings have been the theme. Now I have decided that BlueBird Hill should be a home for all the parts of this creative life, not just paintings. In my last post I introduced my fabric design adventures. And something else that I love to do is crochet.
So now, on occasion, I will be posting a crochet creation. I have added a few of these to my Etsy shop and will be adding more in the near future, simply because I crochet all the time and my closets are full! All of the hours spent waiting while Kiddo is in classes, or when watching our favorite tv series, I crochet. I find crocheting to be a very meditative activity and I love putting together new color and stitch combinations to make something new.

Baby blankets and market bags are two of my favorite things to crochet. Next I will be working on scarves, cowls and maybe a shawl or two.

I'd love for you to stop by my Etsy shop and check out my new section dedicated to crochet!

*the patterns for the baby blankets and the market bags are inspired by patterns from the wonderful knitter/crocheter and artist, Jennifer Edwards. Thank you Jennifer for your inspirations!

Friday, October 7, 2016

sketchbook :: my other sketchbook

This past summer I began a sketchbook dedicated solely to playing with shape and color. I initially began these exercises because I hated to waste the paint left on my palette after I had completed a painting. I do like to start with fresh color when I begin a new painting but oh, those colors left on my palette called me to make something creative before washing them away.
These "palette exercises" soon became a meditative experience that I look forward to doing before the start of a new painting. By using my beginners mind in this way, what I paint is only inspired by the colors I see there, with no preconceived notion of where it is going or what it will become.
Then the "what would happen if" thoughts started to surface. I put one of my sketches into my very basic photoshop program and played with turning it every which way. Well, that looked interesting!
Which led me to explore Spoonflower, the place where you can upload designs and play with various repeats and scale. This was becoming too much fun!
A new adventure has begun!
I am calling these my "Zen Palette" designs. And my "other" sketchbook is continuing to be filled as I find this routine of creating these little meditative color studies a very satisfying studio practice. By making these I create a space where nothing is forced. Sometimes it's good to just follow along where the ideas lead you.

You can see my Zen Palette collection here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The View From Here

The View From Here
watercolor
11 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is the next in the series of Raven Rocks paintings coming from my sketchbook studies. I am enjoying working with this theme of mountain vistas from the Blue Ridge Parkway. I am finding that I am making paintings that feel more like "me" in terms of color and style. And that's a good thing as it keeps me returning as a curious explorer to the subject.

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