[sticky entry] Sticky: SPQR Blues I

Sunday, 20 November 2005 10:45 pm
spqrblues: (boom)
BOOM--no, wait, not boom yetSo, there was this cow on this arch, and suddenly this volcano . . . Why don't I start the story a little earlier? I'm going to try doing an ongoing storyline. But there will still be Daily Angsts, too. We'll see. We'll see.

The quiet little seaside town of Herculaneum...

...with a wonderful view of the mountain )

spqrblues: (Blues 5 Felix colour)
Time to try posting a comic entry here!

Some were already posted on LJ, but the more recent ones didn't make it there. I still need to tweak the page layout here to display the comics more tidily, but it looks like everything's working.

Read more... )
spqrblues: (Ave Sweetums)

With the confusing new LJ user agreement situation and some confusing concerns about restrictions on LJ content, I had decided to update the comic only on spqrblues.com and Pateon going forward. Some folks suggested transferring everything over to Dreamwidth, so I'm working on that even as I type. (This has definitely been a bonanza for Dreamwidth...)

If the import works, the new address will be spqrblues.dreamwidth.org. I'm hoping it successfully transfers all the comments too. I would hate to lose all the great conversations we've had over the years. I'll update here s few more times to let you know what's going on with the new location.

I really really hope all of you here will come read SPQR Blues on the other site(s). A lot of you have been along with me on this story a very long time, and I'd like you to stay with it to the...whatever the end may be :)

spqrblues: (Ave Sweetums)
At some point, I seem to have decided that learning about and using authentically ancient paint pigments and other art materials is more interesting than, say, not poisoning myself so as to have a long, non-Van Gogh-style life. I reason: I won't ever have any children to raise and I don't have to worry about them licking my paint; I won't be able to afford retirement in any case; I'm generally grumpy and irritating and annoyed about life anyway. On the other hand, not poisoning myself would give me a little longer to create more, less toxic art. It's a conundrum.

OK, not really.

I'll be bunny-sitting next month, and nothing is going to be around the bunnies that I wouldn't lick or breathe myself, so that will make me behave for a couple of weeks. Mad Scientist Food Experiments will resume for a while. Before bunny-time starts, I want to get in a few more paint experiments.

click here for rambling about pigments )
spqrblues: (arch scribe)
At this rate I'll actually fill a sketchbook. It's been a while since I've done that.

Read more... )
spqrblues: (SPQR olc.net)
Felix swears, he really did have help in that battle that time.

(click to see larger...)

spqrblues: (White Rose)
I'm making my way through the pages of that Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook and, y'know, I don't hate it. It's ok. One good thing about it has been that, because it's been such a challenge to see whether it can live up to its hype, I've been filling the pages with test pieces, instead of being too timid to "ruin" the book by doing art wrong.

This sketch took me a while to figure out, and the pencils were erased many times before the page was inked then the light wash was put on. The paper held up extremely well to all the erasing, and although it seemed to buckle a lot with the water, it's flattening out. Not completely flat, but no worse than the previous pages.

I was going to watercolour the whole thing, add in more Felix-y details, and include Venus in the drawing, but started liking it as is. Of course, he might see Venus anyway. It's hard to tell with him.

Alternatively, he might be describing a fish that got away....

Read more... )

Hmm. This just dredged up a memory. Once when I drew something and didn't completely define each finger, the editor said it looked like the character's fingers had been "fused together in a horrible industrial accident." I'm not bothered.
spqrblues: (arch scribe)
Today's warmup sketch is based on the "Antikythera youth" statue that was found in the same shipwreck site as the Antikythera mechanism. On Fluid cold-press paper; pencil, ancient palette watercolours, no subligaculum.

I'm sure I'll find all sorts of things to nitpick about the drawing in the morning, as I always do :)

Read more... )
spqrblues: (arch scribe)
Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbookI was planning to give a lukewarm-to-negative report on the Stillman & Birn Alpha softcover pocket sketchbook. A few pages in, the binding was fine, though the same could be said for the Delta sketchbook that after a few pages more cracked and tore between signatures. I tried brush pen and different types of pencils on the Alpha’s smooth white paper (there’s only the smallest bit of tooth to it), and the results were meh, both in the look of ink on the paper and the feel of working with it.

The Alpha is praised as excellent all-purpose (ink, pencil, wash) heavyweight paper (150gsm weight--but to quote artist Ursula Vernon (@UrsulaV): This cardstock is not "heavyweight." Heavyweight means I can beat a man to death with a pack.)

review and some artings )

spqrblues: (Ave Sweetums)
Lapis Lazuli swatches on the right, modern Ultramarine swatch on the left.(pic #1: Lapis Lazuli swatches on the right, modern Ultramarine swatch on the left.)

I've been playing with Lapis Lazuli blue in my ancient palette since I acquired a small amount of powdered pigment, supposedly from the same source the Romans (and later painters) used. It's not the super-expensive super-high quality called Fra Angelico Blue, but even a medium-nice grade can be 40 times the cost of, say, red ochre (which, to be fair, is basically dirt).

unsuccessful Egyptian Blue paint (over black ink). It's basically just sand barely adhered to the page.(pic #2: unsuccessful Egyptian Blue paint (over black ink). It's basically just sand barely adhered to the page.)

Maybe because of this, I was very careful when mixing my ten bucks worth of pigment into paint, and my first attempt turned out very well. Much more highly pigmented than, say, the Daniel Smith brand Lapis Lazuli Genuine watercolour. The picture (pic #1) doesn't fully do it justice. There's something about it that sets it apart from the modern synthetic version of Ultramarine (Lapis Lazuli was also originally called Ultramarine, "from across the sea," since the stones for it were imported). My Lapis Lazuli paint was much more successful than my attempts at getting Egyptian Frit Blue (considered the first synthetic pigment) to work in watercolour.

The darkest blue here is one layer of the concentrated version of the paint.(pic #3: The darkest blue here is one layer of the concentrated version of the paint.)

Over the weekend I took a few hours break from work to experiment with the Lapis Lazuli paint left in the mixing cup when I made the first small batch of paint. Waste not, want not--my initial intention was just to get the paint out of the cup to use. It's not quite the Fra Angelico extraction method, and I'm starting with a lower grade of pigment, but I was able to precipitate out different grades of pigment particles and get a more concentrated version in the paint binder.

I'm a novice at making paint, whether watercolour, tempera, or encaustic. Who knows whether I'm filtering out the impurities or just making a mess. But I like the result.
spqrblues: (Ave Sweetums)

Yesterday's warmup: An ATC-size mini-painting using the ancient pigments. This particular paper (Strathmore cold press watercolor artist cards) started feathering at the underpainting, so I didn't try too much layering or detail, but I'm getting better at understanding how each individual pigment wants to be coddled.

I used all the pigments except the lapis lazuli blue. I'll save that for a fancier piece :)

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