Happy New Year, Roosters!

2017 is the Chinese Year of the  Rooster.

When I lived in San Francisco-a very Asian city, Chinese  New Year was a festive and LOUD time of year: think firecrackers, bell ringing, lion dances and exotic parades.

This is a Fire Rooster year. Fire Roosters are traditionally trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work. The other types are Wood Roosters, Earth Roosters, Gold Roosters and Water Roosters.

On the whole, Roosters are active, amusing, popular, healthy, outspoken, honest, loyal, talkative and charming. Many of my dearest friends are Fire Roosters.

Happy New Year, Roosters-

Cockadoodle~Doo!

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a Fire Rooster, painted with gouache on paper

Since Roosters are also chickens, this post will celebrate these fascinating and delicious animals-among my very favorite to observe and draw.

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A hen and rooster painted with gouache on brown paper

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rooster painted with gouache on paper

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a variety of poultry breeds drawn in colored pencil on brown paper

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Buff Laced Bantam Rooster painted in gouache on paper

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“Bless each wren, each rooster and hen” painted in gouache on black gesso. From the book: Home Sweet Home by Jean Marzollo and Ashley Wolff

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Watercolor 101

I love teaching the Weird, Wonderful ways of Watercolor.

 

Cool vs Warm

Pthalo vs Ultramarine

Primaries,  secondaries, tertiaries, complements

and a huge variety of grays

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A brush charged with  water can lift a clean line or destroy a wash

A spray of rubbing alcohol doesn’t make a dent on a dry wash, but drip it onto wet paint and you have fantastic, blobby bullseyes.

A sprinkling of salt makes “stars” on a damp night sky.

Crumpled plastic wrap makes blocks and angles

Your smooth, even wash depends on keeping a wet ‘bead’ moving along under your brush.

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Glazing color over color makes every possible combo, yet all you really need to make a whole spectrum are

Red                                                           Yellow                                                               Blue

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Goodbye Old Year, Hello New!

Father Time and Baby New Year

The old to the new,

The beard to the baby,

the wrinkled to the plump,

The tired to the fresh.

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Father Time and Baby New Year from Frolic & Fun, 1897

What a weird, but wonderful image for the turn of the new year.

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The old is always to the left, the new to the right.

I wanted to make my own version, so I used my own Baby Bear as the New year’s baby and his older self as the old year.

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my quick thumbnail sketch

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pencil on watercolor paper, with 1st wash

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several washes-no line.

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painting with line and some photoshopping

And finally,  two older images of an infant Miss Bindergarten,

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and her grown up self wishing All Y’all

a Happy, Healthy 2016!

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Please share the joy, Y’all!

 

Sleep

It’s late November here in Vermont ~ the time of year for hibernation.

Who hibernates? Bats, Bears,skunks, bees, snakes, and groundhogs to name a few.

Since moving from a mild California climate to the stricter seasonal progression of northern New England, I’ve become much more sympathetic to the concept of hibernation!

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On the last day of Baby Bear Counts One, Mama and Baby Bear are ready to curl up and sleep the winter away.

Showing the process of sleeping is relatively easy, but showing dreaming was a challenge in Only The Cat Saw.  When I was a child I often dreamed of being near the ocean or swimming when I really needed to get up to urinate!

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Enter a caption

Holly Taylor modeled as the sleeping Amy, way back in 1984

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Amy, dreaming in Only The Cat Saw. Acrylic on paper

Of course, we sleep all year long, and humans enjoy it as much as animals. Mostly sleep happens when it is too dark to draw, but sometimes a nap overtakes us, and when it does I seize that moment of daylight stillness to draw.

Since the late 70s I’ve drawn people and creatures I love while they were sleeping.

Here is a selection.

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watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine, asleep on the couch after wisdom tooth removal..

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watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine.

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this drawing of Rowan reminds me of Amy’s pose. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Brennan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Rowan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper.

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Sabin, asleep. Marker on brown paper.

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Tula napping. Watercolor on brown paper

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Nutkin, sleeping. Acrylic on paper.

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Wildridge kitten, sleeping. Gouache on brown paper.

How I Paint with Gouache in my Brown Paper Sketchbook

A friend asked me to do a step-by-step on my sketchbook painting technique.

The point was made that one rarely sees the underlying drawing or the build up of paint in an artist’s work–just the finished product. I have posted step-by-steps of my niece’s murals and cottage cards, so here goes another.

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I drew the pony with a 3H pencil. It is hard and light and good for the underlying sketch.

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Using gouache as if it were watercolor, mainly burnt sienna and cobalt blue, I added the 1st set of darks.

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I use a smallish palette of colors, mainly primaries. I love gouache because it works well both transparently and opaquely.

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Using cobalt blue and yellow ochre I filled in a background.

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The pony’s spots seemed kind of flat, so I washed some orange over them and added darkest darks using  a small liner brush with indigo and burnt sienna.

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SkaDaMo~2014

Why draw?

for practice, for fun, for history and remembrance, to be in the moment–all good reasons.

Add one more.

To be part of a pop-up, temporary community of kindred spirits during a very dark, very chilly month.

I may not be present  and accounted for on every day this month. but I will try to do SkaDaMo 2014 with as much verve as possible.

My first weekend of November was spent in Florence, MA with dear RISD friends: Barb and Maureen. We spent happy hours in Maureen’s kitchen, which sports an impressive pot and pan collection.

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Barb enjoys her coffee black.

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Maureen grows her own thyme.

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I look forward to the rest of this month.

#SkaDaMo

The Joy of Beaches in Winter

Christmas at the beach-a California tradition.

Big storms sweep in from the west and huge tides bring in piles of tangled kelp and other beach debris.

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The impossibly tangled piles buzz with Kelp Flies.

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The Kelp’s gas bladders keep the long stem or stipes, floating upright in the water.

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Northern California beaches are not known for shells but there are dense mussel beds and those shells are easy to find.  This sketch includes a scrap of Abalone shell, fish spine bones and crab claws.

I love collecting this sort of beach debris for my Beach Portraits.

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And then there are the Harbor Seals, who haul themselves up to nap on the sunny rocks.

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And sometimes there are the husbands, who nap anywhere they like.

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If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar.