Onions and Boku-Undo E-Sumi Watercolor Paint

I brought some onions down to the studio about a month ago for my students to paint. I keep moving them from the desk to the bookshelf, making room for other projects and bringing them back when needed. Tonight while waiting for my computer to right itself, I took a few stabs at them.

My first efforts involved testing out and using a new set of watercolors I recently ordered. (They are pictured below). There are 6 colors, all in shades of black, ie: yellow black, blue black etc. Above you see the red black in the right onion and the yellow and green blacks in the left one. They are quite moody looking veggies! I felt the sketch was in a good place but somehow looked a little sterile. I decided to go off the deep end and throw caution to the wind by adding the formidable, Chinese black ink.

I actually think these are both more successful and more interesting. I used a fairly large flat dry brush and let it do it’s thing. I find late at night, (for some, its very early in the morning), I am more willing to take chances on something. Be my better, little looser self perhaps.

The paints are Japanese and move a little slower and a bit more opaquely then European/American watercolors do. They are quite dark looking. I think their best use might be tonal studies. That will be my next effort with them. I bought them online, and they were not an expensive aquisition.

Boku Undo Paints


I’d love to here from anyone what their experiences have been with the Boku Undo Paints, and how long have you kept a pair of onions in your studio?

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The Rooster’s Home

Back at the Milleridge Inn Restaurant on Long Island I am hanging out with the roosters again. Its a quick ride from my house so as long as it’s warm enough to stay in the mobile studio without running the engine to keep it warm, I pop over in between the stuff I am supposed to be doing during the day.

The Barn

I have been experimenting with composition. I worked for a pretty famous comic book artist many years ago and It got me to thinking about comic book page layouts. I want to bend the rules a bit and journal in a visual manner. Tell the story of what I see without using words. There is always the big image/emotion of what drew you in; the visual that caught your eye and said, “paint me”. But, then as you are painting, you start to notice all these other things that are really cool and you want to include them too. So I have begun to play with framing; using frames to highlight, or call out other interesting things or close up details from the main picture.

The iconoclast drive thru

Here is another experimentation with framing. I feel like I am on to something, but it still needs some refining. Well, I guess, the next entry will tell. Have you thought about mixing things up a little? I am wondering what you did, and how it worked. Please comment below.

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Values or: It’s cold and, look there’s my backyard.

Honestly I am not a fan of painting in NYC weather in February. I don’t think it’s an unusual stance. I think, most people would feel that way. But, I felt like painting and I have a set of windows that when I sit in my living room I can see the whole backyard. I chose to focus in on one panel of glass and caught my garden chairs and the pillar for the corrugated plastic awning . Don’t be fooled by the composition, it was a bit of an exercise in values. Values, values, values. It’s all about the values. They say, ” color gets all of the credit, but values do all of the work.”

In order to get the values right, I followed my own teaching and did a notan sketch first. Mapping out the values in three shades of grey and the white of the paper. It really does help. A lot. Why do I resist so?

Once the greys are in place, it actually frees me up to match colors to values and go wild. No my chairs are not eggplant, they are dark umber and the back trees are pines, certainly not cobalt turquoise.

I did both pieces in a Stillman and Birn Beta book; the color one in an 8″x10″ and the black and white in the smaller 5.5″x 8.5″. The grey is markers by Tombow and the watercolors are mostly Daniel Smith

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