Reference Photos

The thing I have to remember about reference photos is that they are a guide. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to make things look exact with teeny tiny details and forget the fun of flow. Watercolor loves to do its own thing, such as create its own movement because it is water after all. I love how rivers and oceans flow so freely and it is important to let art have this opportunity as well. I have started working in my sketchbook again hoping to create by letting the water move without strict direction. Using ink pens to sketch prior and after the water has been quite enjoyable. I chose to draw first and get an idea of placement with the pen. Then, I chose to just put the paint down, see where it went, and sketch with the pen over the dried paint.

Both had an interesting technique and were extremely enjoyable. My usual style is very tight, detailed, pointed, and precise with little room for the paint to move. I find that I am more free in sketchbooks and composition practice. My sketchbook is very large, hardbound, and enticing. It calls to me. I love not having to be cohesive, trained, or exact in my execution. I find practice to be extremely important in any aspect of life. Using the reference photos to inspire my movement, image, etc. leads to some interesting developments that I may not have seen otherwise. This is the beauty of art. Freedom to express oneself in multiple ways and various levels.

I used to use a BIC pen all through highschool and I think I am going to go buy a box next week. For now, I have been using archival ink pens for watercolors so the ink will not run. The BIC pens will be just for regular ink sketches maybe with colored pencil but not water media so the ink should not run. I will stick with my little package of Faber Castell 4 PITT artist pens. The size S is my personal favorite at the moment. Oh India ink, how dark and rich you are! So any advice I have is draw, draw, and draw, as often as you can. You never know what magic is going to come out of your fingertips!

-Karen Hilliard