Thrice he rose

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Thrice was Fingolfin with great blows
to his knees beaten, thrice he rose
still leaping up beneath the cloud
aloft to hold star-shining, proud,
his stricken shield, his sundered helm,
that dark nor might could overwhelm.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lays of Beleriand

Schmincke watercolour and a bit of gouache on Etival cold-pressed paper, 27×35 cm. Making use of a newly-discovered site of reference photos, posespace.com – so helpful!

Painting video can be found here!

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Testing New Schmincke Horadam paints!

I’m now an official playtester for Schmincke Horadam. ;)

I confess I’d been unfaithful to Schmincke for a while. Most of that had nothing to do with the quality of the paint, which I always felt was one of the best watercolours in the world, but more with my desire to try out exotic stuff. Most of what I’ve been painting with in recent years has come from faraway, exotic, never-seen places like Korea, the Netherlands, or the US. As you know, I’ve been a great fan of Daniel Smith for years, though the tubes were ridiculously expensive for me. But the quinacridone and granulating paints were just too good to miss.

Now Schmincke has put in a great deal of work to reclaim those wayward and faithless European artists that have strayed away from the flock – and my word, they’ve released a new line of fantastic new colours!

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I’ve been talking to Claudia Möller, who works for Schmincke and has been developing these, and I learnt a lot of things I hadn’t known – for example, that granulation was usually considered a mark of low-quality paint, which was why Schmincke didn’t have any granulating paint in its lineup – until it became cool. Now they’ve introduced a few wonderfully granulating colours. Some of my favourite ones are French Ultramarine (which granulates more strongly than Daniel Smith’s), Potter’s Pink ❤ and Green Umber.

The granulating paint seems to mix better (read: with stronger granulation) with non-granulating colour than the ones I’ve used before. See the top left blotches, where I mixed French Ultramarine with Transparent Sienna and Transparent Ochre.

Schmincke has also introduced Quinacridone tones, which I hadn’t known before discovering them with DS. They’re so wonderfully bright and transparent!

Top right there’s Geranium Red, which is the brightest red I’ve ever seen. I kept squinting at the paper because I thought it was still wet – it was so shiny even when dry! It’s even nicer than my dragon’s blood. So, my next battle piece will definitely have Geranium. XD

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One of the new colours is the eye-watering Brilliant Opera Rose. The photo below doesn’t do it justice; the first photo, above, only half-captures just how bright it is. It retains that brightness when you mix it, resulting in bright candy colours. Unfortunately, it completely defeats my scanner, and even Photoshop. It’s definitely a colour that works best live.

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Claudia also sent me a small spray bottle of granulation medium. It’s similar to Schmincke’s effect spray, but leaves no alcohol stains. The effect isn’t quite like granulating paint, but rather reminds me of Ishihara test plates for colour blindness. ;) It tends to leak into adjacent areas of the painting, so it’s best left alone in detailed stuff – though it can be dropped rather than sprayed, which is easier to control.

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I’ll be having a lot of fun with these!

More Newt Scamander missing moments

I’m at it again! How I love exploring these missing moments from stories. These two are even mentioned in the movie. expelled_col

Expelled. Watercolour, coloured pencil, and gouache on Etival grain fin paper, 18×28 cm.

The next is one that appeared in my head (and, no doubt, many viewers’) when Newt mentioned to Jacob that he’d worked with dragons – Ukrainian Ironbellies – on the Eastern front during the First World War. So quite naturally, I’ve spent the last few days researching possible locations he might have been stationed, the nature of wizarding involvement in the war, and Russian uniforms before the Revolution.

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“All quiet on the Eastern front”
Watercolour and coloured pencil on Etival grain fin paper, 24×16 cm.

… .really, mum. They’re just horribly misunderstood creatures, Ironbellies.  Pyotr, the Chief Warlock of the Beast Division here in Tarnopol, is a staunch supporter of the Tsar and has named all the dragons after members of the Muggle royal family.  Nikolai is positively sweet. Anastasia can be a handful, though,  but nothing we can’t handle.

Thanks for the woollen socks you sent, and especially for the Hot Air Charm you’ve put on them.

Please give my love to Theseus when you write to him. And make sure Nipper eats properly. He always moults so badly while I’m away. They say we’ll be home by Christmas, so I’ll be seeing you soon.

Your loving son,

Newt

“It – it says here you can only bring one pet?”

Little Newt gets his Hogwarts letter.

One of my patrons suggested that, up to 1908, that passage was actually missing from the official Hogwarts letter, and was only introduced in 1909, after a student had tried to bring two Puffskeins, a Kneazle, and a baby Hippogriff (“He can sleep under my bed; I’ve got him house-trained, he’s no trouble!”) onlyonepet_col

Watercolour, coloured pencil, gouache on Etival grain fin paper, 18×28 cm. Newt kindly modelled by my son (with a pillow over his shoulder – Loki wouldn’t stay put long enough).

“Is that — a Jobberknoll?!”

All right, it’s been a year since the last major obsession, so it’s time for the next, right?

Unlike Kylo Ren, Newt Scamander at least is unequivocally adorable. He’s the dork in all of us. He’s the one that sets Hufflepuff in its best light. He’s the one that team mates feared more than the opposing team, because while I’m sure he was a Chaser with excellent hunter’s instincts, he’d be totally useless if anything with fur or feathers appeared near the Quidditch pitch.

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“Is that — a Jobberknoll?!”
Watercolour and coloured pencil on Etival grain fin paper, A4 size.

Jobberknoll is based on a robin. Newt was kindly modelled by my son. <3

I have at least three more ideas sparked by half-sentences in the movie. Merlin help me.

Newt Scamander

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Newt Scamander. Watercolour, gouache and coloured pencil on Etival fine-grain paper, A4 size.

Prints here!

I’m finally getting the hang of doing detail without overrendering things. This comes as close to the style I want to work in as I have ever come in my life, I think. On to 2017!