At the end of our last day working in the
Senate Offices of the Legislative Building on the Washington State Capitol Campus, we crossed the grass in the pouring rain to the Justice Building.
As you walk into the building there are several torchéres that illuminate the entry hall, right,
as well as an overhead skylight of some sort.
These torchéres have a much more
coppery appearance than the golden-green
bronze of the Tiffany lamps in the Legislative Building. I was unable to find out who the
maker of these torchéres was in the short time
we had — I chose sketching instead.
The Lion Torchéres are not only beautiful,
but the lions themselves have the sweetest expressions on their faces. (Actually, we found
this to be true in several lion-themed decorative motifs around the capitol; a testimony to the
friendly nature of the Pacific Northwest!)
I only had time to sketch the overall and a side view detail of on lion, below, but I shot a detail image of the faces hoping that I might try my hand at them later.
As always, I started with a pencil guideline, this time a watercolor pencil in a sepia tone.
I love working in watercolor and ink, but am not a subscriber to the notion that pencils should not be used. As an architect I learned to use pencil guidelines, and this has transferred to my sketching habits as well. I simply am much more likely to leave them instead of erasing them, and I use watercolor pencils a lot more often. By giving myself a guideline I am much more able to be accurate in my sketching, and also I can relax and enjoy the inking process knowing that I have the basic shapes mapped out.
After the pencil sketch and layout on my page, I inked the torchéres.
I only had so much time, and so the inking was loosey-goosey.
I was able to bring the sketches back into the studio (no watercolors in these buildings) and color them. In this case I built up color in washes in both, starting with Quinophthalone Yellow for the illumination, and then working in washes that were mixes of Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold, Yavapei (Primatek), and Yellow Iron Oxide.
I layered color gradually and left white spaces when I could. The lion from the side view is one of my first pieces that I think is pretty good, though it is a bit harsh.
I am still working on understanding the nature of watercolors —
a huge departure from acrylics, which I began this year.
As promised, their sweet faces, below. Think the sweet Cowardly Lion, not the predator!
Images in Stillman & Birn Delta journal onsite with a Caran D’ache watercolor pencil,
followed by a Platinum Preppy fountain pen with Polar Brown Noodlers ink.
Daniel Smith watercolors added in studio.
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