Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Beach Paintings

Dotted Starfish, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
 I didn't realize how much I was going to love this theme. The beach has so many great shapes, colors, objects, animals, etc. I'm overcome with ideas. This is the first of a batch of sea related paintings and drawings. There will be more!
Pink Jelly, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Clownfish, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Dark Jelly, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Beach: Italy

On the Cinque Terre Trail

Continuing with the summer beach inspiration with some pictures of Italian beaches. They are so beautiful they deserve their own post.

Monterosso, Italy

View from Cinque Terre Trail

View of Amalfi Coast

View of Minori, Italy

View of Capo d'Orso

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Beach: U.S

My sister Teresa sketching atop the mountains above Big Sur.

With summer upon us I'm feeling the need for inspiration from the beach. Rocks, sand, wind, fog, cliffs, seabirds, tide pools, and seashells. The mood of the beach, the cultural history, the color, the beauty. 

Julia Pfeiffer at Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer at Big Sur

The beach at Carmel, CA
California's Lost Coast
The beach at Charleston, NC
The beach at Savannah, GA
The beach at Aquinnah Cliffs, Martha's Vineyard

Friday, June 20, 2014

Water Plants Drawings

Lined Waterlilies, pen and ink on paper, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
 Waterlilies have so many pretty veins and long stems, I had to try drawing them with pen and ink. It's very fun to recreate those pretty, long lines and follow the curves of the leaves and buds. 

Lined Waterlily Buds, pen and ink of paper, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Water Plant Paintings

Pillowy Lily Pads, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Lily Symmetry, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Project: Hand Flower Sculptures

Flower sculptures made with hand prints are cute, fun and can actually become toys. My boys loved playing with them. The act of painting is quite fun too, as they get to put their entire hand in paint. I wanted to create a project to go along with the theme of close-ups of flowers and plants so I just super-sized a flower and this is the result. Read on for directions on how to do it with kids.

Step One: Gather materials. You will need tempera paint in green plus a flower petal color such as red, orange, purple, or yellow, white glue, scissors, paper towel tubes, colored puff ball, bristol board, and an inking plate or paper plate. 

Step Two: Pour the paint on the plate and have the child smear their hand in it. 

Step Three: Press hand on bristol board. For young kids, you will need to hold their hand to the paper for them. Let them know that they need to keep their fingers still.

Step Four: Continue printing until you have at least 4 hand prints.

Step Five: Paint paper towel tube green.

Step Six: Allow to dry, then cut the hands out. This should be done by an adult. If you're doing this as a class project, ask for parent volunteers to cut the hands out. 

Step Seven: Glue only on the bottom part of the palm of each hand.

Step Eight: Arrange hands in a fan formation at the end of the tube. Make it a little easier on yourself by flattening one end of the tube before applying the hands.

Step Nine: Glue puff ball to the center of the hand formation.

Complete flowers!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Water Plants

Maybe because it's now Summer that I'm getting more excited about water plants. The botanical theme has been lasting awhile and it's slowly evolving into a more concentrated interest. I took these photos of water lilies in Shanghai and Suzhou. The leaves and flowers of these plants are so thick and juicy they seem to be made of rubber. And look at those wonderful veiny lines on the underside of the leaves. Aren't those wonderful? I'll have to try playing around with those types of lines.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fine Garden Details Drawings

Growing Synapses, technical pen on paper, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
The drawing above is what I imagine an underlying cell structure of a plant might be. It's like a fake, microscopic botanical drawing. It also makes me think of a nervous system in some strange creature.

Leaf Dreams, pen and ink on bristol, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
This one was inspired by Hugo Guinness. I love the stark black and white contrast. It's loosely based on a botanical drawing I found in the Encyclopedia of Illustration

Links: Fine Garden Details

Going with the theme of botanical illustrations and the fine details of plants and flowers, I've found some fun resources and inspirations that totally relate.

These prints make me happy.

A gorgeous botanical artist and an amazing woman.

This pretty dress works perfectly.

This looks like a great summer read.

Contemporary botanical artists.

And shoes.

A botanical daily reminder.

Experience what it may have been like to discover new places.

A transporting film.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fine Garden Paintings/ Drawings

Crawling Rosemary, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
Growing Lily Pads, graphite on paper, copyright Nina Leung, 2014
This is just the beginning of some ideas I have brewing. I've been enjoying my research books and finding many fun things to play with. One of my biggest struggles as an artist is figuring out how much detail to add. The process of detail can be obsessive and fun, but it also narrows my mind too much. At least, that's what I think is happening. I don't know if it should bother me since I enjoy it, but I fear it doesn't allow me to think broadly in the same way that larger, more abstract work does.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Research: The Fine Details, Garden

After looking at and studying so many gardens, now I want to focus on the finer details, a more close up look at individual plants and flowers. I've always loved botanical illustrations for their minute details and the careful use of pen and ink. Two of the books above, The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration and Cabinet of Natural Curiosities are perfect fodder for that. The Victorians and their love and discovery of the natural sciences has always been of particular interest. A.S Byatt's two novellas, Angels and Insects illustrates that time so well and in such a creepy, wicked way. Her gorgeously written prose is full of great imagery. Naked: Flowers Exposed is a beautiful photography book full of black and white close ups of flowers. 

I have so much to study and research while I create drawings and paintings and maybe even add a little printmaking. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Project: Sponge Paint Gardens

Eamon's (2 y.o) Garden
This is a fun, easy project for any age. All kids love using sponges and fingers to paint. Young kids especially can benefit from the tactile nature of this project. The results are quite nice, even with the younger artists.