Tag Archives: Watercolor and Gouache Renderings

Empire Building Kit – Weeks 28 and 29 Review

Photo of festively decorated trees in Midtown taken by Joana MirandaI’ve done it again; missed one of my scheduled Empire Building Kit blog post review weeks, and had to cram in almost a week and a half of Empire Building Kit daily emails all at once.  My excuse this time?  Would you believe it was more MOVING?  Last week saw a whirlwind trip to Milwaukee to (frantically) pack up our house and get it ready for the new owners.  Am I relieved that we have a buyer?

YES!

(More than I can say.)

Am I sick of boxes, packing hard-to-pack odds and ends, miscellaneous kitchen utensils, and toys I’ll never use?

YES!

Mostly, though, the hardest part has been not having a routine.  When I fall off the exercise wagon, that’s when things have gotten really bad.  When I fall off my blog posting schedule, things have gotten even worse.  Both happened last week, and I was a cranky mess (not to mention having cracked and bleeding hands from dealing with so many cartons and tape.)   And, in spite of the wonderment of spending my first holiday living in New York City, I’ve found myself also wondering…

just where did the fall go?

To be honest, the highlights for me in Weeks 28 and 29 of the Empire Building Kit were that the daily emails served as a constant reminder of what I’m striving to build, and that I’m in good company.  I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed (sometimes quickly) to various self-professed business and lifestyle gurus.  What makes me keep working through Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit and continually reading his Art of Non-Conformity Blog posts (subscribe on his blog and you’ll get them delivered free in your inbox), is that I genuinely like Chris and am inspired by his values and enlightened by his wisdom.  He continues to be a sane and constant presence in my life.  As I’m finding, change is good – great even – but weathering it all at once does take it’s toll.

Who, or what keeps you grounded and healthy?  Where do you turn for your inspiration?

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Some of My Favorite Things – Giving Thanks Edition

 


Watercolor and gouache rose "brooch" design by Joana Miranda

Watercolor and Gouache Rose Brooch Design by Joana Miranda

 

Sometimes amid all of the stresses of my life, I forget how truly blessed I am.  I have

  • my health
  • a husband who can’t get out of bed each day unless he “spoons” around me for at least 15 minutes
  • a wonderfully supportive and loving family
  • great friends who cheer me on
  • a drive to create beauty around me

AND…

  • a sense of humor

Speaking of sense of humor, even though I’ve often sometimes felt like my NY job search has been an exercise in futility extreme patience, even there I’m grateful for the little gifts that come my way.  Take for example the “bloopers” I’ve come across in job postings.  These have added some much needed levity to my days; in fact, I’ve even started to compile a list of the best ones.  These “gems”, taken from jewelry job, as well as from creative job listings, are among my favorites:

WANTED –

“Newborn Photographer”


“Now Hiring Music Teachers”

(“Teaching experience a HUGE plus!”)


“Jew Administrator”

Remember…

“A man isn’t poor if he can still laugh.”

(Raymond Hitchcock)

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

(Milton Berle)

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. “

(e.e. cummings)

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How to Render Diamonds on Vellum and Canson Art Papers

Recently, a designer who follows my blog, asked me if I’d be willing to share some tips on how to render diamonds.  I’m always willing to help out a friend, and am happy when I can share whatever I’ve learned with others.  The following step-by-step visual demonstration is a common “text-book” way to render a diamond on vellum paper:

Watercolor and Gouache Diamond Rendering How-To by Joana Miranda

Step-by-Step Watercolor and Gouache Diamond Rendering Demonstration by Joana Miranda

The steps are…

1. On vellum paper, draw in the diamond using a circle template (or draw the circle free-hand)

2. Place the vellum over a piece of colored mat board to allow you to see the contrast of the gouache paints.  (I work over a brownish piece of mat board)

3. With the #1 gouache color – a pale grey – fill in the entire diamond

4. With the #2 gouache color – a slightly greyish white – paint an area over the base color that approximates the area from noon to about 8 o’clock

5. Paint in the facets using the #3 color – white gouache paint

6. Add small triangular center facets using the #4 color – darker grey

7. Add a few thinner triangular center facets using the #5 color – darkest grey – overlapping, but not entirely covering the previous grey facets

8. Finish by adding in some white highlights (again with the #3 color – white gouache) on the facets closest to the upper left girdle of the stone

9. Add a soft charcoal smudge to the outside of the stone on the right side to indicate a shadow (the shadow falls on the opposite side of the light source)

That said, I rarely use the above technique for two reasons.  First, I think it works best only for larger stones (I usually tend to design with smaller stones); and, secondly, I find painting in the facets quite time consuming, and therefore not always helpful when I need to work quickly.  My own method, below, for rendering diamonds seems to suit my needs better.

Here is an example of how I render diamonds using gouache paint on black paper:

Watercolor and Gouache How-To For Rendering Diamonds on Black Paper

Watercolor and Gouache How-To For Rendering Diamonds on Black Paper

The steps are…

1. Draw in the diamond outline using a silver colored pencil on black Canson art paper

2. With the #1 gouache color – a pale grey – fill in the entire diamond

3. With the #2 gouache color – a darker grey – paint a smudge in the upper middle quadrant of the stone on the left, and a thin crescent shape to outline the bottom right arc of the stone (this creates the illusion of depth)

4. With the #3 gouache color – the darkest grey – add some “low-lights” to the same grey areas, being careful not to completely cover up the previous grey.  Add the darker grey to the outer-most portion of the bottom right arc.  (You can see where I’ve done this on the center rendering, 4th diamond down)

5. With the #4 gouache color – white gouache – paint a smudge in the lower right center quadrant of the stone, and a thin crescent shape to outline the top left arc of the stone (this creates the illusion that the stone has raised areas)

6. With the #4 gouache color – white gouache – paint in the facets.  For smaller stones like these, I use a simpler facet pattern (as shown in the pencil diagram at the bottom of the rendering.)  Trying to add in all the facets will kill the rendering with too much white paint.

Note: for even tinier stones I simplify the facet pattern even more and draw in what looks like a “K” in the upper right quadrant of the stone.

Most important is to study the techniques above (and any others you find) and then find your own method and rhythm.  Trust your eyes.  There is no “right way” to paint.  The beauty of creating a rendering (or any artwork) is not only conveying a design, but allowing  your own personality to shine through!

Happy Painting!

This post is dedicated to Mamta

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A Design a Day – (Day 365! Celebrating One Year of Posting a Design a Day)

Ok, folks…here it is.  My 365th and final design in my Design-a-Day year-long blog project.   Drum roll, applause and…

FIREWORKS!

Watercolor and Gouache "Fireworks" Diamond Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

Watercolor and Gouache "Fireworks" Diamond Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

The nice thing about being a designer is that I can design my own celebratory brooch.  I can also design my celebration party  – a date out tonight with my husband for pizza and beer. (Unfortunately, riches and fame haven’t come my way yet, so a slice and the paper brooch are the extent of my luxuries right now.)

What HAS come my way as a result of doing this year-long project is…

the joy of meeting and fulfilling a challenge day after day,

the opportunity to go to my own (self-created) school of design in a public and yet immensely gratifying way,

a great way to keep a daily record of my progress,

the desire to learn new techniques,

confidence in the depths of my visual creativity,

a chance to interact with fans as far away as China, Norway and India,

(and as close as my husband, parents and friends),

and the burning desire to create more designs!

So, what’s next?

While I won’t be posting jewelry designs on a regular basis, I will continue posting on a regular basis (most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)

First, though, I’ll take a DAY OFF (what’s that?),

and then, starting this coming Monday (September 20th), you’ll see a new blog banner, some changes to the blog’s layout, and you’ll meet my latest creation.

Curious?

Make sure you visit me here on Monday.  Better yet, if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my blog.  That way you’ll never miss a post!

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A Design a Day – Day 364 (The Penultimate Design…Infinity-Inspired Because the Ideas Are Still Coming)

Watercolor and Gouache Gold and Diamond "Infinity" Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

Watercolor and Gouache Gold and Diamond "Infinity" Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal: while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before.”

(Polybius)

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A Design a Day – Day 363 (If I Can Do It, So Can You!)

A message to my readers…

I’m now only 2 days from finishing my Design a Day year-long blog project

(that’s a new design every day with no days off!)

I’m also coming up on the 2nd year anniversary of searching for a job in NY city.  Yes, the search WAS long-distance until now, and I was lucky enough to be employed during that time.  (I’m officially STILL employed this year, but on sabbatical not earning any salary.)

I’ve “knocked” on every door that has presented itself to me,

I’ve weathered silence and rejections,

I’ve cried, yelled, screamed and said many bad words.

(But I haven’t lost hope.)

Why?

Because I’ve been too busy creating…

new designs,

new opportunities,

new contacts,

new friends

and,

new dreams.

Watercolor and gouache design featuring lady diver by Joana Miranda

Jeweled Lady Diver by Joana Miranda

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A Design a Day – Day 361 (Going with the Flow)

This rendering isn’t perfect (none of my renderings are!), but I had fun letting my imagination wander, and I enjoyed pairing unusual stone cuts and colors in this pendant design:

Watercolor and Gouache Multi-Colored Gemstone Pendant Rendering on Vellum Paper by Joana Miranda

Watercolor and Gouache Multi-Colored Gemstone Pendant Rendering on Vellum Paper by Joana Miranda

And, to close this post, a wise observation…

“There  is no royal road to anything.  One thing at a time, all things in succession.  That which grows fast, withers as rapidly.  That which grows slowly, endures.”

(Josiah Gilbert Holland)

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