Cactus Monday - Chainfruit Sketch

"A painting is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places."

~ Paul Gardner
Chainfruit sketch - with horizontal background gradient,
watercolor filter and craquelure
texture added

Reference photo

Scanned pen sketch

Photoshop paint added

Diagonal gradient added

Here's my first cactus sketch attempt. I really want to get in the habit of sketching daily, but for some reason I avoid it. I managed to make one sketch from a photo and spent the rest of the week trying to figure out how to do a smooth gradient background in Photoshop CS2. For some reason, the gradient looks choppy or banded. I tried to smooth it out by blurring, adding noise and textures to it.

As I recall, when tried working with real watercolor paints years ago, I never quite mastered "step one" which is a graded wash. But maybe it's time to play around with wet watercolors again and see what happens. Perhaps getting a smooth gradient isn't all that important after all.

I like what Teri says in her Cactus Monday post today titled,
Trial and Error:

"You never know until you try something.
So try something new today."

Happy Cactus Monday! Head on over to Teri's Painted Daisies for more cactus posts and art inspiration.

More photos of chainfruit cacti today on my Sabino Canyon Blog.

Photoshop Update: Stapelaid suggested adding more color points in a custom gradient to make it smoother, and it helps. :)
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