Misty Morning

Summer, fog, early morning rising mist. One color blends into another, overlapping, blurring together. How to express this?

Gouache does not readily lend itself to the color movement as does watercolor. In watercolor, you can discharge one color into another, and the wicking action of water and paper do the work for you. Here, I thought a lot about how to blend and merge colors to create that soft effect of fog. In the end, for this painting, I decided to use a narrow, flat brush with stiff bristles and scumble all the colors together.

Rather a brighter painting than I anticipated, but I think it does express the rising fog and early morning sky fairly well.

7×10 Arches hot press paper.

Breaking Fog

Another study of an Oregon coastline. Morning fog with a bit of sun breaking through.

I must admit, I am really pleased with how this painting turned out. It seems that returning to the scene (of the crime?) is helpful, as well as working in different media. I did this same scene in watercolor a bit ago, and I plan to do it in pastels as well.

Done on Arches 7×10 inch hot press 140# watercolor paper. Hot pressed paper seems to be the best choice for gouache. Time to order some more!

A Lonely Coastline

Continuing my water and fog series, and my simplification attempts as well. Here, another deserted coastline, with a few birds.

What is it about a lonely beach? It’s spooky, it’s sad, it’s exciting, and quiet. If the sun is trying to break through, the warmth begins to disperse the fog. Hopeful. Sun. If it is heavy weather, the sky lowers and threatens. Cold. Damp. Dangerous.

Fluid paper, limited palette of ultramarine, sap and Hooker’s greens, burnt umber and raw sienna, and a bit of alizarin. Probably other colors, too – hard to remember where the brush wandered.

Along the Oregon Coast

If you think that the SoCal coast can be foggy, Oregon is by far more foggy at times!  It’s an incredibly beautiful coastline with wide, nearly empty beaches.  Out to sea are the sea stacks, some large, some small.  In clear weather they are stunning, in the fog, spooky and eerie.

Today, a limited palette and paying particular attention to laying down water and thin colors.  Washes are the dominant technique used here.  My little picky brush strokes had to give way to broad ones for the beach and damp sand.  It actually worked fairly well.  Water, water, everywhere!

To the Sea

More work this morning with thin washes and working wet-in-wet.  Not as pleasing as yesterday’s work, but a good experience nonetheless.  A limited palette, some work with glazes, and use of dry brush.  Painted on Fluid paper, which was a new experience – rather different in handling than Arches, but similar to the Fabriano I used yesterday.  DOF isn’t there – I think the water further in the distance should be lighter . . . something to think about.

Foggy Lakeside Morning

California is not all joyful sunshine and playing on the beaches.  Fog is a large part of the coastal environment.  It is known as “May grey” and “June gloom.”  This morning I woke up to it . . . . inspiration for a foggy lake in the frozen (or not so frozen) north.

I’m still focused on water.  Today I wanted fog and water and hoped to use very wet paint thinned to mostly water.  I also wanted to work with wet-in-wet in the attempt to catch the softening of edges, increasingly more blurred and colorless, to denote distance.  A dull, muted foreground with intense color to add to depth of field.  I think it all worked out pretty good.

Fabirano 25% cotton paper, 9×12, neutral tint, sap green, Hooker’s green, phthalo green, Payne’s grey, quinacridone gold, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna.

Malibu Creek State Park, IV

Note: to see this painting a bit larger, you will need to right click on it (PC) and open in a new tab to see it bigger. WordPress has a new editor and I am not quite sure how to get it to make an image larger when you click on it. Sorry!

More Malibu Creek State Park, but this time with a different twist. The water is there – in the form of misty air. In spring and summer the coastal fog rolls in, and the landscape softens as it recedes. It doesn’t bring rain, but the environment is adapted to live on the moisture. As well, the land is often green from the rains earlier in the year.

I tried to capture this with washes and glazes, working wet-in-wet as well as rewetting the paper and adding color. This type of painting takes a patient approach (at least for me) as you have to load the paper with a bit of water and/or color, and then test it for dampness if you want things to soften and blur. It is also a fun way to express very faint geological shapes in the mountains.

Finally, oak trees. I just love these trees! Here in California they are really twisty and spooky, unlike the more upright specimens in the midwest. This one in the middle of the plain is unusual, but it is there, alone and grand.

Malibu Creek State Park, III

Round two of the creek, this time with a bit of a different approach. Glazes on the mountains, from the light one in the back, to the darker ones behind the trees.

I used frisket to block out whites for the sycamores and rocks in the foreground, along with some of the white areas on either side of the distant creek. This allowed me to splash in color more freely. I tried to make masses of color for the leaves, and left areas on the left distant mountain white, unlike yesterday’s painting, to get better foliage colors. The same with the reflections, as with yesterday – color masses. I also used a bit of white gouache to help define branches of the sycamores on both sides of the creek.

It’s been a real challenge for me to work at simplifying shapes into colors without finicky detailing. Sooooo against the way I see the world. I go chasing those sparkles, in the air on leaves, on water. Magpie Me. Anyway, more to come of a local state park!

Malibu Creek State Park, II

I tried to simplify things more in this painting by using washes and bleeding colors into them.  The foreground was tricky as there was a lot of texture from the brush on the lower left.  The same brush is on the opposite shore, but, as you can see, with a lot less detail.  Also, I decided to try to use a bit of white gouache mixed with watercolor to represent the white brush – baby sycamores? – as well as the branches of the sycamore trees.  Sadly, I didn’t really think about the leaves of the sycamores until after I had painted in the mountain in the distance, so I tried to retrieve a bit of lighter leaves in the foreground.  Not super successful, but am pleased with the effort of simplifying.