Coastal Dawn

Evidence of overworking is present in the white highlights . . . they just don’t seem to go with the rest of the painting insofar they are too bright.  I was thinking in terms of photography and histograms – white point, black point.  I wonder if I am criss-crossing two different art formats.  Besides that, the rocks are perhaps too orange for the distant sky, although sandstone can take on an incredibly orangish color under the right light.

Hmmmmm.

Sunshine & Shadow in the Oak Grove

I went off for a morning walk in the local botanical garden, taking pictures with my phone (and film camera) looking for contrasty bits of landscape to paint.  I took a lot, much to my surprise.  What I found was dappled sunlight more than anything as the garden is in its summer glory with trees leafed out and bright sun trying to break through the canopy.

Truthfully,  this painting is considerably more lush in color than the photo as we are in August, in hot weather, and the vegetation has dried and browned from a lack of rain.  I really worked to create a gouache painting reflective of the photo, but couldn’t hack it!  It was so dreary!

What I did like best, though, was simply the experience of a slow ramble through the garden.  There were birds, scents of pine and sage, butterflies, the buzz of bees, bird song, caws from crows.  I think, perhaps, the painting is more reflective of the richness of the experience of the garden rather than its current shades of beige, brown, and green.

 

Anacapa Island

The Channel Islands off the coast of California are amazing to visit.  Only recently (don’t remember when) they became a national park, to protect both the islands and their flora and fauna, as well as to protect the waters surrounding them.  Anacapa is a very distinctive island.  It has an arch on one end, and zig-zags, snakelike, as it emerges from the water.  I have visited this island, both on the land, and in a boat sailing around.  It’s a truly lovely place, one worth visiting, painting, exploring, and photographing.

Here, I finished up using the available paints on my muddy palette.  The final painting with that mess!  As with yesterday’s painting, I have added white to the palette for colors, but for the most part, these are colors salvaged from the mess on the palette.

Truth be told, I really did not expect this painting to turn out at all.  My colors were just such a mess.  I simplified everything as much as I could.  I managed to get some sense of depth, which also surprised me!

Girl on a Bed

I have a fear of painting people.  I cannot even imagine doing a portrait.  For the past several days I have been debating on deliberately focusing on people or buildings and perspective.  Guess what won?

As with many of my paintings, this is from an image on Pixabay.  A girl is lying face down on white sheets; she wears a grey T-shirt and her face is not visible.  It would be easy to try to put in facial features and overwork a picture, and this is why I chose such an anonymous person.

At this point, I am simply looking at proportion, light, dark, shadows.  In general, this worked out okay – the right hand is a bit off, but that is not what I was aiming for.  I worked to keep everything simple, as well as use up paint on my muddy palette.  I added zinc white, of which I am using a ton, as that has been missing from the muddy palette for weeks!

Clouds Above the Fields

I don’t know about most people who paint, but I expect every painting to be a masterpiece.  Of course, this is silly.  I don’t think about practicing things, such as painting clouds.  However, I watched a few YouTube videos on cloud painting and decided to give it a go.  I found a picture on Pixabay I liked, filled with clouds, and a plowed field stretching to the horizon.  To me, it just seems a bit ridiculous not to try to paint a masterpiece each time – really, practice – so a finished picture it is.

Clouds really are variable, but there is a tendency to overwork them.  Here, I simply tried to get a sense of white-white-white and ways in which clouds have contrast, shadow, distance, and how they look in the sky.  These are rather poofy ones, without any defining characteristics other than that.

Since this was practice, I put in some black ink lines just to see how they “feel” in a painting.  Don’t know if I like them . . .

The Muddy Palette

Before I knew that gouache works best fresh out of the tube, I filled a palette up just as I do with watercolors.  Let’s face it, paint ain’t cheap, so I wet these paints over and over.  Finally, most of the colors are used up and it is into the sink to soak for now!  In the future, fresh paint.  That will be a really new event for me because I don’t tend to paint like that.  I made swatch cards of all my gouache colors (more than 20, less than 1000), so I plan to use those as I consider paints in future paintings.

Fog Monster #2

For some time I have considered the possibility of doing two studies for each painting, one in watercolor and the other in gouache.  Today’s painting is exactly that.  I took the same study in gouache (yesterday) and painted it in watercolor.  It was a really interesting experience!

First, I am doing all these studies in a 7×10 sketchbook.  The paper is not really good for really wet watercolors, but is very nice for gouache.  Knowing this, I kept my paper as unsaturated as possible, but also worked to use wet-in-wet where I thought necessary, such as in the sky and fog bank, but being very careful about the amount of water I used.  In other areas I did small, quick forays into wet work, but kept it to a minimum while allowing for bleeds, or coming back to work a bit more, such as on the right side where the grasses are in contrast to the road (lower right side).

Problems continue with depth.  The middle ground hills and the ones against the fog are muddled into each other.  While I made things simpler in the distance, the colors remain the same in intensity.  Atmospheric perspective needs a bit of boost in this one.

Look forward to more of these studies.