Up the coast a way is a town known for its flower farms – a big industry locally. The climate is varied, so a lot of different flowers may be grown, both for florists as well as seed. Agriculture isn’t all cows and Brussel sprouts!
This was a fun study – I did a lot of lines as a practice exercise (I forget about lines because I have color to use – in ink painting it is so much about lines) and decided to focus on lines as the raison d’être for the painting. Wet lines, dry-brush lines, wash and lines, wet on dry, dry on wet, etc. Dots, too.
I found a picture of a woodland path with a golden light suffusing the scene. This doesn’t do justice to the photo . . . but the warmth is there.
The other day at the store I picked up small, individual bouquets of chamomile and red carnations (probably really dianthus, a member of the same flower group). The leaves of each are vastly different, with the chamomile more “leafy” and the carnation’s longer and pointy. I took my time with this painting this morning – took a photograph of the flowers – and studied things a bit before diving in. I didn’t do a value study, but tried to determine value from the photo.
I began with an overall wash for most of the areas with color – greens, reds, and yellow dots. From there, negative painting and deepening colors in an attempt to show depth. Not quite there – a bit too tight for my tastes – but I do feel it was a moderately successful study. Waiting between the washes was a bit trying on my patience!
Yesterday’s tulips were accompanied by red and yellow flowers, some negative painting, and color combining. I used reds and yellows (which ones, I forget) and some Pyrrol Orange to make the flowers. Thinking of black-eyed Susans, I used black for the flowers’ centers on the daisy-like ones. What are the red ones? Good question!
What I did here was try to work from large masses of color to details, top to bottom, and having things dry to a certain point before adding more color unless I wanted them to bleed. White space, too, was thought about. Near and far, even with a rather shallow depth of field, was pondered, and the idea was to use cold colors – such a cold yellow or green – to make something recede – and warm colors to bring things forward. Light and dark were also used in an attempt to achieve this effect.
Having photography as a hobby sometimes yields pictures that can be used to create more pictures. I decided to give up the no-lines approach for now (though it is a great exercise to learn how to make shapes – I was just really frustrated by what I was doing), do some pencil roughing, and then work one color area at a time. First the tulips in shades of red, orange, and yellow, mixing some oranges as I went. Next, the greens of leaves and stems, consciously determining the areas to negative paint later on, as for the flower petals. Finally, the bowl. Before the whole was done, I went back to each area and tried to create a sense of depth by deepening other areas and being careful not to touch the areas I had left deliberately white.
We went to visit the La Purisima Mission nearby in Lompoc, California. It’s a state park which is a rebuild of the mission itself, which was destroyed in the 1812 earthquake. The mission rebuild was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s during the Depression. This is from a photo of the roof. The perspective is off, and it’s a bit muddy, but it was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make the color for the curved tiles.
Once more, the house is in total disarray – the trees in the back yard have been removed or severely trimmed back. 5 trees out, 11 pruned. The guy who did it all is an artist – you can actually see the branches on the trees, and the neighbors. So what does it have to do with a post called “Lines & Shades”? All this disruption messes everything up! With such disruption – and being unable to leave the house – it was a strange sort of prison. I read murder mysteries for the most part until yesterday. It was quiet and no one was home except me and the dogs.
Back to basics. Pen and ink, contour drawing. The first one was kind of stiff, but as things moved on, it got easier and more fun. I wanted to make “lost and found edges” as well, to make things suggested, not spelled out.
I also decided to scan in a value study I did from a photo I took years ago of the Santa Monica River in the mountains nearby, on a hot, dry day. This is to remind me to follow a more traditional route in painting as my own sense of contrast – light – dark – is not the best. As you can see, I did it some weeks ago, but I hope to make it into a watercolor in the not too distant future. The hard part is finding the right color for the sandy river bottom, but I have an idea . . .
Today – clean up the house! I am still trying to get things organized after the repairs and remodels, which means getting rid of junk, boxes, and putting things back into some sort of order. It is funny how orderliness can equate with mental and emotional serenity. This messiness seems to be spilling over into painterly messiness and disorganization and directionlessness. The end of the school year is also to blame. Thus, something simple, with lines, and perhaps symbolically, something that can contain something else, but is brings new and pleasant surprises – like found in a gift bag.
I had to take a day off from painting as my head was swirling. This seems to happen whenever I do a lot of any one thing. My brain feels overloaded and I need to do something to break out of it. Then it settles down with sometimes clarity or a nagging little sense of something different, good but not completed, if that makes any sense.
Today’s focus – this morning in poor light – I decided to look at white space and dark space. Neither results are spectacular but what I do see is shapes in this pictures. Corners outlines, curves, straight edges. I also like the merging and blending and granulations I see. Other than that?
The “Bay Area” is the area around San Francisco Bay, and includes picturesque places such as San Francisco itself, to across the bay north and east. It’s a mixture of urban sprawl and older neighborhoods, rich and poor. I’ve spent time there off and on, and it is always a pleasure. It’s very different than SoCal, let me tell you!
Direct watercolor is being done here – and proportions are a bear! It takes time and practice to be able to render things in the correct relationship to each other. I never learned the “pencil comparison” method – the one where you see the artist hold up his pencil toward the subject matter and then draw on the paper, and then repeat the process. Given how disproportionate many of my direct watercolors are, I think it will be something to master this summer in my spare time.