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.
Friday was a busy, busy painting day! Quick sketch in the morning, class in the afternoon. More last night. And this morning I did this using only a flat brush, learning about its characteristics and such. I even got into using it really, really dry, which I had forgotten about. And the side – the edge of the flat – to make little dabs, such as in the pink flowers. It was great for wood texture, and fun for the sky. This was done without a preliminary sketch nor lines drawn on the paper.
Another “direct watercolor” from a photo I took sometime ago when up along the bluffs in Carpinteria, CA. This one might be worth repeating just because there are some areas I really like about it, but the rocks to the left of the cliff are rather dismal. The topmost rock was really a boat on the horizon! I painted the boat first, and then it just got bigger and bigger, to the point I morphed it into a dreary rock. Those rocks need work, as does the color gradation of the sand on the beach. I like a lot of the colors, but overall the sparkle is missing from the photo. If at first you don’t succeed . . . ya know.