Month: January 2019

Snowy Sunrise

More working with wet-in-wet, as well as white and shades of white.  Not sure if the idea that the part of the lower trees facing the viewer convey a sense of shadow – being darker – before moving into the shadows in the foreground.

With wet-in-wet, it is really important to understand how a paper responds to water.  This is Canson XL, a student grade paper, but one that I like to use when experimenting.  I’ve never really worked at using it really wet, but the results of focusing on it – having it sopping, having it damp – is beginning to yield some decent results, such as few blooms and hard edges.

On the Forest Floor

Yesterday’s painting is now revisited, this time without lines, as well as with a few stages of the painting shown before the final rendition.

Working with white space is my biggest challenge, so I decided to lay in colors as a first step, as you can see above.  The idea here was to work around the white flowers and do what I could to keep them white.

At this point, colors and values are generally in place, but the white flowers have yet to be touched.  This is where the painting caused some questions.  Should this be more “painterly” – that is, splashy colors – or should it become more “formal” – meaning a more graphic rendition.  Because I am more inclined toward the “painterly” I went ahead and worked wet in wet, and in my mind’s eye, more messily.  Splash!  Splash!

Here is the final version.  I used pale colors to give the white flowers some dimension, but am not sure how successful they are.  I have a few ideas of maybe a third rendition, but that is for tomorrow if I do it.  At this point, I tried to introduce better contrast and detail in various areas, as well as working in some oranges, reds, yellows, and light greens throughout the painting to unite parts of it throughout.

In general, I am fairly pleased with this painting.  As with (I swear) every watercolor, it has its own ideas, so of course what I wanted to produce and what I did produce are rather different!  I didn’t create mud, and though I wanted to reach for the pen to make outlines and sharpen areas, I didn’t.  I did consider watercolor pencil, but in the end decided to leave it as it was.

The biggest problem is that the white flowers themselves need more contrast, but today, I am not too sure how to get them to look more 3-dimensional.

Below, you can view a slide show of yesterday’s ink and watercolor version, as well as the evolution of today’s exercise.

On the Forest Floor

A few goals for this mornings painting.  First, keeping the white flowers white.  Outlines helped here!  Second, wet-in-wet painting.  That worked well, too.  As an afterthought, I worked on the shape of the vignette within the frame.  Top, bottom, sides.  The far right could run off the page a bit more – I could crop it, if I wanted, but I rather like the reminder of the flaws I see, too.

 

Winter Sparkle

winter sparkle

After a fresh snow, an icy snow or blizzard, the day is filled with sparkles when you look against the sky.  In photography, it’s easy to capture – line up the sun, the light, move around, and you get it.  In painting, though, it’s a totally different thing.  How to express that sparkle?  I tried to capture it in the upper left corner by dabbing in colors of blue and black and bits of ink – did it work?  I don’t know.  On the bits of snow in the lower left, small dots of blue to represent shadows on the white snow.  Perhaps that is a bit more successful.

Pen, ink, watercolor, limited palette.  Wet on dry.  Ink on paper.  Ink on painted paper.  Wet into wet.  A morning mish-mash, but every day I am trying to do something with ink or watercolor.  Not always successful, but an everyday activity from which a lot can be learned!

Joshua Tree

Joshua trees are a strange and wonderful plant.  The US National Park Service runs the Joshua Tree National Park, which is now closed because of the government shut down.

Joshua trees are amazing.  You see a flat desert, and then these odd plants, which are members of the yucca family, popping out in all sorts of strange and eerie shapes.  Driving through the southeastern part of California, along the Pear Blossom Highway, they are everywhere.  David Hockney immortalized them both.  Be sure to take time to visit the park and drive the highway when you are next in SoCal.

North of Here

This morning we are experiencing rain – a rare event in Southern California.  Strange as it may sound, it made me think about painting something without lines, wetting the paper first, and working wet-in-wet, just to see what would happen.  As a kid, I lived in upstate New York, out where pine woods and lakes were more common than people.  I miss that solitude – walking in a snowy woods, flakes falling, listening to the silence, all alone in a cold, lonely, and intensely beautiful environment.