WWM #31: Favorite Colors

When I thought about this prompt, “favorite colors”, for #WorldWatercolorAMonth2019, I was rather overwhelmed.  There are just so many beautiful colors out there!  I also have added a dozen new colors to my palette, and I was of the mind I should put together a swatch of the colors to see them separately and pure, not mixed up with others on my messy palette.  This would answer “favorite colors” because I don’t think I have met a color I don’t like.

It seemed like a task too daunting for me today – I have spent the past two days putting my house back together as we have finished all the repairs from the slab leak of earlier this month.

So, what are some of my favorite colors?  Truth be told, greens and magentas and turquoises.  These are the ones I like the best – light, dark, brilliant, quiet.  Sky, leaf, flower.  Bougainvillea against a bright, sunny sky hits the spot!

 

WWM #30: Wild Things

Today, when I was trying to figure out Wild Things for #WorldWatercolorMonth2019, I was really in a sourpuss mood.  I had to cancel a photo shoot with a friend and was not happy about it.  When you are tired and don’t feel well . . . you are absolutely crabby!  Hermity.  Crabby.  Hermit crab.  (How is that for subtle?)

I didn’t feel patient, and I didn’t feel capable of anything with a bit of subtlety.  I needed containment.  I wanted my shell.  I wanted limits and boundaries.  I wanted to feel safe.  Lines are perfect for that!  And as I have not done a line-and-wash watercolor for a month now, today I indulged.

And lets face it – hermit crabs are downright cute and fun with all their different colors and shells and homes.  Seeing them always makes me laugh – don’t know why, but they are such a delight.  And, as a result of this drawing, I, too, am in a much nicer mood!

WWM #29: Glorious Green

In spring, bright new greens fill the world. In summer, greens are darker, interspersed with flowering crops and wild flowers. Color is everywhere, but all dotting a verdant landscape. In brilliant sun, the greens shimmer, but under the electric sky of a thunderstorm, the sudden bursts of sunlight render greens into a strange intensity . . .

“Glorious Green” – prompt #29 – #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.

California Back Country

Even though summer is moving through July, soon into August, the rains we had over the spring are still leaving waves of color in the hills of the California back country.  Usually at this time of year beige is the predominant color, and in really dry years, a dark dirty brown.  This summer is a delight of colors – pale compared to spring – with wildflowers still hidden amongst the grasses.

WWM #28: Metallic

A bit out of proportion – obviously put together by a madman or seriously abused in its lifetime – this green, enamel-over-metal teapot was my first flirtation with “metallic” for #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.  I think it is okay, but really more of a warm up study.  The ones that follow are a bit better.  As I was doing them, I became more confident in the brushwork.

This is rather obviously a teaspoon – but the handle is really too short!  Thus, it is now a sugar bowl spoon.

I need to practice drawing more, and working on relationships of size and such.  While my painting is improving, I can’t say my drawing is.

Nonetheless, I am pleased with this.  I used only Payne’s Grey and used it in varying strengths to create a (gasp!) monochromatic watercolor study.

Nest is an old brass skeleton key.  I used Burnt Umber, Quin Gold, Organic Vermilion, and Payne’s Grey.  I figured since I had done something with underlying metal and silver, a gold color was necessary.

Working my way through these paintings did not take a lot of time, but they did focus my attention.  The elements of contrast I am learning in gouache is really becoming apparent in my watercolors.

Bolder brushwork, too.  In gouache, I have been doing a lot of scumbling; here, I am working by holding the brush at its end, away from the ferrule, and holding it more loosely.  It works as far as freeing me from a sense of “I have to do this perfectly” – don’t know why, but it is interesting to see how a physical stance changes the mental, and perhaps the final artistic result.

WWM #27: Fruits

Summer is the time of year when we live on fruit salads. If we get ambitious, maybe a pie, tart, galette . . . you get the picture. The prompt of “fruits” is perfect for the middle of July, the month of #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.

This year looks like it will be a really good year for our fig tree, a Brown Turkey. We used to have a Kadota, which is a lovely green fruit, and a perfect foil for the Brown Turkey, which are a deep purply-brown color. Figs are something I look forward to every year, to just walk out to the tree and enjoy a sweet treat . . .

Besides anticipating figs, we have also enjoyed grapes and apricots this season.  Cherries, nectarines, melons, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries.  Abundance!

The first painting is not quite where I want it to be.  I was focusing on contrast and shadows to separate one piece of fruit from another.  The same for the grapes and apricots, which is a bit more successful although I am not quite pleased with it because I think it is a bit overworked.  It’s interesting how I feel pretty good about some things – more confident – and less so with others.  I guess we all do.

WWM #26: Natural Wonders

The American West is filled with places you probably could not survive in for long without the amenities of water and shade and good soil to grow crops. Many of these areas have become national parks and monuments to preserve them for present and future generations, and to keep them from being destroyed and exploited, as is wont in the US. If you can make money off it, do it!  I don’t get how “conservatives” fail to “conserve” the beauty around us . . .

Anyway!

The White Sands National Monument, in New Mexico, is a strange and lovely place. White sand unlike what you usually find, accompanied by sparse plants, shifting dunes, and the vast New Mexico sky. Here are some studies – which, in my opinion, are all failures. That sand is so hard to express!

From the White Sands National Monument, we continue on to Arches National Park.  Layers of sandstone have been worn away by wind and rain, and arches of varying sizes and heights are the keynote of the park.  So many in one place!  The layers of sediment vary in color, erosion creates odd shapes, and the drama of sky and land, seen through the arches, creates visions of worlds within worlds.

I was rather pleased with the painting of the arch, more so than the others.  As usual, depth was a problem, but I think I solved it by doing three things.  First, I applied a cool glaze onto the blue-green-grey plain and mountain range n the distance.  Next, I applied a warm glaze of a yellow-orange hue over the arch itself and the rocks directly below it, but not on the red rocks seen through the arch.  Finally, I added some thin, dark lines along varying edges, and used the same concept of lines to create the plants on the lower border of the painting.

Gouache painting is really helping me “get” watercolor more completely.  Positive and negative space is becoming a more conscious thought, as are colors and methods to depict depth and distance.  It’s been a lot of fun to make a lot of little paintings some days, or only one another.  Each is a wonderful learning experience.