Month: January 2020

Winter Aspens

I am really rather pleased with this gouache – haven’t done any since last year!  When I am painting in gouache, each one begins okay, with clear ideas in my head.  And then it gets really and truly hideous.  And then, it changes, almost by itself, and comes together in a way that watercolor doesn’t.  I don’t know how to describe it, but the process is quite magical – just like snowy woods in the late afternoon.

The Edge of the Wood

More work with wet-in-wet, this time accompanied by using frisket to keep the areas of the birch trees white, and to keep a few other bits white, too.  First step was to paint the sky across the trees, then the orange bracken and other foliage.  From there – just a few details, some negative painting, and so on.  I think there could be more contrast on the birch trees, but stopped to keep myself from overworking it.

Late Afternoon

I’ve been really into doing wet-in-wet watercolors this month, and think it may become a theme for the month of January.  So many areas of watercolor benefit from it.  Skies seem to lend themselves to it, but so do fog and reflections.

Here, a winter landscape, partly from memories of those lovely, cold afternoons in upstate New York or rural Illinois, when the clouds were low and dark, snow was on the ground, but somehow, the sun made it through, casting shadows and a bit of color on the vast swaths of white.

Timed Studies

As I am planning on running out to meet up with a friend in a short bit, I decided to do some quick studies in watercolor.

The one below was done in 15 minutes, some pencil lines to give it some direction.

The colors were really fun and I made them really strong compared to what I was inclined to do.  The results were pleasing (colors) and interesting.  Even when you do a quick study, you have to think about what is wet when you paint over it.

The next one, below, I allotted 30 minutes for with the lessons of painting onto too-wet paper too soon.

I think the second one was more successful.  I also did not use any pencil lines but used the white of the snow as a shape to paint around.  That was a challenge in itself!

Quick studies are quite satisfying – no masterpieces expected!

View from the Hills

The miracle of green always happens in the last of the year and the first of the next when the rains come and new growth begins to emerge in the hills of California.  After months of dry weather and fading landscapes. color erupts almost overnight.  Soon, wildflowers will begin to tinge the hills from green to orange and purple and yellow.  Here, a view from the hills toward the Pacific, with the Channel Islands in view, lost in the coastal fog.