The Scragglers in a Winter Wood

For some reason the winter and snow scenes of Maurice Utrillo were wandering through my mind when I was painting this. Yes, he painted urban winter scenes, but I don’t think that really matters. What I saw here was the brushwork, a scumbling to blend colors, which I think of when I see his paintings.

Initially my idea was to attempt a pointillistic painting, but the subject matter really doesn’t lend itself to dots.¬† What I did was to lay down dots, as in pointillism, and then work them into each other for color gradation, textures, and mood.

If I am to be honest, I am really pleased with this painting!  I hope you enjoy it, too.

On the Edge of Field and Forest

Another winter day . . . snow, sunrise, warm and cold. Pointillism once more.

This time I laid in the background color, such as the blue of the sky merging into the gold of the horizon, blending them together with white. the same with the diagonal hedgerow and foreground snow. After that, I used a tiny, tiny brush, soft to the touch, and filled it with gouache paint I thinned down a lot.

The time to complete this painting was easily 2-3 hours (with time out for lunch and a nap, of course!). I think the color gradation, especially in the sky, has worked well with the usage of small points of color. I also tried to make the middle ground snow cooler and greyer than the foreground snow.

Ahhhh! It feels so good to paint!

More Impressions of Slater’s Bridge

I have been rather lazy today, too lazy to set up to paint. So, an old exercise came to mind: make a messy color mix on paper and draw over it with ink. I had Slater’s Bridge already chosen as the subject matter for this exercise¬† (partly for Ms. Fragglerocking, partly because I think it’s such a lovely bit of stonework). As a result, I plopped on colors and then drew the bridge from different angles.

This was the first one. No idea how the cobalt violet would work, but used leftover watercolor paint from my dirty palette along with fresh colors. Then I drew. I admit, I came in and added some color after I added the drawing to get a bit more definition. It sort of felt like cheating!

So, with the thought of cheating in mind, I did this one. Yes, I deliberately put manganese blue at the top, and then just added the cadmium orange and greens. However, I didn’t add any colors after finishing the ink drawing.

Daily work – daily play – daily adventures in art!

Impression of Slater’s Bridge

Bridges are something we take for granted until you have to wade across the creek, or hop stone to stone, praying you don’t fall in! Way back when, the arch bridge was discovered, and it takes its form in many ways, from giant aqueducts to small stone bridges built in lonely country.

Slater’s Bridge is found in the English Lake District. It’s shape seems to have grown out of the countryside and keeps catching my eye. I don’t think my painting is especially accurate, either; hence “impression”.

By Flashlight

With winds blowing at 40mph, the fear of fires was intense. Electrical lines spark, grasses and brush catch fire, and before you know it, the world is lit, not with electricity, but with flames. As a result of this – PSPS (Public Safety Power Shut-off) – we had no electricity for about 36 hours. What do you do when the sun goes down, there is no phone, no TV, no electricity? You read, you chat, you play games by candle, and paint by flashlight.

Rather than try to be creative, I got out a couple of art instruction books, one by Geoff Kersey, and one by Ted Kautzky. All of these paintings were done with limited palettes and by following some instruction to create a painting from the book.

The one above is from Geoff Kersey’s book, using only red, blue, and yellow. No more. It was the first one I did, and there was still some daylight, but very little, in my darkish studio. It was evening, and the studio window faces east. I used manganese blue, cadmium lemon, and cadmium red.

This one is from a Ted Kautzky study. Less light and more moving my little flashlight from book, to watercolor paper and drawing, to palette. Colors were verditer blue, cadmium red, Hooker’s green, and raw sienna. Verditer blue doesn’t seem to mix well with other colors, but is a lovely blue by itself. Four colors!

Now we are moving into big time! Here, five colors. Payne’s grey, ultramarine blue, aureolin yellow, Hooker’s Green, and burnt umber. Another study from Ted Kautzky.

I enjoy doing studies from books – it helps focus a bit. I also realized that daylight is a better way to paint, or using diffused electrical lighting. Flashlights are good to see with, but their light is not diffuse, but sharp and focused. I think I would have had better lighting with a few candles. Anyway, it was a good way to pass some time when the sun set and the vampires weren’t yet out.

The Road into Town

Today I put together a new watercolor paint palette, adding some colors I normally don’t have on my main palette, as well as adding ones back that didn’t make it into the first one. This palette forces me to work harder to get greens as I don’t have phthalo green, sap green, or Hooker’s on it as “primary” greens; instead, I have viridian, which is not one I have been fond of in the past. However, it works nicely with cadmium lemon and aureolin to make those crazy spring greens I like. I also added manganese blue, verditer blue, and phthalo blue (green shade). I don’t have any yellow ochre or quinacridone colors, but do have Davy’s Grey and Peach Black. In the red arena I added transparent red oxide in place of light red, and cadmium orange as well. All of the earth tones – burnt and raw sienna and umber – are on this palette.

The result is looking to be a brighter series of colors to work with, at least that is my impression. I tried to use nearly every color in the palette on some level in this painting to see what would happen. As it was, I didn’t use every color! Too many!

The subject matter was also something that I wanted to work on – a small town with a few buildings at the base of a mountain range, and the goal was to have a road leading in to it, sloping down hill, and conveying a bit of depth. It’s a busy scene, one from my travels over the years that I caught on camera. Depth is not easy for me, so I used shadows across the road and landscape to catch a bit of it.

First watercolor of the New Year, and started with a New Year Palette!

From the Roadside

How many times I have driven through the wild country of the US, stopped on the roadside just to gaze at the land around me? When I lived in Colorado, I did this whenever I could. I do it here, too, in California, and whenever we take a driving trip through wild and lonesome country. Life here can be harsh and isolated, but can you imagine yourself on horseback (I do!) and slowly traversing these wild and open places?

More winter, more gouache. A limited palette of white, phthalo blue and green, ultramarine blue, a bit of red, and black and purple.

It’s Winter

It’s a pleasantly warm day today – bare feet and a nap on the patio kind of pleasant day. Still, I long for cold and gloomy weather, real winter weather. I know, I know – if I was living in the middle of it, I would think differently.

That said, a gouache in a more painterly manner than pointillism, up in the mountains somewhere, looking on to the distant dusting of snow. Gloom. Snow. Cold. Yeah! Don’t go wading in the river, either! Just enjoy it, and then return home to hot cider and a fire.