There are days which are blustery and cold, the wind whipping through your hair, and a walk on the beach, slogging through sand, and enjoying the wild freshness of the sea is not a bad way to begin a new year!
Yesterday’s painting got rather fussy when I looked at it this morning. So, determined to work on simplification, I decided to use a huge brush for the most part. Again, Kilimanjaro 300# 11×15 paper from Cheap Joe.
To keep myself in a “logical” sequence, I worked top to bottom after taping off the horizon line to keep it straight. (Yesterday’s painting needed to be straightened up when scanned – it was going uphill!) It worked with very little seepage into the other half. So, sky first, wet into wet, blotting as necessary, using a spray bottle to coax color and water, tilting the paper this way and that. Then the blow dryer.
One the sky was to my liking, I did the islands in the distance, again focusing on simplicity and distance. Not gonna get fussy! It worked. Then, the blow dryer.
I didn’t draw the water or sand. Instead, I used the big brush to delineate the sand and rivulets of water from the sea. To pull the painting together, I used glazes and washes, mixing in colors from sky and islands into the sand. I put a few details in with a very fine brush, using some tiny dots to represent sand, and larger blobs of brown / blue to make stones and pebbles and other bits of detritus.
While this is not my favorite painting of late, it is perhaps one of my more successful watercolors. It doesn’t feel overworked and the colors reflect the overcast, wet day. Wet, wet skies are always fun and a crap shoot, but a delight because watercolor is not predictable and has its own beauty. I think I would like to wander here a bit more . . . .
The same painting, scanned with an Epson V600 and merged. However, two different software were used to merge. One was Microsoft Ice. The other was the photo merge bit of Lightroom. It’s hard to really tell which software impacted the final image more as both were manipulated a bit in post. However, the difference was that the LR version had dark paper around the edge and was rather muddy. The MS Ice was lighter and more clean in overall appearance.
This is the image merged in Lightroom. .
This is the one merged in MS Ice.
It’s hard to see the difference in some ways, but I think either is fine to my eye.
Anyway, I am rather pleased with the result here. I think I got the depth of field properly done for once. Perspective doesn’t seem off. The sandy berm really pleases me because sand is hard to do! I mixed together ochre, alizarin, and cobalt blue and then added a gallon of water to make the wash. The shadows are ultramarine with a bit of carbazole violet.
Another thing I like is the murky, seaweed filled foreground on the right that fills the shallow water. And, too, I did some justice to the reflections of the island in the right background. In the end, I applied a light glaze to the foreground water on the right and to the grasses to the left of the sandy shore in the middle left background. Painted on 300# Kilimanjaro from Cheap Joe’s.
I have few other WIPs, but they need a bit more consideration at present.
This wet-in-wet is drawn from imagination and inspiration by the Dutch watercolorist Edo Hannema. I just love his mastery of water and color and wet paper! There is a peaceful quality to his paintings of the Dutch landscape.
Painting like this demands thought and deliberation and patience. Timing is also critical. Painting wet-in-wet requires risks and experience. Too wet, everything just blurs. Paint wet paint which is wetter than the still damp colors result in blooms which can destroy a painting in now time. The rule is drier paint into wet paint – that on your brush must be drier than the stuff on the paper. Blot your brush if in doubt.
Oops! Just noticed that the horizon is dead center . . . compositional error! And that big green blob is also a mistake – tried to fix it – but since this is time for true confessions, I may as well own up. 😉
This is one of my more successful wet-in-wet paintings. Usually there is a big cauliflower bloom somewhere – sometimes I can hide it, but it feels really good not to have one this time! Remembering the trick of drier onto wetter was a good thing.
For the first time, I am painting on 300# paper. This is Kilimanjaro CP from Cheap Joe’s. With such a heavy paper, lots of water can be used. 140# warps but this stayed virtually flat. I like this paper a lot – certainly will be getting more of it.
I enjoy gouache a lot because you can rework places and easily blur edges to soften them. That is a lot harder in acrylics. I decided to give it a shot. It worked rather well for the sky, but like gouache, the whites in the clouds darkened more than I thought they would. On the other hand, I did work on the sand a bit, using very thin water glazes for the shadows. That worked out pretty well.
I realize the key to “getting” acrylic painting is to just keep doing it, experimenting, trying. Each painting, successful or not, is a lesson.
A quick study from a photo I took some time ago. Depending on where you are in California, the beaches can be flat and wide, beneath sandy cliffs, or covered with rocks. Wherever you go, you have legal access to the coast – no private beaches!
Another “fantasy” (hence “Keep Dreaming”) painting. Another mixture of gouache – white and black only – and watercolors. As before, 16×20 CP 140# Arches paper.
Using a mixture of watercolor and gouache, with color coming from the watercolor and opacity and darks from the gouache, there is an ease of painting which acrylics cannot touch. The reason is that acrylics dry quickly, and I don’t really seem to have a lot of success with retardants.
I guess I should try acrylics mixed with a retardant a few times more than I have and give them a chance. Experience is the best teacher. The combination of gouache with the watercolor lets me remix my colors later (gouache can be re-wet) and gives an opacity that is not possible in watercolor. I like this combination but still think I should work a bit more with the acrylics. I am also considering trying oils once more. With oils, I know it would be a way to have the colors remain wet long enough to allow reworking areas. Odorless mineral spirits add to the allure of oils.
Anyway, I am having a lot of fun with these fantasy paintings. We all have a tropical isle of some sort to which we would like to escape!
Another tribute to the dreams of the Florida Highwaymen.