112. Window in the Wood

Another window, this time set into a log building.  The logs were fun to paint – just broad swooshes with a brush, and then some detail.  (I think I could use a few more wider dark swooshes in the upper 1/2 of the windows for the logs.)  Here, as in yesterday’s painting, detail is important, but still needs simplification to express the window and the logs.  Overall, I am rather pleased with this picture.  My palette was very limited – burnt umber, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue.  Oh, I threw in some zoisite (DS) because I love its granualtion!

111. Blue Shutters

The other day I was trying to paint a something-or-other, and realized I had no idea how to paint something to suggest it, rather than give all the gory details.  It may have been yesterday’s rocky cliffs.  In particular, I started to think about buildings and windows.  Stucco – brick – stone – how to express it without excess?

I decided lets start with just windows.  Here is one set deep into a stucco building.  I had to look at the shutters, the shadows, the casement, the small details such as hinges and cracks in the wood, as well as the shadows between the louvers.

110. Rocky Coast & Post Production

I’ve taken photos for years and use different software to enhance the final results to express what I want.  With this painting, I was not quite sure about the distant cliffs and the depth of color in the ocean.  Too light?  Darken?  My instinct was that darkening both would make a better painting in the sense of contrast.

Overall, I like the above painting – it looks pretty good.  In the one below, I used a brush in Lightroom to darken the cliffs and the sea.

I like the second choice better.  I haven’t painted over the cliffs or ocean to make them darker, but if I were to publish things, I could do some “post” in a digital format.  If you look at the frame of the above image, you will see parts of it are darker, the result of using the LR brush.

I wonder how many other artists do post-processing of their paintings.  I have taken scans and turned them into black and white images to check contrast and value – so why not for making painting decisions as well?  It’s all a learning process.

109. Olive Orchard

Living in a “Mediterranean” climate means living in a dry, temperate climate.  Locally, we have a number of olive orchards which produce local oils that are tasty and delicious.  Here is a tribute to them.

Besides commercial uses, olive trees are often used as decorative trees in one’s yard as they do require a lot of upkeep in terms of water – but the downside is a messy yard as the olives drop.  Most people never consider using the olive fruit for anything at all.

I tried to simplify everything in this painting – trunks, field, crown of trees.  At the same time, I tried to work on contrast and failed overall.  It’s really a talent to get something dark enough on the first take!  The trees on the left look like one in the foreground in overlapped by the leaves of the one further distant.  And so on.  However, getting out the paints every day is the goal, and practice, not making a “completed” painting is the whole point.

108. Venetian Red and Wisteria

I have been looking for a lavender watercolor . . . and liked the color of Daniel Smith’s Wisteria.  So I bought it.  Lately, too, I’ve been reading a lot about Venetian Red.  I bought it, too.

Here are some sketches using the new colors.  The Wisteria works out quite nicely – it’s a good lavender overall.

It plays well with blues and other colors – but I’ll need to putz with it a bit more.  So far, so good.

Venetian Red is an interesting color.  It granulates, it ranges in value, and varies, it seems in transparency and opacity.

I threw a lot of colors into the stones and the buildings, all sorts of things.  Another new color to play with.

I spent a week up in Reno and came back with a stomach bug, so another week out of commission.  Not fun at all!  But painting is again on the horizon, and that is definitely good news.

105. Three-Color Study: Apples

Going through a period of disliking much of what I have been doing, it occurred to me that in addition to simplifying color detail, maybe it would also be a good idea to simplify my palette of colors.

Here, apples in a primary triad of sorts:  Quin Gold, Cobalt Teal, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson.

I was quite surprised at how deep I could get the shadows using the alizarin and teal, as well as how delicate the pale shades could be.  A bit overworked, too, but the lessons are sinking in if I am lucky!

 

104. Peninsula

Islands form chains, perhaps peninsulas.  Off the coast where I live is an island that reaches out into the sea.  It is more like a series of islands connected by narrow bits of land – I expect these will disappear over the next century as waters rise, and then one island may become three or four.

In the pursuit of simplicity, I used a large brush and chose the major colors.  I put in verticals to suggest cliffs.  Parts of this painting work – and others do not – in particular with a sense of dimensionality and depth of field.  I tried to create greys using opposite colors, such as cobalt blue and pyrrol orange.  Despite that, I did learn a few things.  One, wait and think.  Two, use colors far darker than you think are necessary.  Three, keep it simpler than you think it should be.

103. Poppies in the Field

Images of the Palouse or vast fields of crops, such as rape seed, extending to the horizon, provide an abstract element of design.  Here, the colors and lines become the focal point, rather than the items themselves.

As I mentioned yesterday, simplification is something I want to work on.  Here, simplicity and abstraction go a bit further than I want, so maybe I’ll find a happy medium in between the two!