Today was a day of “firsts.” I decided to paint a big painting for me – 16×20 inches. I also chose to use a more professional paper than I have been; here, 140# cold press Arches.
I wanted to test out how Arches handles water – lots of water. Hannema is the master of the wash and wet paper approach. His current paper is Saunders Waterford, which is different, of course, from Arches. I think the Arches handled the water really well. I, on the other hand, still need to master my washes. Blooms are visible here and there, and I need to learn how to control those or eliminate them if I find them later on.
The palette of colors I used was initially what Hannema used: ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, and raw sienna. Because I did not like greens I was getting, I threw in some sap green. If I had used yellow ochre, perhaps my greens would have been more satisfactory – something to make a mental note of to try next time around.
I always learn from a video. As I have mentioned, water is one thing I am working on, along with buildings. Today, I wanted to just work with a new paper and a lot of water. The study was successful altogether methinks.
Below is Edo Hannema’s painting tutorial:
Another building! This time the simple composition helped – not a lot of corners.
For the palm tree, I used a dagger brush. I also used it for the building and the grass. I’ve never used one before, but thought it would be perfect for the fronds. A lot of fun can be had with this brush – glad I added it to my brush collection.
Flat land is like a calm sea. Few things break it up – perhaps a tree or a whale breeching. It is a challenge to compress the lines of the landscape into the narrow space seen to convey depth, space, and a sense of the land’s geography. The vast sky can dominate.
I promised to paint more buildings. So I did. I painted a house in the middle of a cold, cold climate in the dead of winter. I made better house drawings when I was 10.
I have really lost touch with real cold, real snow, and a real winter. I do have memories, though, of the intense gloom of the woods in northern New York state. There was something so magical about them – the silence of the woods, the snow falling, the sense of being alone in the world. I liked the idea of capturing that with a building, on water, in the dead of winter.
Buildings mean people, even in the middle of nowhere, on a river. People usually mean unnecessary noise, and in the woods or hiking, the last thing I want is noise. Silence is something to be savored in our noisy age.
So, let’s get back to the “disastrous fun” of this posting. “Disastrous” as this is such an amateurish painting, and “fun” because the more I got into, and the more I realized how awful it was, the more fun I had. Making a “good” painting no longer had any meaning – it was the experience. And the snow.
The final touch was the snowflakes. White gouache to spatter. I spattered on the painting. It flew onto my glasses. I spattered some more. It flew onto my glasses. I changed how I was spattering, and there were streaks.
Snowflakes don’t streak in the real world. Spattering paint is an art form in and of itself.
This version of my tulips was done without any lines – just spontaneous painting with a bit of forethought.
I like this painting a lot more than yesterday’s. It is definitely more relaxed and painterly. The colors are better, too. Negative painting is a bit more successful as well.
More tulips to come!
Flower paintings are some of my favorite things, just because I like flowers. Painting them is another story. Tulips are such cheerful, seasonal flowers, appearing in the market for a short time; I always have to buy a bunch or two or three.
Determined to paint a vase and water with stems, to really look at them, I put the tulips in a rather coarse, rectangular glass vase. The edges of the vase are wavy, and it is far from perfect, which gives it a rather pleasant charm. It seems I rather avoided the stems – my picture got too big! I’ll give it another try later.
Parts of this painting work, but overall it feels rather labored in appearance. I’m not quite sure why – maybe too many glazes took away a sense of spontaneity as well as clumsy negative painting.
I love the colors of houses seen throughout the Caribbean. Brilliant sunshine sets them off beautifully. The same with white – it becomes so bright it can be as blinding as snow in the sunshine. Where I live, if anyone paints their house anything other than beige or some other neutral color, they sort of get a weird look, like “what’s wrong with them,” so the colors you see in the Caribbean is eye candy.
Of late, I have painting snow and water. And skies. Now, I am looking to trying to include buildings in my paintings. I want to improve my perspective (the chimney here is cock-eyed) and to make them focal points. At some point I may even brave putting people into my paintings.
Here, the study was not just architecture, but white and how to express it as something other than just white. Fabriano Artistico, cobalt and ultramarine blue, sap and Hooker’s green, yellow ochre, and red oxide (I think).