The Mountain

Yesterday was a watercolor day!  I warmed up with a copy of Wesson’s painting, and then moved on to more water.  I am not intimidated by water in the form of lakes or streams, but do need to learn how to do oceans and waves and white caps.  I am trying to get a grip on reflections and how water and reflections interact.  I think reflections appear longer when the sun is behind you rather than in front of you, like shadows.

Here, a mountain and a lake, with some very deep shadows.  The distant mountain is quite bland to my eyes and would like to liven it up with deeper greens and richer browns.  I didn’t.  I tried to keep it more simple than the actual photo.  I did to a point.

I think most painters will always find faults as they know, as they paint, what challenged them while they painted and what their vision was, versus what they put down.  My life.

A Study After Edward Wesson

Edward Wesson was a master English watercolorist.  He is renown for the simplicity of his work – clear color masses, defined work.  It is his economy of color and shape that are attractive to many painters as he says a lot with very little.

I, on the other hand, am prone to overdo and use rather bright colors.  My perspective is often wonky.  To counter this, I look for painters, such as Wesson or Seago or Hannema or Kautzky whose work I admire for its elegant use of colors or lines or both.  Copying another artist is good intellectually, as it requires thinking about what the artist did, and how.  Great practice!  Today, I chose Wesson.  Below is my interpretation.

My mountain in the distance is more detailed than Wesson’s.  I chose to make the trees on the shore in the midground lighter than in his painting as I think he meant to do it, but had laid in the dark of the hill on the left already.  My beach comes nowhere as beautiful as his – too much detail.

My husband remarked that this is definitely something he would define as NOT “my” style.  I agree.  I was looking to create something a bit spare, and to a degree I did, but I had to blot the sky (too dark) and re-wet the mountain.  I like the middle ground green hills, and the reflections on the water.  My beach sucks!  All in an afternoon’s work.

Storm Over the Wetlands

Water and sky are the major themes these days.  I really like them anyway, but have to work on reflections in particular.  For instance, along the banks, the reflection of reeds is very important, as in the distant water / tree line.  I try to be simple in my approach and perhaps a bit less dramatic or intense in my colors, but that seems to be really hard for me to achieve!  I had a lot of fun with this painting, though, and am rather pleased with its outcome despite the fact it is not quite what I envisioned.  But, it does catch that peculiar storm light, I think.

Building, Tree, Flowers

Springtime – moving into summer – and after finishing up a sweater I just had to cut loose.  The watercolors were out, a piece of paper that wasn’t too warped from another painting, and I just went to work.  This wasn’t really planned, but I did use resist to keep areas white, as well as decided to throw in a building, flowers, and a tree.  A transitional world – sweater to watercolor portending hot weather next week.

Jachelt

This is one of the most stunning images I have seen on Pixabay, which has a lot of wonderful royalty-free photos; here is the direct link to it:  https://pixabay.com/photos/fog-moor-moorland-birch-tree-mood-1717410/ 

This photo is moody and mysterious, and you can certainly imagine how spooky it could be to come upon suddenly, lost in a whirl of fog on a lonely moorland. I tried to capture it in my own watercolor.

This painting is significantly different than some of my other paintings.  I used the wet-in-wet technique throughout the painting, creating several layers of glazes before adding the details of grasses.  These I did using negative painting over the washes.  Then, more solid brushwork for the tree, branches, and scrub in the lower corners.

16 x 20 Arches 140# cold press paper.

 

Reflections on a Still Day

Today is a calm, slightly muggy day.  Where I live, no open water running through a flat land, few clouds.  Instead, there are mountains and the little bit of green we get with spring rains is giving way to brown.  Much as I love where I live, and find its austerity beautiful, I also crave wet, hot days.  This will have to do.

 

Field of Flowers

I did a painting in pastels yesterday.  Out of practice!  Plus, I had to contend with curling paper, new pastels that are softer than what I am used to, a new fixative, and the fact that one of my boxes of 90 colors fell to the floor.  You can imagine that mess.  A day later, and the pastels are out, still jumbled, along with the curling paper, etc.

Antidote needed!

Flowers are always cheerful subjects, particularly those in a field.  Walking through the field, hearing the birds and hum of insects, feeling the itch of the grasses, is something I love and wanted to capture.  I think I did.  Such happiness!

Eyes and Bottle

I took a few days off from painting and drawing because I needed to work on some sewing and knitting.  Made a couple of masks, and did a major step in a sweater, and those both took a lot more time than I expected.  But, breaking up patterns refreshes you – like a good vacation!

The next lesson in Keys to Drawing is to draw your own eyes!  I can’t see past my nose without my glasses, so it was a bit of a challenge.  Here I am, blindish and glasses-less.

I look pretty darned paranoid here!  My eyes are wide open and I am trying to see what I am looking at in the mirror.

The next one I did with my glasses on.

Hardly stylish, but at least I could see what I was doing!

Then, a tinted bottle.  As it is in the 90s, I have my water bottle everywhere I go.

Both assignments were to use a pencil, here an HB for both, and use lines.  The bottle neck is a bit small compared to the rest of the bottle – it’s really about 1/3 the bottle’s diameter – and a bit misshapen at the top.  I did have my glasses on when I did it.

As in painting, the idea is to go from the general (shape) to smaller details and to focus on line and shapes, not thinking, “I am drawing eyes” or “I am drawing a bottle.”  Overall, it worked.

Drawing Practice

Frustrated with my inabilities to realistically do perspective and depth, which I attribute to my lack of depth perception, I’ve decided to re-edu-um-cate myself!  I signed up for an online gouache class by Lena Rivo, which has been great, as well as bought an eBook version of Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing.  I have decided to dedicate part of each day to doing at least one of his exercises if possible.  The hope is to improve my drawing skills, which are the problems behind some of my painting issues.

First exercise is contour drawing.  The purpose of this is to get used to the idea of checking what you see against what you draw, and get the idea into your head that what you see is not what you think.  This means looking at angles and curves as well as relationships of parts to each other.  Here are my exercise examples, diving in feet first!

Next was fun – look at your hand face on – that is, fingers in your face!  Close an eye.  Draw!

And then, imagine a pepper.  Draw it.  Then get a real pepper and take a good, strong look at it, and draw.  My imaginary pepper is at the top, and the real pepper, in three positions and three variations of drawing style, are below.

Very glad I chose to do this!  More to come.