216. The Red Barn: A Matter of Perspective

Of course, we all want our fans to tell us how talented we are and what perfect paintings we do!  Sadly, that is not reality.  In and of itself, The Red Barn is not a bad painting – I am rather pleased with it.  However, my husband is my nearest critic, and as he knows my issues of late with perspective, he pointed out, “The barn looks warped, like one side is buckling in.”

“Of course!” came my snarky reply.  “It’s old.  See?  There are holes in the barn.”  I pointed out the ones on the right, in shadow, under the eaves.

Well, I knew there was something wrong, but couldn’t pinpoint it.  This morning, I took it out for another look, and just with casual measurement between my fingertips, I found the problem.  The right front edge of the roof is shorter than the left edge.  The same applies to the right and left sides of the front of the barn.  Given the perspective of the painting, it is totally illogical!

This was truly a breakthrough moment.  I thought I had done the perspective correctly – in many ways I have, as with the road, and such, but the building itself was the problem.  I plan to re-do this painting today, working specifically on the barn roof and walls.  Hopefully success will follow!

Stay tooned (as my friend Fraggy likes to say!).

214. “Waiting for Spring” – from a Rick Surowicz Study

This morning I went out and bought plants for the flower beds, had lunch and a nap, and then decided what I wanted to paint.  Rick Surowicz just posted a new video on his YouTube channel called “Waiting for Spring.”  On his personal website, he posted a sketch of the study as well as a photograph of the actual barn, and his final watercolor.  If you haven’t checked out his channel, you should.  He has so much valuable information.  When I am feeling more focused, I want to try out his two classes as they are more detailed than his YouTube presentations, although they are detailed enough for anyone who wants to learn.

This video appealed to me for a number of reasons.  One, perspective.  This is a frontal view, so the roof line is pretty much a straight line across the top, parallel to the top edge of the paper.  I got out my ruler and made both straight horizontal and vertical lines.  From there, I roughed in the trees and shadows and bushes.

The palette was pretty simple – Rick posts the colors he used at the beginning, as well as mentioned that his Cerulean Blue is PB36 as opposed to PB35 – PB35 apparently is more greenish than PB36.  This would be either DaVinci Cerulean or Daniel Smith Cerulean Blue Chromium.  Of course, if you don’t clean up your paints, you could have just about anything.

What I learned from this video were a few things.  One, mix colors on the paper as you move along.  Specifically, on the roof, I moved from one color to the next, picking up paint and working it into the paint on the paper.  This gave a nice effect.  Another important thing was to realize that while I have flat brushes, most of mine, if not all, are rather stiff.  Painting with them at times created problems as a softer flat brush would be a better choice in some areas.

I also realized I need to sort out my brushes better – put rounds in one area, flats in another, and riggers and other specialized brushes in another.  I have a stand, and perhaps I shall use that next, or else I may just get individual holders – like jars or tins – to hold specific brushes in specific areas.  I continue to learn!

As I look at this painting, I can see my confidence in handling color has come a long, long way.  I plan to do a few more barns in the coming week, using photos from Pixabay.  This way, I can practice perspective, use my ruler, and try to paint more confidently than I seem to do when I don’t have a video to follow.

FYI, below is Rick’s excellent video:

175. In the Style of Urban (Not the Pope)

In a number of circles, there is an “urban sketch” style done with ink and watercolor.  Drawing and painting are combined.  Some people are masters of it, in my opinion, having a good balance of ink and clear watercolor, with one or the other predominating, and the other not overwhelming its partner.  (I hope that made sense!)

I am trying to find that balance.  I’d say I am okay with ink, but heavy-handed with color.

Today I decided to try two things.  The first is above – a simple “country” scene with trees (and green!  remember yesterday?), a fence, and a building.  The idea was for the sun – the light source – to be coming from the left, behind the barn.  I’m not so sure what that big blue thing is to the right of the (obvious) three shadows of the trees, but it’s too late to do anything about that!

This one is an urban scene, one obviously not in downtown Los Angeles, but in some older part of the world.  Here, the light is coming from the right, perhaps, but the alleys and buildings create their own logic.  Shadows are broken up with bright spots.  One can only imagine that to find the light, looking up will reveal a world much different than the one on the ground.  I think this one was fairly successful; there are parts which seem to work, and others that make no sense at all – like, what is that thing?  Scribble more ink on it and let the viewer guess!

64. Hidden

This may be the last post for a few days as our house is torn apart and put together.  The bathrooms, closets, laundry room, hallway, and bedrooms are getting new floors on Tuesday.  The studio is bare.  I have a small box filled with a few brushes, some paper, some paint, but who knows if I’ll be able to touch it for several days!

Because of this, I decided to end my weekend with a small ink and watercolor painting, derived from a photo I took last year of a barn in the hills nearby.  I started by laying in pencil, then color, knowing I planned to deliberately finish with ink.  I’m rather torn about the bright white of the roof – but it was in brilliant sunshine the day I took the photo.  The windows are rather awful – looks like the barn has an eye infection!

Maybe I will tone the roof down later and fix the windows, but for now, it will remain as is.  After I post this, it’s time to finish clearing out the studio, the closet, and put together little boxes so things like soap and toothpaste are available for kitchen use – we will have no bathroom sinks for a few weeks!