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.
Back from a short vacation jaunt up the coast. We stopped for gas, and I took a picture of the sunflowers and buildings across the street as my husband filled the tank. I don’t know what caught my eye about this – perhaps the bright sunflowers and the dusty box on the left, or perhaps the sky and buildings and trees in the distance. Something about it was just intriguing. Altogether, I found this little bit of countryside fascinating.
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:
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.
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.