Take a look at this!
NOT a landscape!
This is really unusual for me – buildings and people intimidate me. However, by painting nearly every day I am gaining confidence in my abilities.
Also, the use of extremes in light and dark are another oddity for me, as well as the limited palette, the colors of which were primarily cad yellow and violet of some variety. White, too, along with some sienna, ocher, and ultramarine.
Painting really means learning a lot of things: how to use color, composition, brushwork. It is here that using a wide, flat brush to paint the buildings rather than my usual preferred rounds that I was able to achieve 90% of the painting. I was rather surprised by myself, and the result.
This painting is derived from some take-aways from yesterday’s study based on Charlie Evan’s video. I left white for the tree trunks, painting around them carefully. I also painted more slowly and less splashily than my usual mess. The result is more controlled and perhaps a bit more structured. While the painting itself is not what I would consider a real hit, it does have a decent bit of light and dark, sun and shadow, which is what I was striving for.
If you follow along here at all, you know two things about me. One is a lack of real depth perception. The next is my ongoing struggle with perspective. I have learned that my poor drawing – sloppy drawing, really – due to impatience – ruins a lot of my attempts at perspective in paintings.
I have decided to work on perspective, particularly architectural perspective. That means buildings! As a country girl at heart (no cowboy hats, though), I like the idea of buildings in a non-city setting. No skyscrapers for me. Instead, a boat house, a farm house, a barn perhaps. A building along the waterfront, even suburbia. Why? I want a few trees and some water.
This is the first in a bunch I intend to do to really work on perspective. Looking at things dead on is easy, but looking at something with angles is different. Also, looking down on something from above, or upward from a low vantage point.
Here, gouache. This took hours. About an hour drawing and probably three hours painting it. It works to a degree. All this for a 5×7 painting!!
The thing is more than anything is to just get out there and do it, no matter how icky it turns out!!
Where I live, a building is a house surrounded by the rest of suburbia. I don’t live in a city. I don’t live in the country. Sometimes I wish I could transport myself to someplace so very different than where I live now. That said, one can travel in one’s imagination, and that is what I have chosen to do here – a street in the early evening somewhere in a gracious part of an old city.
While this is not a perfect painting, I did have some goals in mind while painting “buildings” for the #WorldWatercolorMonth2019 prompt. One was to really work on perspective. It’s pretty well nailed here. Another was negative painting – keep some paper white. Here, the chimneys up in the sun. I wanted details to show perspective – the closer to the viewer, the more details, as can be seen the closer to the right the buildings become. A lack of detail to show there is distance. Finally, I wanted to use light glazes to designate where the sun is on the upper buildings, and not on the lower part. Here, light quinacridone gold on top, light cobalt on the bottom. I rather like the way the street is striped in shades from dark to light, but as to whether it is realistic is not a question I care to answer. In general, I think the sketchy elements of the watercolor work well with the colors and lines to convey feeling and mood.
For “buildings” I knew I wanted a loose, light painting. This one is on a small sheet of paper, and I expect the final image is about 6×8 inches (could measure, don’t feel like it!). I used both small and large brushes, a bit of imagination, a bi of memory of previous reads on perspective. I found the most interesting thing I did was to do the sky last! I really think it works well with most o the painting.
I’ve been thinking about how I am developing a sort of painting style in gouache, as well as giving thought to the painters whose work I admire. It definitely falls in the impressionistic and expressionistic varieties. Gouache just seems to be made for exuberant color and enthusiastic brushwork.My colors are more subdued that I wanted – I wanted turquoise skies and pink flowers and a brilliant sunset. Instead, I have a rather northern European type of town scene, with a garden or flowering park in the middle. Summer’s abundance flourishes under the trees, but in the shade it seems. In doing this painting, I didn’t do much planning. I stuck to the prompt of “splashes of color” – and splash I did. The result was a serious loosening up of my style, and a letting go of “this is what I want it to be.” That is significant – I can be a real tight ass about painting, and in the end dislike the results. When I let go – let things splash – I am usually much, much happier with the results.
Regardless, both paintings appear muddy to me. I wonder if working with pure color – straight from the tube – would help. Practice certainly will. The flowers in the vase seem a bit overworked, too. Again, practice and experience.
So, lots of splashes of color for #WorldWatercolorMonth 2019 is producing some rather pleasing results and, more than anything, a daily involvement with painting.
Still working on my buildings! And in the process I realized I am dreadful when it comes to both depth of field and perspective. If you look at the roof of the building centered in the sketch, the line for it is much, much steeper than the building adjacent to it. The same with its door. It was that steep angle of perspective I was trying to follow – and failed. I have a few books on perspective – time to dig them out and study them quite seriously. I don’t think it will be that difficult, but I need to learn a few tricks. On the other hand, I am rather pleased with the sense of shadow and sunshine . . . there is still hope!
As we move into winter, I think of the places I lived when I was a kid, where 6 feet of snow was a “mild” winter. Today, the low was about 56 F, and the high about 78 F. Very different – and as an adult, I admit to preferring a lack of snow to an abundance! Nonetheless, the seasonal changes are apparent here, just more subtle – the shift in light, the change in the blue. Even the air smells different.
Working with Inktober, I can feel a shift in how I am approaching drawing, and painting. I am simplifying but being more specific about the brush or pen size I choose and how to deploy a line or a brush stroke. While there is a lot to be desired here – such as a sense of architectural reality and non-topsy-turvey houses – I had a lot of fun looking at areas of color as a suggestion, not a reality, as a plane rather than the detail I normally hone in on.
Maybe there is some hope after all!
The “Bay Area” is the area around San Francisco Bay, and includes picturesque places such as San Francisco itself, to across the bay north and east. It’s a mixture of urban sprawl and older neighborhoods, rich and poor. I’ve spent time there off and on, and it is always a pleasure. It’s very different than SoCal, let me tell you!
Direct watercolor is being done here – and proportions are a bear! It takes time and practice to be able to render things in the correct relationship to each other. I never learned the “pencil comparison” method – the one where you see the artist hold up his pencil toward the subject matter and then draw on the paper, and then repeat the process. Given how disproportionate many of my direct watercolors are, I think it will be something to master this summer in my spare time.
Another focus on direct watercolor – no lines, no pencil. Here, my main focus was to draw straight lines with a brush, as well as consider how not to get everything bleeding into each section. I tried to do one area at a time – say, one building part – and then move on to one adjacent to it, working carefully to make each area separate but connected. Sounds like a lot of hooey when I read it, but that’s best description I can give right now! I’m running late to work.