Terrasse de Meudon – Gouache Study After Paul Signac

I must say, Signac does make a lot of cheery, colorful paintings! Not only are his colors great, but his compositions are often so interesting. Here, another study, mine perhaps more colorful than the original.  It is always hard to tell when you look at something on a monitor.  Even my scans are often off, needing some color adjustments before a final jpg is created.  Age can often cause colors to deteriorate in oils, too, as the varnish yellows and dims the original.

What really attracted me in Signac’s work below were the lavenders, greens, and blues.  So many shades!  Additionally, I really tried to look into how he juxtaposed colors, such as the oranges mixed in the blues and lavenders of the paved surfaces of the foreground.  The warmth of the scene in the middle ground plays a pleasant contrast to the cool, shady canopy of the trees at the top of the painting.

I am learning a bit each time I copy a painting in the Pointillistic school.  Colors are distinct from one another.  Even when a work is not a “dot” painting, I am beginning to get a better sense of color and shapes, contrast, and so on.  Much of this is just sitting around in my subconcious, and sometimes, with an original painting, it manages to escape.

Gouache Sample Cards with Zinc White

I am not the kind of person who likes to swatch things, colors, paints, knitting, and so on.  I just like to dive in and do things.  To a degree, this is good as it allows me to spend time learning about something before working on the theories, if that makes sense.  With painting, experiencing it first is for me a better way to understand something.  Afterward I can get analytical.

Since I feel comfortable now with gouache, I made up a series of swatch cards.  I took each color I have (which is far too many most likely!), painted a pure out-of-the-tube bit of color, and then, from right to left, added more white to see how the color changed.  It took a bit to figure out the best way to swatch, but that is how I like to do things – just do!

Each swatch card below can be enlarged so you can see the name of the paint color and see how it responds to the addition of white.

I found this to be a really helpful exercise. Some colors are so different when white is added, some for the better, some for the worse, and some are just plain surprising. For instance, I love Hooker’s Green in watercolor, but am not at all enamored with it in gouache. It could be the brand, too, but it came as a surprise.

My next exercise is likely to be adding black to the colors, or choosing a complementary color. I like the idea of working with complements for greys, and while blacks will dull a color, it is not the same as making a grey. I can also try my Holbein Grey #2 as well. Today, though, enough with analysis, and on to painting!

Tree Ferns

When I first posted the outline of these ferns, a reader, Sharon, suggested in her comment to fill in just the background.  I was going to fill in the stems and leaves, but her idea was intriguing.  I had thought of using watercolor with a brush, or watercolor pencils, or even just colored pencils.  Instead, I thought brush pens (like Tombow, but not Tombow) might work.  So, I ordered them from Amazon.  Fun to use, and a lot of colors!  And a great excuse to buy some art supplies, don’t you think?  I rather like the results.  Thanks, Sharon!

Negative Painting: Pink Daisies Gone Mad

Today has been a day of frustrations.  Nothing seems to be going right.  Everyone has those days, yeah, I know, but I rather other people have them, not me!  But, they do serve a purpose in that they do make you realize … something.

That said, let’s get on to the negative painting scene.  It is not easy.  I think to create a painting like this, practice and experience play an important part.  Practice is what I keep doing.  And then I reach a point where I am just irritated beyond measure, and need to break loose.  I’ll come back to practice, but by nature, I am a gaudy color lover, and having a monochrome study makes me feel trapped.  I wonder if others feel the same way.  So, pink daisies, a la the hydrangea, and I am ready to go nuts.  Here they are  – the first round.

And then the second one from this morning . . .

Some success.  And then I did the third layer . . . and had to just mess with it as I was ready to scream.  Part of it was just frustration in that I didn’t really like this process at all.  Maybe it’s not for me.  In the end, just playing with some colors on my palette, some which I just recently got.  It was a total color mess – so lines were added.  It’s sort of cheery, but it also reminds me of what I cannot do.

The good news, no mud.  It’s kind of fun.  But I also know what I want to accomplish, and doing this stuff is not going to get me there.  The colors are fun, and good practice, but I also know that my impatience and scatterbrained-ness don’t help me, either.  Ongoing practice will improve my skills, I hope.  So, I keep playing.

A part of me wonders if / when I reach my desired “look” if I will become extremely boring to myself.