Along the Fence Last Summer

I have been so busy these past few weeks with cleaning and rearranging my house, discarding this, donating that, setting up a sewing cabinet, having personal documents shredded, etc., etc., etc., that the idea of sitting down to paint is like craving that first cup of coffee in the morning – I need it!

Whew. When I opened my gouache box, the smell of mold was there. Gouache needs to be kept damp, and if not opened up and used on a regular (i.e. daily) basis, moldy it can become. It’s not my idea of a good time.

I just decided to paint, not caring what it smelled like – and an open window and a good breeze helps! I mixed up colors, mashed up this and that, and when I was done, took everything to the sink and ran the water as hot as I could. Now, all is soaking, and here is a painting based upon a photo I took awhile ago.

From the Roadside

How many times I have driven through the wild country of the US, stopped on the roadside just to gaze at the land around me? When I lived in Colorado, I did this whenever I could. I do it here, too, in California, and whenever we take a driving trip through wild and lonesome country. Life here can be harsh and isolated, but can you imagine yourself on horseback (I do!) and slowly traversing these wild and open places?

More winter, more gouache. A limited palette of white, phthalo blue and green, ultramarine blue, a bit of red, and black and purple.

Studies: Roadside

Last summer we drove through a lot of the wild west.  The loneliness of Wyoming always gets me – vistas of open space, few cars, fewer people.  Taking a picture during the summer is much different than what you see in winter, so I looked at some of the photos I took out of the window as we drove from Laramie to the Tetons.  I tried to imagine how barren and cold it could be.  Always the sky, always the distance, always the barbed wire fences.  Again, in Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.

Besides trying to imagine a scene, I also tried out a new brush.  It is a Cosmotop flat, by DaVinci brushes of Germany; it’s about 3/4″ wide.  I wanted to see how it would do on the Canson XL paper I use for practice, in particular to see if I could get a “sparkly” effect with a dry brush.  The paper is too smooth for that to work successfully, which is why there are fine lines in the foreground.  (Sigh.)  It did a pretty good job for wet-in-wet sky, and along the horizon line.

Holiday Cards: Fence & Flowers

One thing I have always loved is the countryside.  Open spaces.  Wild flowers.  Weeds.  Where I live, you can find them, but they are the dry places of the West.  I have a longing for the plains and grasses, green trees and rain.  Peter Sheeler’s video catches a glimpse of this.

Here is my version below.  Part of me wants to paint the flowers, but thought it best to stop here.  I like the feeling that you have just climbed a hill, and there this scene is at the top, and you look way beyond . . .