I do love the bleak look of winter. With watercolor, a limited palette of 3 or 4 colors can express so much. Admittedly I used more, but I usually like alizarin, ultramarine, burnt sienna, and Hooker’s green for the colder time of the year.
Following through on points for some of the classes I have been taking, I am working to simplify subject matter, colors, and lead the eye. I think I managed to do this here, leading through the fields to the houses on the hilly horizon. I tried to contrast warm and cool colors, with a bit of warm on the buildings with the hope it will draw the viewer in. I also used wet in wet and dry brush, working from general shapes to more specifics; light to dark in general.
In addition to the painting, I am trying to make myself do a preliminary drawing before I touch brush to paint to paper. I did this one today. Lesson – it is actually worth the time, and I have been a silly bunt not to take on this fine habit sooner!
Watercolor, 9×12 CP Extra White Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton paper.
The last time it snowed where I live was like never. Up in the mountains it does snow – it did a year ago – but of late is relentless blue skies. Today and yesterday we have had clouds and chilly winds, so it feels like Christmas and winter, and even tomorrow, more of the same.
I rather like it!
Still, I think of those magical winter days when sun and snow and sky and trees all play together, your breath rises, and you keep walking to see all the miraculous beauty of the land.
And here is a tribute to those memories. Gouache, sort of pointillstic, sort of not. I did the underpainting with casein and acrylic gouache, to lay down a foundation which would not dissolve when re-wet. I think it worked out pretty well. Overall, I think this is my best original painting to date. It feels “like me” if that makes any sense at all.
Merry Christmas and a No Covid New Year!
This painting was done on a larger sheet of paper than my earlier ones as my sketch book was filled and finished with the painting of the other day. I began with a thin wash of gouache, putting in the basic colors of the sky, fields, house and trees. From there, I began the dots. And more dots. And even more dots. Paint went from thin to thick, and thin again. Dots were bigger and smaller. The closer I came to the completion of the painting, the more I began to use the paint to shape the different areas of the subject. I tried to use some complementary colors in shadows, such as red in the shadows of the trees, and bright yellow to enliven the lavender. Altogether, this painting took about 3-4 hours to complete (I lost track of time), but in the end, the dots were worth the effort.
I think I could live here.
Morning, rising mist, looking north.
We stopped by the roadside to get some gas on our way home from Monterey a few weeks ago. Rather than taking the main highway, the 101, we ran parallel to it, west, close to the mountains that lie next to the Pacific range. I’m glad we did. From the freeway, you can see the fields, the houses, the ranches, but being on a 2-lane bumpy road brings it up close. The area is vast and flat, a valley between two ranges. Here, all sorts of crops are grown, and it is really beautiful countryside.
This is from a photo I took with my phone, all with the intention of using it as painting material. I think it worked out rather well.
I don’t know about most people who paint, but I expect every painting to be a masterpiece. Of course, this is silly. I don’t think about practicing things, such as painting clouds. However, I watched a few YouTube videos on cloud painting and decided to give it a go. I found a picture on Pixabay I liked, filled with clouds, and a plowed field stretching to the horizon. To me, it just seems a bit ridiculous not to try to paint a masterpiece each time – really, practice – so a finished picture it is.
Clouds really are variable, but there is a tendency to overwork them. Here, I simply tried to get a sense of white-white-white and ways in which clouds have contrast, shadow, distance, and how they look in the sky. These are rather poofy ones, without any defining characteristics other than that.
Since this was practice, I put in some black ink lines just to see how they “feel” in a painting. Don’t know if I like them . . .
I am sort of fascinated by flower farms at present, whether it is bulb flowers or lavender or other types, such as daisies for bouquets. The lines of color and how to represent them is a challenge. Here, we are looking across the fields – the rows are running parallel to the horizon. Still, there is depth here, and I would think the rows would be evident, however subtly. Well, I didn’t accomplish what I wanted, but decided to add ink and some white to it, along with a lot of birds. In looking at it, I realize the foreground needs to simplified and in my mind’s eye, I have some ideas.