We have had a lot of rain this year in California, and throughout both ends of the state. North and south. As a result, the hills are a brilliant lime green, and when the sun hits just right, it’s hard to believe our once beige state has blossomed into such beauty. The wildflower bloom is beginning, from the desert to the high Sierra. Cacti, poppies, lupines, and so many other flowers await our eager eyes.
This version of my tulips was done without any lines – just spontaneous painting with a bit of forethought.
I like this painting a lot more than yesterday’s. It is definitely more relaxed and painterly. The colors are better, too. Negative painting is a bit more successful as well.
More tulips to come!
Yesterday was one of those days filled with things to do, with more things to do added last minute. Toward the end of the day, I really was not in the mood to do much more than veg out, be a blob, and sink into a stupor. Nonetheless, I girded up my proverbial loins, and sat down with an imaginary bouquet in my head and a reference picture for light and shadow to use with the imaginary bouquet.
I didn’t set out to do too much – but in the end, it worked out pretty good. I kept in mind light to dark. I also kept in mind working over the whole painting, shifting back and forth from one area to another, and applying a hairdryer when things needed to dry out a bit more than my patience was willing to wait for. All of a sudden, I swear, my mind said, “Hey, let’s paint around these flowers!” There were not any flowers in that area, but I did negative painting without too much thought. Wow! That was a big shift for me – I’m still quite the newby in this area.
So, here we are. Colors include sap and Hooker’s greens; Payne’s grey; ultramarine and cobalt blues; hansa yellow; quinacridone rose. There may be a few others. I used one brush, too. The paper is Fabriano’s 100% cotton Artistico, and that alone helped a great deal – evident as the other side of the paper was already used for a wash-heavy exercise!
After a lot of watercoloring, picking up a pen and using ink to draw feels really relaxing. Adding watercolor to a pen drawing doesn’t need a lot of color, but it does require a bit of thought about light and shadow.
I thought about a daisy study of Peter Sheeler’s on YouTube – I remembered how very little color he added to his ink drawing of the daisy. With this in mind, I put in some greys and grey-blues. I tried to apply the same concept to the blue flowers (which I want to call cornflowers, but don’t think they are), and to the grasses and leaves. Below is my ink drawing, done freehand without a pencil sketch beforehand. I am rather pleased with both – my inking skills are improving, as, perhaps, are my watercoloring skills. Less is more has become more of motto than before!
A few goals for this mornings painting. First, keeping the white flowers white. Outlines helped here! Second, wet-in-wet painting. That worked well, too. As an afterthought, I worked on the shape of the vignette within the frame. Top, bottom, sides. The far right could run off the page a bit more – I could crop it, if I wanted, but I rather like the reminder of the flaws I see, too.
It’s the dead of winter in sunny old California, but tulips are not to be found even here until the spring. The beauty of tulips, especially the pale ones, is the vast and subtle array of colors found within a single blossom. As a kid in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, I loved the arrival of the tulips through the snow.
For the first time in weeks, I have had the wherewithal to paint. These past few months have been rather nuts, and the mental space to focus on the simple pleasure of painting has not been mine to enjoy.
This morning, I sat down under the big umbrella in the back yard, pulled out my iPad, and took a few pictures of some low-growing crepe myrtle branches and flowers. A water brush, a sketch book, and no expectations.
Parts are good – parts not so good – contrast is lacking – but I am feeling pleasantly surprised about this small sketch.