Tuesday’s colored pencil class was especially fun! The title says it all. One of my favorite exercises to date.
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.
Lacking in the lovely simplicity of Rick Surowicz’s painting “Flower Pot” from his YouTube video of the same name, this is my attempt to work with negative space in painting. He is a master – I am not.
Flowers are ridiculously difficult to paint because of their bright colors and unique shapes, not to say their varying leaves as well. And, it is truly difficult to convey a bouquet suggestively. I overwork flowers all the time. Follow below to see Rick at work.
Summer is not yet officially here, but the warmth, sun, birds, and wind all make me long for a quiet spot to sit and relax. No nothing except the sounds of the natural world. Here, all the things I love.
I did a painting in pastels yesterday. Out of practice! Plus, I had to contend with curling paper, new pastels that are softer than what I am used to, a new fixative, and the fact that one of my boxes of 90 colors fell to the floor. You can imagine that mess. A day later, and the pastels are out, still jumbled, along with the curling paper, etc.
Flowers are always cheerful subjects, particularly those in a field. Walking through the field, hearing the birds and hum of insects, feeling the itch of the grasses, is something I love and wanted to capture. I think I did. Such happiness!
Let’s start with the flowers I did that I like. Spontaneous background, flat brush, working on edge of brush for dots and lines of stems and flowers. No pencil drawing. I liked painting this one a lot. Not so icky.
This one absolutely sucks. Pencil drawing. Overworked. I was ready to snap the brushes and burn down the house. I really hated doing this painting as it so uptight. Icky. Icky. Icky.
I haven’t picked up a brush in weeks. I did an ink and watercolor sketch a few days ago, but no painting of any sort. Life got in the way, as well as other interests needing a lot of time – photography in this case. Now I hope to get back to daily painting because I miss it!
The other day, I was out and about. Looking down, I saw some bright pink daisies in the sun, falling over the cobbled pavement of the street. Hmmm, let’s paint ’em!
And so I did.
I decided to attempt a more high key painting today – one with a lot of white! I always look for contrast, but here I tried to lessen the usual contrast. Maybe it’s because I rather like contrasty photos as opposed to subtle one with a long scale of color or black and white. Even here, I kept adding contrast! It’s a fixation . . . but contrast is how we differentiate shapes and depth, so it’s necessary, but I am trying to minimalize it. Not sure if it worked or not!
I took a lot of photos – digital, film – while on vacation in Monterey, California. Trees, flowers, streets, room. This is what I saw along the trail at Whalers Cove in Pt. Lobos, California. The cliffs are sandy and crumbly, but there are bits of very dark dirt, from black to grey. I wonder if this area had volcanic activity at some point. The color contrast of the soil and cliffs, along with the tenacious hold of the flowers, made for some rather lovely bits of bright color in late summer.
We all have those days – everything you think you are going to accomplish turns to some sort of monster or horror or nightmare as you do it. I sure had different ideas for what I was going to do out on my patio this afternoon. Ugh! Ugh! to the point I have to laugh. I really don’t know what to do with either of these except to chalk them up to experience.
This first one (above) is supposed to be some really brilliant orange geraniums on my patio table. I don’t think so. I get so – what? Impatient may not be the right word. What I feel is a need to work quickly, and perhaps therein lies the problem. I drew them in with a pencil and set up all my paints and water and other supplies on a table outdoors. In 85F or more weather, it was hot. But the heat is not the driving force for haste – it happens to me all the time, particularly with watercolor. It’s something to really think about.
After shuddering at that first painting, I decided to just paint – no lines, nothing, just move along. Sometimes in watercolor it has proven to be a great exercise. Here, not so sure. These are tabasco chilis that are ripening, and will soon be picked and dried, to later be ground into chili powder (we make our own every year, with different peppers.) Like the first painting, everything went head over heels, and in the end, I just decided to make it more decorative than painterly.
I can always tell when I haven’t picked up a pen or brush for even a couple of days. I felt all clumsy and disconnected. Maybe being outside – something I have never done with gouache – added to it. I really tried to paint from real life, plein aire, and I am not so sure that was for the best.
Oh, well. I had fun. Maybe there is something in that.