There are days which are blustery and cold, the wind whipping through your hair, and a walk on the beach, slogging through sand, and enjoying the wild freshness of the sea is not a bad way to begin a new year!
Another “fantasy” (hence “Keep Dreaming”) painting. Another mixture of gouache – white and black only – and watercolors. As before, 16×20 CP 140# Arches paper.
Using a mixture of watercolor and gouache, with color coming from the watercolor and opacity and darks from the gouache, there is an ease of painting which acrylics cannot touch. The reason is that acrylics dry quickly, and I don’t really seem to have a lot of success with retardants.
I guess I should try acrylics mixed with a retardant a few times more than I have and give them a chance. Experience is the best teacher. The combination of gouache with the watercolor lets me remix my colors later (gouache can be re-wet) and gives an opacity that is not possible in watercolor. I like this combination but still think I should work a bit more with the acrylics. I am also considering trying oils once more. With oils, I know it would be a way to have the colors remain wet long enough to allow reworking areas. Odorless mineral spirits add to the allure of oils.
Anyway, I am having a lot of fun with these fantasy paintings. We all have a tropical isle of some sort to which we would like to escape!
Another tribute to the dreams of the Florida Highwaymen.
This is a tribute to the African-American painters of Florida known as The Highwaymen. Some of their numbers include Sam Newton, Alfred Hair, and so many others that I cannot name them all. In a time of racial unrest in the U.S., these painters somehow managed to thrive despite the Jim Crow laws of the South, and unfortunately, their work was not appreciated as it should be. However, today we know more about them, and can enjoy their work – the internet is so helpful in that regard.
I love bright colors and cheerful landscapes, and the tropics beckon. Palm trees are alluring and the brilliant light of these areas make colors more alive and intense. The Caribbean is filled with islands and azure seas, trade winds, towering clouds. States such as Florida, on both the Atlantic and Gulf sides, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and down along the coasts of Central and South America have such beauty in common.
The Highwaymen were not untalented amateurs. Some were self-taught, others learned from A.E. Backus. Each painter in this group sought an income otherwise denied them, as well as perhaps a way in which to express the beauty around them. Read up on them – they are a fascinating slice of art history.
As with the painting I last did, “Swamp,” this one is done with watercolors mixed with gouache on 16×20 inch 140# CP Arches paper. I used more gouache this time than I did with the last painting, and it was quite a challenge. I started out with bright colors and a totally different idea of a painting, but as I started blending the gouache with the watercolor, the gouache became a driving force. However, all color represented is simply toned with white or black gouache.
These artists worked in oil on masonite. Oils lend to blending colors more so than does acrylic paint, and I found that the gouache and watercolor worked similarly. I may try to do something similar in acrylic, and expect it will be a serious challenge as acrylics dry so quickly. Often The Highwaymen sold paintings still wet!
This is perhaps the most fun I ever had with a painting. I referred to paintings by some of the artists to see how they used color, photos from the internet of palm trees and Floridian sunsets. The composition is similar to a number of seaside ones, and I attempted to emulate the colors used by the painters for sand, sea, sky, and palms. I hope I caught some of the liveliness and spirit of The Highwaymen. I know I will be back to visit them, and Florida, again soon.
Swamps are amazing ecosystems. They are forested wetlands and often serve as a barrier between a large body of water – such as an ocean – and the land. Many of the Southern states are home to a number of swamps, such as the Everglades and the Atchafalaya Basin. Unfortunately, we have lost a lot of what they once covered through changing the land with drainage, building of levees, and such. The value of these wetlands has been seen with the massive flooding and storm surges during hurricanes when waves travel miles inland, across former swamps now denuded of trees and other plants. Heavy damage to the land occurs, with homes lost, pig slop and sheep dips overflowing into water sources. With the land clearing, wildlife diversity is also lost. The swamps provide a wall between the sea and the higher, drier land, as well as add to the overall health of the planet and wildlife diversity.
Here, an impression of a swamp in Louisiana, specifically the Atchafalaya. Once more, I worked wet-into-wet. And, I added gouache, which I am beginning to find is a nice mix with watercolor. The gouache works especially well over the transparent pigments, giving solidity and depth where needed. Arches 140# CP, 16×20 paper was used.
The Atchafalaya Basin, or swamp, is the largest swamp in the US. It is home to bald cypress. over 200 species of animals, marshland, grasses, and a resting place for migratory birds. In the 1700s, after le Grand Derangement, the French settlers of “Acadia were forcefully resettled elsewhere. Many landed in Louisiana, creating a cultural enclave of Cajuns, Creoles, assimilating English-speaking peoples who married them, and now, Cajun music is to be heard worldwide. Acadian became Cajun – and if you know your French, you’ll see the linguistic change.
So, in doing all this wet-into-wet, I am having a lot of fun, loosening up, and by bringing in gouache, I am adding a different element to my painting. Combining them is worthwhile as there are qualities in each that add much to a painting.
This painting pleases me enough perchance to be framed and hung up!
Needless to say, these are not pears I would want to eat!
Today I used some 5×7 HP Strathmore 500 paper for the first time. The texture is very smooth. It makes it a bit of a challenge to paint with gouache as there is very little tooth compared with CP / Not paper.
Well . . . I got tired of pen, ink, watercolor. Watercolor just wasn’t in my head, so I dug out my gouache paints. They were rather fuzzy from mold – typical of gouache if you don’t use them often enough – so, I rinsed them off, and went to work. I really like the photo I took of these trees but did not like my earlier efforts.
I started out so klutzy – like, how do I use my colors? order or painting? All the usual stuff that goes with not doing something for awhile. The result is far better than I thought it would be!
I started this painting some time ago, got distracted, and forgot about it. While looking for paper yesterday, I came across it and decided it would need to be finished up. It got abandoned, really, as it did not seem to be working out when I put it aside.
I enjoy watching videos on YouTube to see how other people paint or do things. This study is based on a video by Lena Rivo, a gouache artist I quite admire.
Roses are also a part of my own gardening – I have a number in bloom right now, although this year they seem a bit off . . . Nonetheless, painted or in bouquets or in the garden, roses are a delight to nearly all of us!