The local botanical garden is open at last! It has been closed since Ventura County closed trails, stores, and such, as well as issued a shelter-in-place order to keep the spread of the coronavirus at a minimum. Some places are beginning to open up, though the shelter-in-place order is on until the end of May.
It was such a treat – a real slice of heaven – to be able to walk around the garden again. Many of the spring flowers have gone, like the poppies, but many of the flowering trees are in bloom. The palo verde tree at the top of the hill has leafed out in all its delicate bright yellow-green glory. It is so graceful and lovely in spring that it could not be overlooked – here it is for today’s painting.
You would think that a pair of cherries would be easy . . . uncomplicated . . . a breeze!
But now that I have begun to focus on simplifying everything, and moving into detail, it actually got easier. So, rather pleased with the final result. I took my time and find the results worthwhile.
This is a pretty small painting – but most gouache paintings are as the medium almost seems to demand it. After the disastrous flowers of the other day, the feeling of overworking my paints, I decided to simplify. Yesterday’s beach scene is a good example of simplification. And today is a bit more complex of a painting, but it is still simplified.
To simplify things, I looked at the big areas. This meant the sand in the foreground, the sky, and the masses which make up the middle ground, both light and dark. Those were laid in first. From there, more details in a middle stage, and final details – the small stuff – were done. This also matched the brushes I used – big to medium to small. “The Three Bears” and the Goldilocks effect.
I also was a lot calmer when I did this painting, and I was in the studio, not in 85F weather with a steady breeze to dry out my paints and raise my temper! Lesson learned there.
Spring is moving toward summer, and the beaches are heaven in 90F plus weather. Of course, social distancing is necessary. The seagulls may behaving, but I can’t tell about the people.
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.
If you follow along here at all, you know two things about me. One is a lack of real depth perception. The next is my ongoing struggle with perspective. I have learned that my poor drawing – sloppy drawing, really – due to impatience – ruins a lot of my attempts at perspective in paintings.
I have decided to work on perspective, particularly architectural perspective. That means buildings! As a country girl at heart (no cowboy hats, though), I like the idea of buildings in a non-city setting. No skyscrapers for me. Instead, a boat house, a farm house, a barn perhaps. A building along the waterfront, even suburbia. Why? I want a few trees and some water.
This is the first in a bunch I intend to do to really work on perspective. Looking at things dead on is easy, but looking at something with angles is different. Also, looking down on something from above, or upward from a low vantage point.
Here, gouache. This took hours. About an hour drawing and probably three hours painting it. It works to a degree. All this for a 5×7 painting!!
The thing is more than anything is to just get out there and do it, no matter how icky it turns out!!
The second painting in my series of three, in three different media. Today this is in gouache. My previous post showed the photo from which these paintings are derived, as well as the pastel which I did the other day.
To date, I think this is one of the better paintings in gouache I have done. Two differences here: 1) I used hot pressed Arches paper rather than cold pressed. 2) I made sure I kept my paints moist by spritzing them, and covering them with saran wrap between painting sessions – keeping the paints moist made the job of painting much easier.
Smoother paper (hot pressed) allowed the paint to move more easily on the paper. Keeping the paint moist added to that experience. I really put effort into keeping the paint about the consistency of cream and spritzed the paints when they stopped looking glossy. The only area I rather wonder about is the right middle ground – I may want to redo that a bit.
A cloud study, light from the right. This makes me think of a sunset more than a sunrise . . . It was really a challenge to get them to look balanced in color and shape. Unless you paint, it’s not easy to explain. The nice thing about gouache is that you can paint over what you don’t like.
A different view of The Slough, gouache, and some perspective problems, both atmospheric and size. Sigh.
Still, I will say parts of it I really like. One thing I enjoy about gouache is the colors are so cheery if you don’t turn them into mud. Mixing is such a challenge with this medium – you need a lot of white to make light colors unless they come like that out of the tube.
This scan has a really greenish cast for some reason – or maybe I just used a lot of green without realizing it. Anyway, given the fact that yesterday’s painting looked like it was sliding uphill into the ocean (art can do that, even if reality can’t), I worked on it again, this time using gouache. Here, the sand works a lot better – at least it seems to be doing the right sandy thing!
Maybe some watercolor tomorrow of the same subject?