I got a few painterly goodies for Christmas, and one was a new tablet of watercolor paper, one which I have never heard of before. Of course, it needs checking out. How does it handle wet paper and washes? Dry brush? Bleeding? Etc. It is not an expensive paper – $20 for 32 pages of 9×12 pure cotton paper – but it is actually a decent one. I can lift colors from it pretty easily, too! It is a rather nice bit of paper overall, and while not Arches or Fabriano, I think it will do quite well for studies, and probably gouache as well.
Besides playing with new paper, I have also attempted to lead the eye in the composition to a small area of white. Rocks, waves, clouds, land masses, sand, whatever are all designed to catch your eye. I think it worked out pretty good. I also am rather pleased with the movement of the sand in the lower right hand corner.
Yesterday’s painting got rather fussy when I looked at it this morning. So, determined to work on simplification, I decided to use a huge brush for the most part. Again, Kilimanjaro 300# 11×15 paper from Cheap Joe.
To keep myself in a “logical” sequence, I worked top to bottom after taping off the horizon line to keep it straight. (Yesterday’s painting needed to be straightened up when scanned – it was going uphill!) It worked with very little seepage into the other half. So, sky first, wet into wet, blotting as necessary, using a spray bottle to coax color and water, tilting the paper this way and that. Then the blow dryer.
One the sky was to my liking, I did the islands in the distance, again focusing on simplicity and distance. Not gonna get fussy! It worked. Then, the blow dryer.
I didn’t draw the water or sand. Instead, I used the big brush to delineate the sand and rivulets of water from the sea. To pull the painting together, I used glazes and washes, mixing in colors from sky and islands into the sand. I put a few details in with a very fine brush, using some tiny dots to represent sand, and larger blobs of brown / blue to make stones and pebbles and other bits of detritus.
While this is not my favorite painting of late, it is perhaps one of my more successful watercolors. It doesn’t feel overworked and the colors reflect the overcast, wet day. Wet, wet skies are always fun and a crap shoot, but a delight because watercolor is not predictable and has its own beauty. I think I would like to wander here a bit more . . . .
I painted this shortly after doing the “Quiet River” watercolor yesterday. Still in a patient mood, which was good, as this painting, though small, needed a bit of thought and a bit of patience to complete. The effect of rain meant laying in heavy washes on damp paper and letting them run. In other areas, damp color had to dry only so far before a dryer brush could apply color. As you can see, I rather messed up with a second round of wet paint because of the bloom (aka cauliflower) in the middle right. Still, it works, catching the breakthrough of the sun and the scudding quality of a storm on a windy day.