Last summer we spent a couple of weeks traveling around the western part of the US, visiting states such as Wyoming and Arizona and Utah. Open space, loneliness, long drives through incredible country. This is a photo I took out of the car window on the way from Laramie, WY, to Grand Teton National Park, where we stayed for several days.
I pushed the colors in post production, to pull out greens, reds, and blues. The view of the house / barn was fascinating – and I expect the view from it is even better, rather than zipping by in a car. Anyway, I’ve decided to do some sketches, in ink then color, and hopefully an unlined watercolor based on elements of this photo. Below is this morning’s sketch.
Another day just painting! What a pleasure to be able to do it!
Today we did two different things. Actually, three. For warm-up, we returned to the quick three minute sketches, which eventually morphed into a still life with three objects. Mine were a piece of dried corn, a plastic mushroom, and a plastic artichoke. I was not particularly nimble this morning, but here is one I produced.
From there, we moved on to landscapes, but I will hold off for a moment on those. We did an exercise which I found fascinating: take one object and paint it 6 different ways. I chose a really lovely fake pear – golden and red, reminiscent of autumn. Take a look . . . they are in a gallery format, so click on one image to be able to scroll through them larger than they are here.
This was a lot of fun to do – nothing I ever have considered as an exercise. And then . . . we moved on to landscapes from photographs Brenda took, laminated, and brought to class.
The idea was to take a photo and modify it. This one is in the wine country of Northern California.
This one is, I think, in Carmel, but I don’t recall. All the speckles are from the fact that it is a ghost image from a wet painting. Truthfully, I was surprised it was a success at all. All day I felt restless and unfocused.
Finally, this one. I think it is the best of everything I did today. The mantra for the day was draw, frame, paint.
After the disastrous lilies, I had a good think. I really am not a decorative painter at heart. What I love most are landscapes. The outdoors is to me the most exciting thing . . . mountains, water, trees. Thus, with this in mind, I pulled out the very first “how to” art book I ever bought, back when I was 16: Ways with Watercolor by Ted Kautzky. I still love this book and find his style and words soothing and thoughtful. To ease my frustration, I did two of his exercises. The first below is in 2 colors only, ultramarine blue and burnt umber.
The next one is in three colors: burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and Hooker’s Green.
Kautzky’s palette of colors is one with which I am comfortable and familiar, so it was very reaffirming to feel somewhat skilled after the lilies fiasco. That really upset my little apple cart!