58. Somewhere in Wyoming

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.

49.1 Watercolor Workshop, Day 2

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.

42. Studies from Kautzky

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!