More iron gall ink and opaque watercolor. The watercolor is a small set of 24 “Angora” pan paints, probably meant for children as the colors are nontoxic and bright. Sets come in groups of 14 colors to 36. When I was a kid, I had a set of pan paints my mother bought for me – my sister had the same – and I just loved them. The set my mother bought was transparent watercolor, but diluted enough, these are equally transparent. There is something that I always love about paints in a pan – I think it is because it is more play than serious.
I have become enamored with the Great Sand Dunes National Park – so much to see, so many seasonal variations. Here, winter and snow on the dunes with clouds dropping down between the dunes and distant mountains. The river is cold, and there is a dusting of snow in the high desert plants. Winter is at hand.
About six weeks ago I started this painting and then all the chaos of insurance and plan choices and lost mail brought most of my creative life to a screeching halt. It was emotionally exhausting in a lot of ways, but those details really are not important today. Instead, this painting is finished at last!
Details first: acrylic on gessoed 16×20 CP Arches 140# paper. Borders of paper taped down all the way. I probably spent about 10-12 hours on this painting.
There have been multiple iterations of this painting. In the original, a tree was in the right middle front foreground. That disappeared last night. Then the road, which disappeared dead center, was reworked and made visible through the trees this morning. The suggestions of vineyards in the background disappeared, too. Too many stripes – I was looking for a zebra.
To finish the painting, I decided to work in middle of the night last night, and from 10:30 pm to 2:30 a.m. I painted out nearly everything except the blobby middle that I knew was not what I wanted. My husband, who is no art aficionado, always has good advice on painting problems. He and I agreed on the issues. So, this afternoon, I spent a few hours working and reworking it until you see the finished result above.
I have not done a lot of painting in acrylics, but each painting I do brings new experiences. I still tend to be a dabber, but am working to think about how I move the brush more, such as long horizontal or vertical strokes, or suggestions of something with just a blob (not a dab!) of color. I need to work in acrylics more to build more confidence in my brushwork.
So, here you are, on a gravel road in the backcountry, enjoy vineyards and olive groves, somewhere in a Mediterranean country on a hot day in summer.
The other day I painted fields ready for this coming year’s crops. Today, up at the treeline, the edge of mountains and forest giving way to barren rock and scrub. Snow is still here, the air bites, and the beauty astounds.
Today I put together a new watercolor paint palette, adding some colors I normally don’t have on my main palette, as well as adding ones back that didn’t make it into the first one. This palette forces me to work harder to get greens as I don’t have phthalo green, sap green, or Hooker’s on it as “primary” greens; instead, I have viridian, which is not one I have been fond of in the past. However, it works nicely with cadmium lemon and aureolin to make those crazy spring greens I like. I also added manganese blue, verditer blue, and phthalo blue (green shade). I don’t have any yellow ochre or quinacridone colors, but do have Davy’s Grey and Peach Black. In the red arena I added transparent red oxide in place of light red, and cadmium orange as well. All of the earth tones – burnt and raw sienna and umber – are on this palette.
The result is looking to be a brighter series of colors to work with, at least that is my impression. I tried to use nearly every color in the palette on some level in this painting to see what would happen. As it was, I didn’t use every color! Too many!
The subject matter was also something that I wanted to work on – a small town with a few buildings at the base of a mountain range, and the goal was to have a road leading in to it, sloping down hill, and conveying a bit of depth. It’s a busy scene, one from my travels over the years that I caught on camera. Depth is not easy for me, so I used shadows across the road and landscape to catch a bit of it.
First watercolor of the New Year, and started with a New Year Palette!
How many times I have driven through the wild country of the US, stopped on the roadside just to gaze at the land around me? When I lived in Colorado, I did this whenever I could. I do it here, too, in California, and whenever we take a driving trip through wild and lonesome country. Life here can be harsh and isolated, but can you imagine yourself on horseback (I do!) and slowly traversing these wild and open places?
More winter, more gouache. A limited palette of white, phthalo blue and green, ultramarine blue, a bit of red, and black and purple.
It’s a pleasantly warm day today – bare feet and a nap on the patio kind of pleasant day. Still, I long for cold and gloomy weather, real winter weather. I know, I know – if I was living in the middle of it, I would think differently.
That said, a gouache in a more painterly manner than pointillism, up in the mountains somewhere, looking on to the distant dusting of snow. Gloom. Snow. Cold. Yeah! Don’t go wading in the river, either! Just enjoy it, and then return home to hot cider and a fire.
We live in an area with multiple mountain ranges, some which run parallel to the coast, and other which run perpendicular. As a result, the terrain and weather varies in each quite a lot. Here, a view of Mt. Boney in the spring, as a storm comes in. The wildflowers are in bloom and all is right with the world!
I have had a perfectly lovely day today! Went out on a short road trip, did some photography, ate a Croque Madame for lunch, and drove through beautiful back country here where I live. Josh came along, and we had a nice day out. Once home, a nap, some coffee, and then, at long last, the pastels came out from hibernation! The result is more rain (we get none, I want some!) as subject matter. As pastels lend themselves to blurring and blending, I decided to use a long stroke of a finger tip, moving at an angle from top to bottom, to suggest that fierce rain one sees in the high desert. Dark background and a sunlit foreground. So fun to do!
I tried to capture the sense of mist rising from a lake in the early morning. Dry brush seemed to be the best solution, but I think I sort of missed it (hahahaha). I used a square, flat brush, moving up and down and sideways. The thing is, it wasn’t really foggy and blurred, but rather defined in the image.