Along the coasts of many countries, the upper northwest of the US, there are sea stacks. Some are barren rock, some are topped by trees. Wide beaches at low tide make these places a bit of wonder, and those further out to sea make you want to sail out, climb, explore. I always have a fantasy of a house built into one, hidden away from the rest of the world. I could make a trip to just find sea stacks.
Tropical islands are magical. Big, heavy clouds, low lying fog, brilliant sky, white sand. In the dead of a dreary, dark winter, a tropical isle has a lot of charm. In summer, humidity builds and the air is thick, but if you are in the Caribbean, the trade winds blow and life is a bit more comfortable.
I opened up a pad of 9×12 CP Arches and have been having fun all morning. Yesterday was a step back into the world of watercolor, and today was simply a play day to try out a few techniques. In particular, working with less water on the brush than I normally do. This is an effort to have a bit more control of the pigment on paper. Let’s take a look!
The above painting was the first one. Really a disaster! But it served as a warm-up project. In and of itself it is not awful insofar as I worked with less water from the beginning. This let me make bolder strokes as well as glazes and some wet-in-wet. The sky was my first attempt to work a rather loose sky with a much dryer brush than my norm. I worked more color into varying areas of the sky, blotting my brush on a towel before picking up the pigment.
Again, the sky was a focal point in this painting. I chose to use a yellow tinged with alizarin, diluting the pigments extensively. From there, I dried off my brush and applied the colors. The same technique with the blues. Some blending, but the result is quite what I hoped to achieve. This same dryer-brush approach was used for the foreground and middle ground, as well as for the trees. Rather pleased with this one all around.
More dryer brush work but with the addition of glazes. This lagoon was a bit more challenging as the low tide leaves behind rivulets between the miniature sand bars. My feeling about this one is rather mixed, but I think it is more because it is outside my comfort zone.
Dryer brush, glazes. These dry California hills are really monochromatic. Browns and variations thereof. Yawn! The mountains I redid after the painting was done – too pale. Sadly, I messed them up a bit.
This morning’s work was well worth doing. I spent about 3 hours altogether and took the time to think after the first painting. Warming up is a good exercise as it reconnects me to what I want to do. Practice is never perfect but it is essential to any skill.
Not sure what is on tomorrow’s agenda.
I’ve been in a foggy mood lately – could it be matching my aggravation with the coronavirus and all the social restrictions it is placing on us? I have been rather out of it for the past several days, so today I decided that, no matter what I felt I had to do, a painting with a cheerful theme would be the day’s beginning! Nothing like a beautiful day at the seaside with a good wind and a brilliant sun to cast away those doldrums.
Continuing my water and fog series, and my simplification attempts as well. Here, another deserted coastline, with a few birds.
What is it about a lonely beach? It’s spooky, it’s sad, it’s exciting, and quiet. If the sun is trying to break through, the warmth begins to disperse the fog. Hopeful. Sun. If it is heavy weather, the sky lowers and threatens. Cold. Damp. Dangerous.
Fluid paper, limited palette of ultramarine, sap and Hooker’s greens, burnt umber and raw sienna, and a bit of alizarin. Probably other colors, too – hard to remember where the brush wandered.
If you think that the SoCal coast can be foggy, Oregon is by far more foggy at times! It’s an incredibly beautiful coastline with wide, nearly empty beaches. Out to sea are the sea stacks, some large, some small. In clear weather they are stunning, in the fog, spooky and eerie.
Today, a limited palette and paying particular attention to laying down water and thin colors. Washes are the dominant technique used here. My little picky brush strokes had to give way to broad ones for the beach and damp sand. It actually worked fairly well. Water, water, everywhere!
The last version of “The Slough, II” – at least for now! This is in watercolor, and it was actually fairly easy to render as I have now painted the same image 3 times, 6 if you consider the first series. Perspective is okay, but rendering of distance along the beach across the water is a bit problematic. Rather than using a pencil to create the drawing, I used a dagger brush and Quinacridone Gold to outline the shapes. I left the cliffs totally white and then added crevasses and such with varying colors.
Doing a whole series, in different media, of the same subject has been so much fun! I expect I will continue to do so. Daily painting – pastels, gouache, and watercolor – is becoming the central focus of most of my days, unless I am sewing masks or just need a change of pace. Too much of one thing doesn’t sit well with me – that’s why I use so many different media! I get bored easily and the monkey mind screams out . . .