There are days which are blustery and cold, the wind whipping through your hair, and a walk on the beach, slogging through sand, and enjoying the wild freshness of the sea is not a bad way to begin a new year!
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 . . . .
The same painting, scanned with an Epson V600 and merged. However, two different software were used to merge. One was Microsoft Ice. The other was the photo merge bit of Lightroom. It’s hard to really tell which software impacted the final image more as both were manipulated a bit in post. However, the difference was that the LR version had dark paper around the edge and was rather muddy. The MS Ice was lighter and more clean in overall appearance.
This is the image merged in Lightroom. .
This is the one merged in MS Ice.
It’s hard to see the difference in some ways, but I think either is fine to my eye.
Anyway, I am rather pleased with the result here. I think I got the depth of field properly done for once. Perspective doesn’t seem off. The sandy berm really pleases me because sand is hard to do! I mixed together ochre, alizarin, and cobalt blue and then added a gallon of water to make the wash. The shadows are ultramarine with a bit of carbazole violet.
Another thing I like is the murky, seaweed filled foreground on the right that fills the shallow water. And, too, I did some justice to the reflections of the island in the right background. In the end, I applied a light glaze to the foreground water on the right and to the grasses to the left of the sandy shore in the middle left background. Painted on 300# Kilimanjaro from Cheap Joe’s.
I have few other WIPs, but they need a bit more consideration at present.
A quick study from a photo I took some time ago. Depending on where you are in California, the beaches can be flat and wide, beneath sandy cliffs, or covered with rocks. Wherever you go, you have legal access to the coast – no private beaches!
This is a tribute to the African-American painters of Florida known as The Highwaymen. Some of their numbers include Sam Newton, Alfred Hair, and so many others that I cannot name them all. In a time of racial unrest in the U.S., these painters somehow managed to thrive despite the Jim Crow laws of the South, and unfortunately, their work was not appreciated as it should be. However, today we know more about them, and can enjoy their work – the internet is so helpful in that regard.
I love bright colors and cheerful landscapes, and the tropics beckon. Palm trees are alluring and the brilliant light of these areas make colors more alive and intense. The Caribbean is filled with islands and azure seas, trade winds, towering clouds. States such as Florida, on both the Atlantic and Gulf sides, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and down along the coasts of Central and South America have such beauty in common.
The Highwaymen were not untalented amateurs. Some were self-taught, others learned from A.E. Backus. Each painter in this group sought an income otherwise denied them, as well as perhaps a way in which to express the beauty around them. Read up on them – they are a fascinating slice of art history.
As with the painting I last did, “Swamp,” this one is done with watercolors mixed with gouache on 16×20 inch 140# CP Arches paper. I used more gouache this time than I did with the last painting, and it was quite a challenge. I started out with bright colors and a totally different idea of a painting, but as I started blending the gouache with the watercolor, the gouache became a driving force. However, all color represented is simply toned with white or black gouache.
These artists worked in oil on masonite. Oils lend to blending colors more so than does acrylic paint, and I found that the gouache and watercolor worked similarly. I may try to do something similar in acrylic, and expect it will be a serious challenge as acrylics dry so quickly. Often The Highwaymen sold paintings still wet!
This is perhaps the most fun I ever had with a painting. I referred to paintings by some of the artists to see how they used color, photos from the internet of palm trees and Floridian sunsets. The composition is similar to a number of seaside ones, and I attempted to emulate the colors used by the painters for sand, sea, sky, and palms. I hope I caught some of the liveliness and spirit of The Highwaymen. I know I will be back to visit them, and Florida, again soon.
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.
Hopefully this conveys a fickle weather day late in the year!
I think the dot-dot-dot and color isolation with Pointillism helped with this watercolor. I was very aware of color placement and capable of containing colors to certain areas. I managed, too, to have patience and let areas dry before going back in, or let them get slightly damp for dryer painting onto a damper area, preventing blooms. Proportions are off – sigh.
As well, a limited palette of primarily blue (ultramarine and cobalt) with burnt umber and burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and a spot of orange and Hooker’s green. 140# CP Arches, 16×20.
After putzing around with attempts to emulate some of Monet’s Impressionistic paintings of Etretat, I muddled around and found the works of Paul Signac, a Neo-Impressionist and Pointillist. These two schools espoused dabbing, using complimentary colors and such to create a sense of light and movement. They are rather delightful to my eye – I am a magpie at heart – and the vibrant colors and energy of these painters fascinates me.
Here, I decided to see what I could do with a detail of Paul Signac’s painting, which you can see below. His rocks, or whatever they are, and their reflections in the sea caught my attention. My reflections are not very good. As a first attempt to try pointillism, I just started with making dots on the unpainted paper. In reality, the best way to start would have been to laid down solid areas of underlying color, and then build upon that with the dots.
If you look at Signac’s painting, you will see the use of orange and blue in the shadows – reflected light in the shadows. What I also found fascinating is his use of different shades of blue – ultramarine, cobalt, and cerulean in particular. Together with varying shades of orange, yellow, and ochre, he created the stone reflections. I found this very hard to do, but think I get the idea!
More to come. The purpose of copying or interpreting Signac’s work (and Monet’s) is to get a better sense of color. With pointillism, the colors are applied individually. Doing this myself, I begin to appreciate the purity of color when juxtaposed with another.
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.