Another landscape, another limited palette. For this painting I used ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, burnt umber, sap and cobalt greens, a splash of raw sienna. 9×12 Fabirano Artistico.
I wanted to see if I could convey a good sense of depth, moving from the foreground with warmer colors to the distance with more neutral and greyish colors. Contrast, too, was considered for eye appeal, leading lines, depth.
If you look at the grasses in the foreground, you can see grass blades. I used a very dry flat brush to accomplish this, sometimes using a lighter green and brushing upward, or darker green to brush into the lighter green. Negative painting!
Carlsbad is a lovely beach town in Southern California. The beach is wide and flat; at low tide it stretches forever. Water is all you see to your left, to your right, and westward . . . The flat blue sky often blends into the ocean, making where one ends merge with where one begins.
This morning I set out to do a couple of things. First was to do another ink / pen drawing. I used the same sketchbook as I did yesterday, one with lightweight paper that worked very well yesterday. Second, the attempt to stretch myself a bit and do a beach scene. I find waves incredibly difficult.
The sketch itself was okay – nothing particularly challenging in and of itself. I rather liked the composition. However, if you look at the sketch above, do you see those little greyish streaks in the lower left and center? That should have clued me in then and there – the paper is very thin. Water? What was I thinking of?
And here we are, with washes applied with a lot of water. Even though you cannot see it, the paper became mottled in appearance, buckled and crumpled. Ugh! But, what the hell, I may as well try something. And thus, I picked up my box of Caran D’Arche’s Neocolor II crayons, and carried on . . .
Having never really used the Neocolor crayons before, I will say I liked them. I scribbled in colors which I thought might work, and then laid other colors on top of them to blend before using water. And then with a waterbrush – not a laden brush – I smoothed and shaded.
I am not pleased with this picture at all, but I still learned something about a medium I haven’t really explored – the watercolor crayons. On a heavier paper designed to take water, there is a lot of potential here. I love coloring, so I can see myself moving into this area, perhaps more so than with watercolor pencils, which seem more delicate to me in their color rendering, but perhaps that is wrong as I have limited experience with them as well.
Oh, well. The picture was a disaster, but the potential far outweighs it.
I’ve taken photos for years and use different software to enhance the final results to express what I want. With this painting, I was not quite sure about the distant cliffs and the depth of color in the ocean. Too light? Darken? My instinct was that darkening both would make a better painting in the sense of contrast.
Overall, I like the above painting – it looks pretty good. In the one below, I used a brush in Lightroom to darken the cliffs and the sea.
I like the second choice better. I haven’t painted over the cliffs or ocean to make them darker, but if I were to publish things, I could do some “post” in a digital format. If you look at the frame of the above image, you will see parts of it are darker, the result of using the LR brush.
I wonder how many other artists do post-processing of their paintings. I have taken scans and turned them into black and white images to check contrast and value – so why not for making painting decisions as well? It’s all a learning process.
Islands form chains, perhaps peninsulas. Off the coast where I live is an island that reaches out into the sea. It is more like a series of islands connected by narrow bits of land – I expect these will disappear over the next century as waters rise, and then one island may become three or four.
In the pursuit of simplicity, I used a large brush and chose the major colors. I put in verticals to suggest cliffs. Parts of this painting work – and others do not – in particular with a sense of dimensionality and depth of field. I tried to create greys using opposite colors, such as cobalt blue and pyrrol orange. Despite that, I did learn a few things. One, wait and think. Two, use colors far darker than you think are necessary. Three, keep it simpler than you think it should be.
Another “direct watercolor” from a photo I took sometime ago when up along the bluffs in Carpinteria, CA. This one might be worth repeating just because there are some areas I really like about it, but the rocks to the left of the cliff are rather dismal. The topmost rock was really a boat on the horizon! I painted the boat first, and then it just got bigger and bigger, to the point I morphed it into a dreary rock. Those rocks need work, as does the color gradation of the sand on the beach. I like a lot of the colors, but overall the sparkle is missing from the photo. If at first you don’t succeed . . . ya know.