The Orchard

This is by far the painting which took the most time to produce.  There was – gasp! – actual forethought and planning done.  Can you believe it?  Does that mean I’m progressing or something?!?

Anyway, what I did was consider what I wanted to see.  I also thought about some things I have observed other watercolorists do, namely underpainting.  I also have been reading and seeing many painters lay out light colors, in a general way, move into medium washes with perhaps more detail, darker areas, and finally the details.  This is what I did, but, before painting, I put down a lot of frisket in the shape of dots.  Then, the first pale layer of wash.  Between the third and fourth photos, I did more frisket.  Dots again, but I also used a toothbrush for splatter, and drew lines over the green washes, to retain colors.  Then the fourth layer.  At that point I stopped for the night.

This morning, I rather knew what I wanted to do.  I laid down a pale wash over the grassy areas of quinacridone gold and sap green.  It was necessary to pull the grasses together.  Finally, I removed the frisket and did a bunch of details complete the painting.  Total time – about 5 hours!  All of it was fun, and not a lot of frustration.  I think because I took time, and because I am less “serious” about my stuff (knowing it won’t be what I envision) really helps.

Below, a gallery of the steps I took in the painting, if you are interested in the process.

 

Olive Orchard

Living in a “Mediterranean” climate means living in a dry, temperate climate.  Locally, we have a number of olive orchards which produce local oils that are tasty and delicious.  Here is a tribute to them.

Besides commercial uses, olive trees are often used as decorative trees in one’s yard as they do require a lot of upkeep in terms of water – but the downside is a messy yard as the olives drop.  Most people never consider using the olive fruit for anything at all.

I tried to simplify everything in this painting – trunks, field, crown of trees.  At the same time, I tried to work on contrast and failed overall.  It’s really a talent to get something dark enough on the first take!  The trees on the left look like one in the foreground in overlapped by the leaves of the one further distant.  And so on.  However, getting out the paints every day is the goal, and practice, not making a “completed” painting is the whole point.