Needless to say, these are not pears I would want to eat!
Today I used some 5×7 HP Strathmore 500 paper for the first time. The texture is very smooth. It makes it a bit of a challenge to paint with gouache as there is very little tooth compared with CP / Not paper.
By far, this is the best of the 4 pastels I have done thus far. It sort of came together. Watching a YouTube video helped, too, to get an idea about how to proceed.
I used my fingers for most of the blending, and used a baby wipe in between to clean up dirty finger tips. I also worked the primary background and foreground first, working around the pears before doing the pears themselves. For the Saguaro painting, I had done the cactus first and then the sky – not really successful as the sky became a bit smudged with the greens. Live and learn! I used a torchon / stump for the areas closest to the pears and in the shadows to help isolate things. I cleaned them off with rough sandpaper – 100 grit.
Another thing I did was consider color and complementary colors in the painting. I simplified and did big areas before moving into smaller and more defined regions.
Of course, not all paintings will be this successful! It’s fun to compile knowledge and start using it when creating a picture or painting. The simplicity of this painting pleases me, but it was a more complex process than may appear because of the multiple layers of color put down.
When you get home at 7 p.m., have dinner, and paint some swatches on a wall to choose a color, there is not a lot of time left in the day to do much of anything. To slow down, I thought about what I had done the day before – watercolor and ink, not splashy and loose, but more controlled. A still life, and my favorite fruit – pears!
Last night I did the colors.
This morning, I did the ink.
The ink I used is waterproof, but is a warm grey in tone. It actually works for a more delicate and less contrasting line or dot.
Another day just painting! What a pleasure to be able to do it!
Today we did two different things. Actually, three. For warm-up, we returned to the quick three minute sketches, which eventually morphed into a still life with three objects. Mine were a piece of dried corn, a plastic mushroom, and a plastic artichoke. I was not particularly nimble this morning, but here is one I produced.
From there, we moved on to landscapes, but I will hold off for a moment on those. We did an exercise which I found fascinating: take one object and paint it 6 different ways. I chose a really lovely fake pear – golden and red, reminiscent of autumn. Take a look . . . they are in a gallery format, so click on one image to be able to scroll through them larger than they are here.
This was a lot of fun to do – nothing I ever have considered as an exercise. And then . . . we moved on to landscapes from photographs Brenda took, laminated, and brought to class.
The idea was to take a photo and modify it. This one is in the wine country of Northern California.
This one is, I think, in Carmel, but I don’t recall. All the speckles are from the fact that it is a ghost image from a wet painting. Truthfully, I was surprised it was a success at all. All day I felt restless and unfocused.
Finally, this one. I think it is the best of everything I did today. The mantra for the day was draw, frame, paint.
And a day of learning. I did four watercolors without lines. The first two were sketched in with pencil; the last two were done freehand, relying on imagination and the precepts of sumi-e, where lines are not drawn.
In each painting, something works, and in each painting there are places of failure. What I failed at was separating various areas from the neighboring shape or shadow. Some areas appear rather painterly. I still have a long way to go – but at least, at last, there are no lines.
Paper is Canson’s watercolor paper, and colors include quinacridone yellow, cobalt teal, carbazole violet, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, Hooker’s green, alizarin crimson, Payne’s grey, and a few others.