This is a pretty small painting – but most gouache paintings are as the medium almost seems to demand it. After the disastrous flowers of the other day, the feeling of overworking my paints, I decided to simplify. Yesterday’s beach scene is a good example of simplification. And today is a bit more complex of a painting, but it is still simplified.
To simplify things, I looked at the big areas. This meant the sand in the foreground, the sky, and the masses which make up the middle ground, both light and dark. Those were laid in first. From there, more details in a middle stage, and final details – the small stuff – were done. This also matched the brushes I used – big to medium to small. “The Three Bears” and the Goldilocks effect.
I also was a lot calmer when I did this painting, and I was in the studio, not in 85F weather with a steady breeze to dry out my paints and raise my temper! Lesson learned there.
This is the second scan from the final one below. I changed a bit of the elements after doing a preview scan – don’t know why the one on the bottom of this post is so, er, intense!
Now, let us continue . . .
More perspective studies! Today I did a single point study.
This time I created a single vanishing point. This one is below the building, and above the road. The idea for this is that the road ends up going over a hill or slope before the horizon, at eye level, is met. I did a pencil sketch and erased it a billion times. Finally, when I liked what I did, I erased most of the lines after inking it in.
Sort of a value study combined with a color study to see what I might like for color mixes in watercolor. This paper is mixed media paper, so it is not the heavy Arches 140# cold press I like for most work. I think the perspective works pretty well.
Well! Aren’t these colors intense! The scan for some reason just came out like this – the original is a bit more subtle – but I rather like it as I think it expresses the intensity of color that sometimes comes with lowering clouds and a storm. Makes me think of my time as a kid on the plains of the midwest.
So, the final study does have decent architectural perspective, and perhaps even some atmospheric (lots of atmosphere, but more like pressure type!) insofar as I tried to simplify things.
I will continue my focus on perspective, and using it in different media. Watching videos, referring to books, and just doing it is helping.
Another perspective study from hell. Where do you put the vanishing point on paper where the horizon doesn’t provide one!?!
I used 2 point perspective here for the most part. To figure this out, I drew the basic sketch onto a piece of paper that was larger than the final sketch. I decided my horizon line. Then I drew the building, uprights and then angles for the roof line and base of the building, both on the left and the right. For the wall, I did the same thing, aiming it at the horizon line and trying to get the top and bottom to line up.
Ummm. Not sure. It looks okay in a lot of ways except for the wall – too wide nearer the building perhaps than it should be in the lower left foreground.
And getting into perspective. I don’t have depth perception – eye docs confirm this. But I do get distance – I can guestimate a distance and when it is measured, I am pretty accurate. This makes me think that a sense of distance and depth perception are two different things entirely.
If you follow along here at all, you know two things about me. One is a lack of real depth perception. The next is my ongoing struggle with perspective. I have learned that my poor drawing – sloppy drawing, really – due to impatience – ruins a lot of my attempts at perspective in paintings.
I have decided to work on perspective, particularly architectural perspective. That means buildings! As a country girl at heart (no cowboy hats, though), I like the idea of buildings in a non-city setting. No skyscrapers for me. Instead, a boat house, a farm house, a barn perhaps. A building along the waterfront, even suburbia. Why? I want a few trees and some water.
This is the first in a bunch I intend to do to really work on perspective. Looking at things dead on is easy, but looking at something with angles is different. Also, looking down on something from above, or upward from a low vantage point.
Here, gouache. This took hours. About an hour drawing and probably three hours painting it. It works to a degree. All this for a 5×7 painting!!
The thing is more than anything is to just get out there and do it, no matter how icky it turns out!!
As the watercolors were still out, I decided to play around with perspective, specifically architectural perspective. I think I get atmospheric perspective now – cooler colors, less detail, etc.
I did this one above some time ago in 2019. I focused on the roof of the hut, but also wanted to try a bit of the atmospheric element of perspective. It worked out okay. Broad strokes, too, were worked on as I tend to do fiddly little dabs with a brush.
Here I did a few buildings linked together from somewhere in Maine. I tried to use one part of the painting to connect the other parts. By this I mean I looked at the roof slope of the building on the right in the picture, and tried to match in my painting. From there I tried to create perspective and proportion in direct relationship to it – walls, windows, etc. The road, too, was important as I wanted to show it narrowing the further away from me it became. One thing I found intrinsically challenging was the roof line on the right – the slope of the roof moving onto the side of the building. From one angle to another angle, yet no roof on the right showing. That was a real eye-opener when I realized what was going on.
Finally, architectural perspective mixed with the natural landscape. What a bit of building this is! Boat launch / beach moving up a hill with a roadway that hairpins right and left, as well as castle or fortress walls descending into the hillside. I rather liked this one – and it was fun to do some pen with watercolor drawing.
Altogether, I can see some progress, as well as areas for improvement. Lately, I am so unconcerned about the final results of what I paint. Rather, if there is an area that works or I see improvement, I am thrilled! Wabi-sabi. And if the whole picture works, man, that makes my day!
A second rendition of “The Slough, II”, this time in pastels on Mi Teintes 9×12 paper. Perspective is fixed, and I like this version so much better!
The original “The Slough, II” was done in gouache a few days ago – you can see it in my earlier post. That version was totally wackadoodle in the world of real perspective – the only part that worked out was the front curve of sand, whereas the midground and background didn’t work. Fraggy (another blogger!) had some good insights about the issues.
In thinking about Fraggy’s comments as well as reviewing what I did, I really have no excuse. I just did a very, very poor drawing on the paper, sort of sketching things in without checking their relationships. So, today, I worked on the drawing a bit, and the result is much better. I considered vanishing points and straight lines, et cetera, et cetera.
I really feel so at home with pastels. My only complaint is that the end product is easily smeared, even with the use of “final” fixatives. I need to research that a bit . . .
A different view of The Slough, gouache, and some perspective problems, both atmospheric and size. Sigh.
Still, I will say parts of it I really like. One thing I enjoy about gouache is the colors are so cheery if you don’t turn them into mud. Mixing is such a challenge with this medium – you need a lot of white to make light colors unless they come like that out of the tube.