The summer months bring rain to the American Southwest. Skies become dark, light bright and fleeting; a sudden downpour, and then it vanishes. The clouds clear and once more the intense light returns. Everything becomes more vivid and alive during these brief showers and scudding clouds with lightning often adding to the drama. To me, this is the desert at its best – a harsh beauty in a harsh land.
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.
This one pleases me quite a bit!
We live in an area with multiple mountain ranges, some which run parallel to the coast, and other which run perpendicular. As a result, the terrain and weather varies in each quite a lot. Here, a view of Mt. Boney in the spring, as a storm comes in. The wildflowers are in bloom and all is right with the world!
I have had a perfectly lovely day today! Went out on a short road trip, did some photography, ate a Croque Madame for lunch, and drove through beautiful back country here where I live. Josh came along, and we had a nice day out. Once home, a nap, some coffee, and then, at long last, the pastels came out from hibernation! The result is more rain (we get none, I want some!) as subject matter. As pastels lend themselves to blurring and blending, I decided to use a long stroke of a finger tip, moving at an angle from top to bottom, to suggest that fierce rain one sees in the high desert. Dark background and a sunlit foreground. So fun to do!
Another painting on the reverse of another, again employing dampening the paper before commencing. More hake brush wet-in-wet. I wanted to catch the brilliance of the land beneath the storm as spots of sunshine break through a fast moving storm. In the Southwest, this is common and exciting to see – sometimes the landscape shifts in seconds.
This time a sky and land study from a Pixabay image. I did this on the reverse side of another painting, so the paper, 140# Arches cold press, was warped. I thought about ironing it, but decided to just tape it to the board, and use the warps to my advantage with the sky. Overall, it worked pretty well, but where there were dribbles, I snagged them with a tissue. It was rather fun.
Altogether, I like the way this painting turned out. I was rather stumped about the foreground, so I just made some leafy, grassy strokes. The water along the roadway came out fairly good, as did the road itself. Perspective on a flat land is a challenge but it seems to have worked out, too.
Some days a painting works, and you are in the moment with paint, brush, and paper. A lot of the painting was like that. Then, at the end, I stepped back and thought about contrast, and added a bit here and there as blobs or lines or dots. And finally it was done.