Cassis, Cap Lombard – Detail Study from a Painting by Paul Signac

After putzing around with attempts to emulate some of Monet’s Impressionistic paintings of Etretat, I muddled around and found the works of Paul Signac, a Neo-Impressionist and Pointillist. These two schools espoused dabbing, using complimentary colors and such to create a sense of light and movement. They are rather delightful to my eye – I am a magpie at heart – and the vibrant colors and energy of these painters fascinates me.

Here, I decided to see what I could do with a detail of Paul Signac’s painting, which you can see below. His rocks, or whatever they are, and their reflections in the sea caught my attention. My reflections are not very good. As a first attempt to try pointillism, I just started with making dots on the unpainted paper. In reality, the best way to start would have been to laid down solid areas of underlying color, and then build upon that with the dots.

If you look at Signac’s painting, you will see the use of orange and blue in the shadows – reflected light in the shadows. What I also found fascinating is his use of different shades of blue – ultramarine, cobalt, and cerulean in particular. Together with varying shades of orange, yellow, and ochre, he created the stone reflections. I found this very hard to do, but think I get the idea!

More to come. The purpose of copying or interpreting Signac’s work (and Monet’s) is to get a better sense of color. With pointillism, the colors are applied individually. Doing this myself, I begin to appreciate the purity of color when juxtaposed with another.

Malibu Creek State Park, II

I tried to simplify things more in this painting by using washes and bleeding colors into them.  The foreground was tricky as there was a lot of texture from the brush on the lower left.  The same brush is on the opposite shore, but, as you can see, with a lot less detail.  Also, I decided to try to use a bit of white gouache mixed with watercolor to represent the white brush – baby sycamores? – as well as the branches of the sycamore trees.  Sadly, I didn’t really think about the leaves of the sycamores until after I had painted in the mountain in the distance, so I tried to retrieve a bit of lighter leaves in the foreground.  Not super successful, but am pleased with the effort of simplifying.

Ormond Beach

More water and reflections!

Ormond Beach is located on the coastal side of the county in a flat, rural area near two navy bases.  The sky is often dank and cloudy and it can seem like another world compared to my hot, dry corner.  Here, I wanted to catch the dreary grey sky along with the rows of palm trees on the horizon.  I think this one is one of my better ones of late.

Storm Over the Wetlands

Water and sky are the major themes these days.  I really like them anyway, but have to work on reflections in particular.  For instance, along the banks, the reflection of reeds is very important, as in the distant water / tree line.  I try to be simple in my approach and perhaps a bit less dramatic or intense in my colors, but that seems to be really hard for me to achieve!  I had a lot of fun with this painting, though, and am rather pleased with its outcome despite the fact it is not quite what I envisioned.  But, it does catch that peculiar storm light, I think.

Two Boats

Every week I am trying to focus on a subject.  I guess for the next week it will be boats.  My drawing skills are not the best, and so focusing on how something is constructed will help.  What made me think about this is a very simple way of drawing and painting boats by an excellent watercolor YouTuber named Shibasaki.  Below is his demo on boats.

What makes this video so valuable is he shows you that a boat is a series of rectangles with a few curves.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out.  I’ve learned a lot from Shibasaki-san!

My palette here was limited to zinc white, ultramarine blue, a touch of gamboge, burnt sienna, and some left over colors on the palette from the sunset coast I painted the other day – a bit of teal and some red.

One thing I have always loved are sail boats and tug boats.  Those are on the agenda.  Stay tuned . . .

WWM #13: Glassy

I am drawn to water – maybe because when I was young, there was always a lake or river nearby.  As an adult, I live in a rather dry land where creeks are rare, but the vast Pacific is not far, with wetlands and marshes.  Fresh water lakes, though, are what I really love – the ones where the sky passes by beneath your feet on the glassy calm of the water.

This is from a photograph of a lake somewhere in the world – from Pixabay – and the clouds in the foreground were crystal clear and smooth.  I sort of messed that glassiness up, but came fairly close to what I was trying to express.  Obviously, this is a rather lonely view, but what better place than to sit, enjoy the breeze , and perhaps listen to the babbling of water fowl and the hum of insects on a warm summer day?

Sky and Water

More practice using wet-in-wet in varying degrees of paper dampness.  Again, this is Canson XL watercolor paper.  In my opinion, as a student paper, it is one of the better ones, having a pleasant texture as well as a responsiveness to water and color that other student papers lack.  Here, the final picture is not the point, but the laying in of washes, lifting colors, and other techniques – the practice, not the product.

As I said yesterday, I have not really taken time to learn about the paper.  This is important when you paint in watercolor – each paper has its own personality.  Once you are familiar with it, it becomes intuitive.  In my crazy life, I finally have the time to get acquainted with my paper.

Yay!

Cell Phone Reflections

Direct watercolor, paint what’s in front of me, no lines.  Those were my morning thoughts.  What is always in front of me in the morning is my messy desk, full of different debris, depending on the day and whether or not I’ve done any tidying.  As I pondered, oh so profoundly, I looked at the cell phone on my desk and really liked the reflections from my monitors . . . and here is today’s subject.

I worked to think more consciously and conscientiously about what I was doing.  First, the outline of the phone, on my rather ochre-colored desk, then the darks of the phone itself, followed by reflections and shadows.  I tried to be selective of where to touch different colors for bleeds.  Finally, I went back in and did some shadows and contrasts to make a bit stronger image.  In between, I worked carefully to avoid blooms and hard edges from backwash.

Yosemite: Reflections at Mirror Lake

This is a view of Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park and some artistic license with color thrown in.  Here, I used a sumi-e brush and watercolors.  Yes, lines.  No mud.  This is the first picture, other than my pencil cup, that I really like since I started this project.

I began with a photo, then drew in some lines, used the ink brush to create the bones.  Then it sat overnight and in my sleep I imagined how I would paint it.  Parts worked out, parts didn’t.  After the colors were applied, I went back with my sumi-e brush and redid some original strokes and then added others to create contrast and so on.  Colors include phthalo blue, indanthrene blue, organic vermillion, hansa yellow, quinacridone gold, Hooker’s green, carbazole violet, cerulean blue, and ultramarine blue.