Southern beaches, from the Carolinas around Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico coast, have a quality very unlike that of California or New England. Soft white sand, beaches beautifully wide and flat, sea oats, and dunes that catch the breath. The sky is vast and expansive, clouds build up, and there is something grander than can be described. I am trying to capture this, from reality and from imagination.
If you have noticed, over the past several months my paintings, in pastel, gouache, and watercolor, have been centered on the theme of water. Rivers, ocean, lakes. I am beginning to feel comfortable with water now, and it is time to expand the subject matter. Now, simple buildings are going to be included, and sand. Sand is remarkably hard to paint! It varies from dark beige-brown to incredibly bright and white. There is also black sand, but I’m not there yet!
Today’s painting is a church, tucked in the dunes of some coastal island. Sandy, dirt roads run between dunes with scrubby vegetation. It works.
I decided to use a study by the watercolorist Vernon Nye. He caught the back country of California perfectly – the hills and trees in particular. It was a fun study and I liked it because it pointed out to me how deceptively simple the hills can seem, but they really are not. The road, too, was another eye-catcher. I have driven along a number of back-road highways throughout the state, and you feel like you are the only person in the world. The perspective was a great challenge, too. Altogether, a good study of something in my own back yard, and I can take what I learned into future paintings.
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.
In spring, bright new greens fill the world. In summer, greens are darker, interspersed with flowering crops and wild flowers. Color is everywhere, but all dotting a verdant landscape. In brilliant sun, the greens shimmer, but under the electric sky of a thunderstorm, the sudden bursts of sunlight render greens into a strange intensity . . .
“Glorious Green” – prompt #29 – #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.
Or, maybe, The First Day of Spring?
I have been breaking out of my safety zone and moving on to using more expensive paper and larger sized sheets for painting. Also, another is to use a somewhat limited palette, working to create colors by mixing in different strengths and blends. Ultramarine and cobalt blues, burnt sienna and burnt umber, a dash of sap green. Other colors include a mix of cadmium yellow and red, and some of Daniel Smith’s Primatek Sodalite (a black) for the road.
As always, there seems to be a lack of depth in my painting, despite my efforts . . . or maybe the road is not properly proportioned for its curve?
There is nothing like knowing Spring is nearly here, and see hints of emerging from the snow.