Another landscape, another limited palette. For this painting I used ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, burnt umber, sap and cobalt greens, a splash of raw sienna. 9×12 Fabirano Artistico.
I wanted to see if I could convey a good sense of depth, moving from the foreground with warmer colors to the distance with more neutral and greyish colors. Contrast, too, was considered for eye appeal, leading lines, depth.
If you look at the grasses in the foreground, you can see grass blades. I used a very dry flat brush to accomplish this, sometimes using a lighter green and brushing upward, or darker green to brush into the lighter green. Negative painting!
Flat land is like a calm sea. Few things break it up – perhaps a tree or a whale breeching. It is a challenge to compress the lines of the landscape into the narrow space seen to convey depth, space, and a sense of the land’s geography. The vast sky can dominate.
Carlsbad is a lovely beach town in Southern California. The beach is wide and flat; at low tide it stretches forever. Water is all you see to your left, to your right, and westward . . . The flat blue sky often blends into the ocean, making where one ends merge with where one begins.
This morning I set out to do a couple of things. First was to do another ink / pen drawing. I used the same sketchbook as I did yesterday, one with lightweight paper that worked very well yesterday. Second, the attempt to stretch myself a bit and do a beach scene. I find waves incredibly difficult.
The sketch itself was okay – nothing particularly challenging in and of itself. I rather liked the composition. However, if you look at the sketch above, do you see those little greyish streaks in the lower left and center? That should have clued me in then and there – the paper is very thin. Water? What was I thinking of?
And here we are, with washes applied with a lot of water. Even though you cannot see it, the paper became mottled in appearance, buckled and crumpled. Ugh! But, what the hell, I may as well try something. And thus, I picked up my box of Caran D’Arche’s Neocolor II crayons, and carried on . . .
Having never really used the Neocolor crayons before, I will say I liked them. I scribbled in colors which I thought might work, and then laid other colors on top of them to blend before using water. And then with a waterbrush – not a laden brush – I smoothed and shaded.
I am not pleased with this picture at all, but I still learned something about a medium I haven’t really explored – the watercolor crayons. On a heavier paper designed to take water, there is a lot of potential here. I love coloring, so I can see myself moving into this area, perhaps more so than with watercolor pencils, which seem more delicate to me in their color rendering, but perhaps that is wrong as I have limited experience with them as well.
Oh, well. The picture was a disaster, but the potential far outweighs it.
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.
Last summer we drove through a lot of the wild west. The loneliness of Wyoming always gets me – vistas of open space, few cars, fewer people. Taking a picture during the summer is much different than what you see in winter, so I looked at some of the photos I took out of the window as we drove from Laramie to the Tetons. I tried to imagine how barren and cold it could be. Always the sky, always the distance, always the barbed wire fences. Again, in Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.
Besides trying to imagine a scene, I also tried out a new brush. It is a Cosmotop flat, by DaVinci brushes of Germany; it’s about 3/4″ wide. I wanted to see how it would do on the Canson XL paper I use for practice, in particular to see if I could get a “sparkly” effect with a dry brush. The paper is too smooth for that to work successfully, which is why there are fine lines in the foreground. (Sigh.) It did a pretty good job for wet-in-wet sky, and along the horizon line.
Rather a blotchy Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Blue sky this morning. All I have time for at the moment!