WWM #27: Fruits

Summer is the time of year when we live on fruit salads. If we get ambitious, maybe a pie, tart, galette . . . you get the picture. The prompt of “fruits” is perfect for the middle of July, the month of #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.

This year looks like it will be a really good year for our fig tree, a Brown Turkey. We used to have a Kadota, which is a lovely green fruit, and a perfect foil for the Brown Turkey, which are a deep purply-brown color. Figs are something I look forward to every year, to just walk out to the tree and enjoy a sweet treat . . .

Besides anticipating figs, we have also enjoyed grapes and apricots this season.  Cherries, nectarines, melons, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries.  Abundance!

The first painting is not quite where I want it to be.  I was focusing on contrast and shadows to separate one piece of fruit from another.  The same for the grapes and apricots, which is a bit more successful although I am not quite pleased with it because I think it is a bit overworked.  It’s interesting how I feel pretty good about some things – more confident – and less so with others.  I guess we all do.

Just A Bouquet

Yesterday was one of those days filled with things to do, with more things to do added last minute.  Toward the end of the day, I really was not in the mood to do much more than veg out, be a blob, and sink into a stupor.  Nonetheless, I girded up my proverbial loins, and sat down with an imaginary bouquet in my head and a reference picture for light and shadow to use with the imaginary bouquet.

I didn’t set out to do too much – but in the end, it worked out pretty good.  I kept in mind light to dark.  I also kept in mind working over the whole painting, shifting back and forth from one area to another, and applying a hairdryer when things needed to dry out a bit more than my patience was willing to wait for.  All of a sudden, I swear, my mind said, “Hey, let’s paint around these flowers!”  There were not any flowers in that area, but I did negative painting without too much thought.  Wow!  That was a big shift for me – I’m still quite the newby in this area.

So, here we are.  Colors include sap and Hooker’s greens; Payne’s grey; ultramarine and cobalt blues; hansa yellow; quinacridone rose.  There may be a few others.  I used one brush, too.  The paper is Fabriano’s 100% cotton Artistico, and that alone helped a great deal – evident as the other side of the paper was already used for a wash-heavy exercise!

Watercolor Workshop, Day 2

Another day just painting!  What a pleasure to be able to do it!

Today we did two different things.  Actually, three.  For warm-up, we returned to the quick three minute sketches, which eventually morphed into a still life with three objects.  Mine were a piece of dried corn, a plastic mushroom, and a plastic artichoke.  I was not particularly nimble this morning, but here is one I produced.

From there, we moved on to landscapes, but I will hold off for a moment on those.  We did an exercise which I found fascinating:  take one object and paint it 6 different ways.  I chose a really lovely fake pear – golden and red, reminiscent of autumn.  Take a look  . . . they are in a gallery format, so click on one image to be able to scroll through them larger than they are here.

This was a lot of fun to do – nothing I ever have considered as an exercise.  And then . . . we moved on to landscapes from photographs Brenda took, laminated, and brought to class.

The idea was to take a photo and modify it.  This one is in the wine country of Northern California.

This one is, I think, in Carmel, but I don’t recall.  All the speckles are from the fact that it is a ghost image from a wet painting.  Truthfully, I was surprised it was a success at all.  All day I felt restless and unfocused.

Finally, this one.  I think it is the best of everything I did today.  The mantra for the day was draw, frame, paint.

The Grapes of Wrath

Today was a day of wrath!  I was soooo frustrated!

And a day of learning.  I did four watercolors without lines.  The first two were sketched in with pencil; the last two were done freehand, relying on imagination and the precepts of sumi-e, where lines are not drawn.

In each painting, something works, and in each painting there are places of failure.  What I failed at was separating various areas from the neighboring shape or shadow.  Some areas appear rather painterly. I still have a long way to go – but at least, at last, there are no lines.

Paper is Canson’s watercolor paper, and colors include quinacridone yellow, cobalt teal, carbazole violet, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, Hooker’s green, alizarin crimson, Payne’s grey, and a few others.

Grapes of Wrath (1)
Grapes of Wrath (2)
Grapes of Wrath (3)
Grapes of Wrath (4)