When I first started to paint in watercolor – like when I was a teenager! – the advice was to use a brush bigger than what you think you need. Yeah, right. Over the years, I have resisted this, but lately I have been doing the majority of my painting with a 1.5 inch flat brush. From there, different brushes with different ideas in mind.
Here, 16×20 CP 140# Arches. I sponged the entire paper with water and then set in the sky. From there, the water and grasses along the shore, working to get blurring of colors into the wet paint. Then, the horizon with the same 1.5 inch brush. I let it dry.
From that point, it was a matter of thought. Initially, the sky dried to a pale color, so I laid in more dark paint for the sky, using a spray bottle to move the paint around, and holding the painting by hand, tilted the paper this way and that to run the paint in various directions.
Looking at it upside down always gives a new perspective, sometimes good, sometimes not. I added some dry brush for the weeds, and used a wet mixture of blues for the snow shadows. I also painted a darker version of the same snow blue into the distant water, moving it into the weeds / reeds. Then, more dry brush once the water had dried to overlap the paint I applied.
This is a stronger painting than some of my more more recent ones, and I will credit the large, flat brush forcing me to work simply. It’s actually much more fun, and easier, in many ways, because I am not getting finicky to the point of crazy.
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.
How many times I have driven through the wild country of the US, stopped on the roadside just to gaze at the land around me? When I lived in Colorado, I did this whenever I could. I do it here, too, in California, and whenever we take a driving trip through wild and lonesome country. Life here can be harsh and isolated, but can you imagine yourself on horseback (I do!) and slowly traversing these wild and open places?
More winter, more gouache. A limited palette of white, phthalo blue and green, ultramarine blue, a bit of red, and black and purple.
Hopefully this conveys a fickle weather day late in the year!
I think the dot-dot-dot and color isolation with Pointillism helped with this watercolor. I was very aware of color placement and capable of containing colors to certain areas. I managed, too, to have patience and let areas dry before going back in, or let them get slightly damp for dryer painting onto a damper area, preventing blooms. Proportions are off – sigh.
As well, a limited palette of primarily blue (ultramarine and cobalt) with burnt umber and burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and a spot of orange and Hooker’s green. 140# CP Arches, 16×20.
If you have never lived on the prairies or traveled through the vast middle section of the U.S., you have missed some majestic land and sky. The weather can change in an instant, you might see it coming, you might not. Flat, lonely, filled with a terrible beauty.
I started out trying to do a more delicate painting, but I think that would work better in watercolor. Instead of delicate and lighter, the colors became thicker and darker, and it turned from a misty, damp, rather gloomy day to one which seems filled with a foreboding storm.
I decided to just paint and not try for realism and delicacy. I went for emotion. Instead of applying paint nicely, I began to just slap it on directly from the color onto the paper rather than mixing colors on the palette. It was gloriously fun!
I used a 1/2 inch flat brush – nothing else. I rather like this splashing and letting go of things as I tend to be something of a prima donna and perfectionist – and this was like rollicking through the mud and muck!!
If I were to call this any “school” of painting, I guess Expressionism would be the closest I would come. The more I painted, the more I wanted to express a fierce and gloomy day portending rain and hail, or rain and hell.
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!
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.
Another watercolor, mostly wet-in-wet, but I ended up doing a lot more details in dry brush as the painting progressed. Finally, I applied some glazes in an attempt to unify different sections as I had overworked the painting quite a bit. The even spacing of the brush / trees in the lower middle ground are rather amusing, too – didn’t I look? I didn’t really notice them until I scanned the painting!
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.