For the past several weeks I have been immersed in painting classes – 2 or 3 a week, and too many hours to count. I finally decided I was doing more than was good for the rest of my life, and decided to cap it to a few hours a day. That balanced things out as I was getting rather nutso.
This is based off a Pixabay photo of trees and snow, at sunset or dawn. I am not sure if this one is “finished” yet, but think it is done enough to scan and put online. It is acrylic paint on a piece of 11×15 watercolor paper. I decided to use it as the paper is 100% cotton but the sizing is not good. As I bought the paper a long time ago, I cannot return it.
One thing about painting in acrylic, you can paint on a lot of different surfaces. I like the feel of paper beneath my brush more than a canvas panel that I have gessoed. Maybe it is because I am used to its surface texture, but there is more of a connection there with its surface – smoother than a cotton canvas panel, but with some tooth. I do plan to learn more about oils later this summer but need to play with it a lot more and figure out where to paint as oil solvents, while now often odorless, are still volatile and not exactly something to be breathing in a closed space.
As I work on learning how to paint I also explore different artists. Right now I have been looking at a lot of the Russian artists of the Impressionist variety along with ones from the 1930s, such as Nikolai Timkov and his fellow painters. Impressionists and more modern painters appeal to me because their sense of color and brushwork, as well as subject matter, are more to my liking than any other era. I like abstraction, too, so a bit of all of these appeal to me. Strong graphics, elegant composition, good colors get my eye. Art is really a personal thing anyway. What I want to hang on my walls may be nothing you would even consider . . .
All this painting is also making me think about brushwork. It expresses so much. Smoothly blended or broken? I think the next exploration will be broken brush strokes and trying to choose a color and put it down – paint it and leave it, as Ian Roberts is telling us!
Another winter day . . . snow, sunrise, warm and cold. Pointillism once more.
This time I laid in the background color, such as the blue of the sky merging into the gold of the horizon, blending them together with white. the same with the diagonal hedgerow and foreground snow. After that, I used a tiny, tiny brush, soft to the touch, and filled it with gouache paint I thinned down a lot.
The time to complete this painting was easily 2-3 hours (with time out for lunch and a nap, of course!). I think the color gradation, especially in the sky, has worked well with the usage of small points of color. I also tried to make the middle ground snow cooler and greyer than the foreground snow.
Still dreaming of snow and winter, but honestly glad not to be in the northeast! More snow dumped in 24 hours than was dumped all of last year. That is a lot of snow! Nothing like snow up to the roof, no electricity, and wondering how you are going to stay warm. When I was a kid, we burned oil for fuel, so heating the house wasn’t an issue as far as I can remember, but I do remember a few times when my youngest brother was in diapers, and there was no electricity to heat water. Frozen pipes, too, but that is usually easily solved by letting the water run gently through open taps.
I am continuing using gouache and Pointillism. Something in me just loves this, and I have started looking beyond Paul Signac and into contemporary artists. The graphic quality of Pointillism and the colors keep drawing my eye. Also, I am getting more “aware” (for want of a better word) of color interplay by using dots and mushing colors together.
Meanwhile, today in California it was a chilly 68F and I had to wear socks in the house.
Evidence of overworking is present in the white highlights . . . they just don’t seem to go with the rest of the painting insofar they are too bright. I was thinking in terms of photography and histograms – white point, black point. I wonder if I am criss-crossing two different art formats. Besides that, the rocks are perhaps too orange for the distant sky, although sandstone can take on an incredibly orangish color under the right light.
This is a rather eclectic picture as far as technique. Pencil drawing, ink, watercolor, more ink, more water, and so on. Paper is Arches cold press 140#, 9×12 inches. I thought I would use a better quality paper this morning because I knew I would be using a lot of water. It paid off. A picture of a Japanese temple was the inspiration for this mish-mash, as well as the fact I felt like drawing more than anything else.
More working with wet-in-wet, as well as white and shades of white. Not sure if the idea that the part of the lower trees facing the viewer convey a sense of shadow – being darker – before moving into the shadows in the foreground.
With wet-in-wet, it is really important to understand how a paper responds to water. This is Canson XL, a student grade paper, but one that I like to use when experimenting. I’ve never really worked at using it really wet, but the results of focusing on it – having it sopping, having it damp – is beginning to yield some decent results, such as few blooms and hard edges.
I’ve been sitting on this picture, doing some research before finishing it. By research, I mean watching videos on painting the red rocks of the American West to figure out colors, practicing with colors and washes, and finally, practicing with blues over the colors. as this mesa has a lot of shadow areas.
Above, color practice. I used Pyrrol Orange, Organic Vermilion, Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna for most of the reds and oranges. The grey-green is a combo of Sap Green, Cobalt Green, and Payne’s Grey. The blues are Ultramarine and Cobalt. And below, the final result.
This is perhaps the first “researched” or “practiced” painting I’ve done. I usually just go-with-the-flow. The pay off is pretty good. I’m still not really sure if this sketchbook is good for anything “serious” but it did a good job in the end. It is really curly paper when it dries!
For the next week, my schedule is a bit different. I have to be in to work 30 minutes earlier than normal, so I did this quick sketch in my Stillman & Birn softcover book. The ink is iron gall. I tried to keep the lines minimal, enough to capture important elements of the landscape, but not so much that they become dominant or what will (eventually) hold the image together. Hopefully I will be able to work on shadows and light, working to good contrast. I seem to need lines – I am comfortable with them – that are clearly visible. Interesting to find out how we all work, eh?