One nice thing about working in only two colors, you don’t get mud. You get dark colors. You get light colors. You get medium colors. I find that this is actually harder to do, in some ways, and easier, too. Harder because I have to decide on value (light, dark) and which direction to push the color (blue, brown). It’s easier as the decisions of color are already made for you (me, the painter!). Here I have limited my palette to Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, as in the earlier studies from Ted Kautzky I did last week.
After looking at the scan, I realize that some of my darker trees in the foreground sort of float in space! The lighting at present makes it hard to see, but I will probably go back and correct it later on.
After the disastrous lilies, I had a good think. I really am not a decorative painter at heart. What I love most are landscapes. The outdoors is to me the most exciting thing . . . mountains, water, trees. Thus, with this in mind, I pulled out the very first “how to” art book I ever bought, back when I was 16: Ways with Watercolor by Ted Kautzky. I still love this book and find his style and words soothing and thoughtful. To ease my frustration, I did two of his exercises. The first below is in 2 colors only, ultramarine blue and burnt umber.
The next one is in three colors: burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and Hooker’s Green.
Kautzky’s palette of colors is one with which I am comfortable and familiar, so it was very reaffirming to feel somewhat skilled after the lilies fiasco. That really upset my little apple cart!