Under the Summer Sky

As summer fades away, the fires are burning along the west coast, and the clarity of the air has gone murky. This is when I dream of being somewhere along a river, with sun, blue skies, flowers and birds. I’m a country girl at heart, stuck in suburbia! (But there are advantages of the ‘burbs, too.)

I used Arches Rough 12×16 140# paper. The texture is not as smooth as what CP or HP provide. There is a lot more “tooth” which is great for dry brush and texture, such as in the foreground grasses and middle ground trees. I used one of my hake brushes for the general grass shapes, and a larger, harder brush for the sky. Before I painted any large area, I used the hake brush with clear water, letting it soak in a bit to help the paint to spread more easily on this rough paper.

In general, I am pleased with this painting. DOF works fairly well. I put in a building, too! For me, the most flawed area is the squared-off top of a tree to the left of the building – maybe I will go in later to correct it, but for now, I’ll let it be, cuz it’s time for a nap!

Rush Creek in 15 Minutes

Seemed appropriate that a 15-minute study should be of a place called Rush Creek up in the Eastern Sierras!

Aspens, calm water, reflections, and done. I also used this as an opportunity to check out a new spray fixative (for me). This is an acrylic semi-gloss.

The problem with pastels is they smear if touched, so storing them and framing them can be a bit tricky. Smearing was attenuated well here, but it did take about 8 applications, some of which were a single coat, and the last about 4 or 5, back and forth, out of impatience.

Fixatives often dull colors or darken them, and whites can be especially vulnerable. This one seems to have done okay, perhaps turning the white of the aspen trunks to a creamy color, but the white trunks on the middle right seem to be doing okay.

Interesting thoughts arise . . .

About Dionysos’ Pond

Another painting done primarily with a hake brush.

This painting was done on the reverse of a previously painted piece of Arches 16×20 CP 140#. I wet the paper initially, taping it only in the corners, and was rather pleased to see how the paper relaxed once wet. I moved the tape as needed to keep the paper flat.

Anyway, the work here was themed on wet-in-wet, use of an excessively large brush (for me!), and standing up, rather than seated. The results were interesting – standing up allowed for more freedom of brush stroke. Getting the paper wet and letting it set a bit before starting the washes also helped.

Compositionally, I think it is a bit bland – really very little to lead the eye. However, this was not my focus here; rather, I wanted to use the hake brush to create sky and foliage as well as broader swaths of color. The nature of the soft brush allows for thin lines, rough splotches of color with white or underlying colors to show through, as well as washes of subtle beauty. From there I used a rigger to create branches, trunks, and some more calligraphic and suggestive lines.

Malibu Creek State Park, I

Malibu State Park is a vast area that spreads out across bits of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.  You can feel like you are lost in the wild west.  What is so enchanting about it is the land itself – hilly, flat, study with oak trees, a creek or two.  It’s a great place to hike, to explore,  to do photography, and to paint.  In spring it is stunning, and after a rainy season you can walk through fields of butterflies.  In fall, the sycamores change color, the grass is brown, but the hills can remain green.  Definitely a land of contrasts.

Building, Tree, Flowers

Springtime – moving into summer – and after finishing up a sweater I just had to cut loose.  The watercolors were out, a piece of paper that wasn’t too warped from another painting, and I just went to work.  This wasn’t really planned, but I did use resist to keep areas white, as well as decided to throw in a building, flowers, and a tree.  A transitional world – sweater to watercolor portending hot weather next week.

Jachelt

This is one of the most stunning images I have seen on Pixabay, which has a lot of wonderful royalty-free photos; here is the direct link to it:  https://pixabay.com/photos/fog-moor-moorland-birch-tree-mood-1717410/ 

This photo is moody and mysterious, and you can certainly imagine how spooky it could be to come upon suddenly, lost in a whirl of fog on a lonely moorland. I tried to capture it in my own watercolor.

This painting is significantly different than some of my other paintings.  I used the wet-in-wet technique throughout the painting, creating several layers of glazes before adding the details of grasses.  These I did using negative painting over the washes.  Then, more solid brushwork for the tree, branches, and scrub in the lower corners.

16 x 20 Arches 140# cold press paper.

 

The Palo Verde Tree

The local botanical garden is open at last!  It has been closed since Ventura County closed trails, stores, and such, as well as issued a shelter-in-place order to keep the spread of the coronavirus at a minimum.  Some places are beginning to open up, though the shelter-in-place order is on until the end of May.

It was such a treat – a real slice of heaven – to be able to walk around the garden again.  Many of the spring flowers have gone, like the poppies, but many of the flowering trees are in bloom.  The palo verde tree at the top of the hill has leafed out in all its delicate bright yellow-green glory.  It is so graceful and lovely in spring that it could not be overlooked – here it is for today’s painting.