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.

Coastal Cypress

I cannot believe I haven’t posted anything since the last few days of August!  Life has been filled with family activities, horrible heat, and other things that take up time like sewing and reading and cooking and a photo safari.  However, I could not stay away!  Surprising how much I miss my daily forays into paint and color, and especially gouache!  (I really need to get back into watercolor – more in a tad about that.)

Trees again.  Cypress trees have their own character – they invite sweeping brush strokes with a flat brush, or a tapered one.  Movements of the brush match the movement of the wind it seems.  Where cypress trees live along the California coast is usually windy, foggy, and often cold, and these trees rise like ghosts out of the mist.  They are quite eerie.

We are heading out to Monterey for a few days.  I havene’t packed any gouache, but a small watercolor palette and a sketchbook for out-of-the-house experiences.  I hope I take the time to paint or draw, and catch some flavor of where we will be.  Along with my sketchbook I am bringing a camera (or two, or three, or . . . ?  Anyway, the idea is to enjoy some time off while the other half is on vacation – our road trip was sidetracked by a water leak a couple of months ago.

Sunshine & Shadow in the Oak Grove

I went off for a morning walk in the local botanical garden, taking pictures with my phone (and film camera) looking for contrasty bits of landscape to paint.  I took a lot, much to my surprise.  What I found was dappled sunlight more than anything as the garden is in its summer glory with trees leafed out and bright sun trying to break through the canopy.

Truthfully,  this painting is considerably more lush in color than the photo as we are in August, in hot weather, and the vegetation has dried and browned from a lack of rain.  I really worked to create a gouache painting reflective of the photo, but couldn’t hack it!  It was so dreary!

What I did like best, though, was simply the experience of a slow ramble through the garden.  There were birds, scents of pine and sage, butterflies, the buzz of bees, bird song, caws from crows.  I think, perhaps, the painting is more reflective of the richness of the experience of the garden rather than its current shades of beige, brown, and green.