Tag: trees

Trees, Late Afternoon

Third and last of a photo I took earlier this month in Independence, CA, before being driven back home because of Covid. I am not sure which of the three of these paintings I did of the same photo I like best (you can back track on this blog if you want to see them, or go to Instagram!), but this one, in acrylic, was by far the most time-consuming.

I used 16×20 Arches 140# CP paper and a variety of acrylic paints, but first I laid down a few layers of gesso to prep the surface of the paper. The first layer of gesso was thinned with water and brushed on quite firmly to work it into the paper itself. The paper warped as watercolor paper does, but I was really happy to see it flatten out with the second, thicker layer of gesso.

Most of my brushwork tends toward dabbing on dots, which is great for pointillism and impressionistic painting, so I worked at creating lines, as seen on the grasses in the background, along with using a flat brush and using its tip or sides to work paint in a more up / down, side-to-side manner. My next painting is going to include these types of brush strokes, just because. It never hurts to try things you don’t usually do.

Every type of media – watercolor, gouache, acrylics – has its own “language” – that is, the way you have to work with it. Acrylics are rather heavy on paper and I need to think ahead for what I want to do. I tried the slower drying acrylic paints, and just did not like them. As a result, the ones I use tend to dry rather quickly. Filling the palette with every color I think I might want to use is a waste of paint. Instead, I have to plan, not like a general, but certainly I need to anticipate what comes first, what comes next, and so on. I also have to think about brushes and brushwork. Painting can be spontaneous, but it also needs experience to allow for more success (however you want to define “success”) than failure.

One thing I considered for this painting, but did not do, was to lay down a glaze to unify it. Chicken! Maybe I will come back to it later. Now, two things are on my next painting agenda: buildings and no dabbing! And maybe a glaze . . .

A Hint of Autumn

Independence, CA

Well . . . I got tired of pen, ink, watercolor. Watercolor just wasn’t in my head, so I dug out my gouache paints. They were rather fuzzy from mold – typical of gouache if you don’t use them often enough – so, I rinsed them off, and went to work. I really like the photo I took of these trees but did not like my earlier efforts.

I started out so klutzy – like, how do I use my colors? order or painting? All the usual stuff that goes with not doing something for awhile. The result is far better than I thought it would be!

The Quiet River

This is a week for meeting up with old friends! After working in acrylic for several weeks, having eye surgery, and not doing much artwork of any kind, it felt great to do gouache yesterday, and this morning, watercolor.

It is interesting how some days just push me to the limit in frustration and dissatisfaction with what I do, and other days just move along in a calm and serene way. Why is this? My mood was patient and willing to wait today, whereas on other days, freneticism is the dominant emotion. I think watercolor especially requires a serene approach, more meditative than other media, simply because once the mark is made, it is there. With gouache and acrylic you can hide your messes a bit more easily!

Tanglewood (Acrylic) – the Final Rendition

Here is the finalized rendition of Tanglewood in acrylic. If you look closely, you will see highlights added to the trees on the left nearer the trunks, and along the trunks in the upper area of the painting. I did a few other things, too, but don’t remember.

It is always interesting to see what people think about a painting or drawing. My husband says this version of Tanglewood looks like Mirkwood, from that famous trilogy, and the darkly spotted foliage in the upper right makes him think of lurking goblins. Success? Hmm. But, the photo I used really did make me think of Mirkwood myself, so there ya go!

I always like to have an extra set of eyes for the “final” viewing of a painting before the “final” edition. I am too involved, so another set, or two or three sets, of eyes is a big help. My sister and my teacher both brought up the need to lighten up the trees on the lower left, and to add dappled light on the trunks both high and low.

No goblins were used in the painting of this painting of imaginary goblins.

Tanglewood Underpinnings (III) and Tree Removal

Above is where I currently stand with my acrylic version of Tanglewood. I changed the foreground and began adding colors to the leaves, hoping to indicate dappled light. The foreground was similar in texture and appearance to the leaves, so I applied paint and mushed things around.

In looking at it, I thought this was looking okay, but so boring. Teacher and I both agreed the trees were too symmetrical and their pattern to repetitive. Time to fell some trees!

Home, the painting was scanned, and then sent to LR or some other program to remove the center tree. I didn’t even need to get out my saw! This definitely makes the painting better already.

More tree removal, but not as well done as the first one. The hint of the upright remains, but in that glimmer of a tree comes some new ideas.

First, the removal of just one tree is my preferred one of the two. The second one shows that suggestion of an upright, perhaps more subtle (i.e. obscured by foliage) works, too. More upright trees in the background, hidden by foliage, will add to the visual interest of the painting without creating a yawn-worthy one.

So, this is where I am right now. Not finished, but getting close. If you have an opinion, let me know!

Tanglewood Underpinnings (II)

A paintings is rather like rocket ship – different stages as it takes off.

I did this in yesterday afternoon’s class, trying to focus on both light and dark, warm and cool. Acrylics seem like a rather unforgiving medium insofar as they dry quickly and can have very hard edges. That makes it a bit of a challenge for someone like me who prefers blending and mushing painting. It took me a bit to figure out how to do it.

The fun thing about an art class is the class members and seeing how they paint. Perceptions and styles are all so individualistic. Naturally you prefer this to that, but admiration for an individual’s work doesn’t mean you have to copy them. Add to this, people are so full of information and stories, and this adds to the value of their art – you get to know them.

So, this may be put off for a few days as I have some other things I need to do – and it never hurts to take a break. I hope I don’t start more than one painting at a time, though, as then I will fall into my habit of UFOs lying around, sobbing for attention.

Carpinteria Bluffs

Another attempt at acrylic painting. This time I used a sheet from a Fredrix linen pad. I gessoed it and then used, initially, the Open medium with the paints, but I didn’t like the way it was working, and so switched to regular matte medium to dilute the paints. I tried to use the paints fairly straight out of the tube, blending with white and matte medium. The result was a fairly thick paint that behaved well.

The Carpinteria Bluffs are located in the southernmost section of Santa Barbara County, just above the border of Ventura County, where I currently live. Carpinteria was home for many years and always enjoy returning, especially in summer when the light shifts and everything has a glow of its own. Eucalyptus trees and other plant life make for a wonderful walk along the cliffs above the Pacific, and across the Santa Barbara Channel are the various islands that make up the Channel Island National Park. This might be San Miguel Island, but I can never remember which one is which!

Windbreak

I should have gone to my Pencil Portraits class . . . but it was raining and cold and it’s outdoors.  I’m a wuss, enjoying snow and ice from a distance.  Thus, biting cold, frost, and snow fog.  Wander along the road, beneath the trees, and remain in my snug house with a cup of cocoa and blues a-playing in the background.  Not a rough life.

Marshland

As the Midwest and other parts of the world endure and enjoy subzero weather and snow and ice, it is summer somewhere in the southern hemisphere!

Where I am, it is neither; just a crisp and lovely day, with the winter light canted lower in the sky. I really enjoy painting landscapes, imagining myself in the middle of it all. I think I need to get into town, though – my hiking boots need replacing. 😉

 

A Bit of Snow

Where I live there isn’t a very big likelihood of snow. At higher elevations, yes, but here in coastal California, 800 feet isn’t gonna get it.

So, I dream.

I’ve lived in some places with stunning countryside, such as rural Illinois, upstate New York, in the Rockies of Colorado. Snow was beautiful and thrilling. As a kid, it’s a wonderland, but I remember my mother would always kvetch about all the little mittens, the snowsuits, the boots, the scarves, the this and that to get a herd of kids dressed to play – and then ten minutes later, they are all back in the house.

Poor Ma!