Northern Marsh

Still working in pastel.  I cleaned up the pastels I was using yesterday by putting them in a container of corn meal and shaking them gently.  It did the job.  I also took a different approach to today’s painting, and the difference is evident to me (cuz I did it!).

I decided to use a piece of 7×11 Uart 800 sanded pastel paper, which is the finest grit in the Uart series.  I bought a sample pack a while back, and now that I think I get how to use pastels fairly well, I thought it was time to begin.  Having cleaner pastels also helped.  I also decided to work from light to dark this time, like a watercolor, and it seems to have been a bit more successful.  My colors were getting rather muddy in the last one.  I also did not apply any fixative to the painting until it was done.  In the others I had used workable fixative between layers.

Overall, rather a bit more pleased with this pastel painting than yesterday’s.  It was more pleasant to do, probably in part because I simplified my approach.  Working light to dark – putting in the sky and water first – may also have helped.  The Uart 800 sanded pastel paper was really nice, too, and gave a nice smooth finish as the paper has a very fine tooth to it.  I used a final fixative on it, but I am still unsure how many layers of final fixative are to be used.

Now, time to attach sleeves to the sweater I am knitting!

Two Boats

Every week I am trying to focus on a subject.  I guess for the next week it will be boats.  My drawing skills are not the best, and so focusing on how something is constructed will help.  What made me think about this is a very simple way of drawing and painting boats by an excellent watercolor YouTuber named Shibasaki.  Below is his demo on boats.

What makes this video so valuable is he shows you that a boat is a series of rectangles with a few curves.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out.  I’ve learned a lot from Shibasaki-san!

My palette here was limited to zinc white, ultramarine blue, a touch of gamboge, burnt sienna, and some left over colors on the palette from the sunset coast I painted the other day – a bit of teal and some red.

One thing I have always loved are sail boats and tug boats.  Those are on the agenda.  Stay tuned . . .

An Afternoon’s Study

After spending the last month working small – on 7×10 paper – and using both gouache and regular watercolor, I felt the need for something big and expansive!  This means broad strokes, rapid washes, focusing and thinking ahead at the same time.  That is what I find when I work with really wet watercolors, and much of this study was done with washes bleeding into another.

Not feeling especially original, and totally delighted that Edo Hannema uploaded another tutorial after a few months absence from YouTube, I decided to follow along with his video.

If you are not familiar with Edo Hannema, he is a watercolorist located in Holland. As Holland is a very flat country, he is much influenced by skies and extensive landscape. Water is also a strong element in many of his landscapes.

For me, it is a real pleasure to follow his practice videos, in part because I live in such a dry part of the world! Additionally, he is candid about what he is doing. For instance, if he doesn’t like a bit of his painting, he says it right out loud. As someone who struggles to paint and make my watercolor look good, it is so reassuring to find other painters get as frustrated or annoyed as I do when something doesn’t go the way I want it to. At one point in his video he talks about the tall tree in the left center of the painting. “I hate this!” I can understand that frustration. When the houses nearby don’t go as planned, he tells the viewer to make the best of the situation. That is what you have to do in watercolor.

As you can see, my sky is quite violent compared to his gentle one – I kept getting blooms for some reason, and struggled to get rid of them.  Another element of my own painting was my determination to keep my brushes clean!  World Watercolor Month 2019 really brought that point home to me.  I managed to do it pretty well.

Daily practice takes work.  Tomorrow, I hope to work on gouache color swatches, using whites to create variations in tonality of a given color, as well as working with complementary colors to achieve greys.  That should prove to be an interesting adventure.

WWM #13: Glassy

I am drawn to water – maybe because when I was young, there was always a lake or river nearby.  As an adult, I live in a rather dry land where creeks are rare, but the vast Pacific is not far, with wetlands and marshes.  Fresh water lakes, though, are what I really love – the ones where the sky passes by beneath your feet on the glassy calm of the water.

This is from a photograph of a lake somewhere in the world – from Pixabay – and the clouds in the foreground were crystal clear and smooth.  I sort of messed that glassiness up, but came fairly close to what I was trying to express.  Obviously, this is a rather lonely view, but what better place than to sit, enjoy the breeze , and perhaps listen to the babbling of water fowl and the hum of insects on a warm summer day?

WWM #7: Shiny Things

Shiny things . . . like a magpie, we are all drawn to things that glitter and glisten.  But what to paint, and in gouache?  In watercolor, perhaps a metal spoon or bowl, complete with sunshine glinting.  In gouache, though, the possible deepness of color as well as having a few metallic paints, I thought of water.  Water is always shiny, at night with reflected lights, during the day as the sun and clouds pass overhead.  Even when the weather is foul, water reflects and shines.  Painting this was a rather sensuous experience, which is perhaps why I am enjoying gouache more and more . . . and water is certainly so on a warm summer day.