Hard to believe it’s been two weeks or so since I was last online.
Life has been busy, but in reality, the weather has been awful! We have had a heat wave that knackers you – 100+ F, and even worse further inland. Temps have ranged from 95-111 in the vicinity where I live (35-43C). Ugh. As a result, blobdom has reigned as the primary mode of existence and, sadly, some binge watching on the TV in the air-conditioned house. I guess we all have to do it.
Despite that, I have met with a pencil portrait group in a local park and have enjoyed those mornings. I have also done some sewing. And mice chasing, but no catching. Today I cleaned up the mess I call a studio.
And finally, I have sat down to paint. I wanted scudding clouds and changing light – movement from bright to dark across the hills and the sky. Wind, too. Anything to cool off.
Another painting on the reverse of another, again employing dampening the paper before commencing. More hake brush wet-in-wet. I wanted to catch the brilliance of the land beneath the storm as spots of sunshine break through a fast moving storm. In the Southwest, this is common and exciting to see – sometimes the landscape shifts in seconds.
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.
Another watercolor, mostly wet-in-wet, but I ended up doing a lot more details in dry brush as the painting progressed. Finally, I applied some glazes in an attempt to unify different sections as I had overworked the painting quite a bit. The even spacing of the brush / trees in the lower middle ground are rather amusing, too – didn’t I look? I didn’t really notice them until I scanned the painting!
This is reminiscent of the foothills in California as they give way to the Sierras. Here, I used a hake brush about 2 inches wide to render everything – land, sky, trees. Most was wet-in-wet, but the blobs of bushes and some of the trees were done on a dryer surface.
I’ve been in a foggy mood lately – could it be matching my aggravation with the coronavirus and all the social restrictions it is placing on us? I have been rather out of it for the past several days, so today I decided that, no matter what I felt I had to do, a painting with a cheerful theme would be the day’s beginning! Nothing like a beautiful day at the seaside with a good wind and a brilliant sun to cast away those doldrums.
Continuing my water and fog series, and my simplification attempts as well. Here, another deserted coastline, with a few birds.
What is it about a lonely beach? It’s spooky, it’s sad, it’s exciting, and quiet. If the sun is trying to break through, the warmth begins to disperse the fog. Hopeful. Sun. If it is heavy weather, the sky lowers and threatens. Cold. Damp. Dangerous.
Fluid paper, limited palette of ultramarine, sap and Hooker’s greens, burnt umber and raw sienna, and a bit of alizarin. Probably other colors, too – hard to remember where the brush wandered.
If you think that the SoCal coast can be foggy, Oregon is by far more foggy at times! It’s an incredibly beautiful coastline with wide, nearly empty beaches. Out to sea are the sea stacks, some large, some small. In clear weather they are stunning, in the fog, spooky and eerie.
Today, a limited palette and paying particular attention to laying down water and thin colors. Washes are the dominant technique used here. My little picky brush strokes had to give way to broad ones for the beach and damp sand. It actually worked fairly well. Water, water, everywhere!
More work this morning with thin washes and working wet-in-wet. Not as pleasing as yesterday’s work, but a good experience nonetheless. A limited palette, some work with glazes, and use of dry brush. Painted on Fluid paper, which was a new experience – rather different in handling than Arches, but similar to the Fabriano I used yesterday. DOF isn’t there – I think the water further in the distance should be lighter . . . something to think about.
California is not all joyful sunshine and playing on the beaches. Fog is a large part of the coastal environment. It is known as “May grey” and “June gloom.” This morning I woke up to it . . . . inspiration for a foggy lake in the frozen (or not so frozen) north.
I’m still focused on water. Today I wanted fog and water and hoped to use very wet paint thinned to mostly water. I also wanted to work with wet-in-wet in the attempt to catch the softening of edges, increasingly more blurred and colorless, to denote distance. A dull, muted foreground with intense color to add to depth of field. I think it all worked out pretty good.
Fabirano 25% cotton paper, 9×12, neutral tint, sap green, Hooker’s green, phthalo green, Payne’s grey, quinacridone gold, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna.