WWM #24: Treats

I am not sure if this watercolor does justice to the prompt of “treat” for #WorldWatercolorMonth2019!  Macarons are delicate, colorful, absolutely delicious French treats – cookies? – and here we have pistachio, coffee, lemon, raspberrry, and orange.  As cookies are one of my favorite treats (beats dog biscuits any day), I thought I would try to pay homage to a delightful accompaniment to coffee.

WWM #23: Beach Fun

I guess if I was a true plein aire painter, I would be outside at the beach recording “Beach Fun” for #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.  Alas, it is not to be.

Sort of “meh” about this one.  It was a lot harder to do than I thought it would be – what is more simple than a pail and shovel?  Well, it was!  It’s like there are 3 different styles here – none of which match or integrate well.  I like the shadows on the sand the best.

This one, I will say, makes me feel pretty good.  I like the surf board and the highlights on the leash.  As well, the foggy sky with the sun breaking through is a far cry from my usual blue skies.  Overall, the atmosphere is good for beach fun, I think.

I really cannot say how much I am enjoying painting in gouache!  Like watercolor, there are times it makes me crazy, but as I do more and more painting, it is beginning to make sense.  Some of the colors I have are not what I really like, and it is easy to get muddy, just as in watercolor.  Letting things happen is also part of gouache, as in watercolor, but that is the beauty of any art form – it can go places you never expect and create some lovely, happy accidents.

WWM #22: Rain Forest

I don’t know about you, but rain forests belong in the tropics, filled with tigers and monkeys and long, poisonous snakes.  At least, that is my fantasy.  The French painter, Henri Rousseau, has a number of paintings which are of the jungle, and always make me think this is what a rain forest looks like.

This gouache is a tribute to the wonderful work of Rousseau, and while certainly not on the same caliber as his work, I hope it does convey the richness of his imagination with a bit of my own.  

Within the United States, we have a rain forest, the Hoh Rain Forest up in the Olympic Peninsula area.  We went there several years ago on a road trip, and hiking through this forest was an eerie and otherworldly experience.  You cannot see the sky for the density of the trees, branches, and moss overhead.  Following the trail, which was clearly marked, showed you the wonder of a primitive world, bathed in its own soft gold-green light.

WWM #21: Patterns

First thoughts on patterns were patterns in nature, such as snowflakes, basalt rocks, fields as seen from the air, kaleidoscopes.  Nope . . . didn’t feel right.

And then it hit me – sewing patterns.  My studio is used for painting, photography, and sewing for the most part.  All my sewing stuff is in another room or scattered into another dimension as we finish the repairs from a water leak.

Thus, for #WorldWatercolorMonth2019, patterns of a different sort.

WWM #20: Buildings

Where I live, a building is a house surrounded by the rest of suburbia.  I don’t live in a city.  I don’t live in the country.  Sometimes I wish I could transport myself to someplace so very different than where I live now.  That said, one can travel in one’s imagination, and that is what I have chosen to do here – a street in the early evening somewhere in a gracious part of an old city.

While this is not a perfect painting, I did have some goals in mind while painting “buildings” for the #WorldWatercolorMonth2019 prompt.  One was to really work on perspective.  It’s pretty well nailed here.  Another was negative painting – keep some paper white.  Here, the chimneys up in the sun.  I wanted details to show perspective – the closer to the viewer, the more details, as can be seen the closer to the right the buildings become.  A lack of detail to show there is distance.  Finally, I wanted to use light glazes to designate where the sun is on the upper buildings, and not on the lower part.  Here, light quinacridone gold on top, light cobalt on the bottom.  I rather like the way the street is striped in shades from dark to light, but as to whether it is realistic is not a question I care to answer.  In general, I think the sketchy elements of the watercolor work well with the colors and lines to convey feeling and mood.

For “buildings” I knew I wanted a loose, light painting.  This one is on a small sheet of paper, and I expect the final image is about 6×8 inches (could measure, don’t feel like it!).  I used both small and large brushes, a bit of imagination, a bi of memory of previous reads on perspective.  I found the most interesting thing I did was to do the sky last!  I really think it works well with most o the painting.

Later!

WWM #19: Splashes of Color

I’ve been thinking about how I am developing a sort of painting style in gouache, as well as giving thought to the painters whose work I admire.  It definitely falls in the impressionistic and expressionistic varieties.  Gouache just seems to be made for exuberant color and enthusiastic brushwork.My colors are more subdued that I wanted – I wanted turquoise skies and pink flowers and a brilliant sunset.  Instead, I have a rather northern European type of town scene, with a garden or flowering park in the middle.  Summer’s abundance flourishes under the trees, but in the shade it seems.  In doing this painting, I didn’t do much planning.  I stuck to the prompt of “splashes of color” – and splash I did.  The result was a serious loosening up of my style, and a letting go of “this is what I want it to be.”  That is significant – I can be a real tight ass about painting, and in the end dislike the results.  When I let go – let things splash – I am usually much, much happier with the results.

Regardless, both paintings appear muddy to me.  I wonder if working with pure color – straight from the tube – would help.  Practice certainly will.  The flowers in the vase seem a bit overworked, too.  Again, practice and experience.

So, lots of splashes of color for #WorldWatercolorMonth 2019 is producing some rather pleasing results and, more than anything, a daily involvement with painting.

WWM #18: Clouds

Where I live, in the dry hills of the Central Coast of California, clouds are really, honestly a rarity.  Most days the sky is a clear, steady blue.  In the fall and spring, and sometimes into the summer, though, the seasons shift.  The rainy season brings in moisture, clouds form, and the sky suddenly has a life of its own.  In May and June, the coastal fog moves in, and sometimes you have a competition or a dance between the two – soft, cool fog close to the ground, and clouds at higher altitudes.  As the fog breaks up, you see the blue sky and clouds above the shifting fog.

This is from a photograph I took a long time ago when I first started doing digital photography.  A small group of us would get together to go for an easy hike, many times in the evening.  Hummingbird Trail is where the original photo was taken, admittedly way over-processed in HDR, but the intensity of the colors held true.  I tried to capture this in my painting, along with the shifting fog and clouds.  I also tried to work on distance by applying a light glaze of a dulling blue grey wash to the distant hills, as well as decreasing details to indicate perspective.

Clouds are so much fun to do in watercolor!  Who is to say your clouds don’t look real?  There are so many mysteriously beautiful in the natural world, but few are as shifting and as ephemeral as clouds.