This was a fun piece done in a class where we wadded up the paper while dry to get texture, even tears, in the surface. We then wet it and worked wet in wet. I like how the wrinkles helped add interest to the mountains. Other elements that work well are the papa, mama, baby bear size and details of the flowers and lost and found edges.
What do you think?
I spent some time today sketching and painting small images of the Texas Mountain Laurel. This is the most successful of the three.
The hardest part for me is doing the foliage and dealing with the muted activity of what is going on behind the foreground foliage and how to express that all without going in after the firm edges of the leaves and adding background. On this one I did lighter leaves and laid darker and varied ones on top.
I’m going to try another wet in wet approach first, as I did yesterday with mingled colors of lights and mediums, not committing myself to placing the darks from the beginning, leaving soft edged areas of whiteness to fill in with blossoms and planning where to put the pods. In that way some lighter leaves can be lifted out or negatively painted along with positive leaves.
What I’ve had success in is using the brush stroke to make a leaf in one stroke. Happy with that. The leaves follow along rhythmically along a curved or straight thin stem and those lines could lead the eye through the painting, but one risks having too repetitive shapes, so playing with lost and found edges would help that.
The blossoms are best done with mixing the permanent rose and ultramarine blue, leaning more toward the blue and going in later with drops of water and/or lifting our sworls of light to make the petal patterns that also go in pairs rhythmically on a with darker semi closed petals at the bottom of each pair.
As an aside, the wind was gusting at time today so that I had to hold down my easel while painting! Next time I shall have to remember to hook my bag with water bottle to the bottom of the easel to weight it down.
At least this year, my Texas Mountain Laurel bush is blooming two weeks earlier than usual. I’m so glad I wandered over to check on whether it was in bud, and there are many clusters that are already open. If you don’t know this bush, the clusters smell like grape koolaid, and it was the first shrub I planted when we moved in a long time ago. I went out after 4 to paint it in the afternoon sun and shadows, and I feel like after several years, I finally have a handle on how to express the blooms. Expect to see more paintings over the next week. One of my favorite parts of the bush are the seed pods that linger and over several years they turn rusty and blue but in the first years they are light tan. can you see them in the painting?
Here’s another piece that I’ve finished and I’m really happy with it! The thorns are made by scratching on the paper surface to add more texture to the negative pained thorns and segment edges of the cactus itself.
earlier stage of cholla trio
If you remember here’s what it looked like in an earlier post.
So what did I learn from doing this? First that negative painting to preserve lights is not that difficult. Negative painting is when you create an image by painting what is around it I did that on the branch, and also to create a stamen and pistils in the center of the main bloom. I remembered to describe the elements in varying amounts of specificity. In other words, not all of the blooms are equally detailed or in focus which gives the viewer something to imagine and fill in the blanks. I also went ahead and put in the background at the same time as the focal flowers and foliage which helped have some edges soft, some edges sharp (that’s known as lost and found edges). Plus I learned that all this was FUN to do!
I took the painting down to Shiloh’s folks and they loved it so now I’ll get it framed and take it down to them. We are using a white on white mat to pull out the white of his fur with a dark frame. I am thrilled they are so happy with him!
And now while I’m in the dog painting mode, I’m starting work on a painting for my sister in law of her sweet golden retriever Murphy who is no longer with us. here’s the initial sketch of him:
In related news I have the opportunity of putting pet paintings down at the Crossroads Animal Hospital which I’m very excited about. I’ll frame prints of Tulie (below) and Shiloh and perhaps some others and include information on doing commissions and how to get in touch with me. I am quite thankful for this opportunity.
Here’s Lookin at you. 16 x 20 framed $225
That’s it for now! more soon as I intend on blogging daily in March.
I am enjoying the challenge of capturing Shiloh in watercolor. I’m at the stage now where I want to lay in a varied color background probably in blues and browns that will capture the shaggy white edges around his ears and shoulder fur. I also have to decide what side to shade his face. I’m thinking on the right side as we are looking at him.
Since putting in the background would involve uninterrupted time and attention to get the edges just right and keep all the pigment flowing without sharp edges, I’m going to work on that tomorrow. The kids are almost home now and even though they are teenagers, uninterrupted time is hard to find!
Here are previous posts in this process:
https://rachelm.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/shiloh-in-progress/ (first attempt)
https://rachelm.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/shiloh-study-day-24/ (wild study)
As always, thanks for stopping by and letting me know your thoughts!
Here is where the Shiloh commission painting stands now. I will be working on it further this weekend. Once the area around his right eye has more done, I think it will be well along.
Here’s the board I have handy to work from. The top photo is the principal one, the black and white next to it shows me the values. The bottom right photo shows his ears, the dreadlocks, that I am incorporating. And the bottom left is the initial practice painting.
I got lost in keeping some of the white areas of his fur, and with watercolor keeping the white paper is imperative. So on the current painting I have a tiny white x in each area to remind me to keep them white.
Here are earlier stages of the painting.
These pieces are half sheet size papers created at a class. We used the polyester fiber that is sold at Halloween time to stretch and becomes spider web like for decorating. We pulled it in various ways and pinned it to wet paper and added colors here and there and let it dry. Aren’t they cool?? They can be used as a background, or negative painted on (darkening certain areas to create another design), cutting or tearing for collage. The possibilities are vast and exciting to think about, including using the technique in a conscious way to create a design before putting down paint.
What do you see in the paintings? I see angel wings in the pink. I love the colors of the blue
Have I mentioned how much I like taking classes with Laurel Weathersbee? This is the third of four classes with her and I have learned so much. More on that later, because I am energized from class and want to put that energy into my Shiloh commission.
So bye for now. More later…
Here’s a painting on yupo paper from a Valentine’s bouquet my husband bought me.
One thing I should point out you should watch with yupo is that oil from fingerprints on the paper act like a resist meaning the paint doesn’t stay there. Sometimes it fits into your design; sometimes it doesn’t.
You can see the spots along the bottom which is the vase but I don’t mind it that much. One place where it does work well is next to the pink purple daisy. The thin straight line acts like a vein in the leaf; it’s also an oil spot. These spots can be removed by wiping rubbing alcohol over the paper even now. Remember anything can be lifted off of this paper at anytime.