Are you willing to change?

Echeverria, watercolor by Rachel from several years ago

I wanted to show you a series of paintings that I did through a class taken in the summer with the fabulous painter Nancy Frost Begin. She challenged us to be willing to simplify our subject and change elements such as color, value, etc. to INVENT rather than just REPORT in our painting. I started with the photograph that inspired this painting I did of echeverria several years ago and I simplified the subject first.

This was a more simplified painting with deeper values than the original.
This is a cool version of it in progress

The first question: Was I willing to change the color?

COLOR change

Was I willing to change the shape?

One of my favorites…abstracting the shape

Was I willing to change the scale? To zoom in? or out…

SCALE change and also playing with pure color against the various grays made from the orange and blue

Was I willing to change the value?

VALUE change…the white edges became the dark edges and it has a large focus on LINE.

Was I willing to change the form?

I chose to remove it from being plant like/organic and making it more geometric…and also play with the color.

Was I willing to change the space? i.e. reverse what we think about the background and foreground

One might expect the warm colors to be in the center and come forward and the cooler in the background to recede, but I flipped it, as well as flipping the color on the little spines to dark

What a difference they all are aren’t they? coming from the same point of inspiration. It was a mind blowing and mind expanding exercise that I’m sure I will do again! I loved it!

Nancy Frost Begin, NMWS will be the guest demo artist for the Rio Bravo Watercolorists on November 20, Wednesday at 10:30 at the International Museum of Art, 1211 Montana, El Paso. She will be discussing What Are You Willing to Change?

Rosy Oleanders

Rosy oleander study

I have continued to work on oleanders in various ways. In this study I was playing with colors, whether to include red in the  blossom and greens and grays in background. It helped me decide on colors: quin rose, ultramarine blue and hansa med yellow, along with pyroll orange. 

Oleander sketch

I added black micromarker lines around major forms to make transferring to watercolor paper easier using my lightbox. 

Here are the first stages of the next painting. The first layer was done wet in wet with front and back of paper wet first with clear water. The next two stages were done with wet paint on dry paper. 

My next step is to sketch foliage forms into paper and then paint the background including dark points, so that I can see how many layers are needed on the blooms, if any. 

What do you think? I would love to hear from you! 

Spurge redone

I’m working behind the scenes on several pieces for upcoming shows, including a watercolor collage of spurge blossoms which I find fascinating.  They bloom in January and February, a yellow green cluster of tiny blossoms and I’ve run across them intermingled with prickly pear pads and I love the feel of English gardens with blossoms all intertwined but here in a desert setting.  so here’s one of the clusters from the collage and more photos will appear in coming days…   I’ve painted the scene before and my collage comes from several less than succcesful attempts to paint it differently.  I’ve blogged about this earlier.

“Spurge Among the Prickly Pear” is on display at the Cottonwood Gallery of the Southwest Environmental Center’s Nature show which runs through the end of August.  The gallery is at 275 W Main Street, Las Cruces, and is open M-F 9 am – 6 pm.

spurge among the prickly pears

“Spurge Among the Prickly Pear” on display at SWEC until August 31.

More Oleander layers 

I am having fun doing this in a random building up way–i.e. without a plan. Perhaps not the best method, but we shall see. I am realizing I need to be sketching and doing value studies much more! Still it is gun to see what emerges.  

White oleanders in process

Over the past several days I have been working on this painting of white oleanders using the negative painting method I talked about in the last post. 

I got ahead of myself in trying some browns made from the primaries I am using, so that stem, right now, seems out of place. The colors are thalo blue, hansa yellow, quin rose and ultramarine. Perhaps I need to be more orderly in my steps…but that probably won’t happen!! 

Lantana again

lantana sprig day3

Lantana sprig Day 3 of World Watercolor Month

I had forgotten how challenging it is to paint and post daily! I feel as other people may feel getting back into the gym…hesitant, tight, annoyed, frustrated …  ah well, at least the painting day is done!


Lantana bouquet day #2

Second day of the World Watercolor Month. This isn’t finished but it is done for the day. 

End of Winter day 30

I made it!  30 paintings in 30 days, and it was fun! Hope you had fun too following along.  This is also done on yupo. 

Mountains day 29

Today’s yupo painting is a more controlled one, rather than playing and spritzing and rolling around the pigment, I went in more purposefully. The time flew by.  Yupo may be a very good stress reliever and there are many of us that need a little of that these days!

Flowers day 28

Saturday’s sale at the Sunland Art Gallery was a time of companionship and lots of laughs and lots of sales. We are open one more day, Tues the 31st of January but then it is the end of an era. So if you would like a nice piece of art or print at a very good price, please stop in 10-5 on Tuesday. 
This is a small little yupo piece that was started in our class and finished yesterday.  Not getting around to blogging until today.