The Summit — Day 14

This morning I sketched storm clouds over our mountains while waiting to pick up my daughter, and this afternoon I tried to express it in paint. The mts got away from me so I tried some palette knife texturing.  It is what it is…LOL

Storm Approaching

Storm Approaching. Day 3 of watercolor workshop with Michael Riordan. 7" x 10.5"

Storm Approaching. Day 3 of watercolor workshop with Michael Riordan. 7″ x 10.5″

And the storm WAS approaching. While his demo was finishing, the thunderstorm came and the day was cloudy and drizzly all day. We’re hoping for better weather tomorrow when we go “plein air” with Michael Riordan.

We learned clouds today, starting again with an uinderpainting of cobalt and cad orange, leaving the focal point (white against darkest dark) covered with clear water.  Once the underpainting dried, we turned the paper upside down because the lightest blue is along the horizon and we put in the clouds.  We then turned it over and kept working on the middle ground and foreground.

I wish I had taken a picture of this when the clouds didn’t look quite as good…they were full of little bits here and there and just didn’t gel.  Although, frankly, I am SURE I’ll have another cloud painting where I don’t like what happens!

A key to fixing  that, which he suggested to many of us, is to brush water over all of it, perhaps with cobalt lightly in some of it just to get the particles all loose and perhaps encouraging it here and there to smooth out.  I am much happier with them after doing that.

I brought it home, didn’t like it as much as the second one I did today, but then I put in the cloud shadows (in the middle ground) and the painting popped for me.  I’m pleased with it.

So fingers crossed for good weather (rain is ok, we’re doing “wet in wet” after all — ha!) but we hope heavy winds and freezing weather will not be on the menu…

Day 11 of 30 in 30 — Around the Bend

Around the Bend.  8" x 10" $25.

Around the Bend. 8″ x 10″ watercolor $25.

So in today’s offering we have one painting that combines both elements of my nominal “theme” of this challenge:  Seas and Skies.

This painting was inspired by a trip over a decade ago to the Rio Grande up in Rio Rancho, NM with the kiddos.  It’s been a hectic busy week, after other busy weeks, and I knew for a fact that I would NOT have painted today if it weren’t for this challenge.

So that’s great!

I also know that doing this daily is helping techniques “click” in my brain.  As an example, I started out the sand with an earth yellow color added other colors to it, blues, burnt oranges and then brushed them together to help them blend, making sure to keep the brush strokes horizontal and I think it helped define the sand.  That was from a video I watched last month and the act of painting helped pull that technique from deep in my brain.

There are parts of this that I would have liked to do better, but for the end of a busy week, I’m calling it “done”!

I love hearing from you.  Please let me know you stopped by!

Day 5 of 30 in 30 — Clouds Gathering

Large expanse of clouds gathering over the mountain.

30 in 30 day 5. Clouds Gathering.  $25. 5″ x 7″

I was focusing on the clouds again in this piece and when they were at a point I liked, I added the mountain with minglings of cobalt blue and quin burnt orange.  Then I scraped away ridges and texturing with the end of chiseled paint brush.

I worked on this one while gallery sitting today down at the In the Mix show. There are two weeks left of it, and business was steady for a lot of the time.  Made some sales of prints and cards which was nice, but I especially enjoyed talking to the people who made it down to see the show!

The technique of cloud building is just like other ways of showing roundness:  soft edges, dark lines blending away, light on one side.  Similar to what I used to make the rose painting earlier this week.

I had done two wet in wet skies, this one with clouds, and the other with a smooth blending of blues/roses/yellows near horizon.  That became something TOTALLY different!  come back tomorrow to see it…thanks for stopping by!

Day 4 of 30 in 30 — back to skies

Sunset.  Day 4 of 30 painting in 30 days challenge.  Watercolor.  7' x 11".  $25

Sunset. Day 4 of 30 painting in 30 days challenge. Watercolor. 7′ x 11″. $25

Day Four of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. A colorful sunset inspired by a day last month where the trees in my yard at dusk had wonderful silhouettes against the beautiful colors of the sunset.

The sky was done wet in wet with all the colors blending.  After it was bone dry I went in and lifted with soft fabric painting brushes and toothbrushes and added some dark underbellies here and there.  The dark shapes were created with indanthrone blue and quinacridone burnt scarlet.  I love those two mingled.

As you’ll see over the next couple of days, I think I’m fascinated by portraying clouds…  stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by.  I enjoy hearing from you!

Cloud Shadows and 30 in 30 day challenge announcement

watercolor of clouds and their shadows on mountains. done in a class with Marie Siegrist

watercolor of clouds and their shadows on mountains. done in a class with Marie Siegrist

Classes started up for another session with Marie Siegrist, a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and teacher in Las Cruces, NM. I’m enjoying taking classes with her weekly, and learning a lot. The very idea of having a class forces one (ME!) to get assignments done.

We started working on clouds the week before and my first two attempts were horrible. seriously. but the night before the next class, I thought...just get in on the paper, Rachel! and it turned out fairly ok. One neat technique she taught us was gently scrubbing out cloud areas (after it has all dried) with a clean toothbrush to get rid of hard edges, if not wanted, and help shape the clouds. So I’m fairly happy with this one, and am looking forward to lots more practice with clouds and water.

Speaking of that, I’m doing the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge starting September 1st. I did this in January, and learned a great deal from the daily practice. Not all paintings have to be (or can be) gallery material, but it’s an exercise to get me into the studio daily. I’ve decided my theme will be “Sea and Sky” so expect to see postings of water, clouds, sky, shells, and more in September.

And of course, the big deal for me is my art show tomorrow evening.  If you’re in town and can stop by, please do so.  I’ll have originals, framed prints and cards for sale.  See the events calendar on the right side column for more information.

Storm clouds approaching

Storm Clouds Coming.   Watercolor by Rachel Murphree

Storm Clouds Coming. 8″ x 10″ Watercolor Click on image to view larger. Available.

Can you feel the storm rolling in?

This was final painting in a watercolor class offered by Oween Rath through the OLLI program at UTEP. I enjoyed the class. It gave me a refresher course on the basics which never hurts, and I learned some new skills as well. One thing in particular that I appreciated is that we painted from quite rough minimal sketches which really worked well for me. I didn’t feel the pressure of a photograph and all its details imposed on me. We worked from a skeletal framework to create what we in our own minds. I found it an effective teaching technique.

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