Day 20 Forest’s Edge

Forest's Edge.  11" x 15" watercolor. $25

Day 20.  Forest’s Edge. 11″ x 15″ watercolor. $25

Yesterday I finished the painting of the tree, not to my satisfaction, but anyway, it’s done!  Without a plan I was just messing around, putting in, lifting colors, scrubbing out.  anyway…dusted and done and ready for the bin!  Or at least that’s how I feel today….  smile.

Ten more days to go on this 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  In a way I can’t wait!  It has at times been grueling, some times really fun.  I certainly don’t regret doing it…and I plan on doing ten more paintings…

Oh the greens of spring!

Forest Spring.  Watercolor by Rachel Murphree

Forest Spring watercolor 9″ x 12″. Click on image to view larger.

Closeup of Forest Spring.  Watercolor by Rachel Murphree

texture enhanced with rice paper collaged on top prior to painting

I truly enjoyed capturing the logs and rocks in vibrant dark colors in this view of spring in the forest. It was done rather quickly, playing with darks, and then tweaked a bit later to pull out some rocks. This was from a class taught by Marie Siegrist in Las Cruces where we randomly placed sheer rice paper along the foreground and then painted on top. You can see the threads and textures of the rice paper more in the closeup. The darks help make the light greens and pale sunlight pop. I believe I will enter this in the Colors of Spring local show.

Painting makes all kinds of daily activities interesting, even the mundane driving of kids back and forth to school and other activities. I find myself looking at trees and bushes and seeing how sometimes the branches appear in front of the foliage, and other times behind it. Another thing is noting how much of the sky shows through the foliage…and then thinking about how I would paint what I see. And have you noticed that the lightest part of the foliage is usually at the top, because it is nearer the sun? but sometimes the section of the bush protrudes enough so that light hits the top of it even if it is in the middle of the height of the bush. Fascinating how painting has opened my eyes!

I hope my thoughts will make your drives and walks more enjoyable. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to share or comment!

Stop and rest

Watercolor painting

Stop and Rest. Forest scene with rock. Click image to view larger. Available.


Here’s the second piece from Wednesday’s class on creating textures and fixing problem areas.  The instructions were a rock with grasses in front and lots of green behind, letting rich colors run in the background.

I posted a picture below of what it looked like when I came home.  The rock was floating, flat bottomed like some weird space hovering.  I didn’t like the grasses.  I can’t wrap my head around yet how to negatively paint the tops of grasses to get them to be thin blades, and I liked some colors in the mixing but the blues were too prominent and separated in the forest.

painting at early stages

How it looked after the class. it needed some help!

So I did some scrubbing out of edges with a coarse hair cheaper acrylic brush that I cut down to make a stiff ridge, painted down over the tops of the grasses and then pulled up with a palette knife to get the grasses I wanted.  added more color in the background, tried to create masses of bushes/trees with spattering of water, etc.  

While I wish that I had gotten this look earlier on so that it looked fresher and less worked, I’m glad I rescued it.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!   Thanks for visiting. 

And miles to go before I sleep….

Watercolor of woods in winter

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep…and beautiful in snow. Watercolor 6″ x 10″. Available. Click on image to view larger.

Yesterday I attended my second class of the informal transparent group here in town and our teacher was Dorian Clouser. As before, I learned a lot, especially from watching her demonstrate the techniques. I also really appreciated that she visited with each student, offering praise and then helpful suggestions. She will be with us next week and I”m looking forward to it.

This painting was wet in wet of a day with snow either in the air or coming soon, and we could take it in whatever direction we felt. Wet in wet is when you saturate the paper with clean water and once it has absorbed to a certain point you put on other paints in various stages of concentration. the more watery ones fade into the background and give texture and depth, the more concentrated (less water) don’t melt away as much and appear more prominent. it’s a balancing act of the amount of water and pigment, and it’s really quite fun!

I also learned how to make the rough sticks and weeds coming out of the snow by loading a palette knife and making marks that way, so it’s not just brushes that you can use. In fact, we also learned how to make trees by using credit cards….more on that on another day, when I finish the painting!