Another tree sketch and wash

mesquite tree sketch and wash

mesquite tree sketch and wash

Still thinking of trees and experimenting with painting them.  Here’s an ink sketch done while waiting for one of the kids.  I was working on getting the colors and the light and only suggesting foliage, not defining every leaf.  It’s in a sketchbook so the paint reacts differently than on watercolor paper which is thicker and sized to accept the wet media.  Even so, it’s fun to put washes over sketches in the sketchbook.

You can see other tree paintings in previous posts: tree studies, winter trees, and trees and trunks.

Thanks for stopping by!

Second try Mesquite Shade Day 26


Here’s the second try on this painting.  I like it better, but am still not totally happy with it.  It’s in progress and I’m setting it aside to consider it another day.  You can compare it with the earlier version .  I’m very thankful for constructive criticism and comments that you all have taken the time to write, and would love to hear your comments on this one.

One thing that has to be fixed in the next version is the branch going out the corner of the piece!  I certainly know that but had a brain hiccup there.  I’m thinking the white top in the far left rock is too deep.  I’m sure I’ll come up with other issues as I look at it more.

I’m happy with the mixing of the foliage colors on the paper.  I think that’s fresh.  I like the sun hitting the branches and that they are largely better shaped (wide near the trunk and getting more slender.)

I’ve “fallen off the wagon” in the 30 in 30 challenge, at least in posting on my blog.  Life with teens is getting in the way!  those of you who are parents can probably relate.  But that’s ok, painting can wait.

Thanks for stopping by…

Mesquite Shade — Day 20


Over the past couple of days I’ve worked on a larger more detailed version of the mesquite shade value sketch that I blogged about earlier.  There are parts of it I’m happy with, and some I am not.  I need more practice on foliage for one.  The other is that it looks like the rock wall/bench is higher and slopes down toward the foreground, and I’m puzzling over how to make it look flat.  Any suggestions?

Here’s the photo reference again:

Mesquite Shade_pencil_value_sketch _rachel_murphree_watercolor (3)

photo and pencil value sketch possibilities


And here are various stages in the process:

For the underpainting I used cobalt and pyroll orange.  It has a pinkier look to it, a variation from the underpainting colors of cadmium orange and cobalt that I learned in the Michael Riordan workshop last fall.  I painted around the lightest lights and put the orange into the areas that would be warmer.

For the greens, I consulted some color charts I’d done earlier in larger blocks on my paper (as opposed to the teeny tiny squares I did when I was a novice and didn’t “get” the value of color charts) The top row is hansa as the first layer, the second as new gamboge, the third has lemon yellow laid down first.  I decided the mid summer warmth of the foliage would be best made with new gamboge.


And here’s the last in process photo.  You can see that I took the foliage area and at times went over the edges iof the branches of the trunk, but I knew that the browns would be able to cover those edges and make them thicker.

mesquite_shade_in_process (1)

Stage 3 of mesquite shade

As always, I welcome comments and constructive criticism, and thank again for stopping by!

February Art Show!

The Distance, watercolor by Rachel Murphree

The Distance.  Watercolor by Rachel Murphree, framed to 11″ x 14″.  $125.

I am pleased to announce that I have two pieces juried into the “For the Love of Art” show in Las Cruces at MAS Art, 126 South Main Street, Las Cruces, NM 88001.  The show opening is February 5th from 5-7 pm.  If you are local, it would be great to see you there!

The Distance was actually done during the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge I did in September.  You can read about the process from my blog post at that time.

Agave Shadows #1 Watercolor painting by Rachel Murphree

Agave Shadows #1, done mostly dry on wet. Framed to 12″ x 16″  $125.

The other is Agave Shadows #1 which I did earlier last year.  You can read about the process at this post. 

File Jan 11, 6 30 30 PM

darker foreground shape

And here is the painted value sketch amended from yesterday.   I realized that I didn’t have the value of the foreground prickly pear dark enough, so I added another layer of color.

Mesquite Shade_painted_value_sketch _rachel_murphree_watercolor (2)

lighter foreground shape

You can’t always judge the value of items from a photograph, but I think in this case the dark value of the front is appropriate because it is in shade, and it reinforces the brightness of the sunlit area by the wall.

I think it works better.  What do you think?  I think tomorrow I will do a value sketch with using just one pigment to focus on values and not play with the color.


Mesquite Shade Day 10

Mesquite Shade_pencil_value_sketch _rachel_murphree_watercolor (3).jpgAnother value study for today’s studio productivity report!  On the left is the reference photo I took at the (beautiful) Keystone Heritage Botanical gardens, and I experimented with only using a point within the photo for the second value sketch, adding a tall dark shape on the right.  I liked the one that more closely matches the photo.

Mesquite Shade_painted_value_sketch _rachel_murphree_watercolor (2)

Painted value sketch

So I was able to get in pencil sketches and a painted value sketch this morning, in preparation for a busy day.  On deck for the day was laundry, shopping, a fun day out with the DH in a nearby town and a watercolor demo by Laurel Weathersbee at the Southern Chapter meeting of the New Mexico Watercolor Society.  You can see her loose and lovely work at her blog.  It is always SUCH fun to watch a watercolor demo, and this one was fabulous.

Mesquite Shade_BW ref photo_rachel_murphree_watercolor (1)

Now that I’m back home I see that I didn’t get the values quite right.  Do you see what’s not the right value in the painted sketch at left?I converted the photo ref  into black and white to make the difference more apparent.

I’m too tired to address it tonight, although it wouldn’t take long, but other duties call.  Tomorrow I’ll post the amended value sketch.