Day 18 of 30 in 30 — Pinecones on Parade

Painting of pinecones

8″ x 10″ watercolor painting of pinecones connected to their branch, kind of like a straggly parade. $25

Sketch of the pinecone branch in pencil

Sketch of the pinecone branch in pencil

Today’s painting is from my huge collection of “cool nature stuff” that I mean to paint one day. Hmmm…perhaps that could be another theme in a 30 in 30 day challenge…anyway…This branch of pinecones has always amused me because each cone has its own character, some more ragged with sections of wind or water wear,  and they remind me of kindergarteners wandering along, still learning how to walk in a line. Pinecones on parade!

I started the painting with a light wet in wet area and then when it was dry, I went in with darker browns made from burnt umber/ quin burnt orange/ultramarine in various proportions.  I’m not sure I needed to darken the shadow area but it helped define it more.  I splattered paint by tapping a brush partly full of paint against my wrist in various places.

From the sketchbook — leaves and pinecone

sketch with wash of leaves and pinecone

Sketch of leaves and a pine  cone with watercolor wash in sketchbook.  Click on image to make it larger.

Yesterday I spent studio time working on a fall desert landscape and got the aerial perspective down quite well.  That’s when you create distance by having areas in the background get lighter and bluer.  And the clouds were fairly ok in the sky.  And then, I blew up the painting with a poorly painted tree that just got worse and worse!  Once again wish that I’d taken a photo before taking that next step.

So I watched a Sterling Edwards watercolor video on brushes and brush strokes and realized I need to use flat brushes *way* more to do trees and washes, etc. so it that viewing was good timing.

Today I’m practicing brush strokes, making trees, learning more about how much water/pigment certain brushes contain.

So here’s a sketch I did several days ago that I added washes to recently.  Sketchbook paper doesn’t allow you to lift and merge washes well, so once it’s down, it’s staying, but I think it turned out ok.  Do you sense a theme here of what I like to paint?

Pinecone Trio — Day #15 of challenge

Pinecone 2

Pinecone Trio, soprano. Click image to view larger.

Having a bit of fun with the naming of these little guys!

Pinecone 3

Pinecone Trio, alto. Click image to view larger.

I was experimenting with better ways to express a pinecone, and these were the most successful. The key is to lay down color, warm (more yellow) for the lighted side, cool (more blueish)for the shadowed side. When it’s dry, life out the color of the tips of the cone and then added the darks to give it shape. That’s the hard part for me!

painting of pinecone

Pinecone Trio, tenor. Click on image to view larger

So who’s your favorite singer?  I’m partial to the soprano….

Double Pinecones — Day 6 of the challenge


Watercolor of double pinecones. Done in two colors: orange and blue. 5″ x 9″. Available.  Click on the image to view it larger

This is painted with only two colors which are really an orange and a blue.  Those colors are opposites on the color wheel which means they look great together AND they make wonderful grays that can look more cool (with more blue) or warm (with more orange).  The two colors are cobalt blue and quinacridone burnt orange.

Back to my favorite color combination and subject matter!  For some reason I’m fascinated with pinecones and although they aren’t easy to sketch, and I get “lost” in the layers and edges as they wind their way around the cone, I do love them.

This is a painting of double pinecones that are still connected to their original branch, but you can’t see the branch because it’s behind them.  I love how due to the elements one is stripped down to the center core for most of it, while the other is whole.

Ink  sketch of the pinecones

Ink sketch of the double pinecones.  Click on the image to view it larger

I’ve included the sketch from my sketchbook to show you how the process started.  in sketchbook, working on getting the values (lights and darks) and the shapes

Cones and Pod, Day #4 of the 30 in 30 watercolor challenge

watercolor pine cones and seed pod

watercolor with ink of pinecones and seed pod. Available.

This little painting is of two pinecones and a seed pod. Which do you like better? Yesterday’s white pine cone or today’s cones and pod?

This one is about 4″ x 6″ and again done by blending colors on the paper and then sketching on top, and then adding paint for definition.

It was fun to get the shapes of the seeds in the pod by dropping in colors.

Continuing the fall theme day #3

Rachel Murphree watercolor ink ink sketch of white pine pinecone

white pine pinecone, ink sketch on wet in wet watercolor wash with additional paint for shading.  Available.

For those of you that, like me, love the muted colors of this season, here’s a pinecone just for you… correction:  a white pine pinecone!

not sure what kind of pine this comes from but I love its shape.

The painting is about 4″ x 6″. It was fun to have a color down already as the first layer and then sketch on top of it.