Friday, March 30, 2018
While the sun was still sharing its light in my office-studio last night, I painted this little scene from a photo I took in January while at Hotel San Cristobal near Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico.
Sketching or painting from travel photos after returning home is the gift that just keeps on giving. It made me so happy to think about the trip while I painted. I mean, I was there in my mind, feeling the warmth, the sun, and the love of family all over again.
Thanks to Larisa Aukon’s “Gouache on the Go” workshop at the Scottsdale Arists’ School last month, I am seeing the value of multiple drafts of a painting. The first two drafts were in gouache. As I was finishing the second one below on a small sheet (5”x7”) of paper, Larisa came by and said, “You know why this isn’t working? You have too many shapes for such a small composition, plus they are not tied together; they’re too discrete.”
I agreed and made a mental note to try it again after I returned home. Lst night I decided to try the scene in watercolor rather than gouache, keeping Larissa’s advice in mind. For the painting above I took out the square window and tree that were in the composition below. I also blended a little of the red that is in the flowers to the shadow to the left of the cactus plant, subtly echoing the red, to anchor that bright color into the composition a little more. I used a vertical layout rather than horizontal, thinking that showing more of the white wall and blue sky might help ground the painting.
I do think the watercolor at the top is the better composition, but I’m not giving up on another gouache draft. That’s because one thing I really like above the painting below is brilliant blue sky against the bright red flowers. I mean, those colors next to each other give off such a jolt of energy! Gouache definitely allows for bright, intense colors. So…stay tuned for another version.
I met Sally forty years ago when I was twenty and she was the one in her sixties. I was a waitress at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant on...