Monday, March 9, 2020

The Redwoods

Redwood Hike
Ink and w/c
Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook, 7.5 x 7.5"
I snapped the reference photo that I used for this painting at the Oakland Redwoods, where my husband and I hiked last Friday at the beginning of a two-day celebration of his birthday. The lines and color washes here are very simple, but the image calls up the smell and beauty of that area that always makes us both feel so very good. Ahhhhhhh!

During last week’s lesson with artist Emily Weil I told her about the “caught” feeling I’m been having between using ink vs. not using ink with watercolor and between using a quick, expressive approach to watercolor vs. a more traditional, realistic approach by building up several layers of paint.

Her advice was two-fold: first, paint and draw what you are drawn to. Second, paint in a style that feels right at the time.

For herself, she said she almost always uses ink in her watercolor paintings because she simply likes to draw. “Just because you like a certain style doesn’t mean you don’t want to learn,” she said. “I think it actually frees you up to learn when you’re using a style that feels right to you.” 

Just the words I needed to hear. My goal here was just to experiment with Emily’s color triad (Daniel Smith quinacridone magenta, hansa yellow, and phthalo blue, green shade). The biggest surprise was the earthy yellow-brown color in the middle foreground, created with the quin magenta and the hansa yellow (medium). And I appreciated the way the washes of pigment on the smooth paper (“Extra Heavyweight”) created interesting puddles.  

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