Saturday, November 28, 2020

Sunset Drama at the Cove


Sunset Drama at the Cove
9" x 7.5" watercolor
on Arches 100% hot pressed paper

These days it starts about 4:00 p.m. -- the sunset drama along the cove near us. Everything touched by the sun turns a shade of orange and everything else goes shadowy-dark. If the tide is out, you'll see a water-bird feeding frenzy picking through the muck. If not, the brown pelicans will be patiently waiting on offshore rocks as they take in the last rays of sun. 

So if you want to see the show, you have to drop everything and get out there by 4:00. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sketches Take the Pressure Off

By the Bay
Watercolor and pencil
in Large portrait sketchbook, 8.25" x 5.5", by Hand-book

Especially when you don't quite know what you're doing with watercolor, there can be a lot of pressure in starting a new painting. You have to make a lot of decisions, including what kind of paper to use, what colors and whether to mix them or use right out of the tube, how wet to get the initial washes, when the time is right to add layers without the paint spreading too much, and on and on. 

Of course it helps to have a mindset of experimentation and play, but you also quickly become aware that you're after some decent results, and that creates a certain amount of pressure.

For me, sketching takes the pressure off. Anything goes in my sketchbook. Sometimes the sketch lays some groundwork for a more finished painting to follow. Sometimes I like the sketch better than the more finished painting. 

I'm rather fond of this sketch. For me, it captured the orange light and the very dark shadows that I witnessed while walking near sunset yesterday. Whatever happens with the painting(s) that I try of this scene, I'll know that I already have this sketch that caught something essential -- at least for me. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Fourth Time a Charm?

 Copse Study
7 x 10" watercolor
on Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

Maybe the fourth time is a charm. Different color palette.* Avoided the temptation to put layer over layer; wanted to be more abstract. Not crazy about the leaves but kind of happy with the trunks. 

Time to move on. 

*Phthalo blue, hansa yellow medium, quin magenta with just a touch of Chinese white vs. burnt sienna, hansa yellow light, ultramarine blue, orange, and white for the first three attempts.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Caught by the Copse


Caught by the Copse
8" x 11"
watercolor, pencil, and gouache
Arches 100% cotton hot press 

Yes, I was caught by this copse recently when hiking parts of Mt. Diablo. Nature can be so arresting to the eye; it just transfixes me sometimes. 

The painting above is my third attempt to capture that mystical moment of connection-to-the-whole that happens so often to me when in natural surroundings. (I feel lucky about that!) This actually looks a little better in person, but it still doesn't come close to what I had in mind.

Here are my first and second tries:

9" x 12"
watercolor, pencil, and gouache
Arches 100% cotton cold press 

Watercolor and pencil
8.25" x 5.5" Hand Book Large Portrait Sketchbook

Damn, I sure have a long way to go as a painter! It's actually been a rather frustrating afternoon, trying to render this scene that transfixed me so. 

But...nothing can take away that mystical moment on Mt. Diablo. I'm grateful for that. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Simple Pleasures

“You Make My Heart Happy”
Watercolor and pencil
X x X” on Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

    A person could get used to these year-round farmers markets. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Happy Days


9” x 11” watercolor 
on Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

Oh yes, happy days are here again! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Throw It!


"Throw It!?" 
watercolor and gouache
on 8" x 10.5" Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

"Come on, let's get this election over and start living again!"

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