Thursday, August 26, 2021

Storm Coming In

"Storm Coming In"
9 x 12" watercolor on Arches 100% cotton cold press

Missing those Midwestern storms that roll in across the plains. Sis-in-law sent a photo of the view from her home in the country, and I just had to try that darkening sky. 

Trying to be a rainmaker for northern California. But no lightning, please? 


Friday, August 20, 2021

Unexpected Gifts

"Backyard Mag," 7.5" x 8.5" watercolor on Arches 100% cotton cold press paper

The last place we lived in north central Iowa, we bought a home in the winter. It wasn't until May that we realized we had a beautiful flowering magnolia. What an unexpected gift. 

It's a very serious time right now, with COVID cases climbing again, wildfires and other climate-related disasters, turmoil in Afghanistan. But may we all look for and appreciate those unexpected gifts, wherever and however they present themselves. 

For me, this art learning curve at this time in my life is a gift. For this painting I reached back several years to a photo of that magnolia tree in north central Iowa. Not super happy with the results--it's not skilled enough to look realistic but lacks a strong design for an effective semi-abstract approach. That's okay. At least I honored my gift of a love of learning about watercolors.   


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Carmel River State Beach

Carmel River State Beach
7.5" x 11" watercolor on Arches 100% Cotton Cold Press Paper

 Still trying to channel artist Andy Evansen in terms of keeping things loose and first establishing light and middle values, with the middle values connecting the entire painting together. Then darks for the finishing details. 

This painting brings back a happy memory of a two-day out-of-the-pandemic-box trip to Monterey and Carmel in April. Oh, that sand. So good on the feet. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Not Sure

"Blue Sky 2," 8 x 11" watercolor on Arches 100% cotton cold press paper 

Wanted to try a closer-up version of this poppy bush, but once again, I got carried away with the blue sky. I'm not sure this is technically any better than my earlier version, though I do think the composition is a little better. 

Yes, I use a lot of saturation and a lot of bright colors, don't I? Is this the mark of an inexperienced painter, or is this just my style? Maybe a few more years will tell.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Crown Beach State Park


"Clouds Above Gardens, Crown Beach State Park," 7.5" x 12" watercolor on Arches 100% cotton cold press

"There's something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."  

As I wrote in my July 22 post, artist-friend Emily Weil challenged me to paint in one style for 30 days to see what I can learn. So I've been trying to channel Andy Evansen, particularly his method of establishing and connecting middle values as the foundation of the painting. 

Today was the fourteenth day. A couple of those days, I've accidently hit upon a look that I like. 

It happened here with this painting, and also the July 22 painting. Not sure how to articulate this look. It's certainly not Andy's look. The strokes are simple and stylistic, and the paintings are less realistic-looking and more abstracted than Andy's. I've also used fewer layers--less glazing--than is typical for me, hoping for a cleaner, less-is-more effect.

In both paintings I established and connected the middle values (a la Andy), then brushed in some marks indicating flowers/leaves. I let those marks dry, and then came in over the top with the lighter colors--here, the lavenders and pinks, and with the July 22 painting, the yellows. 

It was so fun to see the lighter colors pop out of the darks. And I'm slowly learning which colors will do that (hint: the transparent ones) and, conversely, which just create a muddy mess. 

Or these freak accidents that I won't be able to replicate? Or say I do--is this still just a passing phase that I'll grow out of and decide I don't like all that much? Who knows. But this everyday painting practice is worth keeping on keeping on. 

Especially during an unpredictable pandemic. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

"Spritzer's," 5" x 8" watercolor on Arches 100% cotton cold press w/c paper

Like so many coffee shops, our little one in the 'hood has suffered during the pandemic. Fortunately the bougainvillea next door still blooms a few times a year.  

I used to work on my laptop occasionally at Spritzers, enjoying the music and the frequently-changing art exhibits on the walls. But now it's takeout business only. 

Keep your chin up, Spritzers, and I'll keep dropping in for your good decaf Americanos.    

More About the Sally Project

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...