I worked in direct sun this morning. That always results in a darker painting. While I was working on this I knew I was going dark even though it didn’t look that way in the sun. Usually when I set up like this I try to position my easel so my shadow is cast onto my painting. Later at home I wasn’t happy with some of the dark sections and softened some while sitting in my driveway while our kids played. 10×14″
Two quick watercolor sketches in my sketchbook first followed by a longer painting on gessoed paper. I was not a fan of the gessoed paper today.
I have paintings stacked in my basement from the floor to the ceiling. I decided to go through them and “cull the herd.” I made piles to keep, to throw away, and a “maybe” pile.
I’m starting to take paintings from the maybe pile and work on them out of my head without reference to see what happens. This is the first attempt. Some of the paintings I’m expecting to get more specific but some I expect will get more abstract and most I expect will completely fail. I’m curious what will happen without a guide and being away from the location I’m trying to listen for what the painting wants/needs rather than the location dictating the scene.
oil on stretched canvas, 10×18″
Below is the original plein air painting from September 2011. I was clearly more interested in the patterns of the distant fields on the other side of the river than in the foreground. I liked that background though. It will probably get its own painting someday, but this wasn’t its painting.
Watercolor for this one. I used cadmium red instead of my usual quinacridone. More natural, subdued color I think. About 3 hours.
I started this plein air painting of the Susquehanna River before lunch today but went home to eat. At home I finished adding the grass at the bottom… so it’s mostly plein air. 12×18″
A plein air painting of the Delaware River. 11×15″
Most of my acrylic plein air paintings are only three colors (plus white) so I tried to paint a watercolor using the same red, yellow, and blue I’d use in an acrylic.
Here’s a recent sketchbook page with some watercolor sketches.
Today I tried to fix this plein air watercolor. I wanted to change the light from overcast to sunny. I tried lifting the sunlit area on the driveway and it didn’t really lift very well. I tried sanding it. Didn’t work. Finally I applied QoR’s Watercolor Grounds as a white and painted some transparents over it. Something new for me. It’s a technique I’ve been wanting to try since I bought the product. I think it worked pretty well.
What the painting looked like before today. I thought it was kind of blah.
I tried painting hostas in my garden this morning unsure if it was a subject I’d be able to handle as a plein air painting.
A pinwheel in my pumpkin patch this morning.
No plein air today. I stayed inside to avoid the heat and humidity. I played with some gouache again. Still curious. I’m coming to the conclusion that I prefer transparent watercolor.
The one on the left is thicker, more opaque gouache which is what would be typical for the medium. It’s somewhat chalky and dries very matte which made it desirable for commercial art once upon a time because it photographed well. The surface feels a bit dead to me and I prefer the luminosity of transparents. So, the one on the right is still gouache but thinned and without opaque white. I tried to treat it as if it were transparent watercolor. I don’t know if I’m gaining anything by using gouache if I’m after a transparent result.