Thursday, October 11, 2012

Home Repairs

Version 1
All those drunken windows and the tilting foundation and tower were just more than I could stand. So I got out my tool box and went to work. Neither would get me a job in an architectural firm, but I hope you agree that version #2 is an improvement.

Version 2
P.S. The different color balance is from different lighting conditions. Neither is an exact match to the original.

Christmas in October

Yesterday, one of my students was working on a painting for this year's Christmas card. I had that in mind today when I dug through my "morgue" and found a house I'd photographed years ago. (Sorry, I don't remember where it's located.) Anyway, I changed the season to winter, hung some bows and a wreath on windows and door, et voila! It was fun, and I got it done in an afternoon.

I'm reasonably happy with it. Or at least I thought I was. Now, as I stare at it on my screen, I see a blue million little flaws. Maybe I can claim the builder was a little bit drunk on this job?

"Christmas Card House", about 10x10 inches, watercolor on 140# Lanaquarelle.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Paint the Forest, Not the Trees

This is an exercise in "negative painting." I started by painting the entire surface with yellow ochre. Then I painted around the foreground trees with Pthalo blue. Then I painted around the next layer of trees with more blue. Repeat. The idea is that you never actually paint the trees themselves--only the spaces around them. Yeah, I know. Clear as mud!

Actually, the trick is to avoid mud. The more different pigments used, the muddier the color becomes. (See my previous comments about the petals of flowers.) So I stuck to Pthalo blue until the very last, darkest layer, where I used Daniel Smith Blue Apatite Genuine.

The other challenge in this exercise is compositional: there is a tendency to have "cookie cutter trees" that are uniformly spaced, sized and/or slanted, which is not good. So each time I paint around a tree, I have to make sure that it is different from the trees on either side of it. Each tree is an individual, not a clone. Not as easy as it sounds, believe me.

I'll use this as a demo painting for this afternoon's class.