Saturday, December 18, 2010

Painting on a Cold Rainy Day

I was up early Saturday, finished reading the news, showered and was looking for something to do.  Outside, the morning was cold, windy and raining off and on.  I remembered our meet-up at the Tower Theater.  I grabbed my paints and headed out, not expecting anyone else to show.  Would you believe two people were already painting and one was sketching.  Wind is more difficult to deal with than the cold and rain.  Rain is bad for watercolor painters, you get the 'snowstorm' effect with the spots.  Anyway, I worked at it for two hours and was the last to leave.  You can see from the photo that there were no shadows, but the wonderful art deco Tower Theater is in behind all those growies.  I did some sketches and will take another shot at it, but it is interesting to see what quick sketches and a few brush strokes can accomplish.

Yolo Farm Boneyard

I painted last spring on this farm in Yolo County, CA.  Since then, I have taken note of farm bone yards.  That is where all of the large metal structures are left to rust and deteriorate.  This is not bad.  I scraped some burnt sienna on the car to give it rust.  I think it is a 1940 Chrysler four door sedan.  The cows have plenty of grazing space.  It had recently rained so there was a mud track in the foreground.  I had fun with the clouds.  While my wash for the sky was still wet, I tilted my board and streamed some water down it.  I them gave it some bumps and there you have it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quiet Cove

I painted this picture last week.  The sky and cloud formation add drama to an otherwise quiet seascape.  The posts used for tying up boats go up through the painting to tie it together.  Each plane has a value change giving depth to the ocean.
I am very frustrated trying again to paint on clayboard (Aquaboard).  I have some remaining cradled boards in my studio.  They tempt me to try again painting a watercolor on the board and using the soft gel and varnish to complete a watercolor without glass.  The final watercolor with varnish and without glass is very appealing to me.  The problem has been to paint watercolor as it is supposed to be painted.  Graded washes and plain washes are very difficult on clayboard and not at all like on paper.  Any overlapping stroke usually will lift some of the original wash.  You can forget about mixing colors on the surface. For the past weeks I have experimented with approaches to this problem without success.  I have painted on paper and used really strong adhesive to attach the finished paper to core-foam or clayboard. The edges of the paper lift up with time.  Adhering unpainted paper to the board or core-foam first and then painting on it allowed the proper use of watercolor washes but again the same problem of paper edges coming away from the board.  I have not tried to adhere the painted paper with acrylic gel as recently proposed by some artists.  I will continue my trials as I like the varnished watercolor appearance and I like painting with watercolor. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Snow on the Way

It is always a quick painting when I do a snow painting.  I leave a lot of the paper unpainted (white) and make it look cold with dark blue.  The birches are a good focal point.  They do, however, pop out better when there is more contrasting color surrounding them.  I just came in from outside and it looks like there is more snow on the way.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Driftwood Marina

Two weeks ago, I painted this scene  on San Francisco Bay but in loading up I must have left it behind.  No one turned it in.  When I got back to my studio, I did it again from my sketches.  This time I dropped several colors into a wet spot and wanted to leave the driftwood pile more or less abstract.  I then decided to carve out some of the flotsam and jetsam.  Most of it took on a red hue from the alizarin crimson which ran and stained.  The pile of stuff is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.  They bring in some huge logs and pilings and they are offloaded by the crane.  Lots of action to watch while painting.  This painting turned out better than the one I lost.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Last Week's Picture

I did this painting last week and liked it but when I took it to my group for a critique, they felt it had two separate compositions.  One on the top and the boats on the bottom (see previous post).  By putting masts on some of the boats and bringing them up into the above structures, I united both top and bottom into one scene.  I do think that it improved the painting.  This trick also creates a larger box of air by pushing the background into the distance.  When I was in Portofino sketching, I did not sketch any boats with masts but many boats on the down-slope had blue covers.  There are plenty of symbols to identify with Portofino and you do what you have to do for composition.

The Cows are in the Meadow

Simple composition with barn and cows.  I have never done cows before and treated them like painting birch trees.  I think that it was successful.  The power pole pushes the scene into the background and since the focus is on the cows and barn, it is purposely out of focus.  It was done wet into wet.  I am new to doing a lot of clouds.  When I observe them they seem to have flattened bottoms.  We do not see a lot of clouds where I live.  I tried to give the flattened bottoms some color with reds, yellows and blues.