- Looking at the photo and why I wanted to paint it - the contrast between the dark sky and hills and glow of the yellow/orange grasses in the last rays of the sun. Now how to get that...
- First darken the sky, hills and water so the lights will stand out.
- Then correct the yellows so they are not so spring-like in this fall season.
- Start detailing the grasses and trees, but smudge the water reflections.
- There is great work showing up on the Facebook page from the watercolour class. I am simply amazed.
- That strong interest has me thinking of starting a new program to get more people involved. True to my usual form, the trigger is a new grant that was just announced and it would be perfect for this project. Stay tuned...
- Home Game:
OK, finally back in action:
- I softened the edges of most of the hard white spaces left by removing the masking. Since all the paint colours in this work are transparent, the hard edges would have shown through. The straight lines would have been a problem in a landscape.
- Second layer is putting the bright yellows in place. These will be mellowed with Quinachrodone Gold glazes later.
- The third layer starts the many layers of dark dull greens and purples that make the clean yellows pop.
This is about the time I get discouraged with the amount of work left (just like the middle of an essay) and I want to quit. However, making it public like this - it's harder to just give up with everyone watching.
- Facebook is still working for us with several painters posting their work. Several are now going beyond the textbook! Yea! That is the point of having a homework-based course - artists learn to solve the work issues without follow-the-leader classes. The skill levels immediately go up from then on - great work, people!
- And some are even running out of paper :) There are some extras left from stocking the initial kits and some pre-purchased at a sale for the next course (now cancelled) , so give me a call or text or email to get restocked.
OK, a lot of thought about the steps needed to get this painting to mid-point. I have decided to paint with pre-mixed colours rather than paint layers of single pigments, to reduce the problem of multiple lines in the large wash areas. Either way would work, but I am not so confident with this very large paper, so I am going with the less risky and faster-drying method. It will take a lot more paint than I usually use to swish over these big spaces - and finally get the paper wet!
- First, 4 containers with about 2 tablespoons of paint of each of the main colours;
- A selection of larger brushes, one for each colour to avoid contaminating the colour pots;
- A large wash brush for wetting specific sections with clean water, to avoid uneven lines in the large areas;
- 2 buckets of clean water, paper towel, extra small containers for mixed colours.
Ready, set , paint! The layers below took 2 hours and this is about the mid-point of the painting. Next I will wait overnight for all to dry, then remove the masking fluid.
- Working on the next preparation steps in the "Last Light" watercolour painting:
- Clean up the drawing by lifting excess pencil with kneaded eraser so it does not dirty the wet paint colours.
- Apply masking fluid to the highlights and light areas with a very old brush and the grasses with a palette knife edge. WAIT for it to dry completely.
- Check the grey scale of the reference photo again to ensure highlights and dark areas are correct in the plan.
- Identify the paint colours to use, and plan the sequence of first washes. In this reference photo, very few areas are identifiable pigments, so mixes or layers are needed. Surprise! It turns out the peculiar blues and golds are rather odd combinations of just 4 paints: Pthalo Blue, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Brown Madder.
- Still waiting for the masking fluid to dry...
- Test strip for checking colours and first tentative wet paint using thin washed to mark the areas a little. Whew, stressful!
- Yesterday we tried an online Facebook coaching session to see if that would work in place of the scheduled Courthouse coaching/demo/painting sessions. It was interesting to see a kind of snapshot of where the participants had arrived at that point. Not as much fun as in-person, but better than not knowing. Many were trying paintings beyond the textbook, which is wonderful! That is the objective and seems to happen after the 'bananas' chapter builds confidence. The complexity and variety of extra-curricular subjects was really impressive - keep up the good work, everyone!
(Facebook group: Valley Visual Artists - Merritt)
- Ah, the self-challenge: " I promise to paint a watercolour this weekend! I can't let you think I am all talk and no action." Ok, I am on it! Today my normal prep for a formal painting in any medium - 3+ hours of serious concentration without actually touching paint:
- Decide the criteria and select the reference materials (interesting light/colour, local subject, suitable for wc) and decide on size of finished work for the 24x30" frame I have in my stash.
- Size the photo reference to match finished work proportions (18x24") and set grid accordingly (3x4 ratio), check grey scale by changing photo to black/white, trace right on the screen and refine the sketch outline.
- Draw the image on the wc paper, then erase all unnecessary lines to avoid confusion when painting (erase carefully, brush off eraser crumbs with big clean paintbrush.)
Next step - the paint and brushes will get WET!
Valley Visual Artists
Merritt once had a local art group called "Valley Visual Artists." They painted together regularly, organized annual art shows and hosted art workshops. It faded away, but never really disappeared. Maybe the VVA will rise again...