Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Color Study With Sedimentary Color

Today I started an agave painting.  Having done so many cacti paintings with Pthalo Blue as the main color I figured it was time to branch out and try a whole new limited palette.  Whew!  What a different game this is.

After trying different color combinations, I finally settled on Ultramarine Blue, New Gamboge and Cadmium Red Medium.  All three are semi-opaque and sedimentary, particularly the blue.  They don't float on the water like the staining/transparent colors I've been using this past year. Being semi-opaque, they settle in the rough paper I chose to paint on, giving the painting a completely different flavor than I've gotten used to.

Shaking things up a bit from time to time is good for me, right? Keep me learning and from getting into a rut.  That's the idea, anyway.

The first pause to step back and take a look.  Not sure about that green...

Close-up you can see that the green mixture continues to lift and move around with every layer I put on.  This is not what I'm used to!  No masque on this piece, I'm painting around the thorny edges.  

This might work out alright, but I'm not so sure tonight.  Time will tell.  

I love the blues and violets this is making.  Not so happy with the greens, but I've come too far to change course now.  Press on, woman!  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spider Web, Finished

I love masque.  Being able to "set aside" parts of a painting to finish later gives me freedom when putting color into wet areas and letting them blend themselves.  Without it, those parts would have to be carefully painted around, taking the ability to drop color in and let it run and mix together away.  

In this painting, I used quite a bit of it.  Some masques come in handy little bottles with narrow tips to apply it, giving the artist greater control and ability to make tiny lines for details.  The spider web area was easy to draw on with it. 

This detail shows the piece after I lifted the masque.  The white areas are clean and ready to be detailed.  Masques do leave "hard" edges after they are lifted, so one has to plan accordingly.

The finished piece, 18" x 24", watercolor on 140 pound paper, limited palette

This painting was so enjoyable to do.  This is definitely one I'd be willing to enter into a show.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spider Web

School began in the past month and it has me like a ton of bricks.  I haven't posted since the semester began, but I'm getting on top of things finally and can do something other than write papers and learn new math concepts. Just in time to keep me from a full blown anxiety problem.  

I find when I'm swamped with busy work, finding time to paint isn't hard, but finding the inspiration to paint is!  I had to do some gesture drawings of cacti before things began to flow again.  As I was hiking around the desert, looking for something interesting to draw, I saw a spider web between two cactus pads.  It just lingered in the back of my mind, intriguing me all week.  I finally decided it might make a painting.   I began this not sure what would come of it.  Here are some pictures of how it's coming together:

The drawing is done and the mask is applied.  I used Fineline Resist Pen and really liked it

My painting teacher suggested more ugly parts to contrast with the beautiful parts.  I like the idea, so added more bug gnawings to the edges.  This was taken wet; you can see in the next photo how much lighter it dried.  I had to go in with more color later on. 

None of the three cactus pads is quite the same hue as the others, but thanks to the limited palette, they still have color harmony.

I really wasn't sure how to handle the background as this was an experiment.  After I started to add deep blue/violet hues, I decided that was just right.  

The photo doesn't show the depth of the violet hues, but they contrast nicely with the light on the pads.  I can't wait to take off the mask and finish the spine areas.

This, like the other cacti paintings is done using three colors, Pthalo Blue, Cadmium Yellow Pale and Alizarin Crimson.  Tomorrow, off with the mask and on to the finish!  I might survive the next 2.5 months after all.  Might...