Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Tryst Falls"--a plein air watercolor



"Tryst Falls"
 A Plein Air Watercolor on Archival Paper
9" x 12"

Painting on the spot offers many delights and challenges. Beauty is all around us, filling our eyes and souls, singing its siren song--"paint me if you dare"! Details crowd around us, clamoring for attention; the light changes rapidly. The wind picks up, or dies and suddenly we're hot!

I love the challenge, and some of my favorite paintings have been done on the spot--and sometimes I'm just not quite happy with what I've done. Just because you've started a painting on the spot doesn't mean it's set in stone and Must Not Be Touched. Satisfaction in the end result can be important, too.

I often put a painting aside for a few hours...or days...or weeks. If I'm still happy with it, that's marvelous! If not--by then I can usually tell what I need to do to come closer to what I responded to originally.

In this case the waterfall was glorious--sparkling, roaring, moving with energy that could move mountains--but my original painting was overdone and dull. I washed back the edges to form a vignette and focus the eye on the waterfall (as you can see in my art tip #93!), and added more color for a lively sparkle.

I featured this painting on a recent art tip on fixing watercolors--you can find it on my website at http://cathyjohnson.info, at upper left. (If you're not already getting my Art Tip announcement newsletter, you can sign up there, too--we're up to Tip # 100, believe it or not!)

This is one of my favorite places to paint--I've done many of the falls and environs, and have yet to be bored...

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Mini-demo


I used a combination of techniques for the waterfall itself--liquid mask, painting around, and lifting the mist at the left with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and clear water.  Make sure to blot away the loosened pigment quickly!


Here, you can see I used a bit more scratching, with a sharp craft knife to give a bit of sparkle.  You'll want to use a good strong paper if you plan to do much lifting or scratching...


I used the Mr. Clean eraser, which is actually a fine-grained manmade sponge found in the household cleaning department of your grocery or discount store, to make a softened vignette effect on the final painting.  It draws the viewer's eye into the center of interest, where I kept the lightest and darkest areas, as well as the most detail and action.


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This painting is offered unmatted and unframed to keep costs down. It will come to you carefully wrapped via Priority Mail, in the US. Insurance included in the shipping cost

$250






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I love painting on the spot; it's always a challenge, and I see things I can't, in a photograph. I share some of my love for this kind of work on my CD that was done mostly in the Shenandoah Valley, where my husband used to live.

I'm glad I captured some of that spectacular scenery, and the wonderful memories...

 

It's $15.99 + shipping, if you'd like to explore the wonders of painting on the spot--or of the Shenandoah Valley!



14 comments:

  1. A wonderful painting Cathy - sparkling and eye-catching, it's got that something special.

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  2. Thank you, Maree! I really enjoy painting there...

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  3. Beautiful! That waterfall is so wet- looking!

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  4. I also want to say that I really appreciate your mini-demos. Very helpful and inspiring. Thank you for posting them!

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  5. I'm glad you like them, Melissa! I used this painting for one of my art tips, too, showing what can be done with a painting you feel needs tweaking...I like it a lot better now!

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  6. Really pretty. I enjoyed hearing how you did it.

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  7. cathy fon is excellent blog and much creative charles

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  8. AMAZING! I can't get enough of the details (and those beautiful trees at the back too) =)

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  9. Thank you, Alex, I really need to get back to posting more here...

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  10. Lovely work Cathy, I will be returning often to enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. Very nice work! I haven't painted in awhile and googled watercolor techniques for waterfalls and your site came up after the second try. The first try is someone on YouTube. Her techniques left a little to be desired. Yours, on the otherhand, were a joy to see.

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  12. Thank you! One of my next art tips will be on painting moving water; you can sign up for my mailing list if you like, so you don't miss it. The form is at upper right!

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