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...

-----------------------------------------


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.


-----------------------------

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






------------------

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!



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Autumn Lake, Ray County--SOLD



"Autumn Lake, Ray County"
9" x 12"
watercolor pencil on archival paper
 

This is a hidden lake on a private holding in Ray County, Missouri. My friends and I had secured permission to explore, hike, sketch, and photograph, and we came across this beautiful spot. The leaves were gone, but the still water reflected a pristine sky and lakeside reeds glowed as if on fire!

I hope it finds a home with you...




-----------------


Mini-demo:

I chose watercolor pencil for this, since I could sketch in those graceful bare limbs with my pencil point, then soften them with clear water to suggest the tiny twigs you barely see from a distance...

I varied the color a bit to give the impression of the different types of trees.




The clumps of reed were like soft down-filled pillows!  I know they had provided cover for waterfowl, frogs, and fish, spawning near the banks.





 I love the way watercolor pencil allows interesting, natural textures like those above, while making wonderful puddles that feel like washes...I lifted the light color trees with a small stiff brush, and then, when everything was dry, scratched through with a sharp point.

You can click on these images to see them larger...

Strathmore 400 CP watercolor paper has a good hard finish and works well with watercolor pencil, allowing you to lift and scrape without damaging the surface.

These are Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer pencils...soft, rich, and intensely pigmented.

--------------------

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

$225

SOLD

This painting was originally done for by North Light book, Watercolor Pencil Magic, now out of print.  In order to meet the demand, I produced an expanded version of the book, Watercolor Pencil Workshop on CD, restoring one whole chapter that had to be edited from the book for space reasons; the CD is in PDF format, and has bonus reading.  We use this CD for my online classes!



The CD is $15.99 + shipping--you can find it here, if you like:

New journal-keeping CD is finally done...



Hooray, just got word that my newest CD, "Keeping an Artist's Journal" is up on my CafePress site! 

It was a lot of work, and a lot of angst--Lesson 5 got lost somewhere between my ancient computer and the new one
[info]kateslover got me before Christmas, and we just found it last week. I edited it, put the bonus reading together in one document, and got it off to be mastered.

I've kept a journal for 35+ years, and it's been one of the most profoundly important things I've ever done for myself, helping me to celebrate milestones--and everyday joys!--deal with anxieties, plan paintings, face my fears, record details of nature, write first drafts of my books, keep a travel journal, collect recipes, and love my friends, family, and animals.  I feel lost without my journal!

Over the years, I've written about journaling in Country Living Magazine, Personal Journaling, The Artist's Magazine, and Watercolor Artist as well as in my books--especially
Creating Nature in Watercolor and the Sierra Club Guide to Sketching in Nature...and am just waiting for a new contract from North Light to do a NEW book, just on the subject.

Some of the "bonus reading" articles on the CD are edited forms of those earlier published articles...as you can tell, I AM committed to this concept, and shared a great deal about that on the CD.

I recently finished teaching on online class, also called Keeping an Artist's Journal, that this CD is based on--my students were amazing. They did terrific, thought-provoking and inspiring work, and what we ALL learned was so gratifying.  Wow, what a rush...

There are 5 fully illustrated lessons in PDF format, along with lots of extra material!  I'll get it in my website catalog as soon as I have my own copies in hand, but for now, it's OUT there.  Finally!

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin