Fall Colors

It's that time of year again. I love painting the fall colors - reminds me of our time living in Virginia. I donated this watercolor to my local Marin Society of Artists for their annual auction fundraiser. Each time I paint one of these scenes I try out different colors. For this piece I first thoroughly wet the paper and then painted a very diluted wash of oreolin. After it was dry I spattered different combinations of color with different size brushes and then spritzed the spatters with water just slightly to give the spatters uneven shapes. When that was dry I dabbed the piece with scrunched up saran wrap dipped in different colors. I used cad red mixed with new gamboge, raw sienna mixed with burnt sienna, lemon yellow with burnt sienna, oreolin with burnt sienna, and for the browns, burnt sienna mixed with french ultramarine.  I was particularly please with how the brown worked out, also supplying the needed darks to the watercolor.


Mountain Dreamscape

For those who have not read my previous two blogs, I am doing a series on Mt Tam to enter in an upcoming local exhibition. I'm trying out different techniques and when I've exhausted ideas, I will pick three of the best to enter in the show. I wanted to try the gouache gold dust I bought as an experiment. It was hard to photograph and capture how it really looks. This is the closest I got. I did texturing on the mountain peak and dribbled string gel over the first wash of qunacridone gold, then painted Pyrrole Orange over that. The sky was a mix of about three blues plus a little quinacridone magenta and the gold dust - maybe a little too much of the gold. Still trying to decide


Mt. Tam Abstract

Here is my abstract version of Mt Tam. I used one of the techniques mentioned in Ann Blockley's latest book by using cling film over the wet paint to create texture. The colors I used were quinacridone burnt orange, Prussian green and quinacridone gold - with some sepia ink squeezed under the cling film to add more texture. I thought the textures came out quite well and gave the mountain nice contours while remaining abstract. I need a good title for this piece. Any suggestions?


Mist Over Mt Tam

I am currently working on a series of watercolors depicting Mt Tamalpais to enter in a local gallery exhibition where the theme is "Under The Spell of Mt. Tam." I can enter up to three paintings, so I thought I would try to approach the subject in three very different ways. Mt. Tam is a very imposing mountain that can be seen from most areas in Marin. At it's highest point it is 2,574 feet and is often shrouded in mist - making a great subject for painting. Above is my first attempt with the mist coming down over the mountain.  I want to also do an abstract version and a night scene incorporating the mountain. My next two posts will follow this one - if they are successful that is.


Through The Woods

This watercolor was inspired by a black and white photograph - a good exercise in being creative with color. The photo was also a good guide for the lights and darks. I took a lot of artistic license changing shapes and leaving out a water scene in the background and replacing it with distant trees. I used quinacridone gold, cadmium yellow, cobalt blue and Prussian blue and sepia ink for the textures in the foreground.


Last Glow Of Sunset

I was aiming for a tonalist look in this watercolor, using a number of glazes to achieve the result I wanted. It's easy to do too many glazes and ruin the painting by overworking it, or too few and not quite achieving one's goal. I'm a great admirer of the tonalist painters who mostly painted in oils. To quote from Wikipedia, "Tonalism is sometimes used to describe American landscapes derived from the French Barbizon style, which emphasized mood and shadow. Tonalism was eventually eclipsed by impressionism and European modernism." I love trying to create atmosphere in my watercolors. The colors I used were quinacridone gold, brown madder, neutral tint, transparent pyrrol orange, Payne's grey and burnt umber. Also some sepia ink for the texture in the foreground.


Golden Sunset

I'm really enjoying practicing my abstract landscapes inspired by my new Ann Blockley book. For this watercolor I did a number of glazes using brown madder, burnt sienna, Indian yellow and cobalt blue - just mixing them on the paper with no definite plan at first. While the paint was still wet I dropped in a sprinkling of Schmincke Tro-Col-Bronze in light gold - it's a powdered gouache. You can see the shimmer of the gold dust in the sky area. I then painted in the trees with sepia ink which mixed with the gold dust giving the trees quite a nice halo effect.


Jean Haines Painting Challenge

 I was astounded on opening my email this morning to find that I was one of five winners of the Jean Haines Painting Challenge in the British magazine, Painters Online. The theme was the use of the color yellow. There were 203 entries altogether, which makes me feel even more honored to be one of the winners.

Special thanks to Laura who suggested I enter my painting in this event.

Here is the link to the other winners and all the entries in the challenge. 


Tangled Woodland

autumn landscape

This is my first attempt at using some of the ideas from Ann Blockley's latest book "Experimental Landscapes in Watercolor." I think it may be a little patchy but I did like the color combinations. I used quinacridone burnt orange, Prussian green and quinacridone gold. For the sky I used the same colors very diluted and added plastic wrap to the wet paint for subtle texture. The branches on the left were done with sepia ink. For the textures in the lower half I used cheese cloth and a really nice netting that I found at a local fabric store that had more uneven spaces. I did as Ann described and tore and pulled it out of shape a little to get a more natural design. See photo below of the netting pattern. You can see the texture from this pattern in the gold and green areas of the painting. In the upper green area I used cheese cloth.


Windswept Hill

I have spent the last week or two reading my new Ann Blockley book, Experimental Landscapes in Watercolor. Ann is a master with innovative ways to create texture in watercolors. It's a wonderful book, full of creative ideas. I have also been practicing some of the techniques - which are more difficult than they seem. Hopefully I will be able to come up with a painting using some of these techniques soon. In the mean time, here is my latest atmospheric watercolor. I decided not to use too much texture since the focal point is the area of light where I used burnt sienna to draw the eye to this area of the painting.