Madrone Madness #2 June wc #6

My goodness, my titles are getting complex! While preparing my breakfast, I looked out and saw “the perfect lighting” on my Madrone trees. I immediately grabbed my watercolor supplies and out the back door I went. Forget breakfast!

We have had some cooling down and it has been quite chilly. I heard that up at the Sierra Buttes area, they were having snow flurries!

I bought some new paper and for my first painting, I used Saunders 200# cp. I really liked the surface of this paper, at first it didn’t seem to be much difference between Saunders and Arches except that Saunders has a softness and receptiveness that I like. I think that I would like to try out the rough version next time. I wanted to try out a heavier paper and I was so pleased that it didn’t buckle at all. I am too lazy to stretch my paper, I know I should but I don’t. I have done it in the past and found that it still buckled. I followed all the instructions to the T and have tried several times.

1st painting 11 x 14 200# Saunders cp


2nd painting 7 x 10  Fabriano Artistico 300# rough


Do I love this paper or what? Yes I do! very much. It forces you to be bold, to make decisive marks and leave the paper alone. I have noticed that you can lift the color easily but be careful because there isn’t much resistance in that lifting, so it can be quite stark, make your lifting decisive. Another observation is that excessive brushwork will disturb the natural beauty of the surface, I limited my brushstrokes to only one or two strokes in the same area. If you take a closer look, the texture is very unique and has a mottled, valley appearance. If you are picky with the surface of your paper, this might be a deal breaker. I liked the surface very much and the way the paint goes on, it is magical.  I don’t mind finicky paper because it teaches me exactly what I want to learn with watercolor.

3rd painting 7 x 10 Fabriano 300# rough

With my third painting, my attempt at painting my blue hydrangea got lost in the shuffle. I had cut around the blue flowers but later on second thought brought in some surrounding colors and then poof….I lost them. I do like that tree to the right of it. I think that I was losing steam and you can see it in this painting. I value this painting regardless because of the learning points….which are:

Learning points:

  • Be willing to embrace and learn from new papers, don’t be afraid to step out from the familiar, either with paper, paints or techniques.
  • You don’t have to know where you are going while painting, it is like asking the driver “are we there yet?” it causes tension and chases away enjoyment.
  • The more you paint, confidence will build and the know how. Carpenters or tree fallers don’t know how to frame a house or fall a tree on the first day, give it time, it is a learning process.
  • Learn to mingle on your paper, over mixing is a killer, I thought about this as I mingled my colors, I have to resist the fear of the unknown and trust that there will be magic.
  • Don’t change your mind at the last minute unless you know you can pull it off successfully. As my Dad used to tell us….”Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream”.

39 thoughts on “Madrone Madness #2 June wc #6

  1. I like them all too but I think #1 and #3 are my favorites. I’m so glad you are enjoying your new paper! I still haven’t opened my carton that I ordered back in April, but I am almost positive I ordered many of the same papers. Did you have a favorite, Margaret?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what? you haven’t? lol you are patient. My favorite painting or paper? I’ll answer both…..:) my favorite painting is the first one and maybe the third, just because of that lighting on those trees. The paper….well, I think the Fabriano is my favorite. I need to try out Saunders more to get a good decision about it. I am hoping to do another order soon. My husband makes good money when he goes on a fire assignment, so I’ll be getting more paper, watercolor and pastel. Then I want more paints!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are so good at every medium you touch!!! How do you prioritize your supplies? I’d have a very tough time with that if I were you. I really need to try out the different papers; looking forward to doing it. Did you have any trouble tearing down the 200# or 300# papers? How did you wind up doing it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. thank you Laura! not sure what you mean about having a tough time prioritizing lol maybe I have a problem and don’t know it! I have a thick see through ruler that is about 4 inches wide and 14 inches long that I use I start by matching the edges and then as I push down from the edges, I use the ruler to push out to the bended edge. I usually have to fold and press the dickens out of the edge several times and then I carefully rip it. I thought I would have trouble ripping the 300# but I just have to make sure the edges are aligned and I have to do an extra folding to get it to rip cleanly.

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  2. Fantastic!!! The 1st one is my favourite! I can almost feel the situation when you discovered that the best motive for today is showing up in your garden. The spontaneous decision to paint this and nothing else makes it awesome. As your gorgeous interpretation of the morning light, too. The 2nd and 3rd painting show the benefits of the Fabriano paper – your color textures look awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had forgotten to mention that I decided to paint my motives (first two paintings) without bothering with a background and letting the white of the paper “help” with the brilliance. I wanted to ask everyone if they think if it was a good choice. I think I will try a painting a background because I plan on doing this view many times. Also, the tree trunks are very flat but then they were! They were very dark and was silhouetted but I didn’t want to go as dark. Anyway, it was fun. I think actually my favorite is the first as well.


  3. dawnmarie

    I like the light in the first one and the tree bending over in the second one to see what is on the ground and the conversation going on between the trees in the third one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for giving me feedback on what you think….always fun. So funny I have lived here on this piece of property for about 18 years and doing plein air for about 11… poor trees have been yoohooing at me for so long! I have finally been giving them some long sought after attention, painting them has been a blast. Now I am thinking of setting up all over the place, we’ll see what I can come up with next week or even this weekend. I had a doe and her youngster in my “deer” garden just yesterday but I doubt if they would drop by and pose. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. how did YOU know Fab rough is my personal all time fav paper Margaret?! hardly anyone knows that! lol ooh la la, what it does; and it surely did magic with you! love those you did. great points you wrote. 🙂 experiment don’t muddy, paint lots. yup!!!! we gotta pass this along !

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Masa, Stonehenge, Yupo, Indian Village, Roma, Khadi, Twin river feather deckle (its the Bomb!!!) Rives bfk, Fabriano SOFT Press.. ooh la la. Fabriano espartartzione. $$$. St. Armand handmade. some are printing papers and so aren’t sized for wc, but – I love their effects, so use them.

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  5. Great work Margaret, I love the light, and leaving work alone is something I must note for myself, I have a tendancy to overwork! I must admit regarding the paper I lately have only used single sheets of a minimum # 200, both arches or Saunders, it just shows when using it how much a good paper can benefit ….I started by buying a very good brush, that helped heaps, now onto the good paper, and I love it. I still use my watercolour pads for playing about and small work, the pads have the benefit of being joined all round so hardly any buckling….oh and cheaper. Incidentally I score my Upto #300 sheets, then tear, gives a clean line with a matching ragged look to the edges matching the original edges of arches…..I tore up a Saunders #200 the other day into 16 pieces for small journal pages, very easy and even, then boiled them up with leaves…..I will post them soon, as hoping to paint something on them in the future, although this will be hard, they are so beautiful as they are?? Btw what paints do you use? You do them great justice ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments and what you use because I love to hear about it, getting ideas and whatnot. I am now so curious and will watch for that post, boiled in leaves? what! I can’t wait! Hey, I think you do a wonderful job with your watercolors, I can’t imagine you over-working them. I use Daniel Smith paints, I love them all except for…..drum roll, please…..Daniel Smith Lemon yellow. Debi is right, it is NOT a good mixer. It actually acts like curdled milk and will sit on the paper like it, I have to add more water just to get it to mix….I hate it….never again! I will be buying a whole new yellow and use Lemon Yellow in experiments or something….or throwing paint, now that is a good idea. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. These,are fresh and wonderful! I will have to put Saunders on my list to try. I usually stick with arches and had the most successes with it, but with increased wet brush time I find it easier to try new papers and be happy with the results.

    Liked by 1 person

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