Madrone Madness #5-World Watercolor Month #5

Painting 1    Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I truly wanted to go paint at a new location and I will hopefully be able to this weekend but this morning I just wanted to stay close to home. All I had to do this morning is walk out back and there are my madrones which I have been painting a series of Madrone Madness-June WC #1  take a peek at my very first post on these magnificent trees.

Painting 2   Fabriano #300 11 x 14 inches

I truly am in love with Fabriano. I can’t get over how wonderful a paper this is and it suits my approach to painting. With Fabriano, you don’t want to keep brushing at it. One to three brushstrokes is safe, any more, you are going to be messing with this picky, but beautiful paper. It suits me because I have a tendency to get in there and get out with just one or two brushstrokes because I am impatient and go bold, fast and get it done. That is basically my personality. I suggest that you buy a watercolor paper that is reputed to be “difficult”, it will teach you the lessons that you need to learn.

Painting 3  Arches 140# 7 x 9 inches

With this painting I intended to go tight and more realistic but I just couldn’t help myself. Why restrain the natural inclination to go wild and bold? I am painting first for me, I love how I am naturally being pulled into my own style. It has taken years upon years to move into my style. I worried for years, fretted and searched for my style. I hear other artists, in particular, beginners say that they want to find their style.

Fretting about it and pushing for it is really not the way to find your style. It comes with a lot of learning and hard work. It wasn’t until I ventured into watercolor that I began to understand that I do have a style and I know what it is. That came through watercolor I believe because I allowed myself to be playful, bold, let loose and just learn by letting watercolor show me.

Learning Points:

  • Accept that I love abstract and loose. I can go tight, I know that but I prefer loose.
  • Control and learn the ratio of paint to water, keep practicing.
  • Wet or dry paint on my palette? that is the question. With this style of bold, loose and wild, wet out of the tube is best but then I can’t put out wet all the time because then I will have to allow it to dry. Something that I need to research.
  • Stretch yourself and try all kinds of paper, techniques, stay out of that gutter of familiarity and sameness. Do yourself a favor and live a little.

44 thoughts on “Madrone Madness #5-World Watercolor Month #5

  1. Boy Margaret, I love your approach almost as I love your beautiful results. Once again, very hard to pick a favorite; it may be the first, because it is so loose and beautiful and I can feel the wind through the trees with the looseness. Another thing I love about this post is that you’ve used three different papers, and I find this really helpful to see! Just comparing them, it helps me somehow. Another note that came to me as I was reading your post is something that Charles Reid suggests (which I’m sure you’ve heard), which is to take a spray bottle and mist your palette about 1/2 hour prior to painting. That helps me a lot to get juicier washes, and M. Graham stays pretty juicy anyhow, which also helps. Hard paint pellets really annoy me, I find it a lot with my WN (most of which I bought because I was too impatient for mail order that day and it’s the only brand I can get locally). Anyway sorry for the mini rant, but I really love your posts and I think more than anything I learn from your learning points. So much wisdom, and I love what you’re learning about the medium and passing forward to us as well. Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I do mist but not up to 30 minutes…I think that I will give that a try next time! thank you! hard paint pellets….you mean their pans? or when they dry out in your wells? oh thank you so much for your comments… if you can imagine on that first painting the colors are brighter than what they appear in my post….I realize that after taking another look just a while ago. I did my post when the lighting wasn’t the best in my room here and I have really good lighting but this morning it was hard to marry up my photos to my paintings. Oh I ADORE watercolor….shh….my pastels might hear! lol 🙂 I love hearing your feedback, it means a lot to me! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hehe! I do mean wet paint turning to pellets in the wells, yes. It just gripes my toenails when I’m using these colors daily and then the next day, yup, pellet again. And how expensive is that paint?! This is something I will never ever understand. I try and keep it zipped most of the time. But yes, that 1/2 hour trick works really well. Do I wait that long? Not usually, but I try and spray real quick before a meal or a shower or something that’ll force me to wait! 😀

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  2. These are wonderful again, Margaret! I love the way you let just the light shining through the branches direct your painting. This is so much more impressive to me than any realistic approach to capture it – because it just transports the feeling and lets us viewers feel your mood, too . The color range of all 3 paintings is beautiful and it is hard to say which is my favorite because they all have their Qualities – but if i would be forced to pick one out i would choose ‘#1 because the almost blurred scene with only a few subtle details a Little bit sharper is really perfect to catch the light shining through the branches and foliage.
    To be honest: I still did not test my Fabriano paper. I would rather like to have some extended time to get into it – until then I prefer to work with the papers I am used to.
    I agree with your words about style. I think the day we stop thinking that we have to paint in a certain style will probably be the day we start to develop one. The style of painting comes from our personality, not from what we try to achieve or (worst case) to copy from other admired artists. If we just paint and let ourselves fall into painting there might appear something that can be called style. Happy painting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Carsten….words of wisdom! I hope everyone that comments here will read what you wrote about style and finding it… it! thank you… added to this post 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words and comments and observations. You see, that helps me to know how my paintings are coming across. I don’t think that painting is really all for me….first for myself but then I want the audience to be affected, to get what I see. So your comments really helps. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Margaret! What a WONDERFUL post – so inspiring – your paintings your attitude – Awh! So refreshing. Tell me more about Fabriano paper. How does it compare to Arches. I’d love to hear. Thanks for all your wonderful inspiration!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh boy, now you have asked for it! It is a paper that can be quite picky with brush strokes but I like that because it has taught me to be thrifty….get in and get out. I think what I adore about the paper is the texture, it has a bumpy look to it but if you have mingled two colors like blue and red, you can uplift some color, gently (before it is dried) and you’ll see the blue sunk down in the valleys of the paper… is hard to explain but I don’t get that out of the other papers. Also, it will lift up pretty stark after it has dried… aware of that. Again, I like that because it teaches you to save your whites though it works wonderfully well if you want to lift out some images in a background, like trees. Now get this, what I especially love is the luminosity of the paper, and if you were to allow the colors to mingle, they simply glow and oh….I can’t explain it. I love it and I have been using the cold press. I would like to get ahold of the rough because for being cold press, it has a lot of texture. You can always ask Debi because it is one of her favorites, she might be able to explain the paper than I did. Also, it is Fabriano Artistico…..there are a few kinds within the brand. Anyhoo…..I love it and better than Arches. In fact I am putting Arches as my third favorite. Saunders is my second most favorite. I hope that I have convinced you! when you put colors down it even behaves differently, the washes will “slow crawl” because of the texture. You have to get some!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much Margaret for explaining! I have heard several artists via youtube videos talk about this paper, and I wondered. You certainly have convinced me! I’ll be ordering some 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Debi LOVES Fab Rough!! it has dimples. it is so wildly textured its awesome. its not for everyone… but, it is my paper love. its perfect for granulated washes. (cerulean, ultramarine, etc blends) very cool for Tree trunks, orange peel, beaches, 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Okay…..I have something for you to look at…..on this post here… if you scroll down to Painting #2 you can see what I am talking about. Especially in the sections where I have the leafy areas. See where the blue gets caught up into the humps or valleys? and then the yellow separates? I didn’t do that, the paper texture does that… adds excitement to the painting….if you look at the tree bark, you’ll see where the burnt sienna gets “captured”. See what I mean? now that is exciting! It probably wouldn’t be a paper to use for let’s say, a detailed floral but rather for a loose painting. Okay, I think that I have exhausted the subject! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Love your bold colors and how you “allow” the colors to mingle and play with each other like the best of friends! ❤️ I’m trying to paint looser but it is not easy. Thanks Margaret for inspiring me to keep at it! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Jill! it is easy to get loose once you just throw in the towel to control and don’t have your expectation to an outcome engaged, let loose, literally! So fun once you do it, you’ll see. Remember you can flip the paper over and re-use it. 🙂

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  5. “Go Bold, Go Fast… and Get It Done” …… gee M, that sounds soooo familiar! and love the bit about “getting difficult paper, in order to teach you what you need to learn” Absolutely Right.
    these are all lovely paintings!!! the Fab paper allows the paint to ‘granulate’ in fabulous ways. its always been my personal fav, even if i tell beginners to start, with Arches rough.
    this is a great post Margaret!! loved it. 🙂 your,… ‘river friend’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hey, river friend, thank you! I had so much fun just out my backdoor. I think that you are right though about having your students start out with Arches, there is so much to keep up with without the paper putting you on the edge of your seat. I love, love Fab…..did I say love? I do enjoy a challenge… it is right up my alley. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ” worried for years, fretted and searched for my style. I hear other artists, in particular, beginners say that they want to find their style.
    Fretting about it and pushing for it is really not the way to find your style. It comes with a lot of learning and hard work.”

    Amen sister! You keep learning and studying and trying different techniques and materials and images until gradually it all comes together as -You-.

    Interesting note about the paper. I used Fabriano during my recent online class and now I’m interested in getting similar size Arches to try the same wet-on-wet techniques there. Makes sense that the sizing and fibers would make a difference. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy that what I wrote made sense to you….Oh, I can’t wait to see your results. Wet on wet is so fun and freeing at the same time. Thank you for your comments, I am looking forward to more conversation with you 🙂


  7. Pingback: Madrone Madness #6 – Yuba Gold

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