Madrone Madness #6

I was planning on going to the river but I changed my mind because I will be going to the river with my daughter and her three children tomorrow to swim. I decided to keep my ventures to the river special each and every time. I didn’t plan on painting today but with the lighting on the madrones out back, last-minute decision and here we are. One of my favorite painting sessions using these madrones for my subject Madrone Madness #5-World Watercolor Month #5

Painting #1 on Arches 300# 11 x 14 inches

I liked how this painting started but I changed my mind on certain sections and took off some paint. I am only including this painting to illustrate what happens when the focus or intention goes awry. My first intention was to highlight the golden color coming through the trees. Usually morning light isn’tย as golden but because of our smoky skies, the light in the morning has been more of an evening tint. There are some parts that I do like in this painting but I call it a fail. I also am asking you all what would you do with this painting? add or subtract? I am undecided. I just might turn it over and paint on the other side.

This is the section that I do like
Painting #2 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

Now we are cooking! I loved how this one painted and turned out…..So fun! I used my water sprayer extensively and yet cautiously on this one. I learned from my last painting to keep my mind on one intention and let the magic of watercolor happen.

Close-up of my favorite spot
Painting #3 on Saunders #200 7 x 9 inches

I enjoyed this one almost as much….probably too much red but then it really makes the painting sing. Looking at it now, I had hoped for more soft edges but I am not touching it again.

Learning Points:

  • Don’t have two ideas conflicting while painting, one focus or intention at a time.
  • Getting in and getting out is fun!
  • Keep your colors fresh and allow mixing on the paper. I failed to allow this to occur on painting #1




34 thoughts on “Madrone Madness #6

    1. so fun! I love children’s art and it is very important for emotional and creative growth…..I believe in it so much. Have you thought of taking her to a museum that hosts children’s art or something that she can appreciate right now? I know that she is only 4 but perhaps there is something out there that she might relate to or enjoy.

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      1. I think so too! I do take her to museums every now and then, and some children’s art exhibitions at the library. Sometimes she enjoys it for a few She’s more of a doer. At least for now. I’m thinking of letting her participate in some kind of group art class this winter.

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  1. I really like your Madrone series. Ok, the first one of this set did not work out as good as the other two but it is always good for learning to make mistakes and just have another try. #3 is my favorite. It might be more red than in reality but like you said: It makes the painting sing! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. I agree….that first one was a stinker (my words…lol) but I wanted to show how it can go all wrong if the approach is conflicted. #2 is my absolute favorite and #3 I was trying to depict some leaves that are actually dying….they are a gold/reddish brown….dropped in some red and it went wild, I decided not to keep the watercolor from doing its thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ always fun that way…..I rather have excitement and interest in a painting than trying to realistically depict right down to color….liven it up I say ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Lola Colleen

    Love looking at your watercolors. I guess I’m the only one who likes your “stinker” painting as much as I like the other two paintings. It reminds me of Japanese art. The only problem I have with it is it’s missing a horizon line/middle ground to anchor the tree and its surroundings and give the painting some depth. Other than that, it’s very beautiful.

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    1. you are correct….I first started out trying to show the golden light coming over the hills and trees in the background, there were at least two different “action lines” going on and then I was trying to depict the beauty of the tree and couldn’t decide which, where or what! lol I kind of gave up….where the blue at the bottom right touches the gold color is where the actual ground is. I think I might yet do something with it just to see if I can give some semblance to it. thank you! I needed a poke to either do something with it or turn it over. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. Lola Colleen

        Glad I could help. I too get caught up in my painting that I sometimes lose focus of what I want to convey. If I stop and come back later I usually can save a painting from the burn barrel.

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  3. love how the colors collide and merge and play together so happily, in those last ones. gorgeous. I will still, overwork a painting. it happens, due to an excess of exuberance especially in the very first painting. Then the bugs get worked out. LOL

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  4. dawnmarie

    Interesting how we see things. I really love number two and 3, but your number one just has a different feel. It is not a is just different. I liked the darkened front branches that are more purposeful than the rest and the worked/unworked portions of the painting, I thought it was interesting. With that being said, you don’t like it and you are not going to be able to fix it to your likening so start over. I spent 10 hours the day before yesterday “reworking” a painting I didn’t like…it ended up in the trash. I didn’t like the layout, I didn’t like the colors…I just didn’t like it and called it a fail. Can’t fix a fail if you don’t like the painting or just a little portion of the painting you like to begin with because you will always see what you didn’t like and tried to fix in it. Just my 200 cents worth… (accounting for inflation) status post 10 hour code event on my own fail.

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    1. oh your 200 cents covered a good distance…I totally agree. I tried to doctor it up with some trees and foliage but I still see that it is a fail because my virgin paper is all mucked up. I really like fresh and mingled color and well, there you go, that answers that! I will be using the other side for another painting, no loss but a good lesson! I can’t even imagine you having a fail, what you put out there are so awesome! I have more fun seeing what you’ll come up with next!

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  5. dawnmarie

    I hate those fails,but I learn so much during them and boy do I have some humdingers. The one from the other day was a painting I did early spring or late winter and I wasn’t at the point where I knew how to paint sunflowers in a way that I liked them. I don’t paint over dry paint. I don’t like the results. It is a personal preference thing. I am not a fan of glazing and sheen changes and I like my paint to kinda melt together and unify and that doesn’t happen when you paint over dry paint. Plus, although I used linseed oil and solvent for a few months just to learn how to use them, I don’t use them anymore. I like thick, goopy hard to work with paint and lots of texture and this painting was smooth. I decided I was gonna fix that sunflower picture and take it to the festival. I tried changing the colors. Didn’t like. I tried adding hollyhocks for interest…hated it…I tried adding texture…nope…I did not like the picture…period and you can’t make a dry painting with new layers look like a wet on wet one stroke style painting. Ain’t gonna happen. I can see the difference anyway because it is something I look for…maybe not everyone looks for,that. I don’t know. Anyway, big fat F…trash men took it away today.

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    1. I hardly know anything about painting in oils, I am sensitive to smell and I know that I wouldn’t do well with them. So, this huge struggle with learning has brought you to a place where you are able to paint such beautiful paintings. Fun hearing your story and I can really appreciate what you do even more so!

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      1. dawnmarie

        Oils are a process!!! I quit using any solvent at all even for cleaning brushes because my tastes changed! I was hyper sensitive to sour and bitter and couldn’t taste salt….so hopefully slowly but surely I will get my taste back. I can eat chocolate again without it being bitter, still can’t do sour but I can taste salt again…so hoping I just had turpenoid toxicity. Lolol. Thank you for the encouragement Margaret.

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  6. I love your second one. Californians call it Madrone; when I moved to Oregon and people kept talking about the Mountain Laurel, and I just could never find it until I realized it was the same plant. I love madrone…. home home home….

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  7. It seems to me that your successful watercolours are where you have left some dry white paper…allowing the whites to sparkle….however, you asked what you would do with the first one….I would live with it for a while, and see how you feel in a few weeks – and of course the key is to continue doing what you are doing….keep painting:) It’s lovely to see your work…janet:)
    p.s. I use old sketches that I am not to pleased with for warming up exercises. It’s very freeing,

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