Not Downieville but the Yuba!

Painting #1 on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches

I had planned on painting in Downieville, a little mountain town that nestles along the edge of the river. I arrived promptly at 8 am but I found that the town was in complete shadow, the mountains surrounding this town are close and tall. Funny because I was thinking about arriving at 7 am but got to thinking that the sun wouldn’t be making it appearance until later. I asked a local man and he told me that I would have to wait until 9 am! what! I decided to go on up the road and paint at an area that I have painted many times and also have swam with the family.

My general scene of three paintings
Painting #2 on Saunders #200 7 x 9 inches

This is my favorite painting out of the entire bunch…there is something about this one that feels almost perfect. I haven’t figured out why, is it the composition, colors? what? any idea? By the way to paint where I did, I had to scramble over rocks and avoid plunging into the river, it was very fun! I had been dealing with vertigo off and on this past month and it is so much better. It had me worried when I was having it several weeks ago because all I could think of is that I HAVE to Paint!

The other problem I ran across is that I forgot my palette, so I improvised. I used the lid to my container of water.  I was planning on using a rock if anything, nothing was going to stop me from painting.

My underpainting for painting #3
My finished painting #3 on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches

For some reason I didn’t finish this painting and later in the studio I thought I would finish it up. It was a fun exercise because I used my memory and “what needs to be done” abilities.

My scene for the next two paintings



Painting #4 on Arches 300# rough 11 x 14 inches

I had a lot of fun trying to paint this one but I got lost in the details and while I was fiddling around, my light was changing. I then proceeded to chasing light and lost my initial focus. I need to learn to get in and get out as quickly as possible. After all this is plein air right? Not meant to be a masterpiece or a refined studio piece. Keep It Simple Precious! I ended up with some nondescript areas and that is alright, I count this as a good exercise.

Painting #5 on Arches Saunders #200 7 x 9 inches

I decided to give it one more try. I went loose and fast, what do I have to lose? Absolutely nothing! My problem is that I am an aggressive painter, my approach is to throw on the paint and sometimes I muck it up or can’t go back the other direction. I can’t seem to hold back that urge and with watercolor careful planning while being aggressive is pulling out an juggling act on my part.

I took longer than usual getting this post out because of having a bout with carpal tunnel, I have been trying to rest my hand and avoid using my computer mouse so much. If any of you deal with this I would like to hear what has helped you other than surgery.


Learning Points:

  • It is alright to be aggressive but also plan ahead, a few steps ahead is all that I need.
  • Just because I am painting on a larger sheet of paper doesn’t mean to go slower and more detailed.
  • Keep it loose, watercolor loves to play and I love to play too!
  • Working with fresh paint is Marvelous!!!
  • Remember to double check my equipment and supplies before leaving.

30 thoughts on “Not Downieville but the Yuba!

  1. I love how you let your colors mingle together on the paper! Gorgeous colors!! I like how you invite the view into your painting with the one painting you were asking about. I like how you improvised when you didn’t have the right supplies with you! Brilliant! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Margaret! HSW! Holy Swooning Wowzas! These are amazing! There is something so special about your work, so unique. I wish I had the professional artsy words to describe it, but I just know there is something so very uniquely special. You don’t draw these first do you? Straight to paint in the open air?? What are your favorite colors for these? Are you loving Saunders paper now? I have not tried that yet. So much to swoon over here! I’m going back to swoon. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ms. Swoon 🙂 well, come to think of it I don’t think that I drew out but one and that was #4. I think that I get too impatient and raring to go, so I jump in! lol….crazy, huh? Your comments make me swoon! I swear! I adore Saunders and so far Mr. Fabriano is very, very jealous and have been speaking (begging) sweet nothings to me but I have been ignoring those whispers. lol My colors were: Quin. gold, Lunar Blue, Cascade Grn, cobalt blue, Fr. Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Tiger’s Eye and Aurelian. I might have tried a few others. I sometimes don’t think about what I use. I should put a list of my colors along with my posts. My current ultimate favorites especially for rocks have been Lunar Blue, Quin. gold and Burnt Tiger’s Eye. that is why I love the North Yuba (as opposed to the south and middle ) because the rocks are special, they range from anywhere to black to burnt sienna. Now you have got me to wondering, I would like to know that word that you are searching for. 🙂 thank you dear, I still hope to post about my long and horrible road of half way liking my work, what a journey I have been on! my goodness


    2. Jodi….while out painting today, I realized that I did draw out some of these paintings on this post! I normally just do a few lines to give me a basis and then away I go, or I wing it by just drawing with my brush and painting at the same time. But with this batch on this post and my current post, I did some line drawing to establish where my rocks are and then I got to painting. I think that is why I totally thought I didn’t draw it out because I scribble the elements in and onto painting I go, therefore, I stand corrected. I need to keep in mind what I do especially when asked. I love being as clear on how I paint. Colors are difficult to recall as well because I dab and grab without thinking. Anyway, I had to clarify that because it was bothering me once I remembered while out there painting. 🙂 Oh I had forgotten your acronym for HSW! I saw it here. lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. crazy, I know! as I was sitting there drawing out that painting, it hit me and then I felt the shame of telling you wrong! lol no worries, I am being dramatic 😉 Have a wonderful first October Day…..I love October being that it is fall and my daughter’s birthday.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. dawnmarie

    Maybe you like the whites in number two? That is the one you said was your favorite right?

    I like the last two compositions and I think it is because of mix of rock, water and the river bank. It is a good angle. I like the suggestion of the foliage on the river bank. The colors are nice…like what I think of as relaxing colors with the Browns blues and greens. Number four is really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. dawnmarie

        Besides the glow, the rock itself is also interesting in number two, so maybe there are lots of things about it that just make you happy all the way around. It is a good set!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. you FEEL it!! we can too! its so clear, how you love it there and know that place so well Margaret… That. Right there is the Secret! no slam bam.
    but courtship of getting to know the land, the place. how wonderful ! your rocks and water, oooh! the backgrounds are getting so much more ‘into the back’ these days.. yep.. lovin’ your plein air! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehe… sure taught me, I was going to get it done no matter what. I got to thinking what if I had forgotten my brushes? I probably would improvise and come up with something, a twig, my fingers….I can be stubborn, ask my family. Thank you for stopping by 🙂


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