Beginning of the Beginning

 

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Shenanigan Flat plein air from August

I thought that I would post a few of my favorite watercolor paintings from the past 5 months. I started this amazing journey delving seriously into learning this wonderful medium and to discover my particular style. I wanted to include the painting above because I feel that it depicts where I want to be in watercolor. Of course this painting only shows a smidge of the style that I envision.

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semi-abstract

A semi-abstract of several madrone trees in my backyard has been an adventure of sorts. Finding my way around abstraction, loosing up and learning not to be so critical of myself in having a “perfect” painting.

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plein air from 2014 on Wallis paper
      My past has been solidly planted in soft pastel for approximately 17 years. The above painting is one that I wasn’t too sure about at completion because of the looseness but now I see it as being perfect because it is loose.
     As you can see, I have come a long ways and have even further to go, I believe that the artist life is very complex and a never-ending journey. If you have been following my blogging here on WordPress, you learned from my last post that I am stepping away during the month of November to give myself a breather. In actuality I found that I was delving deep into an area that I have visited many times before which I feel goes against my creative striving.
     I am aware of this being normal for a creative, but in my case there is a portion that is solidly based upon my childhood and wounds that have occurred. My hope and plan is to focus on how to bounce back quicker with less stress. I also am wanting to put to rest the need for validation and hopefully to leave behind a large portion of my harsh self criticism.
     When I had originally thought of taking a month off, I was questioning if it was something that I should do, when I ran across a post by a fellow blogger that tied right into what I have contemplating about, I knew it was a confirmation.
      I am a very positive person who has great hope for my art and what I can learn from pursuing being creative. I could touch upon a lot in this post but it would be too lengthy and you all be yawning and ready for this post to end. I do believe that when I do come back in December, I plan on blogging more about the creative life (and struggles) in addition to my art adventures.
     While I am on my leave of absence, I will be working more on a painting that is meditative Intuitive Painting-Psalm 65 If you want to snoop into the conversation regarding this planned absence, I suggest that you read the comments in this post  Fall on the North Yuba. Goodness, it is about time I end this and post it. I will be come back and keep an eye on the feed, until then….happy creating!

 

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Fall on the North Yuba

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painting #1 Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches

At first I did not like this painting which is essentially a warm-up, now I am liking it a tad, no more mind you. I have been thinking lately that I’ll be taking November away from blogging. I haven’t  been feeling good about my paintings for a while now, very few of them I really like. I have decided to explore my reasons for painting, and get more into a meditative, spiritual approach to my painting process. This might extend into December. I’ll do an extensive post about that next week, so be looking for it.

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my scene for painting #1
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painting #2 (at Rocky Rest) on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I decided to move on down the river to Rocky Rest where I have painted before Beach at Rocky Rest . I wanted to pull some good feeling from this outing because I was not enjoying the painting experience which is unusual for me. I brought out the largest Chinese style brush I have to paint with to shake things up, I kind of liked the experience, always fun to throw something different into the mix.

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My scene  at Rocky Rest
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painting #3 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

My camera make those splotches very dark, they are not in actuality, keep that in mind.

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painting #4 on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches

I didn’t touch these paintings once I got home, I’ll do that later, if needed. I  want to take my time to assess them properly.

Learning Points:

  • Don’t paint when in a nasty mood!
  • If in a nasty mood while out there, paint until you can leave with a good feeling, I did just that.
  • Art is suppose to be fun!

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

Pastel on Watercolor Delight

 

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the end product of a fun experiment
I am dealing with a headache since last night but didn’t stop me from getting into the art studio to paint. I wish that my photo showed this painting better but oh well, imagine that orange color being a rich sunflower color and that blue in the background darker than it would almost be correct. My camera lately has been making my blues appear too high of a chroma, so keep that in mind. The color on the water section looks thick and heavy in this photo but it is just fine when I look at the painting.
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close-up of one of the bushes
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The original plein air watercolor

I had a blogger suggest that I darken the background of this painting and I did though I decided to go ahead and turn it into a watercolor to pastel painting. Sure I could had gone darker in the shadows but I didn’t want to fuss with it too much but focus on the light and the gorgeous yellows and golds. I punched up the color than what I saw in reality.

 

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My reference photo

Looking at that photo and comparing what I ended up with,  I could probably could have worked on the water more but to me the focus was on the rocks and bushes. Oh but look at that water!! Oh well, perhaps another time. My last experiment with this idea of putting pastel on top of a watercolor didn’t go as planned and it was mostly a pastel painting. Pastel of Goose Lake

I probably rushed this painting but I feel that I wanted to have a go at it and see what happens. I might go back and tweek it a bit more and then again, I might leave it alone.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

Pastel of Goose Lake

 

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pastel on grey Colorfix paper

I was hoping to work longer on this pastel but my carpal tunnel is giving me fits and I was getting tired of painting with my left hand. I am thinking that I need to work on more depth in the water, right now my blue scrumbling over the surface is too uneven and not realistic. I want to remain loose with this painting and working with my left hand helped me in that aspect.

 

My photo and painting almost marries up except that the blues are jumping forward too much in the photo which I can’t seem to eliminate, keep that in mind. I initially started this painting with a watercolor underpainting but ended up covering it completely with pastel. I think that in the future I’ll use watercolor paper rather than a sanded pastel paper. Check out Debi Riley’s beautiful painting here Watercolor to Pastel isn’t her painting divine? She is such an inspiration and I was hoping to follow her lead but overdid my pastel. There is always next time.

 

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My reference photo

Learning Points:

  • Use the appropriate paper for the method
  • Take breaks for a fresh look and to keep those tendons loose
  • Remember excessive detail can kill a painting, if you want excessive detail, make friends with photography (my opinion)
  • Pastel is fun!

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

Studio Piece of Shenanigan Flat

 

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work in progress
While it has been raining very hard and Fridays are usually my plein air day, I am stuck in the studio. I started this painting over a week ago and I initially liked how it started out loose but now I am bringing it up to the correct depth and while doing this, I feel that I am going too tight.
I am undecided if it has enough impact, truthfully I can’t tell. I am the type of person who loves impact and strong lighting. I don’t want to fiddle this to death and I am already thinking that I have. Not sure where to proceed from here. Any ideas folks? I think that it isn’t helping that I am feeling antsy and wanting to be outside so my attitude is veering towards frustration. I won’t be touching this until I have some feedback and also when I have fresh eyes and a better attitude.

 

Goose Lake in Sierra County

 

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My scene-Goose Lake

My daughter and I and her dog took a hike up at where I had gone before Bear Lakes Loop- World Watercolor Month #2 but instead of taking the fork that proceeded onto the Bear lakes I wanted to explore the loop that goes to Round Lake. To shorten this story, we ended up hiking up a mountain and went “around” Round Lake. We headed back and I painted at Goose Lake along Lakes Basin Recreational area.

 

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painting #1 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

My warm-up went better than I thought it  would being it was my first one. I used a flat rather than my usual squirrel mop. I love to abstract my paintings, you can see it in this one especially with the foreground rocks and the trees in the background.

 

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painting #2 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

I could for the life of me to get my photo to marry up with the correct yellow in my painting. It is not as acid yellow and blotchy as you see here. I struggled at first with this and it wasn’t until later that it grew on me. I don’t know what it is but today I fought with the painting process,  I wanted my painting to go a certain way and when I do this, I get either frustrated or doubtful and I was doing both this time around.

 

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painting #3 on Arches 300# 7 x 9 inches

While trying to edit this photo, I lost the wonderful warmth of the middle part of that headland but know that it is a warm yellow/red color. I initially didn’t like how muddy the water looked in this painting but truthfully that is how dark it looked when the wind wasn’t whipping up the water. In a way this lake and the surrounding area reminded me of the marshlands of Alabama.

 

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On the trail to Round Lake

 

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Fall colors in this alpine area

I might try to hike out to the Bear Lakes in a couple of weeks to try to paint once again, we’ll see if the weather holds out.

Learning Points:

  • Trust the painting process, be willing to let go and not control every aspect of the painting journey.
  • Push the fear and doubt that rises up while painting, it gets in the way of creativity.
  • Don’t judge while painting, the critical kind of judging, that is.

Rain is in the forecast for the next three days which means I won’t be able to get out and plein air paint. Next Wednesday will be clear and I have plans to paint. Get out there and see and experience nature, you will not be disappointed.

 

 

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting and Chasing Away Fly Fisherman

 

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painting #1 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I had this particular spot in mind for over a week and was very excited to paint here which I haven’t in years, the last time I did I painted it in pastel

 

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Pastel on Wallis paper 9 x 12 inches

So as I was saying I had this spot in mind to paint for a while I come around the corner on Hwy 49  and there is a man and a truck parked, what????? that is MY spot! so I pulled up rather fast, you should have seen the look on his face. I got out of the truck immediately asking “oh are you planning to fish here”? “yes”…..I then say “I plan to paint here”, I didn’t ask him, I told him! then he says….”I will stay out of your way”! Haha! like I was the one who showed up first….anyway…..he lasted only 10 minutes fishing and then moved on up the road. I love it.

 

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My scene! I had to come back and edit it in, I forgot it.

 

 

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painting #2 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I completed this one later in the studio, I lost quite a bit of definition on the right side but that’s alright, it is a warm-up.

 

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painting #3 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I really hate that hump of rocks, I am going to work on softening edges and the horizon line.

 

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painting #4 on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches

I am thinking that I will work on now loosing up my water which actually means I need to soften up the edges of the water and rocks. I don’t like the cookie cutter look but I understand why I have been doing that because of the need to keep my lights but I know that I can have the happy marriage of saving my whites and loosen up with my edges. That is my challenge now.

I have been fortunate to continue painting as it is cooling down. Soon I might have to switch back to pastel work when my washes refuse to corporate in drying.

I stopped in Downieville to look at a new gallery in town Yuba Gallery and I ran into an old artist friend, Katie O’Hara Kelly who also taught art at the elementary school that my daughters had gone to. Her art is in the gallery and she is encouraging me to bring some artwork in to exhibit. The gallery is seasonal because the tourist trade drops during the winter, I am looking forward to next year to bring some of my paintings of the river and Sierra Buttes.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sierra Buttes #2 watercolor

 

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Painting #1 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

 

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Sierra Buttes-my scene

I wanted to go up and  paint the Sierra Buttes while fall is here and I am hoping that I’ll be able to paint this mountain till the road is shut down for the season. As you can see, there is a dusting of snow from our last storm. Isn’t that an amazing view? I have been up here to paint so many times that I have lost count and I have to say that this is the most beautiful that I have seen the Buttes to date. The last time I was here I spotted a Bald Eagle flying over those peaks and over Sand Pond. I took over 100 photos on this trip and I think that I captured the best photo of the Sierra Buttes in my mind.

It is a popular area for snowmobiles and skiing during the winter. I painted this spot before in pastel    Sierra Buttes 9/20/13  and here, a different view Look at those Buttes! and finally in watercolor Sierra Buttes-Yes! June WC #4 .

 

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painting #2 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

 

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Painting #3 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I had wanted to include Sand Pond and the whole nine yards but I have a tendency to want to paint close-up it is so difficult for me to do large scale.

 

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Lucky me….I had a picnic table! Look at the view!

 

 

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painting #4 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

I stopped on the way back to paint one last time and this was on the North Yuba, of course, imagine that!

My Learning Points:

  • Keep working it, watercolor is a long term relationship, it can only get better with experience and hard work.
  • Dress Warmly especially when you expect cold weather, I did but I had to start peeling off the clothes as it warmed up.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.