Watercolor Mayhem

painting # 1 wip on Canson Heritage 140# quarter sheet

Up to no good today working on at least 4 paintings today. The first one that I am showing you is a wip and I am not so sure that I like the “dirty” look to it. Perhaps the word is muddy then again I am thinking that perhaps it is because I had worked wet on wet and I tried too hard to get the look I wanted. Good luck with that, right? The bushes are not quite what I wanted and the rocks are iffy, not defined well enough. Then again, I haven’t put on my finishing touches or brought back some of my whites. We’ll see what I will do with this one. Perhaps turn it over and try another painting or set it aside to work on it later.

I decided a few days later after posting this to show my pastel painting from a couple years ago of this same area, here is that post: Who is Afraid of the Dark?

painting #2 wip on Arches 140# quarter sheet

Interesting how soft and muted this painting came out. The spots of blue are not as intense in reality, so keep that in mind. I actually washed off about 50% of the paint and once dried, I re-worked it. Perhaps this is not the conventional way to work in watercolors but I like to push the boundaries now and then.

I ended up feeling very picky and my perfectionism came out to wreck some mayhem in my creative life. Thank goodness tomorrow is Sunday, my day for rest from painting.

I am currently working on a more detailed piece and I haven’t been so nervous in a long time working on a painting! I am discovering that it is easier for me to be loose, wild and free when I am not having to worry about staying within the lines or being precise. Not my cup of tea but I am making myself to go the opposite direction in order not to get too comfortable.

*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.

36 thoughts on “Watercolor Mayhem

  1. Both paintings are very naturalistic. The top in particular seems to capture a subtle darkness that one sees in the woods at times. The clarity of the top picture contrasts nicely with the softer effect of the lower one. I think they’d make nice pendants.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps a difficult task, but one has to learn to see the picture “technically” — for lack of a better word — even to find the emotion in it via its objective features because looking for the emotion isn’t going to succeed if the emotions you’re feeling at the time are negative. It would be easy to project the negative emotion into the picture simply because that’s what you’re feeling at the moment. But emotions come and go. The picture stays the same. It would be unfortunate to turn against a successful picture just because you were feeling in a negative mood at the time it was made.

        Looking at the first one, particularly, I think it is very successful in evoking — as I was saying — a kind of clear light of the woods when overall it’s dark under the trees, but when there’s still enough light to see things in well defined ways. I find that feature striking about it. That kind of tonal effect, I would think, would be kind of challenging to achieve. So I find it very lovely.

        The second picture is also very charming and feels very natural. The softened edges suggest a different kind of light than the first but they both make perfect sense — and they communicate different things about the woods, things that you’d see in different kinds of light, maybe at different times of day or weather.

        The mood that the artist feels when working doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the mood of the picture. If you were feeling frustrated, it doesn’t show in the picture at all. That’s a good thing. Sadly, you weren’t perhaps enjoying the session as you would have liked. But the picture is very fine.

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      2. While painting the first one I was totally in the moment and at some point I started my struggle thinking that I wasn’t achieving what I wanted. Perhaps I was getting tired. When I paint in this technique I can paint for a solid 2- 2 1/2 hours until it is apparent that I have to allow it to dry thoroughly. The second painting I enjoyed and yet wasn’t satisfied and decided to wash back and give it another go. Sunday rest here I come! whew!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thought…. the rocks in the first one? I think you are on the right track with working some more with them. The water however, is working just the way it is as are the trees in the background. PS tell me to shut up if you want me to. The important thing i want to say is both paintings are really good just as is but i know you like to go back and work on things so…my suggestions spring forth.

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      2. I will go back and put in some more depth and will lighten up or soften some areas. When I work in wet on wet there is so much that I can work with and then I have to wait for the painting to dry completely before I put in my last punch, some artists call it “calligraphy”. I am going to do the same with the second one, I think….maybe. 😉

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  2. The techniques you used worked very well. Have you ever painted on a gesso board? Not a watercolor board, but one meant for oil or acrylic. They’re less porous and you can cleanly wipe lots of paint off of them, but there’s enough texture to hold on to the paint much better than Yupo.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like the dark woods feel of the first painting – it captures that without resorting to cliche about scary places. Forests are dark sometimes, but not places to be afraid of or in (if you’re properly prepared!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I captured that spot early in the morning when the sun was just hitting the river….I had painted there a couple of years ago but with pastel. I should have included it, maybe I will edit it in. I guess I never thought about forests being dark and scary, I am a woods kind of gal but good to hear that I hit it just right. Thank you Mr. Plaidcamper for your observations, I always appreciate hearing from you!


  4. I must say….
    painting #2 is a sensational and lovely image.
    Definitely a “I WANT THIS” It fills me with that horrid feeling of envy, and want………..just terrible, isn’t it! chuckling! 🙂 You did a magnificent job creating this. cheers, YRF

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Sand Pond and Semi-abstract – Yuba Gold

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