They gave all of us Plein air artists a great swag bag at the Ghost Ranch with a lot of art supplies. The thing I wanted to try first is this little color sample test palette with 6 dry colors from QoR Modern Watercolors made by Golden. I was just playing around and made the colors bleed because it’s kind of fun to see what you get when they mix and also to watch the bleed.
That’s Mars Orange Deep on the dunes with Indanthrone Blue in the shadows and Manganese Blue in the sky. The blues don’t show up right in this photo because I took it in the yellowish light over my work table. They’re both good blues in real life.
They are some real nice bright colors and I might buy tubes of them in the future.
It rained today and it might rain tomorrow. That’s ok. It’s been dry here for 3 weeks. I started my watercolor at the Pleasure House Point marsh, but didn’t get very far with it yesterday. I will finish that thing some time soon. Not exactly sure how to proceed. At least I had good weather for my vacation. I’m glad I made it home before the bad weather moved in out west.
Sue’s my room mate. She’s from Florida, teaches watercolor and some of her friends from her art group in Florida are here too. Sue loves to travel.
In camping news, the stars are just amazing at night. You can see the Milky Way. I’ve only seen that many stars a few times in my life.
I bought raw Sienna, burnt Sienna and cobalt blue. This is a test of transparency and how the colors look overlapping and blending. I made it fun by doing a skinny-dipping abstract. The colors look better in real life than they do in this photo. A big part of improving my watercolors is to do random color swatches until I’m more familiar with the paint. It might seem like a huge waste of time and paper, but every step counts toward the goal of mastering the medium, which could take years, so there’s no rush, or limit on supplies I’ll go through. Now I know I’ll enjoy using these colors together and I like the blends I got.
It’s a clouds experiment. I can’t tell if it looks like clouds to the viewer or not. If it looks like something else, that’s what it is. I painted it in Plein air from my balcony with watercolor and the clouds were moving. I used masking fluid on my fan brush and white oil paint stick first to block out some white and to see if I could make a soft and fluid cloud texture. When it was dry I rubbed off the masking fluid with an eraser.
The horse is another drawing with a black oil paint stick taped to a yardstick to make it fun.
I’m just goofing around at home with the horses for models and trying different things with watercolors but I’m going to get back out in plein air tomorrow and get back to the landscape next.
The weather is improving. YEA!
I was trying to make a ghostly transparent look with this experiment. I used masking fluid on the horse and spattered rubbing alcohol on the background. It was fun. I might do another ghost horse. Why wait till Oct? Spooky subjects are fun all year round.
This is my finished charcoal sketch that I started earlier this week, as seen on my previous blog post, when it was kind of rough. I’d like to go abstract with it but I feel like I need to do a tight sketch first.
By the time I finished the watercolor I probably have 7 or 8 hours in this one experiment, including the time I spent sketching, transferring it to watercolor paper then going into it with masking fluid and paint. That’s not including the times I had a fan blowing on it between layers of paint. That might seem like a long time to put into an experiment, but I learned a thing or two that I can use in the future. The more times I draw a subject the easier it gets.
To go a little more abstract this time, I didn’t draw it with charcoal or pencil first. I couldn’t decide how to go about it, then just went with the old blob in a rough shape method, like I would with charcoal, only with paint. First I put a glaze of cadmium yellow on the whole paper and let it dry. Then I sprayed water on it and tried to make it evenly damp. I dabbed up the puddles with a paper towel. The paper warped like crazy. Then I blobbed in the general shape of the horse with green and lifted some of the color back out.
The red color, opera, looks like a bright orange over the cad yellow. I did a test strip to pick my colors and liked the colors I got when Veridian green mix with opera. And they both looked good on top of the cad yellow.
Then just to mess it all up, I splashed rubbing alcohol all over it. I held it in front of a fan till it was almost dry then darkened up the green paint with some ultramarine blue to paint the sketchy lines.
That was fun. And good practice on things like, the right wetness of the paper, trying to control a bleed, drawing with a paintbrush which I can’t erase, etc.
This time I wanted to let the horizon line bleed. It was out of control because of the paper warping and I let it go. For a second I considered trying to stop it, then I said, let it bleed.
It was fun watercolor practice. I think I’ll do another horse. There are so many possibilities with how to go about watercolor, I’m just kind of playing around. Play is a good way to learn.
I have a song stuck in my head. A few days ago I watched” Bohemian Rhapsody” on HBO. It was good. I love Queen, and of course, Freddy Mercury. The movie had a short clip from the” I Want To Break Free” video where they’re dressed up in drag and Freddy comes in pushing a vacuum cleaner. I remember when it was on MTV. I thought it was brilliant and I loved the song. So I had to look it up on Spotify to get my fix. I Want To Break Free might be my favorite Queen song. Didn’t Freddy have an amazing voice? What a great inspiration he was.
I was putting this off because it was kind of difficult and I didn’t have the time to concentrate on it. First I had to redraw my horse sketch from a few weeks ago onto watercolor paper and make corrections. That took a couple hours. Then I couldn’t decide what colors to use. Finally I decided it would be best to start with the background and do the horse last like I would if it was an oil painting. Too many decisions! I tackled the sky, grass and horse as separate experiments, using two Inktense pencils on the wet blue paper for the grass. It was kind of fun pushing the paint around to make it as even as I could on the horse then lifting out paint with a paper towel where I wanted highlights. Now that I got one horse sketch finished I might try again with a different model horse. It’s still too hot out for me to enjoy painting in Plein air unless I get out at the crack of dawn.
I started this yesterday in Plein air and finished it at home using my Inktense pencils and watercolor in a tube for the background. I wanted to try to make the background as smooth and thin as I could. Some blossoming of the paint happened, maybe because the paper warped. I remember stretching watercolor paper long ago. I might have to look it up and see how other artists do that. Or, if any of my fellow bloggers could tell me, do you stretch your paper? and if so how? I’d be interested. It seems like extra work, like priming a canvas, but I still prime my canvases for an oil painting.
That was fun and easy. I think I’ll do another.
I’ll go back out and paint in plein air again real soon, but this could be my style if I live so long that I can’t drive, or some other horrible thing happens and I can’t get out in nature.
Plus, it gives the viewer a little glimpse into my subconscious.