Thursday, December 31, 2009

Florida Mountains

After the Tuesday morning snowfall, we waited for the roads to clear and drove up into the nearby Florida Mountains. The lighting on these mountains was very dramatic at that time, and changed from being in the clouds to being in the glistening snow rapidly. This shot reminded me of being in Alaska or what the Alps must look like, although I am sure there would have been much deeper snow!

This is a nine-shot panorama of this range. We drove into the Spring Canyon part which is a pass to Rockhound State Park, Spring Canyon, which goes through the left side in this photo and up to about the 5,000 foot elevations. There was more snow there and there were families having snowball fights, etc. while we were there. It was a great excursion for us, who rarely see snow!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Wonderland?

We awoke this morning to this...snow! It had been predicted for overnight but when we went to bed last night the skies were clear so we thought it would be a false alarm. But, we got about 2 inches before the temps changed it to a light rain so it won't last too long here at the lower levels. if the roads aren't too bad this afternoon we may try to get some photo ops at the nearby mountains.

This was the first time our motorhome has been in snow. Thankfully, we have lots of propane to run the furnace, at night it dips down below 30 degrees.

Two of these photo files were corrupted when resizing so I don't know what that funky stuff is along the bottom, but won't worry about it now, you can still see the snow on the prickly pear cactus!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Deming, NM

We are enjoying a Winter Getaway vacation at this time. We headed East on I-10 yesterday and came to our favorite Deming RV park - 81 Palms. I drove for the last part of the trip and, while driving, noticed the reflection of our rig in the back of this shiny (though somewhat battered) semi in front of us. I asked Tom to grab my camera and take photos of this, but I had the wrong lens on it so you can't see it as clearly as I had hoped, but we are there! On my honor, I had nothing to do with the right side of that rear door, it really was beat up.

As I am typing this, it is now after sunrise and 30 degrees outside. Thankfully, we had the converter replaced in the motorhome and are toasty warm inside. I did have to run outside for a few quick sunrise photos, though. They are predicting a possible 1-inch of snow after midnight tonight and with the clouds and temps right now, I can believe it. I rarely can take snow photos, so that might be interesting...cold, but interesting!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sandy's Tree Ornaments - Final

I finished this last week, but had such a busy weekend that I couldn't get it uploaded to here. I like this better now with the added pine needles and a few details tweaked here and there.

Happy Holidays to all of you in Blogdom!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Operation Warmheart

I wish to announce some exciting news. I belong to the Sun City Grand Art Club, as well as to one of their sub-groups called Grand Artist Jewelry. This Grand Artist Jewelry group has taken on a holiday service project to raise money for Operation Warmheart. This is a charity sponsored by the Luke Air Force Base First Sergeants, they raise money to assist deployed military and their families. This includes providing food, emergency shelter, airline tickets for the family of a severely injured airman, and many other worthy services.

As artisan jewelers, we have offered many hand-made pieces for sale today, Friday the 18th, at the Concierge desk at Sun City Grand's Sonoran Plaza. This sale will run from 8:00-4:00 today. The Concierge desk is across from Zuni's, where you will find lovely pieces of hand-wrought jewelry. There will be pieces that will be for sale, with 100% going to this worthy charity and others with percentages of the sales going to Operation Warmheart.

After today's fund drive with jewelry sales, I will also be involved in an ArtChix sale at the Sun City Grand Art Club. I will carry over my participation in today's sale benefiting Operation Warmheart where I will have designated pieces available for sale at my table at the sale. I will also accept donation to the cause.

I offer credit card convenience at my table, so if you would like to leave a donation it would be appreciated by so many!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunrise Today

On the way to an early-morning appointment we witnessed another glorious sunrise. We were too late at that point to catch the rosy glow of sunrise, but this golden glow wasn't bad! I love mornings where there are clouds above the horizon to reflect the light and glow of a sunrise.

I have not gotten back to my painting to make the suggested changes yet, will probably just have to wait until the watercolor session tomorrow afternoon. I'll start another Yupo painting then, too. I also am getting ready for another ArtChix sale this weekend so life sure gets busy some weeks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sandy's Tree

I had planned on posting this today as the final painting, but after seeing the photo on the PC screen decided it needed some more tweaking. I mentioned earlier that I would be working on a study of one of Sandy Maudlin's paintings on Yupo of this subject. I did not copy her excellent composition of this; but, rather, added the same elements so I could see if I could replicate them. Her Christmas ornaments were as they should be, mine are more separate in a less pleasing way, but served my purpose for this study.

I took the Yupo and paints to my Thursday afternoon watercolor group at the Art Club and just started playing yesterday. This was such a great afternoon of playing with paint and banter with long-time artist buddies! Some days just happen to be wonderful get-togethers, although any time we can get together and paint is never bad!

I am starting to lean toward Yupo, every time I try to use it it excites me more! The vibrant colors, the ease of lifting highlights, it all makes sense to me. Now, if I could just attend one of Sandy's workshops to get those pesky techniques down, I would be thrilled! Sandy...make a DVD?!!!!

ASAP, I will finish those bare limbs I left so unartfully done on the upper left and add a few more Christmas light sparkles. I truly enjoyed working on this and promise Sandy to not use it for profit (other than adding more skills to my skill bank and the enjoyment I had studying her painting!). Thanks Sandy for inspiring me to try this painting!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sunrise Spectacular

We had several early-morning errands to run yesterday morning so headed out just as the sun was coming up. It is so wonderful to have a good, purse-sized digital camera with me at all times so I don't miss shooting these spontaneous moments. We have had quite a few cloudy-sky days lately and these make for fantastic sunrises. It is during mornings like this that I am grateful that I can't seem to sleep late, this is a blessing and a curse!

One of our errands was to the recycling center, so pardon the fence and nearby rooftops but that is where we were at this point of the sunrise. Plus, we were being green! Before we left our community I tried shooting the sunrise through the saguaro cactus and mesquite trees at the entrance, but since this is a new camera for me I wasn't letting it focus before shooting the photo and they were all blurry. Drat! But, you take 'em when you can get 'em so you get to see roof tops and recycle bins.

As we were driving through Sun City West the rosy glow was being replaced by this golden glow. Sun City West is recognizable by the thousands of palm trees there, they look nice in silhouette.

This afternoon I will paint with my watercolor buds so will hopefully have something painted to show tomorrow. I am planning on painting on Yupo, so no guarantees! One of the monthly projects for the Watercolor Workshop is something shiny for the holidays, we'll see what I create on Yupo. Yesterday's post by Sandy Maudlin showed all of her past Yupo paintings, all were masterfully painted, and it inspired me to bring out the Yupo again. I plan on doing something like her Christmas tree/ornament paintings, I have learned so much just by studying her style on Yupo and trying to replicate some of the techniques she uses. She truly is a masterful artist!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Two Turkeys

Very little blog posting has been going on around here for the last week. I was either preparing for, or enjoying, the visits of our sons and their families over the Thanksgiving holiday. When I knew Aubrey would be here, she and I planned on a painting session and a beading session to further explore our creativity together. I drew simple (coloring book style) turkeys onto watercolor paper) and set out the paints to let her do whatever with. As you can see, her interpretation of a turkey was one of a black one.

I asked her what happened to the turkeys face and wattle, she replied "they are under the paint"! I guess that says it all when it comes to artistic license. In critiquing our work, Aubrey's treatment of the edgers of the feathers does make for more realistic feathers!

Aubrey's best friend during this visit was Destiny, our step-granddaughter. She took a more mature, careful approach to her turkey and I realize now that I did not get a photo of hers, but it was magnificent! Aubrey's Mama, Christine, joined us for awhile and it was an excellent session.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Thought

I had another thought and used an old 11x14 piece of matboard to try to crop out those bad bird legs and found this cropped composition. Do you think this helps?

Thanks to Gwendolyn, Rhonda and Ruth for their encouragement and suggestions, they are appreciated. Even if I do crop this, I could go in with the suggested changes to the foliage, tree trunk and geese to strengthen them. My choice would be to crop this, but I will wait until or if I hear something to the contrary before I actually cut this. Right now it is sitting on the art table, allowing me to ponder before cutting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drake with GF - Final Version Before the Round File

As I was the designated driver in our van with five other artists last night to the monthly AAG meeting, I was explaining that I was ready to pitch this painting and start again. BFF Barb was especially sorry to hear that since she saw what I was working on at the beginning. So, I decided to shamefacedly display it here as a permanent monument to remind myself that I need to paint much more often than I have lately and regain my "touch" (assuming I HAD one) with paint. This looks so amateurish to me that I cannot imagine how I let this happen. I do think I learned a few things in doing this, however:
  • I will forthwith NEVER use masking fluid to this degree AGAIN! I love the detail on the tree bark, but not the true whites I preserved with the masking fluid, they are too large (my masking fluid I had with me had thickened, preventing finer lines). Those twigs floating on the water being a case in point - if the whites get lost without the masking fluid, I will deal with it somehow, but not have to live with the shapes created with the masking fluid
  • I will look through my photos of this pair and find one with the female sitting and preening (she did that a lot, preen). Those legs are ridiculous
  • I absolutely love Prussian Blue and will use that more directly instead of so many glazes, using the mixed grays as glazes to tone down the shadow area
  • I will lose that levee in the background, it looks like it came from a child's coloring book - bad shape
  • I also did learn that I still LOVE painting for painting's sake. The time spent on creating this was very enjoyable to me and I need to get back to the state where I do not create such wooden shapes (like that levee) and just let what is inside my creative center come out and play. The not-so-frequent painting I have done for the past few months seems to have impaired some of that and I want to get back there again, soon! Come back instincts!
Pardon the stream-of-consciousness dribble this morning, but if I am to use this blog as a true journal you get to see the good with the bad. (I feel better now).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Drake and GF - WIP 2

I had some time today to add more modeling shadows to the fowl and increase the shadowy look of the background levee and water. I am thinking it is as important to darken the darks next to the lightest lights as it is to save the whites in the first place. The darker I go on the birds, the more their lightest parts glow. Cool. I am glazing, slowly, shadowy grays over the Prussian Blue for the water so it will soon lose some of the bright blue it shows here and I see now that it is on the screen that I need to correct that inadvertent "U" I got there with the tree reflections. Why I can't see these things as I am painting, I don't know!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Drake and Girlfriend

I attended a demonstration by a fellow artist last week, in which he demonstrated how to create better reference photos for paintings by using Photoshop CS4. I took good notes of the terms he used and searched through my Photoshop Elements 7 that I used. I found I was able to do much the same thing with this program and am happy with how this Notan turned out. A Notan is an improvement to the grayscale photos I used to print to show where the lights and darks are in a photo so I can save the white of the paper in the best spots. In the Notan above, I was able to see if I had the center of interest in the right place and had the darks and lights next to each other to enhance each other. I liked doing this and will continue now that I got it all figured out. My blogger-buddy, Rhonda, did a Notan earlier this year of some Flamingos, I think. It was good to have seen hers develop as the demonstration went on last week because I already had seen the benefit of doing this.

This is the underpainting and first phase of the painting, using the Notan to preserve the lights. As you can see I have covered the lights with green on the grassy area where these birds are standing, but I wanted the lights bouncing off the birds to be the whitest whites of the painting so decided to tone that area down below the birds and go darker when I put in the grass clumps.

I still have to apply quite a bit of modeling shading on both birds, but will finish the water areas, extend that "island" on the upper right past the tree a bit so it doesn't just end behind the tree. Bad move there, compositionally!

Busy weekend ahead, but I will try to work on this more.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Massai Point - Chiricahua's

This was a panorama I stitched together from eight photos. It was taken from an elevation of 6,870 feet elevation, which was the highest point on the road through the Chiricahua Nat'l Monument. Massai Point looks out toward the Cochise Stronghold area we visited earlier during the week we were in Benson.

Back Home Again Sunset

While we were on our Benson, AZ trip last week, I posted some of the glorious sunset photos I took while there. When we arrived home last Sunday, we were greeted with this great sunset, right over our house! This shot was looking down our street toward the west.

This was the shot over our side neighbor's house.

This was shot over our back neighbor's house, looking toward the south.

Chiricahua Slideshow

I created a short slideshow of just a few of the photos I took while in the Chiricahua National Monument, which is near Willcox, AZ. The rock formations were amazing!

The slideshow isn't long and I don't think you will be bored! To see it, just click here.


We returned from our Benson trip last Sunday, and we have been so busy that I neglected to even download from my camera the photos of our last day of exploring. I will just add this one photo as a tease, hopefully later today I can put together a slideshow of this wonderful area of Arizona. It was a total surprise to see so many hoo-doos at the Chiricahua Nat'l Monument, didn't expect that at all.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday we spent a half a day driving along the San Pedro River. I use the term "river" with some reservation since it had no water in it no matter where we have seen it. You can tell that it is a river by the cottonwoods that grow along the banks and twist and turn with the river's course along the length of it. They are just beginning to turn yellow, we were too early to see much of the fall colors. This is one of the washes that drain to the river, most of the washes were deep, so at times there must be water in these!

Today, we drove to the Safford/Thatcher, AZ areas. It was not that scenic per se, but on the trip there as we neared Safford there was a sign for Lake Roper State Park. Well, on the way back we could not help but go in and see what "our" lake looked like. It was a small lake, but the way the State Park System had designed this area was remarkable. They have wonderful RV facilities, natural hot spring hot tubs, fishing, lots of waterfowl, etc. We had our picnic lunch on an "island" picnic area, that was very quiet and peaceful there. We want to return there to stay in our motorhome for awhile. I also could not help myself, I had to buy a cap that said "Lake Roper State Park".

While in Safford we found a huge Ace Hardware complex that had quite a few large buildings and took up an entire city block. Tom said it made our Sun City West Ace HW look like a Circle K! Since I wanted some copper tubing we stopped in and bought some. The store looked to have everything anyone could need, but we escaped before we bought more than the tubing and some copper wire for my jewelry. we left the store I saw a woman I thought looked familiar, then when I saw her husband I recognized them as the RV park owners of the park where we have stayed in Deming, NM so many times. I asked the man if they were from Deming and he said "yes, and I know you, you are the petroglyph lady"! The last time we walked in to check in at their park he said "Hi, we loved your blog"! How nice to be remembered at all, much less for this blog and the fact that I will go anywhere to take petroglyph photos! He gave us directions to find the wonderful Pony Hills petroglyphs that I showed earlier this summer on this blog. Once again, I realize that this is a small world.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Patagonia/Caves and more!

We started out today, planning on driving to Patagonia, AZ; but were disappointed to see the overcast skies and temperatures (with winds) of 43 degrees. I took very few photos of that area since the clouds were so low, it was COLD (okay, I am a wimp!) and there were no inspiring shots showing light/dark contrasts. So, we decided while we were so close to Nogales in Mexico, that we would use our passports and go across to see what we could find. We, neither one, had been to Nogales past our college days and knew it might have changed a lot, but went to see. Well, right across the border (in walking distance, which we were doing) were only pharmacies and dental clinics. We never did find the customary tieindas that used to be there, only taxi stands, clinics, etc. So, we got back across the borders after spending only $10 for a copper bracelet (which the tiendaria had followed me down the street after I had refused to buy it at $25, then $20, then $15 and he decided he would rather make a sale than not). Mexico is funny for hagglers....I am normally not one but I caved in and bought the bracelet for $10.On the way back through the east end of Tucson we continued east and saw a sign for Colossal Caves. Though we both are native Arizonan's and had seen this sign many times, the time for stopping was not there. Well, today was the day. I found that with my limited mobility for steps, they would customize a tour for me and just view one room, which limited the pressure on my foot braces with fewer steps. So, I did that and took a few photos. It was an interesting cave. Did you know that there are "living" caves and "dormant" caves? This one was a dormant one, which means no new formations are ongoing and there is no water present. In the other caves I have been in that were living it was waaaay cooler than the outside temps. In this one, it was about 45-degrees outside, and 70 inside! Strange!

Some of these layers over other layers are called "cave bacon"! I have seen these in other caves as well. Interesting nomenclature. No plans for tomorrow, but will be open for more serendipitous moments such as the cave today. I remain thankful for a husband who enjoys exploring and finding Serendipity where she may be!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I noticed a rosy glow to the west last evening and grabbed my camera and positioned myself behind one of the ponds here at the RV park. Check out the reflections.....

This was behind a second pond, as the sun set farther down the colors became rosier!

This was the final shot I took. These were not retouched in Photoshop, but I did use the "sunset" mode on the Olympus E-510, which biases the colors toward the reds and yellows. This isn't very far from what the colors were in real life, it was a great sunset!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Benson, AZ - Day Two

We had a morning of exploration today, our second in the Benson area. Anyone who has passed eastbound from Tucson and Benson, heading toward New Mexico on I-10, has no doubt stopped at the wonderful rest stop at Texas Canyon. This is a rest stop built into some of the marvelous rocks and boulders that are part of the Dragoon Mountains. We have stopped there many times, but never traveled off the interstate to the roads behind. Today was our day to do that. We drove to a road that said it went to Cochise's Stronghold, and since we were off on an adventure we decided to check it out. This was a mountainous area in the Dragoon's where Cochise held off the troops since this area contains fortress-like rocks and peaks. He is said to be buried somewhere in these mountains.

I had hoped our timing would be perfect for lots of yellow Cottonwoods, but it was not to be, they are just starting to turn colors in some areas. We did find some sycamores in all their glory, though, such as this one above. We'll hope to find more color as we explore more this week.

These are some of the rocks that are typical of those in Texas Canyon; very huge, rounded blobs of rocks. Cool. huh?

While exploring the Texas Canyon area, we happened upon a guest ranch called Triangle-T and decided to check out what was there. We hoped the restaurant was open, but it was not to be, too early in the season for it to be open every day. What we did find was a nice RV park and guest ranch. They offer horseback tours and activities that sounded like fun. It would be interesting to go back for a few days and stay there.

This guest ranch was built on land that has lots of history, it appears. The original 3:10 to Yuma was filmed there, along with several other movies. Also, it served as a WWII Japanese Internment Camp. There was a rock which still had one of the security antennas protruding from it there. I think we will be back to explore this area in the future.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No Photos Allowed!

We are staying in a pleasant RV Park in Benson, AZ for a short get-away. This park has a series of ponds for catch-and-release fishing and it is home to ducks, geese and other waterfowl. Our parking space for the week is right in front of the pond where this drake and his girlfriend live. As I drove the car up to help guide Tom in the motorhome, this drake immediately started honking and hissing at me, saying "stay away from my girl and NO PICTURES!" Well, I fixed him, once we got settled into our space, I brought my camera out and put the longest lens on it so I wouldn't need to get so close to Himself. I learned the hard way that one doesn't make the choice to get up close and personal with a hissing and honking drake, one winds up running for one's life! That happened to me at an RV park in Dodge City, KS...despite warnings from Tom I got too close and this huge beast of a bird started after me....who knew geese could run so fast!

Here is the beauty he was protecting. They looked so pretty standing there in the dappled sun.

We'll start exploring the area tomorrow, so watch for more photos. The weather is good so far and no major problems with our trip down here. A minor one that could have been a major one was when stopped at a rest stop we were both outside the motorhome when the door lock loosened up and could not be opened from the outside. We spent about ten minutes and finally got it forced open. Good thing nobody reported us as breaking into a motorhome! When we arrived here Tom took the lock assembly apart and got everything adjusted and tightened up, phew!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Aubrey in Tutu

I know that some of you are going to faint that I finished two paintings with my art group yesterday and started another! It is such a joy to be painting more regularly again! I wanted to at least get started with the underpainting of Aubrey in the Tutu. After seeing a watercolor portrait of a fellow WcW member's granddaughter in a tutu, done in sepia, I knew that was how I wanted to do this. I remembered her portrait as being lovely done in monochromatic sepia, which I love to use anyway!

Since I am so proud of Aubrey's lovely red hair I have never painted her in anything other than living color, so this will be something different.

Autumn on Yupo

This is the second monthly project for the WcW group. Gina, one of the group's moderators, provides a lovely photo and we are all to paint from that photo. It is always so interesting to see how differently we all paint while using the same photo!

I chose Yupo as a ground for my painting since I love how the colors stay vivid on Yupo. I think Fall colors deserve to be vivid! I still have a long way to go towards being skillful with this "paper", but I sure have fun experimenting with it.

Rio Chama - Final?

Hooray! I think I am finished with this. Of course, that is subject to the Watercolor Workshop critiques if there is something that needs to be changed. This is one of the projects for this online group for the month of October. I have submitted it and will await suggestions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oktoberfest Photo

This is a photo of me and my cohorts at the Oktoberfest art show. The attractive lady on the right is Sue, one of my fellow artisan jewelers and she and I manned the jewelry table and glass display case all day. Ellen, in the middle, is the club's Treasurer and had stopped by to visit for a few minutes when one of the club's photographers, Gene, took our photos. Thanks Gene for sending them to me! Sue has some marvelous designs with her jewelry and wears them so well, she is a great jewelry model and showcases her art well.

Here, I am adjusting a bracelet for a customer. If you click on the photos, you can see the details of the jewelry displayed better. I knew I was going to wear this black and white top so I made myself a necklace/earring set with the same black and white stripes as my top. It is so much fun to be able to do that on a whim....makes me look kinda like I was stylin', huh? LOL

We all had paintings for sale, also, but this crowd did not seem to be the same art-buying type that we have seen in years past. I think the fact that after 11 years our community is full and has stopped building homes so people aren't looking to fill the walls in their new homes as much as before, they are more settled. Add that to the state of the economy and it made for poor sales of paintings. Sad and disappointing, but understandable.

Check out my Artisan Jewelry blog for an additional photo and mention of this show.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Aubrey and Mickey - An Artist at Work

I called our son, Pat, last night and while visiting asked what Aubrey was up to. He said he had set out her paints and she was painting before bedtime. I don't think she really wanted to be interrupted in her task, but she did come to the phone for a nano second. I asked her what she was painting and she said Mickey Mouse. I told her to have Daddy take a picture of her painting when finished and she said "okay...Bye"! and scampered off to paint. Too busy for a chat with Grandma this time!

She is starting to see shapes and, while not keeping "within the lines", is identifying shapes with her paint. I am hoping that she never feels it is required to stay within the lines as many of us were made to feel while painting in school...I want her to have a free spirit when it comes to painting what she sees. Good job, Aubrey!

The Best Artist - God

We had some motorhome tasks to take care of this morning, including checking the air in the tires, which means Tom wanted to check them before the sun raised their temperatures. So, I grabbed my camera and we got to the storage facility just as the sun was coming up. Please pardon the RV silhouettes as well as that terrible power line, but just look at those colors. As the overnight temps get lower (finally!) the sunrises are always so much rosier and more special here on the desert.

Coni, when you see this one please have Bill look at it, he told me he thought the two of you were much more of the sunset type of people rather than sunrise! I laughed at that one but remembered it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rio Chama WIP 7

Well, here we are at WIP 7....about three more WIPs than I usually stop and take photos of. Perhaps I should do more of this because it forces me to stop and think about what I really want to do next. Anyway, I like this water much more at this point and think it integrates better with its surrounding landscape.

Do all of you have a pondering easel? I do! I have French doors leading into my studio off the family room. If I place my painting on a table easel across from the doors and open them, I can sit in my recliner in the family room and look at my unfinished paintings now and again, often deciding what needs to be done or that I am finished and should do no more. Works for me! I do know I have to add more shading near the river bank and I want to add some tree branches and sticks here and there. But, this is enough for me to feel I am making progress, so will stop for now.

Whadya think?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My SWAP painting arrived!

I explained in an earlier post what the SWAP online group is all about and posted the painting I sent to my SWAP partner, Barb. On Thursday I received my SWAP painting from my partner, Kathy Nesseth who lives in Minnesota. I have another of her paintings and this will grace my studio's Hall of Fame as her first one did. She paints so realistically with details, yet in the painterly style I love.

This is such a fun online group!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Rio Chama - WIPs 4, 5 and 6

Welcome back to the Rio Chama! I painted at the Art Club yesterday afternoon and, as always, found it to be very therapeutic to be there painting with my art buddies. During this week of intense preparations for the Oktoberfest art show coming Saturday, I needed to paint Thursday afternoon!

Here, I started laying in some tree shapes to break up some of the bowling alley effects created in the last WIP. The trees were there, and were a darker, cooler color than the other scrubby trees that were more like tall bushes. I wish I could tell you their botanical names, but my fund of knowledge does not extend to botany!. I was trying to go with what I know in working back to front, cool to warm as I came forward. In this panorama format you don't have much room to show distance so I tried to use all the tricks in the aerial perspective bag that I could.

I started laying in some of the feathery middle ground sagebrush shapes, and with gouache this is easily done by putting the basic middle values in and then highlighting with a lighter mixture of the same color. This seems so backwards to me since, as I mentioned earlier, I am used to saving the lights and doing them first and then the darks. My brain is saying HUH? I then started adding more darks to ground the bushes. When in doubt, I usually start adding the darks, they magically seem to transform the paintings from coloring book style to more of a finished painting look.

Okay, here is where things started to go horribly wrong. I have never painted water with gouache and it sure is not the same as with transparent watercolor! I will scrub this mess out for my next session and start again, probably with transparent watercolor. I also want to add some rocks, the water was cascading over some of the larger rocks in the river and I guess I forgot that when drawing and painting. I wanted the river to be the center of attention in this painting, but not because it is so badly-done that it draws the eyes there!

I hesitated to show you this iteration, but if I am going to maintain my artistic integrity while showing WIPs, I need to show you the uh-oh iterations as well. So, here it is for now, once I survive the Oktoberfest art show on Saturday I will need to get back to this with my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and start making that look more like water. I did not use wet-in-wet techniques with the gouache, which in my mind is the main problem with my water, and may practice with a little gum arabic and gouache on another sheet of paper to see what I can do to make that flow together better and look more like water. This is an example of why I like taking WIP photos as I go along....the mistakes announce themselves better than if I just looked at the painting and wondered what was wrong with it. It is sort of like having someone else critique it from a photo, you notice things you did not notice when staring at the painting.