Returning to watercolor is becoming an obsession, and the more I look at the work of various watercolorists, the more I become mentally deluged with images and colors and styles and painters. It is a seriously crazy-making experience! Like photography, most of what I do is really not good at all – from downright awful to meh – but it also becomes rather distressing. That’s when a break is necessary, like making chocolate gelato or going out for a hike or looking for a new pair of shoes. Just do something different to break out of the ruts of daily life.Focusing on “direct watercolor” – painting without any preliminary drawings or value studies – is sort of what I am trying to do on a daily basis. This is from a photo, and the study was windows and reds and buildings. The proportions are off, and that feels like failure big time. The colors were all the dregs on the palette, so most were muddy and not interesting, but determined not to waste paint, why not? I also used a water brush, and that can make colors even murkier if you don’t squeeze out excess water.
Another direct watercolor painting, this time limited to a 1/2 inch flat brush for everything. The colors are cleaner, for sure, but the contrast of light and shadow are off. The fun part was learning that yes, you can paint with only a flat brush.
I admit, I rather like this one, because I like its brightness. However, after I finished it, I got a good laugh over my totally unrealistic chimney (or whatever that thing is) on the top of the building in the upper right. What dimension is that in?!
I think I am going to return to this one again, as it is from a photo I took a couple of years ago along the coast. The bluffs are really intense. The problem lies in rendering the ocean and beach below them – lack of depth and overworking.
This is a WIP – from a black and white photo to consider light and dark. I am going to try to work on this one today, or the one below, which is from a macro photo of a dahlia or similar flower. I started this one in my Friday afternoon watercolor class.
Lastly, sometimes just a quick interpretation can give a lot of satisfaction. There is something about light-colored walls on a brilliant day, colorful flowers – here, a rambler rose – and dancing shadows. I would like to do this one again, too, on a bigger piece of paper and a more formal and finished work.