Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back from Vacation

What a wonderful time we had - not that that's any surprise.  It was, after all, vacation with family in a well-known, well-loved place.  There were no surprises.  This year the weather was cool all week, and the lake at 58 degrees was too cool for me even to dip a toe into let alone my entire body, but that, too, posed no significant problem. 

Actually, it left time for reading (D did more of that than I), sewing (of which I did a little - though not as much as I thought I would), walking (an estimated three miles every morning), eating (far too much vacation leeway there), searching for bonsai specimens (D, of course - and he was successful) and painting.

What, no parenthetical comment after "painting"? you ask.  No, because I did more painting this year than any year before which made me very happy.  It made me so happy that I will share with you what I did so no need for parentheses.  While I worked on three paintings, I finished only one sketch, and that is what I will share today.  First, it's being shared because it is finished, and second, because I haven't photographed the other two, yet.

This sketch was done "en plein air" - which means I painted while sitting outside looking at my subject.  I haven't done a lot of that (this may be my second), but I have drawn en plein air frequently.  Again, my hesitation over exposing my awkwardness with watercolor inhibited me.  This year, I decided to just jump in and do in.  After all, I had E and brother D who are experienced with both painting outside and with watercolors, to help me.  And help they did.  The sky in this sketch is lumpy-bumpy looking, but you should have seen it before brother D told me how to make it better!

This experience really helped me tremendously. I overcame a long-standing reluctance and found I truly enjoyed the experience.  And I learned.  Yes, brother D helped on this one and E on another, but I think I finally internalized my biggest fault with watercolor.  I HAVE TO STOP FIGHTING THE WATER!  Sorry for the capitals screaming at you there, but I am screaming at myself (in my head, of course) because it's easier than knocking one's self "up side the head".  

Basically, it's the same thing I did one year with acrylics and one year with oils.  With acrylics I spent a year producing darn few dreadful paintings all the time disliking what I was doing because I didn't like the paint!  So I switched to oils which I truly love but spent a miserable first year painting rocks because I didn't like the brushes! So I switched to palette knife which has been remarkably liberating.  

Now it's been one year with watercolors - not miserable, but not joyous either - and my epiphany has just occurred.  I know it will continue to be a struggle, and I'll have to fight my urge to micro-manage water (ha! what an image that is!).  But I think I may have cracked this year's barrier.


  1. Somehow I don't think you can win a fight with water. It kind of does what it wants. Love the painting and that you did it on sight at the site! Nikki said something the other day about schools not really teaching spelling because everyone will use computers. Well, I do think it makes a difference in many words - including sight/cite/site! Welcome back!!!! Missed you!

  2. The painting really does capture the image of that fabulous notch. I do think you handled the medium of water very well in your sketch book. I was quite taken by seeing it in your blog. It's fresh and vivid.