Thursday, September 27, 2018

Drawing and Baking

Unfortunately, yesterday was an extraordinarily humid day with water droplets visible on the glass in our windows.  So when everyone was assembled in the painting class, Sharon told us that she had experimented that morning by laying down a wash and doing a bit of painting.  It still wasn't dry at 10:00!

She went on to tell us that if we working with a dry surface and a minimum of water, we might be able to have a dry piece by the end of class.  However, if we had planned on working wet on wet, we'd have wet paper to take home - not something you'd want to do.

I opted to do some drawing instead as did a few others in the class.  There's a photo of the Grand Canal in Venice at night that has been teasing me for some time.  But it is a piece that really calls for a lot of preliminary work - specifically drawing.  That's the only way to figure out the perspective lines of all the many buildings as well as the curves of the domes.  The curve of the canal has to show - it's not a simple straight line.  Drawing would also help determine what to keep and what to leave out - there are many small boats both actively plying the water as well as moored near the buildings. Are they critical to the overall composition?  How many windows, doorways, decorative woodwork are essential to make a building recognizable?  

I can't say that a drawing will resolve all those issues or answer all those questions, but it will certainly help me understand this scene better.

A drawing isn't easy to photograph well enough to make a clear image (or it isn't easy for me), but you might be able to get at least a sense of what's there on the page so far.  The buildings (the first is Ponte del Academia which is very ornate) on the left are not as stolidly blockish as I have drawn - I was more intent on getting the perspective lines on the top and bottom correct.  In the distance is the church Santa Maria della Salute on which I spent some time, and the rest of the right-hand side indicates the water line of the various buildings. That's important because each building has a slightly different waterfront edge and is part of the curve in the canal..

Clearly, there is much more drawing to do before I even begin to think about painting.
Today I took a break from both drawing and sewing to go to a local apple orchard.  We bought a bag of Galas for eating and a bag of 17 Macouns for cooking.  We wanted Cortlands which is my usual baking apple, but they aren't ready quite yet.  I asked for a recommendation for a substitute (so many of the apples that are grown in today's orchards are new to me) and was told Macoun was tart and firm so we took them.  

The crisp is made and smells oh, so tempting, but it is for a bonsai picnic this Saturday.  I didn't made a tiny version for us to try this time so we'll just have to wait.  

Silly me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Second Attempt - Bayou Painting 2

Today I took a break from sewing to begin the outlines for my second try at the Bayou painting. 

The trees were painted first this time and the sky was painted in only after the trees were "planted" - the reverse of how I did the first try at this subject.  Of course there will be more trees added later in the background where the light is less of an issue.  I have tried to indicate branches while at the same time leaving the paper around the branches white.  In short I am leaving room for sunlight which I didn't do in the first attempt.  Now all I have to do is leave that light alone as I paint!

One thing that really has to be changed, and I think it will be easy enough to do is in the sky areas.  The intention was to fade the sky gradually from the intense color among the upper branches to the much paler color down near the ground.  What I did without realizing how completely I had done it was show absolutely no transition within the cells created by branches!  It's a stained glass look which I don't want at all.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bayou Painting - Days 4 & 5

Even though quite a bit of time has been spent on continuing to cut and piece a quilt, some painting was done on the Bayou painting, also.  Here's Bayou painting day 4 that I took to today's class:

I wasn't thrilled with the painting because I knew that some of the things I didn't like were not fixable.  For example, I was losing the light (in watercolor painting light is created by either leaving the paper bare of paint or using very, very pale colors).  It's almost impossible to remove the paint without making a hole in the paper.  That (the bit about the light) is also a part of my second complaint.  The painting is overworked - meaning that not only is the light vanishing, but also that too many places have painted over and over and over again which is one reason the light is gone.  These things really can't be undone.

But, even though I knew in my heart that I needed to start over, I did as my teacher suggested - continued to learn on this version before turning to a new version.  That's why she gets the "big bucks".  Grin, grin.

So I did as she suggested, and here is the result.

While I know it isn't particularly easy to see the differences between the two, you might be able to see some changes in the middle distance which is where I concentrated my efforts.  Look on the right side beyond the first tree - the large one on the right.  Also on the left behind the big tree there.

What I am trying to learn is differentiating among the necessary colors, values, and details that make close, middle, and distant discernable.  At least those are some of the things I need to work on!

During the rest of the class, I practiced various techniques that can be used to sketch what I want to paint without using anything that would have to be erased (lead pencil), peeled (masking fluid - sort of like rubber cement), brushed off and/or lifted like charcoal or chalk, or left in place (ink).  So what does that leave?  

Watercolor paint!  One can use very, very pale paint using colors that could underlie the final coat of paint without showing through.  Or,  in a similar way, one make the paper wet and apply the pale paint.  

It only took me the rest of the class to discover that the last one is what I will use when I start the new painting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Update on Louisiana Bayou

Yesterday I took the time to work on the bayou painting as I hadn't done any painting since last week.  This is the second day's work:

It still doesn't look like much, but this is the way my watercolors appear to progress these days.  Wouldn't it be great if one day I managed do get a good painting all in one day like real artists do?  Oh well, I'm really not complaining because I do know I've gotten better at this particular medium, but I also hope that I won't stall here for the rest of my life.

Day three (below) is getting closer to the finish line, but clearly it isn't there yet.  I worked on land and sky but didn't touch the water.  My thought was that until I had the upper portion close to completed there wasn't much point in tackling the reflections.  Besides, brown water is not easy.

Today the painting told me to stop trying to be cute; it's name is simply "Louisiana Bayou" - at least for the time being.  It will let me know if and when that changes.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bonsai Show

Sunday D and I went to a bonsai show (some time I'll have to write about how I very recently became an enthusiastic bonsai practitioner - sort of - more of an amateur freshwoman student really - it's all D's fault!), and it was really fun!  We had a great time looking at bonsai, rocks, accent plants, and scrolls and going through the vendor area.  We came home with tiny plants, pots, and a few photos (very few - turns out photos were not allowed).

Fortunately, I had taken only one photo of a tree, and I had taken it because D loves ginkos, has several in training, and was interested in the way this one is styled:

Both of us were surprised this was in the show - it's not particularly; well, it isn't . . . um, it hasn't . . . (sudden fit of coughing) . . .   But ginkos are not noted as graceful trees, but this picture will be helpful for D when he starts to wire his specimens.  I think it will help him figure out what he doesn't want to do!

Then I took a photo of  this scroll; I had never seen one mounted like this and thought D could make one for the scrolls he has.  I took lessons in how to make the usual fabric/scroll, but trust me, I don't ever want to do that.  It didn't speak to me at all.

And of course, I had to crop the scroll so the art work could be seen more clearly.  I  fell in love with it!

Bet you can see why!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Another Painting Begun

It has been a frustrating week and a half as far as my computer is concerned.   We found that once again the router was the source of my inability to get on line or process photos or do any of a number of tasks.  Today the same issue sprang up again, but for whatever reason, it resolved itself.

Another interesting problem arose also, but this one was of my own making.  When I began to set up my materials for painting class, I discovered that I had left at home the block on which my landscape was attached.  Now that was something I've not done before!  

Fortunately, I did have one piece of watercolor paper with me and my folder of photographs as I did not want to start another version of the landscape at this point.  So, what you will see below is another landscape in the very beginning stages.

The photo was taken on our trip to New Orleans several years ago, and the painting is currently being called "In the Bayou".

The dark wobbly line at the top of the painting is a shadow caused by the tape which wasn't completely attached to the paper.  And I repeat that this is a painting in the most early stages as was last week's work.  

Which one will I work on next week?  Right now I am thinking that it will be this one because I am seriously considering changing my mind about the "No Trestle" landscape.  I really want that trestle in that painting.