Thursday, February 25, 2010

Negative Painting ala Linda Kemp

I've been finding myself at a loss for inspiration recently so I grabbed a book I purchased a few years ago titled Painting Outside The Lines by Linda Kemp.

I was (and still am) very much fascinated by her approach to landscape painting. It's like nothing I've ever seen before and I'm finding it's extremely tricky to accomplish. Linda doesn't stretch her paper or even use tape to secure it to a board. She thoroughly wets both sides of a piece of #140 CP watercolor paper with clear water and lays it on a sheet of Plexi glass. The paper is held in place by the tension of the water against the Plexi and also by the sizing on the paper itself. She recommends drying your painting on a wooden board after completion but I left mine on the plexi and it dried nice and flat without sticking to the glass.

In her book she illustrates some simple compositional tips, how to create the desired mood you wish to convey in your painting and also includes some simple step-by-step demos on how to apply the paint. Learning to think in the negative, meaning to focus on the shapes around an object rather than the object itself, is quite another matter. Looks easy but trust's not! It requires a shift in our normal way of looking at things. This may come more easily to some than others. I found I had to continually step back and look at my painting to get my bearings, so to speak, but I feel if I continue to pursue this method of painting it will eventually become natural.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mushies~ Finished & Framed

It's interesting what can be done with palette muck so don't waste it! I took the liberty of matting and framing this one online just to see how it would look. I chose a dark wood frame so it doesn't show up well on the blog.

Friday, February 19, 2010


This is a little project I started to use up leftover paint from my landscape and an odd size piece of 300# CP w/c paper. I think morel mushrooms are fascinating little fungi. They grow wild in the woods around here in Spring, can be elusive, have a taste like no other mushroom and are coveted by gourmet restaurants. Serious morel hunters have their secret places they hunt and never divulge the locations. I have fond memories of foraging through the woods, hunting them with my Dad. The first one is always the hardest to spot but once you've found it suddenly they seem to appear everywhere, almost like magic.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birch Landscape~ Complete!


Well, almost. I need to tweak the markings on the birch trees a little but I'm close to calling this one done. As usual, the colors are a little off. I tried my best with my photo editor but I lost some lavenders and pale yellow in the stream and some soft grey/blues in the background. Also, the actual painting looks a bit softer overall. I really enjoyed using the gesso as a painting medium. It gave the effect of oils where I needed it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another Sketch~Yup, More Birch

I've painted more birch landscapes these last few weeks than I care to count. All hit the bin. I felt my confidence begin to fade and when that happens nothing I paint seems to work. Yesterday I was browsing on Facebook and found the oil paintings of Michael Godfrey. He's done a series of winter landscapes, none with birch that I saw, but I was entranced with the way he handled the snow and that winter woodsy atmosphere. This has been my main to make a white landscape with white trees sing and not look terribly stark and boring. Also I had certain colors that needed to be incorporated(and more to be left out) to make this painting work with it's companion. Commissions can be tricky.

There's a certain freedom with oils that's not enjoyed when working in watercolor, at least for me. How to achieve the same look as Godfrey's work with watercolor was now the issue. I decided to use gesso as a painting medium, something I've never done before and it worked pretty well. It's great for hazy backgrounds. I also switched to 300# CP paper for texture.

BTW, if you're a member of Facebook please take the time to look up Michael Godfrey's work. You won't be sorry. If you do check out his gallery you'll spot which painting I took my inspiration from easily.