Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trillium Landscape~Comp Study 2

Better. Still needs work, though. Well, maybe. Ummmm....

I have a pour waiting for the finishing touches but for some reason I keep getting drawn back to this project. Having tried to get some advice on the Composition & Design forum(which was not forthcoming, btw) I finally got several responses in the Watercolor Studio forum, a few of which were very helpful. Someone from the Landscape forum(where I also posted my comp/color study) dropped by in the w/c studio, which I thought was really nice, to offer suggestions. I think I'm on a mission here, folks. I am apparently bent on pulling off this landscape. Please forgive the odd squiggle or the eraser crumbs. I wanted to get this up on the screen to see where I need to make any changes...or just start over, whichever the case may be.
The critiques I received on the original comp/color study so far...the title is misleading, the palette I used is too 'brown'(I think that means boring), my comp is still leading the viewer's eye off the left side of the painting, the center of focus(the trilliums) are too far to the right and down and there's a disconnect between the foreground and the background. My goal...create a composition that holds the viewer's eye and lets it move through the painting, to add more light and drama, put more focus on the main subject while maintaining my concept and get my COI(center of interest) in the correct spot. I'll deal with the palette later. If anyone stopping by has any more input I'm all ears...or rather, eyes.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trillium Landscape~Color Study

What started as a doodle became an all out quest. Like a dog with a bone, I've been obsessing over this study all day, every day since my last post. I'm clearly out to sea when it comes to painting landscapes. My friend & fellow artist, Anita Murphy wisely suggested I reduce the color values to suggest distance on the upslope of the hill, thereby creating more depth. It worked to a certain degree but I think I needed to vary my colors as well. Reduce the chroma, change the hue...whatever. I can now truly see why landscape artists prefer to paint plein air. I'm posting what I have at this point but think I'll set this one aside for the time being until I can educate myself more on what constitutes a really good landscape painting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just Doodling

It was brought to my attention(thank you, Margaret!)that my first composition was leading the viewer's eye off the left side of the picture. I agreed so I added a few bare twigged bushes in strategic places to bring the focus back into the main comp. I do believe that worked. It never hurts to get a second(or even third)opinion when creating a composition. Sometimes it can be the most obvious flaws that we(I)tend to miss.

I've been trying to come up with a composition for my trilliums without much luck. Who would've thought it would turn into such a chore. They're just trilliums...right? I finally started doodling in an old sketchbook I found(surprising what you find when you go rummaging)and came up with this idea. I really wasn't planning on including so much landscape but I kinda like this concept. As I mentioned in my previous post, the woods are very dry and the trilliums are in short supply this year. In fact, our local weather has been such that my own gardens are at least three weeks behind in terms of growth. A lone clump of trilliums blooming valiantly next to a piece of deadfall in a sea of dry leaves seemed to capture that sense of the promise of Spring to come.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shooting Trilliums

This bloom, taken in closeup, would fit well into the second photo to give an opposing direction to the composition.
Here I've isolated an area of the photo below to highlight the left sweeping motion of these blooms.

This little cluster of trilliums held my interest the most. I love the shadows!

I took my camera into the woods today to get some shots of trilliums. Even though we've had rain the woods are still so dry and trilliums are sparse. I did manage to find some clusters and get a few nice photos for my trouble. I had planned on sketching too but the weather is so cool I decided to just snap pictures instead.
I made it to the hardware store today and bought two cans of metallic paint. One gold(enamel based) and one metallic aluminum which is oil based. The aluminum should be interesting. It looks like brushed stainless steel in the can but we shall see. I'm not sure how the enamel will work with watercolor or with my lungs. If I choose to incorporate the metallics into a painting I had better do it outdoors just in case.
My goal now is to determine what two or three features of trilliums draw me to them the most as subjects. I'm defying my own nature to seek out detail and instead try concentrating simply on form, color & shapes, to simplify my subject and break it down into it's most basic components. This should prove interesting.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

COLOURlovers Online

I stumbled onto COLOURlovers while browsing the web yesterday and thought it was interesting. I also thought it might be of interest to my fellow artists. This site follows global color trends in the marketing arena but it could be useful to artists as well in terms of providing fresh ideas for new palettes.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Here Comes The Sun~Flower

Here's another w/c on gesso I completed. I've just felt like playing around with texture and color lately. I want to get some metallic paint and try adding that to a painting on the gessoed matboard. I'm not talking about the artist brand metallics but the oil based metallic paints that you can purchase at the hardware store. I think it would be cool to get some silver or gold into the act. Ann Blockley did a beautiful vignette of snowdrops that appears in her book. Her palette consisted mainly of white, warm yellows and black with a bit of woodsy green. Then she added gold metallic oil based paint to areas of the background and the entire painting began to shine in more ways than one. I loved the effect!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Frog On Gesso Completed

I tweaked this one until I was happy with it. I had a heck of a time photographing it and getting the color correct. Too much is cropped off the bottom because of camera distortion and the colors are a wee bit off. I started another w/c on gesso, changed my concept midstream and ran it off into the ditch somehow. Try, try again. I'm hoping with the rain we've been getting the trilliums will be up soon. I plan to do a little woodland sketching and maybe use trilliums in my next gessoed piece. Better yet, another pour.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Frog & Dragonfly on Gesso

I came up with this concept on the fly(no pun intended)and decided to use a few colors I've been itchin' to try...Daniel Smith's Tiger's Eye Genuine and Undersea Green. I added Prussian blue, Quin. gold and Warm Sepia to the mix. I was going for a sunlit swampy/stagnant pond atmosphere. I discovered it's important to choose your watercolors wisely when working on gesso. I had an awful time with the paint lifting on this one when I tried to apply successive glazes, even when the previous layer was completely dry. I could probably take a wet rag and wipe this entire painting off right down to the white gesso. I knew both of the DS colors were very non-staining and the sepia and Tiger's Eye were easily liftable(is that a word?)so I shouldn't be surprised. I'll know next time to plan very well prior to painting when using these colors and make sure it's one pass only with the brush.
I included a few closeups of selected areas to highlight what I consider little 'gems' in the painting. The textural component of the gesso catches and traps the paint in such a way as to create fascinating, almost abstract passages that I absolutely love.