Sunday, October 28, 2012

On the Beach

Winter has come to my part of the world.  I like winter - the air is crisp and clear, and the world looks clean and bright.  I like having four distinct seasons.  Each one can be appreciated for it's own unique characteristics, and each makes you appreciate the others.
But in the winter, I dream of escaping to some place warm and bright.  Like here.  I have visited several Caribbean islands and have many pictures like this. Paradise on earth.
I met an artist at a art show who did the most fabulous skies I had ever seen.  As it is something I struggle with, I asked him about his technique.  He said the secret is in tilting the paper and guiding the paint this way and that.  He said it gave soft edges and more realistic looking clouds.  I tried that technique in this piece and I like it. It does look like the soft, striated clouds in the Caribbean and the constant bank of clouds just above the water horizon.  And I like the look of the shadows of the palm trees. I'd like to practice this technique a bit more.
Watercolor paint on Cotman  paper block.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Salsa Dancing

Way back last spring when I was planning out my community garden, this is what I envisioned.  I wanted a salad and salsa garden.  I wanted to go out and pick fresh produce, wash it, chop it, season it and eat it.  Eat it still warm from the sun and swollen from the rain.  Us gardeners tend to dream big. It worked out OK, but it was too hot for the cilantro which bolted almost immediately.  These tomatoes have finished their ripening in brown paper bags in the basement. The peppers are not jalapenos, but Italian roasting peppers - their flavor is peppery and fresh but not hot. The tomatoes are Lemon Boy, Heritage Beefsteak, and tiny little black cherry toms that burst with intensity.  There is fresh salsa in my future, and maybe some dancing with delight in the kitchen.
Watercolor in the handbook sketchbook

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Now we are six

Welcome to the party.  Have a Tequila Lime cupcake.  Throw some confetti around.  We're celebrating because this blog is six years old.  Yes, six! Who knew I could have that much to say. I didn't go public with my sketches until a few months later.  I was new to the whole blogging thing, and it took me a while to figure out the scanning, uploading, security issues, commenting on other people's blogs, and general net safety and courtesy.  The virtual world was a very different world than the one I was used to.  Going public with my sketches was a little intimidating, too.  What if what I found was not a welcoming and charming community of like-minded individuals as I had imagined, but instead a harsh wall of indifference? What if no once came to the party?  But they did (you did) and the community I found was delightful.  I've learned a lot and seen a lot.  The hardest part of the blogging was not putting the sketches forward, but finding something interesting to say.  Sometimes there was a story to be told, or a lesson learned, but sometimes there was nothing to say.
So thank you for being there (and here).  Enjoy the cupcake.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Painting Parrots

Birds are one of my favorite things to paint.  I also like to paint with bright colours. At the library the other day, they had a display of painting books.  I took one called "Daring Color" by Anne Abgott.  One of the exercises was about mingling colour on the paper instead of glazing one color over top of the other. It sounded like it would be fun, and give a much looser approach than glazing would.  And it was fun, just letting the colour blend and mingle.  It was quicker and freer.  It was the embodiment of the advice to let go of the result and enjoy the process.  I used lots of paint and less water and that gave more control.  I think I'm usually using too much water, which results in blooms, pale colors and too much blending of colours  With thicker paint, there is only a little bleeding and it worked better.
I learned some valuable things in this exercise and I think I will continue to use this technique.
This is a nice, easy book to read and to follow, and I would recommend it.