We’ve been socked in with winter fog for days. This morning the glorious sun hit the hills outside our kitchen window. I’m trying to narrow down my view in a few small watercolors trying to catch one fleeting effect. An enjoyable hour with morning coffee at the kitchen table.
Each season has its own lighting effects. In small colored notebook sketches I can explore different techniques to find the magic I’m after.
When I’m a bit lost I remind myself to get back to the basics. Composition is the foundation for all that sits on top of it. Value is where form is described and color is like the flavors that make up a good meal. Out of many tiny thumbnails a few will stand out and call for more exploration and refinement. It’s design at this stage, pushing the shapes around and easy to adjust anything at a small size, no more than a few inches. Then after many small idea sketches a few will stand out and hopefully one will be interesting enough to take into a painting. This is just one process of many, but a good one to remember.
In my little watercolor notebook I start working this out. I want the brightest glow from the sky to just hit a bit on the right wall and around the figure. Perhaps the left wall is still too light. And I have to do a couple real vanishing points so the walls read correctly. And then the water reflection shapes need to be worked out as I don’t have a real photo of this, just a snap from a TV image.
After being completely focused on the straw bale building project for eight months, I’m feeling a bit burned out. So my watercolors and notebooks showed up and I started to play with some little landscapes again. It feels good to put the brush in the paint. The curves and shadows of nature are endlessly inspiring.
The weather is holding here in Eastern Washington, calm and cool as the long shadows fall across the drive. Leaves are starting to turn just in time to pull out the quinacridone burnt orange, sienna and gold.
The fires are inundating us with smoke, so I’m in the studio finishing up some older paintings that didn’t quite make it on the first go. This one is inspired by the windy bluffs on the oregon coast.
In April 2017 I started using Sumi and Chinese black calligraphic ink to do some experiments for a new series of paintings. After a few simple tests I realized that the medium of ink in water had such a rich world of possibilities that I needed to explore it further.