Contemplating green waters and long sunsets
The morning glory winds its vines tightly around the porch rails before lovingly opening white flowers towards the sun. The hum of the crop duster’s engine fades in and out. The shimmering air holds its breath, knowing strong fall winds will visit soon.
With the heat index reaching 121 °F in my small town, I felt nostalgic for winter’s cold adventures. I took this photo while walking along an icy stream with friends about 10 miles from home:
I’m pretty new to using watercolors. I typically use acrylic paints.
With acrylic, I love building up layer after layer. I stop when it looks interesting. Once dry, I can evaluate: Is it too dark or light? Does it need something? If yes, add more acrylic paint. And as long as I keep my layers reasonably thin, I can add more. I love this process of finding my way through play and exploration.
However, if I try this with watercolors, I end up with a muddy brown mess. Once a dark watercolor pigment stains the paper, there is no making it lighter. If I want bright areas, I need to plan them.
Trying different brush sizes and amounts of water:
For the following paintings, I used reference photos by Jane McCauley Thomas. I am grateful for her permission to draw and paint from them—and to share them with you in this newsletter.
These photos remind me of some of my favorite times in the Northwest, escaping the heat in mountain streams, hiking, and rock climbing.
Working on simplifying the river scene and adding more colors to break up the greens:
Simplifying the scene further. And working to keep the focus on the river by reducing the vibrancy of color in other areas:
The black-necked stilt
I loved the reflections and the subtle colors:
Trees and water
Here, I’m thinking about design: Which trees and shapes to include, how to make them look different from each other, and where I want to add contrast.
Clouds and mountains
I love the light in this photo!
I hope your week is treating you very well!
Sending my love,