Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Still Life 11.23.10

Still Life 11.23.10   5x10
This piece is similar to the small still life paintings I was doing about ten years ago. It is really from an illustration technique of lifting pigment from a non absorbent surface. I first learned to do this using gouache on paper prepared with gesso. The brushed gesso left a texture to the paper surface that is visible through the pigment. This painting however is on Strathmore  140 lb cold press paper, which seems to have a slight coating to the surface that allows the lifting of the color similar to what I described. It lends a mottling to the washes that are, not flat areas of color, but have a variation when applying the pigment with the color defining the edges. It works well for creating these reflections.

Still Life 11.22.10

Still Life 11.22.10   5x10
One of the subject matters that has been missing to date are still life compositions. I  have wanted to start working again with this subject for a while. We have a collection of small  colored glass bottles & here I have place these two with one of our recently cleaned and varnished copper mugs.  This small painting is on a piece 90 lb. watercolor paper. It is a blend of wet on wet painting with flat washes of color. This particular paper does not allow for lifting the pigment, rather it is absorbent and holds the color by staining of the pigment into the paper.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Upper McKinney Falls Study

Upper McKinney Falls Study  5x10"
This watercolor study is based upon one of the photographs taken recently at McKinney Falls State Park. I sketched out the composition from viewing the photo on a large monitor in the studio. It had been several days later after drawing the initial composition  before I was able to start painting  on this piece. Instead of working from the photographs for color reference, I painted from memory. I recalled a basic palette and kept this study relatively simple by starting with four colors; Payne's gray, hookers green medium, burnt sienna, and  quinacridone gold. Some shadows have violet t hues, as well as areas of the limestone rocks.Ultramarine and cerulean blue were used in the foreground water.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deep Pool Shadow Study I & II

Deep Pool Shadow Study I & II  5 x 5
At McKinney Falls State Park near the Lower Falls where Williamson Creek and Onion Creek converge, is an area of interesting rock formations. Just below the bluffline of terraced limestone, you can peer into a labyrinth of stone pools that are deep and mysteriously dark. The entire formation is currently only a few feet from the surface, but the bright sunlight, when at low angles, casts these intensely dark shadows into the clear water. When we first saw them, our daughter of course wanted to know "what's in there?", "how deep is it?" and "how far does it go?" All good questions that could only be answered by fully exploring with scuba diving gear. As for the image above, I was inspired by the contrast of shade and shadow but also to the formations that were worn smooth yet created sharp hard edges that are anthropomorphic with a resemblance to animal bones. I did these studio watercolor studies to work with an abstract quality of the compositions and variation of hues in the colors.

Lower McKinney Falls

Lower McKinney Falls   5x10
With the fall color starting to develop to the extent  it does this time of year in Austin, it was high time to get back outdoors. We spent a late afternoon recently at McKinney Falls State Park on the edge of Austin. It was a warm and cloudless early November day perfect for taking lots of reference photographs of this beautiful state park. This painting depicts a setting with views of the Lower Falls from the Beach Area where Onion Creek has carved out a wonderful spot for swimming although there were only day hikers at the time.