Monday, May 18, 2015

River in Summer Landscape Painting, Colorful Original Art

"Santiam River - Summer"
5 x 7" oil
Today's small colorful oil painting came from my memories of this icy cold river in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Even though it can be hot summer temperatures which dulls the colors, I decided to paint stronger colors especially cool blues. Can you feel how cold that water is?
I've been inspired to paint several river scenes lately. Seascapes are also catching my eye.
Small daily paintings gives me lots of opportunities to explore my many interests. I also play with different paint colors sometimes, but I use a limited palette as much as possible.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Color Palette Development for Colorful Original Paintings of Dutch Iris Flower Garden

Early morning one day last week, cup of coffee in hand, I check my small cottage style garden for seedlings bursting forth, maybe the first red strawberry hidden under its leaves, any weeds that need to be pulled sooner than later. I don't get far out the slider door when my eye is drawn to the Dutch iris flowers. The spots of lavenders and yellows seem like an undefined pattern of colors. They need to be painted, I tell myself! 

With my iPhone I quickly shoot several reference photos of the flowers from different angles thinking about possible compositions for paintings. I realize I need to do some careful drawings or sketches to refresh my memory of the structure of these irises. That I do later using watercolor pencils in my current sketch book. 

Often I paint color swatches in oils on an acrylic paper en plein air to refine my colors. The above photo shows recent color tests for other Dutch irises in the first photo. Those flowers I noticed change their colors over time so the range of colors spread from blues to red purples.

Then I sketch tiny compositions from the photos as I ponder which fits my theme the best. It might be a single flower in a vertical format or a horizontal washy watercolor of colors to suggest an abstract flower garden. Remember what caught my attention about these irises? That overall pattern of color spots. 

Here's a photo of a print from one of my iris paintings that shows a similar color spot motif.

"Schreiner's Irises"

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rocky Beach Watercolor on Gessoed Mat Board Original Seascape Painting

"Rocky Beach"
5 x 7" watercolor

Today's daily painting is another watercolor on specially prepared gesso panel. A rocky beach that I've painted more than once in watercolor and also in acrylic provides a perfect seascape subject with water, rocks, sand, headlands, and trees.
I've found that traditional watercolor on these watercolor gessoed panels poses a real challenge. The panels don't come close to regular watercolor paper so the absorbance of the water is very different. I feel I can't control the water as I've learned to do on the paper.
Another challenge with this technique is the type of brushes. My fine sable brushes are a "no-no" because the surface is too rough for them. So I have to use synthetic brushes in order to apply more paint. 
If I'm frustrated with the need for more paint on the brushes,  why not paint opaquely as I did this same beach in acrylics? Compare this "Rocky Beach" with "Overcast Beach" 
One definite advantageous to these panels is that I can lift the paint from the surface very easily. But, I don't want to get into the habit of fiddling around with watercolors. I like clear washes or definite paint strokes in my watercolor paintings.


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