Thursday, November 08, 2007

change of subject ...


Time to turn to winter subjects. Starting with bare trees--and their shadows: a favorite subject, one I want to begin practicing.
I have a number of photos from last Valentine's day snowstorm. Peter drove me around early in the morning so I could get some good reference shots. But this photo is actually just from his front yard!
A la Jan Hart: here are the photo, the value sketch, and not a painting, but a small study (it's about 3x5.5). This is the first of what I intend to be at least 3 watercolor studies ... I've chosen 4 photos that I want to go through this process with before embarking on a larger painting. I want to try different color schemes and techniques, like how to make the tree branches look lacy or how to make the light holes in the shadows.
(Unlike Jan, though, I haven't titled this. Suggestions? Jan comes up with a title for each painting before or while she's doing the value sketch, on the principle that having a name helps you stay focused on what you're trying to convey. I admit I'm not, or can't be, that cerebral about it; maybe I don't want to give my left brain anything to grab hold of. My left brain's a terrier. A Skye terrier. )
This value sketch didn't really serve the usual purpose. I mean, happily for me, who always has trouble with values, it's pretty clear in this photo where the darks are! But it was still way worth the 5-10 minutes it took to scribble this ... a little warmup. (There's no comparison, I'm not crazy, but something about this pencil sketch reminds of all the David Hockney drawings I love--and that I have been looking at: I'm totally delighted to see any echo of Hockney, no matter how much of a stretch it is to see it!)
I found a stash of my favorite paper, which I think is unavailable now, Fabriano Artistico--it's got a scratchy surface but the paint sits on top nicely, and it's easy to lift. I took one sheet (22x30) and halved it lengthwise (11x30), then folded it into 4 panels (11x7.5, roughly), so I've got 8 panels to fill with studies. A few I'll further divide, like the one here.
I'm not unhappy with this study! But I see things to change next time: the branches on the tree at left should maybe go off the top of the page, and the horizontal evergreen (cypress?) branches need to be more of a design element. Here I think I was thinking mostly of color mixes and of how the paints would mingle.
I'll try to do two more studies tomorrow.

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