Tuesday, May 11, 2010

back to school

Yesterday I brought some irises from my yard to my class with Marie Natale (I'm hoping to get in a few refresher classes before summer activities fully consume my life). She had us paint the setup--there were a couple of colored-glass bottles too, which I left out--1)without drawing, 2) using a triad, and 3) "inviting," as she says, the colors to run into one another, which necessitated keeping it all pretty wet.
I always have trouble sticking strictly to a triad; here, cobalt, magenta, and new gamboge. I didn't manage it here, but it is a helpful jumping off point: when you only have the three colors to chose from, I think you can paint with a little more abandon?
I enjoyed this exercise: not drawing removed the anxiety I would normally have trying to capture all the ins-and-outs of an iris. Instead, I just tried for shapes and colors. Naturally, there are things I would change--and I think I will add one or maybe two flowers leaning over into the empty space at the right.
It was also strange painting this size--I've become accustomed to a 5x7 or 7x10 size, so easy to "complete"--and on Arches paper (i'm trying to use the paper I have and pulled this block out of the closet). I usually use Fabriano, which I find so ... amenable--the paint just floats over it; with the Arches, I really had to use more paint and more water and force it onto the paper!

I wish I had thought to bring a camera: my classmates, Elaine and Dolores, did beautiful paintings with glowing color!
No class next week.

As I painted I kept trying to think of Hazel Soan (you'll remember the great paintings Cathy did in a workshop with Hazel!): she says that the subject of a watercolor is always the watercolor itself, not the thing you're painting.

This is the two-year-old unfinished painting that was on my block ... I ran out energy contemplating finishing off the fence. I think I may just stick a hedge in there and call it done.

p.s. Renovations continue with new drywall in the kitchen and dining room this past weekend. You wouldn't believe the dust sanding spackle creates; it gets everywhere--and gets tracked everywhere! Now I understand why Peter's so adamant about his workmen removing their shoes when they come in the house! My evening project this week is to get the rooms painted. Sticking with white for the kitchen but trying out yellow in the dining room--I can't wait to see how it turns out.
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JoAnn said...

I love both of these paintings....love the looseness you produce.

I would like to get some Fabriano paper and found it at Wet Paint


but could you please tell me which kind you like? Hot, cold, rough, smooth, tablet, block?????

Thanks so much.

laura said...

Hi JoAnn. We were just discussing this in class yesterday! I like Fabriano's full sheets and blocks; I use their lower-quality tape-bound tablets for quick watercolor sketches (it's quite good for say 2-minute poses in life class).
BUT I would not recommend the 10 packs of 11x15 Fabriano paper (the sheets are loose, cellophane-wrapped)--for me it's too soft and it doesn't bear up under repeated washes.
I usually use CP.

seesue said...

Ahh Laura, I've just spent the most enjoyable time visiting your delightful site. Must come back and see if I can pick up your energy and actually wet the palette! Thanks for a lovely coffee break.

Gillian said...

These two paintings are truly beautiful, Laura.
I actually like the incompleteness (is that word?) of the 2nd one - it works so well - congrats. x

Anonymous said...

You did very well with this exercise. It really helps one be loose with the medium. And rules are there to be broken - with regards going outside the triad. It certainly worked in this painting.

cathyswatercolors said...

Hi Laura, I like how the paint flows on the Iris painting,loose and good color,with a triad... nice.

I remember the painting of the home i think you should finish it. It's just too good to let go.

I have only used Arches,I must try Fabriano.

Happy home reno. My son and daughter in -law just painted their new home the coolest colors. Kitchen red and taupe, mossy green family room, and dark taupe living room. All turned out great and added a bit of character and flare.
I especially liked the red kitchen and dark taupe living room with white furniture.

RHCarpenter said...

What beautiful paintings - the style is more controlled in the house but still has your lovely color palette. Oh, I wish I could watch you paint these loose, lovely paintings! Enjoy your class :)

Melanie Rawlings said...

So beautiful! i so enjoy your work.

Carol said...

Both paintings are wonderful! I recognize the Mainstay.
I was working with triads today in a class. You're right, it's hard to stick to just those three because somehow you're missing the right green or violet.

Barbara M. said...

Hi Laura,

I always love everything you do. This is fantastic.

Take care,


AK said...

This painting that you are calling incomplete: Leave it alone. I think it is fabulous the way it is.

AutumnLeaves said...

Both paintings are beautiful but I really love the house painting and would love to see it finished. That tree in front is perfection!

A Brush with Color said...

These are both beautiful, Laura! I always enjoy your forays into watercolor exercises and your descriptions of them. I really like that second one, too--I like that it looks almost vignetted here. Your treatment of the tree foliage is so effective.

Good luck with the renovations--I always get excited to see room re-do's--I'm psyched for you!

Jennifer Lawson said...

The irises are gorgeous. I may have to try that triad exercise. Thanks for your detailed description.

Margaret Bednar said...

Sometimes less is more and I love the way it is "finished" right now. Maybe it is even appropriate - are we EVER finished updating/renovating our homes?

Liana Yarckin said...

love the irises. must be the same teacher as the poinsettias? you have a great style.


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