Here is the beginning of the second Tiger Lily watercolor. It is 8x10" on 300lb. Arches paper (my last sheet).
I started with the drawing. Then a very subtle purple / blue wash in the background to push the warm colors forward. Next it is the orange / yellow colors of the petals. This will be glazed on in layers today building up some depth. I will post my progress tomorrow morning.
I just realized I am down to my last sheet of 300lb Arches watercolor paper. I have become very spoiled painting on blocks of 300. I never worry about buckling no matter what I throw at the paper.
I definitely have to place an order today!
Watercolor TIP: This should be common sense to all of us watercolorists... but a few weeks ago I realized I had been painting with the same dirty bucket of water in my studio for months. Colors were getting muddy. So change out that water and keep your colors fresh. It is also good to clean your palette once in a while. I broke my good covered palette recently and have been putting out fresh paint for each painting. This is a bit of a waste.... but when you paint only two or three times a week like I am now you want to do everything you can to make the best experience possible of each painting session.
The woods were filled with wonder this morning. The sound of the snow as I hiked along could be heard as it fell from the branches. I was surprised to see so many folks out on the trails this morning. The main trail had been packed down pretty well, but every time I ventured of off the trail to get closer to the brook I found myself pushing thru hip deep snow on uneven rocky terrain. Having survived one broken ankle in my life... I did not wander of the trail as much as I normally would to get the shot. I did get a couple scenes like this though that show you pretty well what I was seeing.
I went into the studio today to start painting the flower I photographed the other day.... and low and behold it bloomed into this beauty.... Looks like I'll have two paintings to work on this weekend!
One of the things I like best about living here in the Hudson valley is the wonderful scenes and trails you can see and discover. There are trails and paths for people of all levels and abilities to get out and find the peace of mind afforded by being in nature.
This little stream and waterfall was perhaps a hundred yards from where I parked my car in Harriman State Park and went on for several miles of elevation changes and little waterfalls. This was not even one of the marked trails as far as I know. I just spotted it through a small opening in the cover as the stream ran under a small bridge.
There are views like this... both grand and small all over the Hudson Valley and Catskills. I started carrying my camera as a kid to capture all of these wonderful places I was discovering.
So take a break from Facebook or Wii or whatever you are doing and get outside to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful place.
I am very concerned that some of these amazing parks in our region and around New York State will close to close the budget gap. I saw this article posted on the NY- NJ Trail Conference website yesterday.
I got a little impatient... Who Me you say never.... Well I did. I started working on the background before the lemons were dry. I almost had a disaster, but thinking fast on my feet I used washes of gray, blue and purple in the background and the lemons in the bowl. Lucky for me that yellow is a pretty opaque color in watercolor and I was able to work with the area I had paint the background over the two lemons. Going with a dark background gave me an added advantage of it pushing the metal bowl forward and adding depth to the painting.
So rescued from near disaster... What do you think?
Here is an image from Dover Stone Church falls looking out, Or more correctly here are imagesfrom Dover Stone Church Falls. I took the shots this summer and did not use them. The scene was way to brightly light to be rendered useable. Either the darks were going to get cut off and be all black or the green of the trees would be lost from over exposure. Photoshop CS4 to the rescue! Photoshop now has an HDR (High Dynamic Range) option. When you encounter this situation shoot the image on a tripod and make 3 images. One exposed normally for the scene and then another 2 stops over exposed and another 2 stops under exposed. Sometimes you may even need 3 over and 3 under. Then let the photoshop HDR function choose the best highlight / midtone / shadow parts of all three images and combine them. What you will get will likely be a little flat and unexciting, but you will have plenty of image to work with. Sometimes you can get some stunning shots.
Here is the drawing for the lemon still life I am working on.
My plan is to start out like the pepper watercolor by getting in a soft line at the horizon and using soft purples for the shadows in the bowl to ground it and play well off of the yellow of the lemons.
I will post a few updates as I make progress over the weekend.
Here is the finished Pepper still life. All in all I am very happy with it! I had a plan to start with and it helped keep me on track until I had a finished painting looking like what I imagined it to be.
Next project... Another still life. I will post the reference photo on the blog for you to see while I get started.
First wash separates horizon so Peppers are anchored in painting with a cool wash on the background.
Next wash. build up cool shadows and fill in second pepper pushing it into the background. This sets the stage for the next wash.
Well under way this is the first wash with the reds of the peppers. Warm reds on the main pepper and cooler reds and purples in the background pepper. This pushes the main pepper forward.
Next stage will be pulling out the shapes with some scrubbing of highlights and adding shadows.
Total drawing and painting time to date 90 minutes plus time between washes to dry.
One of the things I really like about this painting besides the nice Juicy reds is that from the moment I took the picture I knew the approach I was going to take in this painting. So far it is just flying out of my brushes. None of that what do I do next feeling. You can't get away with that in watercolor... Some people are good enough... I can't. I need a plan so I can be free to let the painting happen.
I have not gotten into studio yet today. I forgot I had to put my entries together for the art show at St. Catherine of Bolgna art show in Ringwood NJ. I'll be entering the three photos above... What do you think?
Now I am heading to the studio to paint those peppers.
I saw these wonderful red peppers in the market today and knew I had to paint them. They will be my next watercolor project. I will lay the first washes down on Sunday and post it to show you my progress.
TIP: about the photos I am using for my paintings: I have discovered that my studio on a cloudy day is perfect for shooting reference shots for my paintings. In the afternoon the western light thru the clouds makes for good side lighting of a soft quality much like shooting with a big softbox lighting setup. I simply use watercolor paper as my background and foamcore as the shooting surface. It is a little reflective and helps fill in the shadows. I also overexpose the image one stop from the meter (+1) to compensate for all the white in the photo. Since these are meant for my reference and will not be printed bigger than 8x10 I shoot at 400 or 800 asa and can hand hold the camera. This is a quick and dirty way to get some good reference photos.
Technically the week is not over until tonight right?? Here is the very last oldie but goodie from 2009. I will be producing both new photos and paintings this weekend. Yeah!
This shot of Cherry Blossoms was taken at Skylands - New Jersey Botanical Gardens in later April, 2009. I love the play of the sharp pink flowers against the blurry yellow green background. This might even make a nice painting. Hmmmm
Onto new stuff after a week of greatest hits and little known treasures... I promise!
Here is another image I found going thru last years stuff as I get used to the new Mac and CS4. Reflected trees in the water on a perfect October morning. This weekend I head to the studio for some new paintings.
I am thinking of having a 24x36 gallery wrap canvas made of this image... What do you think?
Sometimes it is great to review your older work and find some treasures you skipped on the first go around.
While I was getting used to the new photoshop today I started playing with a few of my images. I found this one of Prospero's Cave in Bermuda. I really think I was able to get much closer to how the image actually was with this version. I can feel the cool temperature and taste a 'Dark and Stormy' now.
This image is from a series I shot at Minnewaska in October. I don't think this shot originally got posted. I started working on it after I set up photoshop on my new computer. I found it to be a much better image than I first thought so thought I'd share it with you.
Speaking of my new computer... After five years of doing all of my digital imaging work on my laptop I switched to Mac and bought the 27" IMac. It is wonderful and has really made my workflow sooo much easier. As an IT guy and a photographer I can really appreciate how easy this computer was to set up and how amazing my photos look on the big 27" screen. It is a wonder. On the same note I have to send a shout out to my five year old HP laptop that has taken a lot of abuse in the last few years... most notably when I started shooting 15 megapixel images. It has been a real trooper and will now be used for web surfing and shared with Wenderina.
With a big winter storm heading our way this weekend... I started thinking of Cape Cod and the summer and the sunshine. Here is a sunrise from Newcomb hollow from August '09 to help you get through until the warm sun once again shines on your shoulders my friends.