Before turning in, I just wanted to post a painting I am nearly finished with now. I am quite pleased with most of its aspects. It is based on a certain barn I have driven by many times in my travels on Rt 903 in Pennsylvania. However, it probably applies to many other barns out there as well.
This image is of the painting with a mat placed over it so I can focus on the composition I was working towards in the first place. I haven’t even signed it yet, but I will use the method I described in a popular post of mine, “Choosing Where To Sign Your Painting” to decide whether I should put it in the right or left lower corner, or somewhere more centered even (but still along the bottom).
- Arches 9×12 140 lb Cold Press
- Cobalt Blue
- Burnt Sienna
- Yellow Deep
- Cadmium Red
- Payne’s Gray
- Raw Sienna
- 11×14 white mat with 8×10 cut-out
- Bamboo brush
- 5/8 inch camel wash brush
- Rigger brush (I don’t think mine is a true rigger, it is a bit short :))
Things I like:
- I like the way my silo came out. I was trying to do something I read in Tony Couch’s book in which a shadow is not completely on the other side of the object, and the object also receives some warm light reflection from the ground or surface opposite it. And you know what – I think this silo looks pretty good, other than the technical mishap I had scratching in the defining lines. Yeah, it’s pretty obvious. Let’s call it a dent. Those things are made of metal – it can happen…
- I am happy with the grasses throughout and the gradation from light to dark as you move forward in the painting.
- I like how the plowed field looks with all the furrows. You can pretty easily tell that it is a field…right?
- It is a small detail, but I am really happy with how my drive leading to the barn looks. I love the grass with the small shadows the blades cast on the ground.
Things I would like to improve:
- Shadow direction. Take another look and you will know what I mean. *sigh*
- Not touching my sky once I put in the washes. I think my impatience is highlighted because I either do not wet my sky enough in the first place, or because I try to do it all in one wash. I may try to do 2-step clouds, where the first wash is the blues or sky tone, whatever they may be, and the second wash forms the shadows of the clouds themselves and gives them depth.
- Tree branches. I realize now that my trees look strange because the branches have hard edges and seem taped-on. I will try to put in branches while the leaf bunches are still wet (all the videos I have watched doing this, it still did not seem obvious to me until I read it in Edgard Whitney’s book, The Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting – think like a lightbulb going on over my head). Also, the lowest leaf bunches should not be completely in shadow but actually receive some light reflecting from the ground.
- Be braver with my colors. However, I still think that it is easier to make something darker instead of lighter in watercolor once dry.
- Adding some life or motion would be a next step. I am still wary of figures though, as I am currently in the process of grasping how to portray the inanimate. I don’t know if I could do justice to something with a heartbeat yet.
I seem to be moving along in my self-taught journey at a decent clip, though. I do a lot of reading, and a lot of physical painting when I have a chance. I try to keep it real. However, as anyone who knows me personally could attest – I like to over-prepare and research everything so that I know all I can. Maybe it’s a personality thing. Maybe it’s passion. Some may call it obsession. But it keeps me moving forward and busy enough to not stress over everything I have going on now in other areas of my life.
Painting and creative arts are a great outlet for your energy and emotions and feelings that accumulate, so don’t be afraid to plug in and see what you can do. Before you throw in the towel or think that you have no talent, remember that most everyone else has been where you were. They kept on going, though – and so should you. Everyone had to start at square one.