I love working in oils. The buttery feel and easy blending of colors is inspiring and mistakes are easier to correct. But I've been reevaluating my living space and what works best for my lifestyle, so I'm beginning to dabble in other mediums. Living in a tiny space and accumulating large bulky canvases can be a challenge.
I have always loved the look of watercolors and the beautiful melding of hues. I took the plunge and signed up for a two day workshop with acclaimed watercolorist Keiko Tanabe. I had a great experience and learned so much, though my finished products may not show my newfound knowledge. I learned that having good paper makes a huge difference. I tried a few small watercolors in the past, on cheap paper, and became very frustrated with the result. Using good Arches paper showed me how much better the water soaks in and gives you the ability to layer colors. I love the wet on wet look and the paper made that possible. I learned I need to practice drawing perspective, as both days of class focused on city scenes and drawing buildings. I learned I really enjoy watercolors!
I will continue to explore this medium and take my watercolor travel sketch box out every chance I can to capture the beautiful places I visit. I can see lots of sketches coming soon when I visit Mammoth in a few weeks!
Last week I remembered how at peace I am when I am out in nature, painting the beautiful California landscape. I am still very new to plein air painting, but I know I want to do more of it. Each time I return I realize I learned something new, and many times what doesn't work. I embrace all of it, the good and the bad. I know I need to commit to practice, patience, and persistence in order to become a better artist.
The amount of spare time I have seems to shrink day by day, but I will continue to find blocks of time to put brush to canvas. I'm a little spoiled living in sunny California as far as the elements go, but I am beginning to see some of the challenges of painting outdoors. Bug bites, wind, gnats (lots of gnats!), bright sun blinding the canvas, etc. but all of these things make each session even more memorable.
Until next time (which I hope is very soon!)
Towsley Canyon, Santa Clarita, CA
I have always loved nature since I was a child. I can still remember my "nature walks" in the country woods with my cousins, looking for any wildlife we could find. I was always thrilled when my Ranger Rick magazine came in the mail!
That passion for the outdoors has never left me, even though I moved from the country back east to sunny CA. I still find a ton of inspiration on my local trails, at the beach, and in wine country but one thing that is constant no matter where I am is my love of trees. My latest series of paintings I've been working on focuses on these wonderful living giants, with a twist. Though I will paint more full trees in future paintings, the current series gets up close and personal with the intricate bark and gorgeous colors which can be found in some species.
I always make sure I have a camera on me when I'm out and about on the weekends. You never know when the perfect tree inspiration will strike! Some of the blues, purples, and golden colors I've seen in the eucalyptus trees are just breathtaking. I look for unique patterns in the bark for even more drama. I usually bump up the colors...mainly because I love color!
I can't wait to do more of these to add to my collection! Below is a photo I took of a tree and the finished piece beside it.
Saturday I was lucky enough to attend a workshop hosted by the Santa Clarita Artists Association featuring the wonderful artist, Sharon Weaver.
There were seven artists in the workshop, and although we worked really hard at the 10-4 session, the time flew by! We received specific instructions on painting trees, rocks, and waves by rotating between the various stations in 1 1/2 hour time frames.
As I tend to be a tight painter worrying WAY to much about details (like painting every leaf of a tree or every blade of grass), it was refreshing and helpful to learn how to simplify and paint shapes rather than "things".
Here are my paintings from the day (with some help from Sharon!):
I will have several of my works on display at the Canyon Theatre Guild at 24242 Main Street, Newhall , CA. The exhibit will run from January 29-February 28, 2016 (closed Mondays). I hope you have the opportunity to see it.
I invite you to my artist reception on January 31st from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Wine and appetizers will be served. Stop by and say hello!