Tuesday: Trust what happens


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Tuesday: Trust what happens

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I work into the closer trees on the right; these will establish the core of the reflections in the pond. On these trees, there is more detail in the branches, but I still need to keep it loose…back to careful randomness! I work fast here, spontaneity being the key. I’m using only Davy’s Gray and Indigo Blue now. I will use only four pigments throughout this painting; I am focusing on the subtle interplay ofthese colors to achieve the mood I want.
Winter scenes obviously do not have the endless variations of color and tone as say, a spring scene would have, but it is not that simple. The effect of the subdued winter light makes it extremely important to study and recognize the subtle variations it creates in the landscape, and use these to infuse the painting with life and feeling.
Keeping it simple, adding and subtracting as I feel, I move through this phase fairly quickly.

Tuesday 1

The sky is always important in a landscape, and although I want a neutral, almost bland sky, I also want it to be a very strong and central element in this painting.

After I transfer my sketch to the watercolor paper, I block out the buildings and other essential elements with masking fluid. Now I’m ready.

Since I want a muted and plain feel for this painting, I will work with a limited pallet and for the sky, will use colors that will be repeated in other areas of the painting. This gives it unity and balance. I squeeze out Cobalt Blue, Indigo Blue, Davy’s Gray and Cadmium Yellow onto my pallet, grab my favorite large brushes, and then before starting, I take time to contemplate how the sky will look and how to achieve it. I believe very strongly in the mental aspect of creating art, it is every bit as important as technique and composition, and if neglected in any art, not just painting, shows as a deficiency very plainly.

One of the many things I love about watercolor is that there are times when you just have to let it all go and trust what happens, and this is very true of painting skies. After analyzing what you want to happen, and focusing this energy, you still need the courage and confidence to abandon control and let watercolor do what it does, according to its nature. I use lots of water, working quickly, keeping the yellow as a constant base tone, then washing in the other colors overtop. I want a seamless harmony of the colors, and I let the water and pigment work together to achieve it. I do not add unneeded color and do not force things, I let it play out, with confidence in the outcome.