Friday, June 24, 2011

Back to the Basics

                                                                 Cosy Harbor, Southport
Sometimes I actually take my own advice.  On Wednesday, I painted with the Plein Air Painters of Maine at Cosy Harbor.  When faced with so many details on location, I decided to make a painting based on values, with  much less emphasis on color.  I also settled on a time honored practice of watercolorists: I started with the farthest, lightest landmass and moved forward in values.  I reduced the number of boats to three.  And I minimized the value contrast in the foreground.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Warm vs. Cool

I've heard it said that warm colored paintings sell better than cool colored paintings.  I have no data to back this up. Anybody out there have any opinions on the matter?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Repeat....

Repetition is necessary to give a painting unity.  In this painting of Pratt's Island lobster shacks, I'm particularly happy with the repetition of colors throughout the surface. It's pretty easy to spot the repeated oranges, violets, and yellows.  Some are pure, some are more neutralized, but they are included at various locations on the page.  This is why it is important to work on the whole page at the same time. 

 It is also easier if you work wet into wet.  Hard edges tend to isolate colors instead of integrating them.
Try to be conscious of repeating color in the early stages of your painting when areas can be kept soft.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trail of White

The white of the paper is very important to the watercolorist. But so many times, the white shapes in a painting can be scattered, random and unorganized.  Some authors refer to these as "popcorn" whites.
With some planning, white shapes can be organized to lead the eye through the painting.

Keep in mind, too, that one white shape should be dominant, probably in the focal area.  Try to avoid leaving whites along the edge of the paper. 

In this painting of Boothbay Harbor, the trail of whites form a "T" composition which takes the viewer from the foreground to the background. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Warming Up

I finally got out to do my first plein air painting of the summer.  Very few tourists are here in Boothbay Harbor this early, so I felt comfortable painting right downtown on the waterfront.  I like the composition, and the atmosphere was enhanced by a young couple, he, playing the guitar, she, singing.

For those of you in those parts of the country sweltering from un-June like temperatures, I am pleased to announce that today it was 70 degrees and sunny.  Come on up!  Or better yet, sign up for my workshop in September!