Texture Finale

I once wrote a college paper about my father’s 1970’s black and white photography efforts, called “Recording the Texture (click the bold/italics link to read). Perhaps my attraction to textured subjects was inherited? Is there a gene for appreciating texture? Or is it an environmental influence? Either way… I really enjoy exploring how to create texture effects in a watercolor painting; from the soft and dreamy, to the rough and scrappy,

For the final day of my community education watercolor class (with a focus on texture), we painted two “paint-along” works. We needed to work two at once so that we could let one painting dry while we attended to the other.

The class took a vote on four photos to use as references, and we decided on Yellowstone and grasses. One of the students provided the photo reference for “Yellowstone Trees” while I provided the reference for “Marsh Grasses.”

Yellowstone Trees

Marsh Grasses

We began by masking off a few white blades of grass on “Marsh Grasses” then putting the painting aside to let the masking dry.

For “Yellowstone Trees,” we first painted the water mist (behind the trees) wet-into-wet, just touching in a bit of grayed down Ultramarine Light around the sides and edges of the water. We used Pyrrol Red, New Gamboge, and a mix of Phthalo Blue (GS) and Gamboge for a bright green for the Yellowstone moss. We applied all three colors as a light wash. We then set this paint aside to let the wet area dry.

Back to the grasses… After the masking had dried, we painted the background wet-into-wet, letting the water dry back a bit. We used Hansa Yellow Light/Deep, Pyrrol Red, and Ultramarine Light throughout. Starting at the top, we began with the yellow light paint and then added red & blue around the edges. About 1/3 of the way down, we switched to just blue, to finish the flat wash, leaving some white areas untouched but wet. Once the painting had dried back a little, we added some red sidewise calligraphy strokes to indicate grass reflections (Lower left and right), then went over the top of them with blue. We then added some calligraphy “pull-push” strokes for grasses, letting the paint softly blend into the background. We then needed to let the painting dry, so we returned to “Yellowstone Trees”.

For Yellowstone…We stamped in all four of the pigment colors over the top portion of the painting with a sponge. We then mixed up a strong dark and painted in the foreground evergreens. We used red, blue and a bit of gamboge to mix our dark. We took care to not paint all the trees completely straight up and down and “soldier-like.” We toned down the bright background, by splattering and then gently caressing in some Titanium White. The rainbow? Well, I need to practice. Ha!

Both of these paintings will likely be available through Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery (click the link for address and directions) starting July 10th. Artist reception is July 18th, from 4-7pm. Why not join us for some delectable nibblies and drinks. We can talk about art! You can take home an original painting!

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You can see a preview of a similar painting process on my Youtube channel. See below

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