Saturday, April 13, 2019

Jo MacKenzie Video Exercise


I love this little video exercise from my online acquaintance, Jo MacKenzie, who calls herself "Your Watercolor Coach."

Any time you limit your palette, strokes or time, you begin to understand the value of distillation, "the extraction of the essential meaning or most important aspects of something."

I don't think you'll hate the exercise as much as she says, but it will push you around and give you a new way of looking at effective strokes. Let me know how it works for you.

And definitely go look at Jo's YouTube page for more instruction in watercolor. Good basics here, simple, helpful and clearly presented. Enjoy!



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Distilled from a Photo


This composition was inspired by a photo, but quite distilled. The orange against the blue and those chunky green strokes with the yellow just seemed like enough, so I stopped sooner than later.

I'm pleased with the blocky mesa, typical of New Mexico, where I live. There's a sense of sunlight through the broken sky that was incidental, but like any artist I built upon it as it happened.

Watercolor, 2.5" x 3.5" on Strathmore 140 lb hot press paper. I painted it using Daniel Smith color dots (sample colors).

Daniel Smith Color Dots


I have a full set of Daniel Smith color dots (sample colors) that have turned out to be an incredibly fun way to paint using colors I might never have chosen for my regular palette. I always seem to paint small, so the little dots of paint on the cards are ample for my needs.

In this one I explored using layers of transparent color washes, which is purely from imagination. I like the way the color washes layered and mingled in the cloud, particularly.

I wanted to retain the distilled, simplified shapes of the landscape, without over-detailing anything. That seems to give the paint strokes authority, respecting the paint itself, while expressing a beautiful landscape.

Watercolor, 2.5" x 3.5" on Arches 140 lb cold press paper.

West Texas


A west Texas sunset interpreted in gouache.

I took a snapshot from the window of our motel room one evening when we were on the road. It was so flat, with just those smashing colors to draw the eye, and the highway heading out into the distance pointing the way. Fun to paint this one!

Gouache, 2.5" x 3.5" on Strathmore 140 lb hot press paper.

A touch of Iridescence


This one was looking pretty boring to me, so I went back into it with some iridescent colors. I have a full set of Daniel Smith (watercolor) color dots, which are a sampler of their entire line. They've turned out to be an incredibly fun way to paint, using colors I'd never have chosen for my regular palette.

I think you can see the iridescence, since I shot it in the sunlight. That coppery sheen is a little more subtle and fascinating in person, and the gold and lavender have iridescent colors over them, as well as some in the dark foreground.

I find myself mixing gouache and watercolor more and more, since I've never been a watercolor purist anyway!

Gouache and watercolor, 2.5" x 3.5" on Arches 140 lb cold press paper.