Big Bend National Park
I love looking across the distance of a Southwestern landscape on a summer afternoon. Often, the morning's clear sky turns into puffs of cloud that get larger as the day progresses. Although the day may be hot and brilliantly lit, the clouds will cast quickly changing, random blue shadows across the landscape. The effect is an instant transformation from warm tans, siennas, and yellows to cool blues and purples, and then back to warm colors again. It is a fascinating effect to watch. Photos I took, and vivid memories from several vantage points along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive have been challenging me to try and paint this effect.
The volcanic formation known as "Mule Ears", is fascinating to watch as the cloud shadows dance across the desert. Although the photo reference I had shows the "ears" in the distance, I decided to move in closer for the painting. The ground near Mule Ears is very dramatic--dark colored magmatic rock contrasts sharply with areas of white volcanic ash.
I sometimes work in series. Whenever I paint, my brain is always thinking "what if"? What if I change the colors, reposition the objects, use pouring instead of brushwork? Working in series allows me to explore the many possibilities in a subject. The catch for me is to not let myself get obsessively stuck on one thing, or to get stale. The two paintings above were attempts to paint my cat, Albert. I love to garden, and Albert likes to nap half hidden under the foliage. I'm not the best weeder, and often my tomato patch takes on the appearance of a jungle. He has startled me on numerous occasions while reaching through the leaves to pick the tomatoes. Although I like the sunny quality of version I, I kept thinking about possible changes I could make. In painting II, I darkened the darks, changed the foreground, and added tomatoes. Which is your favorite? Both paintings are for sale--$400 for either, unframed.
This fall I took a four day workshop from Kris Parins , an artist whose work I first saw in Watercolor Artist Magazine. In addition to the traditional brush, Kris uses pouring as a way to add watercolor paint to paper. I like to take workshops whenever I can--each teacher has helped me advance faster than I ever could alone. Kris is a very giving and patient teacher. The following images illustrate one of my first poured watercolor paintings in the process of being "born". To see more of Kris Parins art, see her website at: http://kris-parins.artistwebsites.com/news.html
3. The next step was to draw my picture onto 140lb Arches cold press watercolor paper, that had been pre-stretched onto gatorboard. It is very difficult to control the colors on a poured painting, unless the paper is either heavy (300 lb or more), or stretched. The drawing on the paper works best if not very detailed. Any areas that are to remain white need to be clearly indicated. When Kris draws on her watercolor paper, She often uses transfer paper and a large "master" image, and only initially draws in the areas that will remain white. I tend to draw the whole thing, which requires me to be very careful about indicating the white areas.
Welcome to my blog. I will use this page to share my adventure with watercolor. I would like to invite you to come along on the journey. Although I have painted some all my life, and took college-level art courses, I began painting full time after my retirement in 2011.
Waterloo Watercolor Group Juried Exhibit, 1/25-3/8/2014, Live Oak Art Center, 1014 Milam, Columbus, Texas. Three of my paintings are included in this exhibit. The gallery is located in a beautiful old 19'th century building, complete with original bar. It is a lovely space, located just off the historic town square. Columbus is on I-10, about an hour and a half away from Austin or Houston. The town features a scenic historic district, complete with a courthouse with a Tiffany glass dome, great shopping and dining. Come spend a lovely day in Columbus!
Marsha Reeves is a watercolor painter living in Kerrville, Texas