Sunday, January 29, 2012

First Snow (Something Slightly Different)

This June I took a workshop with a very good landscape watercolor painter, Roland Lee, to study his methods of negative painting. It was not a difficult concept to grasp, and he was an amazing teacher who gives clear, thorough explanations of every "how"s and "why"s. However, when I was sorting through my studio mess, and came across a piece that I started at the workshop, deciding to complete it as a refreshment of what I have learned, I found out that it is really not easy to paint this way -- my mind's eye kept on switching between the positive and negative shapes, and my hands just was not able to paint around the shapes that are suppose to be lighter -- it kept on filling them in!!! I have not painted many landscapes, so this one, although simple, has been a true struggle for me. I am also feeling a bit confined by the limited palette of blues and browns... But I felt that it was needed to create the slight melancholic end of fall, beginning of winter feel. 

It was suppose to be a quick piece but it turned out to be everything but... I guess I do need to practice more landscape painting -- it deals with a whole different set of problems and corresponding solutions. Omission, simplification and suggesting with texture is much more important to landscape painting than to floral and still life paintings. A lot of times landscape painters have to be more liberal with their shape making and mark making, be more indicative than literal... It is difficult for me, but I do love it. After all, practice makes perfect! 

First Snow,  Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper , 6"h x 9"w, 2012 #10



  1. This is beautifully painted and does give the feeling you were looking to convey. I'd say it's a successful painting!

  2. Arena, you have created a wonderful landscape. It reminds me very much of Kathy Los-Rathburn's landscapes. To me, it looks like you have captured a lot of the "mood" of the scene, rather than doing a more literal translation.

  3. I find it difficult to let go and be less 'literal' I was trained to draw exactly what I saw so part of me is always trying to do that and part of me wants to find something else. I love this image and subject matter, I would have painted the same thing if I found it, and I love the way it's been painted, confident and assured


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