Friday, May 11, 2012

Morning Fog, Tamalpais (Finished), and Keying Petal Light #1

I worked on several small landscape paintings today, some turned out better than others. My focus was on how to achieve believable effects of a foggy day. This often means a lot of wet-in-wet painting to create soft edges, adding more blues to the far-away objects such as background mountains, and neutralize color rapidly from foreground back. Some lifting with a damp brush and tissue paper near the base of trees may be needed, as well as adding water to created a graded wash when painting a group of trees from top down -- as their base are often covered by ground fog and appear lighter and more indistinct. I did all of the above in "Morning Fog, Tamalpais", and introduced my warm colors (Burnt and Raw Sienna) only in the foreground shrubs to make they appear forward.

Morning Fog, Tamalpais,  
Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper , 6"h x 9"w, 2012 #29


I sent out some packages of sold paintings during the week. One of them was a gift to someone living in the American River Delta so I included a little sktech I did the other day on a watercolor postcard by Richeson & Co. It was a scene right before the summer rain rolling onto the far horizon of the delta. The time constraints imposed by paper drying rapidly outdoors determined that a sketch like this cannot take more than a couple of minutes to finish, which I think is a great exercise for me -- since I am such a slow painter. I should definitely do this more often!...

Before the Summer Rain - Sketch of Delta,  
Watercolor on Richeson 140# Cold Press Postcard, 4"h x 6"w, 2012 #30

To switch gear a little I worked on "Petal Light #1" in between wet washes of the foggy landscapes. To gauge how much more work needs to be done to the leaves, I put down the local colors of the bird of paradise flower, carefully saving my whites on the lightest of lights by wiping away any astray colors in these areas with a damp brush. Then around the flowers I put down some of my darkest passages of leaves to see if the flower pops out enough. Putting down the darkest darks -- even just in small areas and lightest of lights (other than the whites you are saving) is very important in developing a sound value pattern of a painting. I often do this in small, isolated areas when I am developing a painting mid way, and get confused of how much darker everything has to go. I think I have a better idea now -- the bigger leaves on the top half of the painting has to go way dark, but maybe one or two value lighter than the leaves next to the center flower on a nine-step value scale. Now the challenge is to achieve that without losing luminosity and create a "black-hole" in the top half of the image. Some wet-in-wet glazing time...

Petal Light #1, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 8"w, WIP 5


  1. just beautiful...thanks for giving me my art fix for today........

  2. Hello Arena:) What a nice painting of the morning fog. Beautiful! Your flower will be great, as it already is!

  3. Hi Arena. Your morning fog painting is really lovely, You have got the fog creeping though the trees beautifully.


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