I learn something from every painting I work on. Sometimes it's a big breakthrough, other times just a subtle little rewarding moment. I try to remember and apply each little epiphany to subsequent paintings, but it often takes a few repeat experiences to finally get it close to right. Pictured are a few of those paintings that provided watershed moments for my work in watercolor this past year.
Meet Me at the Little Bridge, one of the first paintings I created in 2022, explored the depths of a winter forest. Leaving some white space in the trees and not fully outlining them with fine line pen, abstracting the trees the farther back they were in the composition, achieved a nice balance between the positive and negatives spaces in the painting.
Elemental Harmony, one of my favorite pieces from 2022, was painted with only one brush, a 1" flat that I played with, using the angles and the points to create the strong lines of the shadows and water ripples and the soft blends of color within. Getting that water down was just the best painting experience ever; I tried to replicate the technique a few times with subsequent paintings, some successfully and others not quite so much. The messes teach as much as the successes.
Brown Barns, another winter setting, sparked a moment of understanding of painting snow. I know snow is never really white, which I addressed in most of the snow covering this painting by dropping in little hints of color throughout. But allowing some of the lightest shade of the underpainting to show through, accidently at first, hinted at the sun reflecting off edges of the divets made by grasses and little shrubby trees in the snow field. So I took that little discovery and carried throughout the rest of the blanket of snow.
And Pemaquid Pine was a continued study of rocks and rock shelves, the shapes, line work and blending of colors that I initially explored in a couple of my paintings from 2021, From the Wall and Cliffs at Cascade Pond. Getting the solid hardness of the rock slabs, the softer focus on the water below and the movement of the swaying grasses in the foreground to all harmonize using color and line, was really satisfying.
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