Here’s a scene and a creature that I made up while experimenting with a limited palette. This is gouache on a piece of Bristol board.
Countless words have been written by mankind about that mysterious and romantic satellite that lights our night world. Some of its mysteries were unlocked 50 years ago today, when mankind took a giant leap on its surface. Still it shows up like a wise old friend, faithfully beautifying our night world, and giving us a chance to briefly pause our hectic lives and relax under its comforting glow. I painted this after a midnight visit to the beach.
There is a Rhododendron bush in my yard that is nearing the end of its life cycle. Every year another branch or two will die back, leaving it looking a bit less robust than a younger plant. The remaining live parts of it, however, still produce a nice crop of brilliantly colored blossoms in the spring. This is a fast sketch in gouache that I made to try to capture the lively energy that the remaining plant still has.
Here’s a tree I spotted at a pumpkin patch that we visited with the grandkids. What caught my attention was the way the outer leaves turned color while the center remained green.
This painting is an exercise in value, also known as rhythm. An academic teacher that I knew described value as the lifeblood of a drawing or painting – light values support dark values support light values, etc., across the entire work. It’s a tricky thing to accomplish when using color, so I limited my palette and spent a month on and off tweaking it until I got it right.
Another year on and our morbid merrymakers are at it again. This time it looks like they’ve decided to carry on closer to home. Weird things happen on All Hallows Eve, so take care if you decide to pass through a graveyard tonight. And, if by chance, you like that sort of thing, bring your dancing shoes.
While on vacation one evening, our daughter and I set our alarms to get up early enough to watch the sun rise over the ocean. The show is every bit as spectacular as a sunset, only in reverse. This image is made from a photo, and I intended it to be a fast watercolor, but I so overworked it that I had to call in the gouache cavalry to save it.
One year our shore vacation was a total washout. It was sunny the day we arrived, and the day we left. In between was some of the worst weather we’ve ever experienced. High winds, torrential rains; one night the ocean breached the dunes and sent a few waves into the streets. After that the bay flooded the other side of the island. There was only one thing left to do. We put on our rain gear and hit the beach anyway.
Here’s a tranquil scene from a past shore vacation. Bocce on the beach, a competitive sport played in a relaxed setting with no time limits.
This was painted from a photo I took of a very pleasant evening; the sun was setting behind us; in front, a cool ocean breeze drifted across the waves; and beverage refills were an arms’ length away.
Watercolors and gouache on Arches paper.
Outside, the season’s first snowfall is still partially covering the ground, but I thought I’d sneak in one more image of fall before the winter solstice is upon us. I tried to make this one a pure watercolor, but I ended up overworking it. So, I reached for the gouache to fix it and lost some luminosity in the process. Painting management! Will have to redo this at a future date.
A year has passed since our creepy couple performed their Danse Macabre on the beach. Somewhere, under a pale moon, they’ve reappeared for their annual night of revelry, and perhaps a bit of mischief. They’re more formal this time; it seems that they’ve made an effort to look their best for each other. A toast to true love – maybe it does last forever!
Weird watercolors and ghostly gouache on Ahhhhhrches paper.