Rain Recession, watercolor 3" x 5" trees and clouds
Lilies and Stone Wall, pen and watercolor, 3" x 5"
I'm happily filling up the little Strathmore Visual Journal with its coarse 140lb cold press watercolor paper. It's small, it's handy and it's a good journal for wash techniques thanks to the heavy paper.
Rain Recession is what I painted on 3-29-2016, a view from the window over several layers of trees on a rainy-misty day. I loved the view and will probably do it many times, as Spring progresses it gets greener and greener. Living here on my daughter's farm in Arkansas, I'm surrounded by paintable scenes and almost any change in weather gives them new charm. I didn't add pen details because when I finished loosely painting, it didn't need them.
What I did though was condense trees from several angles into the painting. It's not a photo of the window view so much as an impression. I've gotten away from exact realism and even make small rearrangements on botanicals without losing the identity of the plant. It just has to be plausible. Removing a leaf or two in imagination or adding another flower that's on another plant but at an angle that'd improve the composition doesn't change that the plant can be identified by someone that knows it. It's not a portrait of that exact plant.
My son in law got that Easter lily in a pot with purple foil around it as a gift after volunteering at his church. This happens often to people who belong to big churches that really lay on the floral displays, many poinsettias go home with folks too after a big Christmas mass.
So he put it in the little garden patch in front of the house, where it tipped over and leaned against the short mossy stone wall defining it. There's stone-edged plots on both sides of the door and a pathway of big flagstones between them, which is very cool. I loved the way it looked and the day he brought it home, it hadn't bloomed yet. Now it's opening up.
So yesterday I sketched it in pencil, inked with a Pigma Micron size 01 and brought it inside to give it a watercolor finish. I do intend to paint it again later in more detail, the reflected colors on and inside the white blossom are beautiful and the inside trumpet has a smear of yellow that I thought was reflected but is actually pollen that fell off those stamens. I got a good long look at the structure and today got some more photos of it along with outdoor cat Calcifer.
He's one of three official Barn Cats who keep the rodents down around the grain kept for horses, goats and chickens. All three are sleek, well fed, perfectly groomed with silky coats and very affectionate personalities. I got a wonderful photo of him with the lilies today, one I may develop later as a serious painting.
The flowers seem to glow a bit due to the camera, but the cat's great and I can work on shading the flowers later after studying other photos where the flower's the main subject. The day is overcast, which helps!
Calcifer and the Easter Lilies
He's a sweet, super friendly lap cat. When I go outside to sit in the lawn chair and smoke, Calcifer is my number one lap warmer. Dampness, chilly weather, rain, anything inclement will guarantee a warm lap cat purring loud and cuddling. Calcifer likes it even when it's nice and sunny. Sometimes I stay out longer petting cats and talking with my daughter, the spot right outside the door has become our lounge area.
I like that habit. I'm smoking a little less because it takes a few steps and some effort to get out there, seeing a lot more of the yard and getting lots of sun on good days. It's also helped me get out of my chair a little more unless I'm really, really in bad shape. I didn't realize how much I stayed indoors till I moved here to have a good place in reach to go outside and good models always in sight. The chickens hang out there too on and off, which cuts way down on bugs. I may not need the Vitamin D supplements any more, unless it's winter and I get the winter problems that led me to take them in the first place. It's a good feeling.
Today I might be fooling around with colored inks and dip pens since my Blick order came in on the 30th. Twelve year old granddaughter got her birthday present early, a big set of Snazaroo face paints and the small set of six crayon face paints for drawing on her arms. I couldn't resist her excitement! The rest was all colored Bombay India Inks, silverpoint supplies and new dip pens, so I'll be experimenting with both period medieval stuff and modern pen-watercolor things with all those colored inks.
Crowquill dip pens give a very fine line like a Pigma Micron or Rapidograph but are as easy to clean as a brush and don't clog. Also even if I wreck a point, the nibs are so much cheaper! They also change colors as fast as a brush so I could really have some fun with the Claudia Nice style of pen-watercolor stuff!