Tree Studies

I don’t usually start doing tree studies until autumn, but in teaching one of my students how to paint a landscape, we stepped away from the whole scene to practice single trees. I’d forgotten how much I like doing these!

First, I used the lightest color to paint the whole mass of leaves, making the edges said “leaf shapes” and leaving some holes for the birds.

When that layer was dry, I added the shadow shapes using a darker value. Softening some of the edges of the shadow shapes helps blend them in with the shapes in the light. When that layer was dry, I painted in the trunk and branches, weaving the branches behind the lightest leaves.

These studies are small, about the right size for making into greeting cards.

Sunny Summer Day

July 1st, deep into the Maryland summer, and the sun is shining on the office of the Marina next door to our house. The owner’s daughter keeps the gardens neat and plants lots of flowers. It looks wonderful! We’re so thankful to live here.

Marina Office - Summer
Marina Office – Summer, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

Our sailboat is in the marina, which makes it right outside our back door on the creek. On a hot summer day like today, it’s cooler on the water, so we’re going to spend the night on the boat.

Sunshine

Today was one of those rare days when everything came together nicely.

The Doodlewash theme for the month of June is “Outdoor Fun” and today’s prompt is “Sunshine.” As I thought about how to depict the sunshine (which we didn’t have much of today) I thought of a photo that my husband had taken on our walk through the bog a couple of days ago. The sun was shining through the trees and creating dappled shadows on the boardwalk.

My two favorite online watercolor instructors each recently posted videos showing how they paint sunlit paths, Angela Fehr in “Spring Landscape” and Steve Mitchell in his kickoff of a “30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge.” So, after watching these, here’s my sunlit path:

May the sun shine brightly on your path today!

A Visit to a Bog

A couple of days ago, my husband and I visited a bog.

There are many different plants in a bog due to the moist, sometimes wet, and acidic soil. I was primarily attracted to the ones that were flowering at that time, as you will see by my sketches.

When I haven’t gone out to paint en plain air I usually carry a sketch pad and pencil case with me, just in case there’s something that captures my attention and begs to be captured. My usual procedure is to start with pencil until I have the basic placement of the image on the page. I switch to the pen as soon as I am comfortable. I’m still surprised by how much detail I can get down in a few minutes. Watercolor is added after I get home, after erasing the pencil.

What has captured your attention lately?

Bluebells

When one moves to a new home, it is interesting to find what floral gems spring up from the ground, having been planted by previous residents.  We have had a wonderful flower make its appearance each year in this home, but until this year I haven’t taken the time to paint it before it faded.  It actually took me a couple of years before I looked up the name to find out that we had bluebells planted in a corner of the garden.

Bluebells
Bluebells, watercolor, 6″ x 6″

I had to grab a few painting moments between rainstorms.  Welcome Spring!

Spring Means Violets

We’re getting some warm days interspersed with days of rain, so the plants are all happy and growing.  When I walk outside, I am surrounded by flowers begging me to sit down and paint them.  I don’t mind obliging!

Spring Means Violets
Spring Means Violets, watercolor, 3.5″ x 5″

When my daughter was little, there was nothing she liked better than to go out in the spring and fill her little hands with bunches of violets.  Now that she is grown and has daughters of her own… she still goes out and picks violets!