An Unusual Tree

A Tree of a Different Color, watercolor, 7" x 5"
A Tree of a Different Color, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

One of my students likes the splatter trees that I have been doing, but she wanted to keep the leaves in clusters of more discreet colors.  So we started experimenting and came up with this tree of unusually colored leaves (and a few watercolor drips).

I painted the leaf clusters first and let them dry.  Then I mixed up a dark color for the trunk and grew the trunk and branches amongst the leaf clusters, going behind the lighter areas so that they come forward and going through the holes in the tree and over the darker areas in the leaf clusters.

I’m guessing that this might be an autumn tree since the leaves are falling on the ground and some of the branches are starting to get bare.

What colors have you seen in leaves recently?

Lavender Lemonade: A Farmers’ Market Treat

Lavender Lemonade, watercolor, 7" x 5"
Lavender Lemonade, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

Our local Farmers’ Market at Greenstreet Gardens has a wonderful treat.  On these hot, humid, summer afternoons, a glass of lemonade is a welcome thirst quencher.  Combine that sweet-tart taste with a hint of lavender and that welcome drink becomes memorable.  The cubes of ice cool the lemonade, and small beads of condensation form on the outside of the glass, reminding me that if I drink it, there will be fewer of those beads on my forehead!

What is your favorite summertime thirst quencher?

Lovin’ the Lavender

When we moved into our current house four years ago, there was a small weedy area surrounded by pieces of slate that our landlord said we could use for a garden.  So, after we unpacked the boxes, we went off to our local nursery, Greenstreet Gardens, and chose a bunch of plants, a mixture of flowers and herbs.  One of my husband’s choices was some lavender, which has come back bigger and more luxurious each year.  When it is blooming, it is filled with bumblebees.

Lovin' the Lavender, watercolor, 7" x 5"
Lovin’ the Lavender, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

I haven’t decided whether to call this “Lovin’ the Lavender” or “Bee Heaven”.

Carrots from Primaterra Farm

Primaterra Carrots, watercolor, 10" x 8"
Primaterra Carrots, watercolor, 10″ x 8″

Two other artists and I have joined together to show and sell some smaller art pieces at the local farmers’ market at Greenstreet Gardens.  Across the aisle from us today was Henry of Primaterra Farm. We all sniffed appreciatively when he shook out the basil and other herbs. We admired his radishes, beets, and the different greens.  But I was drawn to the carrots – delicious morsels in varying colors.  I went over and bought a bunch, asking if he minded if I stood there and painted them.  He shrugged a little and commented about Stacy Greenstreet buying bunches of them to feed to her horse.  After I bought them, he didn’t mind what I did with them!

Henry, with his carrots (now my carrots), and me with my painted carrots.
Henry, with his carrots (now my carrots), and me with my painted carrots.

It wasn’t until I set up my palette and easel that he realized the paint was going on the paper, not on the carrots!

What have you eaten recently that came from a local farm?

Coneflower

Coneflower, watercolor, 7" x 5"
Coneflower, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

I painted this coneflower with my students,  As we contemplated the flower center with the spiky stamens, we talked about different choices for getting this effect.  We chose to paint the area a yellow-orange, cover the stamens with masking fluid, and paint the darker color over that once the masking was dry. Painting negatively around the top of the flower and giving the edge a spiky texture adds to the feeling that the whole area has that texture.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink, watercolor, 13" x 5"
Pretty in Pink, watercolor, 13″ x 5″

I was teaching my students about making a line of watercolor and then using clear water to soften out one side of the line until it becomes a hard edge on one side and a soft shape on the other.  This carnation’s frilly petals provided a good subject for using this technique.

I painted the general shape of the flower with a light value of pink and let it dry.  Then I went back in and “found” the places where petals overlapped.  Which side became darker was a matter for observation, as sometimes it was the petal in front and sometimes the one in the back.

I received this flower for Mother’s Day, but like all things that come into the house, it was fair game for “posing” in my studio!  I sent my mother pajamas for Mother’s Day, and she looks pretty in pink, too!

Seeing Red Makes Me Happy!

We took a trip to the garden store and bought some flowering plants.  I chose ones that I thought would be good subjects for my students to paint.  In class I demonstrated how I would paint a composite flower like this Gerbera daisy.

Seeing Red Makes Me Happy, watercolor, 7" x 5"
Seeing Red Makes Me Happy, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

My first decision was where to place the flowers on the page, and how many of the flowers to include.  Noting that the centers were lighter than the petals, I painted the entire petal structure of both flowers as a single shape, using a variety of reds to create some areas that were darker and cooler than other warmer, more orange-y areas.  After this dried, I painted the centers yellow and splattered some red and green into them.  More splatters on the dried centers added texture.

The leaves were put down as a single wash of yellows and blues, allowing them to mingle on the paper to make a variety of greens.  When this dried, I used the shapes in the wash to decide where the leaves would be, and painted around the edges of some leaves (negative painting) while painting other leaves directly.

I’m looking forward to seeing this plant bloom in our garden this summer, and for now, I’m happy to see it blooming on my paper!

Beach Paseo

Rota, Spain has beautiful promenades along the beachfront.  All during the day, but especially in the evening, people walk, run, and bike along wide, clean, beautifully paved and landscaped paths that stretch for about a mile in either direction from the center of town.

The Beach at Rota, watercolor, 5" x 13"
The Beach at Rota, watercolor, 5″ x 13″

We were there in the beginning of spring, enjoying the warm weather and clear blue skies.  I told my husband on our next-to-last evening there that I wanted the next day to take off my shoes and socks and stick my toes in the eastern shore of the Atlantic Ocean.  However, our last day dawned cool and overcast, and as the morning progressed, a fog rolled in.  I decided to keep on my shoes and socks and dabble my toes in the water the next time we go to Rota.