One of the exercises my watercolor teacher had us do in her introductory class was to paint eggs, white eggs on a white sheet of paper. It was a good technique for teaching students to see colors in the shadows, both cast shadows and form shadows. It was during the week when we were supposed to practice this at home that my husband and I went to spend the weekend at my parents’ beach cottage, where there were brown eggs! So, I looked for colors in their shadows. That picture now hangs on the kitchen wall in my folks’ house.
The Doodlewash prompt for our February Nature Walk today is eggs, and what we have in our kitchen today are brown eggs.
Charlie O’Shields has had us taking a watercolor “Nature Walk” with prompts on Doodlewash this month. He suggested snails, which I don’t know where to find in the winter because I don’t spend much time on the beach when it’s cold. However, on the windowsill in my studio I have several snail shells that I picked up on a trip to Maine a couple of years ago. Here they are, imagined back on a beach with snails still living inside:
A couple of years ago we were visiting my brother and his family in Utah. One of our outings was to a desert nature center where we saw, among many other fascinating plants, this bunny-ear cactus. It was easy to see how it got its name!
Primroses remind me of my stepmother, since they are one of her favorite flowers. I think the first picture I gave her was of primroses. We were living overseas at the time and I drew and drew with colored pencils on the airplane and had them ready (6 hours later) when I arrived at her house.
I bought several plants this year and they sit on the kitchen windowsill and are a bright spot of sunshine on gloomy rainy days like today.
The World Watercolor Group prompt for today is fruits. My first thought was “apples and bananas?” but we have the monthly theme of “Let’s Go on a Nature Hike” and I don’t usually see these fruits on nature hikes, unless I have brought them with me. So, what kinds of fruits would I see? And what could I get so that I would have an example of what to paint?
Rose Hips! So I went out to the rose bush and found these, dried out and frost bitten, but still recognizable as fruits I might find on a hike.
The World Watercolor Group prompt for today’s painting is “Butterfly” so here is a yellow swallowtail from a couple of summers ago when I couldn’t keep parsley growing but we had hundreds of beautiful butterflies!
The World Watercolor Group theme for this month is “Let’s Go on a Nature Hike!” but in my area, we are still in the throes of winter. And even though I go for a walk most mornings, I will probably not see many of the items on the daily prompts. So, I get to make them up!
On our last trip to visit my daughter and her family, we got to visit with her neighbors, who own some chickens. My son-in-law taught my grandchildren to “pet” the occasional centipede that shows up in their house before taking it over to feed it to the chickens. 😏
Using some photos I took as a reference, I painted this picture using three primary colors, cadmium yellow light, permanent alizarin crimson, and cobalt blue.
The Doodlewash prompt for today is “Good Hair Day” and since I didn’t want to do a self-portrait, I decided to concentrate on the other important “hair” that I want to have a good hair day everyday: my watercolor brushes. The criteria for a good watercolor brush is that is should carry/hold a large amount of water (or paint) and that it should come to a sharp point (for round brushes) or a fine ridge (for flat brushes). The very best watercolor brushes are made with the hairs from the tail of the sable martin from Kolinski, Russia. No wonder they are expensive! Most watercolorists today use brushes that have some or all synthetic bristles in them. They are affordable, available, and easily replaced if one wears the point off.
Although I have a coffee mug full of brushes, these are the ones that I turn to every day. From left to right they are: a Silver “Black Velvet” round 8, a Connoisseur 1″ oval wash (also known as a “Cat’s Tongue”), a Silver “Black Velvet” round 12, and an Escoda “Versatil” rigger size 10.
In order for brushes to have “good hair days” they need some basic care. They should be kept clean and dry when not in use. They should not be left standing in a container of water. This can loosen the glue holding the bristles in the ferrule and cause the bristles to take the same shape that hair does on a pillow overnight, especially when one wakes up with the hair going in every direction! If this happens, sometimes the bristles can be reshaped with the help of some bar soap, with the suds worked into the bristles fairly dry so that the soap helps hold the bristles in the correct shape and allowed to dry. The soap washes out once the brush can hold its shape again.