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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Patience of A Gnat

Apples and A Lemon, 7 1/2" x 7 1/2"; watercolor on 140 Arches

Back to the studio from the beach, I had the patience of a gnat today. Being reluctant to resume any serious work and waiting for the plumber to come fix the toilet that overflowed and destroyed the ceiling of the powder room below, while we were gone, apples and lemons was all I could muster--indeed, they were all I had in the fridge. As you can see, I didn't get lemonade with this little painting, but I did dip the brushes and investigated both opaque and translucent watercolors. Opaque suit me better than the translucent.

I also separated the photos of the paintings I did poolside from the 500 other shots I took. They didn't come out half badly.

SEE FOR YOURSELF.  (The bigger blow ups are the ones I like, the smaller ones could be stowed away in a closet for me to find in my old age). I did strengthen some of the colors, for the better I hope?

My favorite. Unfortunately, I destroyed it. Ellis didn't like it. Still a bit too humble. Still putting too much stock in my mate's opinions. I've got to get over that. I like this painting best ,because the subject is indistinct, the very reason Ellis didn't like it. I like the way the colors play. I like the brilliance. I like the freedom. Unfortunately, I realized what I liked about it too late. It only exists in  photo format now.
Silly, stupid girl.

From the Sea to my coffee table.
Bought by mistake, the first day I used opaque watercolor I wondered what was going on? Why couldn't I get a thin wash with brilliance? I flipped the top of the box closed and lo and behold there was the word opaque. I was shocked. I never knew such paint existed. If I had wanted opaque, I would have chosen to pack acrylics; I know how to handle those, I didn't have a clue how to proceed with these? My holiday was a learning experience. And after a little more intensifying yesterday on all of the sketches I made sitting poolside, I think I would pack them again--along with a set of normal, translucent set--they're perfect for a former acrylic artist and the supplies take up a minimum of space in the beach bag and in the suitcase. The only things I'd  add to my pencil case is another decent size tube of white and a select number of pastel pencils in case the highlights needed help. (I noticed highlight help is needed on the background apple in today's effort).

Over the two weeks, I did thirteen paintings all approximately 9" x 12", then cropped or not according to what materialized.  That's not bad for someone supposedly taking a beach break. Needless to say, I got very little reading done. I just couldn't bury my nose in a book when there was so much to look at and enjoy. Each  took an hour or more to do. I had to allow drying time to judge the values accurately. That's when I went down to the water's edge and hunted for sea shells while dodging waves.  The conche is sitting on my coffee table now. I want to enjoy looking at it. It's hard to believe that that just came out of the sea.

Beachwalk is my second favorite. I didn't ask Ellis what he thought--and
won't ask him ever again.

The first painting I did where I discovered I had different paints than I thought I did.

I did this view last year in pen and ink. The darks were very challenging.

For the hell of it, I thought I give these guys a shot. The guy sitting on the side of the
pool looked a lot happier than I made him. I was still struggling with getting the right
consistency and values. His face looks like he may have had Montezuma's revenge, (which is not
a problem for American's in Cancun).

This Kiosk I sort of like it reminds me of that program where
the little guy kept yelling, "The Plane, the plane."

You always had to have several bottles of water with you.  Constant questions
as we left the room each day were "Do you have the key?  The water?"

 A red flag on a deserted beach says a lot about the strong rip tide in the Mar Carib

I couldn't get the violet just right. My colors were limited. I had to make do.

We had just finished moving from one hotel to the next where I
painted this as we watched the rain on the balcony.
I do love blue umbrellas. One of the thing I kept noticing, painting after painting:
shadows are a lot darker than they read.

The underside of these umbrellas could  use some deeper shadows. It's a pleasant painting, nonetheless.


  1. What a great Portfolio of your vacation! I love them all You left the laundry out!

  2. I like them all! You have an exciting style with your painting, in the way that you portray realism with a taste of abstract here and there... It's creative and expressive and makes a strong impact! My favortie is the umbrellas with the mirroring of dark blue above and below. Very nicely done! I know what you mean about letting other people's opinions influence you too much. I do that too. We have to stop that and trust our own instincts more.

    1. That's so easy to say AFTER THE FACT. I keep slipping backward--sort of going in circles. The more I paint, the more I realize I do know what pleases me and, in the end, that's all that counts. I was probably having too good of time, so I let my guard down. Thanks Katherine. I really appreciate your kind comment.

  3. Beach Walk is my favorite - its just downright exuberant! Overall I think you painted a grand impression of your trip. I have no doubt that shuffling through these paintings with family and friends will bring lovely vacation memories surging forward!

    1. I like it too. It was the first painting where I got the hang of opaque watercolors and kept layering on and correcting the drawing as I went. They are very similar to acrylics. What makes them different from translucent watercolors is not very much water is needed and must be added cautiously. If they get too thin, the resulting color has no brilliance. The only problem with these sets is that you can't buy individual pots to replace the ones you use up quickly--like the neutrals. In Grumbacher's set, the paint pads do snap off, so why not sell them separately? The sets are good for travel; they are very compact and light weight and I got a selection of four brushes to fit into the box, (the set comes with one).

      I am planning on framing four of these; the three umbrella paintings plus Beachwalk. Hung iin the bathroom, outside the shower, they will remind me every morning of why I go to work all year long.

  4. There is no slowing you down, is there? You were so prolific while away. I must admit, my favorite painting is the one you did today of the lemon and apples - LOVE it!

    1. You're kidding me. I had such trouble with that one. I washed everything off at one point and started again. I had a hell of a time controlling the medium and really didn't feel like drying times. Fruit isn't exactly my favorite watercolor fare. So thank you. I'm glad somebody likes it.

  5. I especially like the fruit still life on the top, the composition and the colors.

    I also want to take the opportunity to with you and your family a Merry X-mas and a Happy New Year.

    1. Feliz Navidad to you and yours too Roger. And a healthy, happy, successful New Year.

      You influenced me while I was painting this one. I kept thinking about your use of black and how you break up the background and foreground with the juxtaposition of strokes of different, but related colors. I would have carried on like that, but as I said, I had the patience of a gnat. I am not happy to be back. I really wish Eve hadn't taken that bite from the apple sometimes--but them I wouldn't know the meaning of juxtaposition. Every's a trade-off.

  6. What a wonderful record of a holiday. Beats photos every time. I love the abstract quality of these.

    1. Thanks Mick. Me too--in spite of the surprise of having a medium I didn't know existed.

  7. Je heb er prachtige appels en peren van gemaakt vol van kleur fijne feestdagen lieve groetjes Daniëlle

    1. Je wint Danielle. Ik zal praten in het Nederlands ook al een Engels gentleman Ik kwam vertelde me alle Nederlandse spreekt Engels.\nDank u. Vandaag, zal ik het opnieuw proberen. Yesterday's inspanningen werden een beetje harried. Happy Holidays voor u en de uwen ook en altijd Gelukkig Schilderen. - Ik hoop dat dit vertaalt zich ook?

  8. Love Beachwalk. It's my favorite!

  9. Linda!
    Great painting journal of a wonderful trip!
    I love them all! I especially enjoy the fruit painting and the guys in the pool!
    All the works have spontaneity, great color, freedom, and excitement.
    Take care.

  10. Dear Linda your opaque watercolor is full of energy and fresh ! The first painting of the post, on Arches paper, is a complete work of art well done!
    Maybe  you are getting your watercolor! The opaque watercolor (used with techniques very wet) is the way to paint a French painter who I love very much (Jean Claude Chaillou)
    and this does not lose strength when wet, as is often the traditional watercolor!
    Search this painter on facebook for see a gallery of his "watercolors".I like your brilliant collection of travel.
    You, your words and your painting are a "unicum" very special!Hugs,Rita.

  11. a lot of super paintings...I really love them all--they tell the story! I'm probably most fond of Beachwalk...though I can definitely see why you gave the number one slot to the top photo--wonderful!

  12. oh, forgot to mention...I also admire the fruit--nicely done!