Hello! I have a new painting to share with you. It was a gift for my husband’s birthday this weekend, and now that he has unwrapped it, I can share it with you!
I chose a viewpoint from a restaurant we visited on the road. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant (or even where we were, exactly) but the restaurant had a huge, wooden porch with this view surrounding it. I usually prefer to sketch lightly in pencil first, but I didn’t think this would work well for this painting. Pencil tends to bleed into light watercolor washes, and it can ruin the color work. So I took a risk and lightly painted the outline in light green, because I needed to have some basic idea of where all of the foliage would go. The view was panoramic, and the horizontal orientation of the painting was not exactly the right dimensions for the picture, so I had to change some elements.
I started adding in more details from right to left. It was especially difficult painting in the high contrasts of light and dark. Dark shadows in watercolor tend to look muddy, and it’s never easy for me to figure out the right balance for them.
For all of the intense labor I put into the landscape, I was so exhausted by the time I got to the sky, that I painted it as loosely as possible. The irony of course, is that I think the sky looks the best! I always find that the less I “care” about how I’m painting, the better it turns out. It is not easy to kick back and just paint “carelessly,” because there is a certain level of unconscious focus that needs to occur. I can’t explain it, and people have various names for it, like “in the zone,” “meditation,” “in flow,” etc. I prefer to say “unconscious focus.”
Now that I’m looking at it, I see how compressed the landscape looks. It’s more exaggerated than I thought it would be, but that is not necessarily bad. It has a lusciousness to it, I suppose, even though now I’m looking at all of the flaws. It’s always difficult for me to say “it’s done!” but this one is done!