Aug 16, 2018

Playing with a VERY Limited Watercolour Palette - Painting & Drawing Tips

Camping on Texada Island was AWESOME.

TIDES COMING IN - The view from our Campsite, Texada Island

As many of you know, Steve, Max and I head out each summer for a few weeks to enjoy the sunshine.  It is a time to go for long walks on the beach, dig for clams, feast on oysters, kayak, relax and refresh. 

For me it is also a time to paint.

I paint nearly every day.  It is always a mystery to me how the focus of my work changes each summer.  For the last few years we have headed up to Texada.  There is a semi-rustic campsite there, right on the ocean.    So the views don’t change.  But somehow, each year I come home with a completely different set of pictures. 

This year was no different.

My series “At the Water’s Edge” was born. 

SUN ON THE WATER - Mermaid Cove, Saltery Bay

It happened accidentally.  I started off with a nice little watercolour of Mermaid Cove, where we camped on our first night.  But then when we reached Texada things changed.  My eye was caught by this hugh driftwood stump, upended on the beach.  My paints were ready but somehow I felt it called for ink.  I needed to capture those sharp lines, the curves, the rough abrupt edges.  They told stories of growth, of prosperity, of despair.  A silent beauty, dashed  up on the beach during a winter storm. Forcefully ripped from its home.  I know, I just go crazy when I see the etched lines in trees and stumps. 

SUNLIGHT ON THE DRIFTWOOD Sold - My first experiment with a 2 colour palette

After sitting on the beach and drawing my stump I felt it needed some life.  I added a seagull, there were several searching the beach for tender morsels of food.  I loved the ink drawing but wanted more.  It felt so cold.  Black and White. It didn’t do the summer day justice. So I added a bit of colour.

Only 2 Colours . . .

A VERY limited Palette. Winsor Blue (Green Shade) for the summer skies and Cadmium Orange for the soft warm feel of summer.  I loved it. 

I needed to do more . . .

A heron was my next idea.  There was one hanging out along the shoreline whenever the tide was out.  I sat down among the island cliffs near the tidal pool where he liked to hang out.  When I was out in my kayak, I could see why.  There were large schools of fish taking up residence there.  

HERON: TIDES RUNNING - matted 10 X 8.  $130 on Etsy
 As you can see, those two colours created lots of interesting colours. The blue grayed the orange down to create a range of tans and browns.  And the orange turned the blue into some interesting greens.  I felt it added another dimension to my ink drawings. They did look nice as black and whites but the colour definitely added a new dimension.  

(Note:  Winsor Blue, also called Phthalo Blue, comes as a Green Shade and a Red Shade.  They look very similar but will react differently when mixed with other colours because the Green Shade is a Blue Green and leans more to the yellow when mixing with other colours.   The Red Shade is a blue violet and leans more to the Red when mixing.)   

After drawing my rocky cliff, I added my heron and bits of colour.  I was hooked. The ideas came jumping at me.  What about the eagle soaring overhead, moving from stoney bluffs to trees to rocky points. 

EAGLE: SOFT LANDING - matted 10 X 8.  $130 on Etsy

The oyster catchers screeching as they fly from one patch of kelpy rocks to another. (I know I deviated from my palette with that touch of red for the oyster catchers but really.  Can you imagine an oyster catcher with anything but their bright orangy red beaks?!)

OYSTER CATCHERS ON THE SHORE - matted 8 x 10. $130 on Etsy

Soon I was picking out rock outcrops and seaweed beds to include in my pictures.  I patiently set on the beach and completed the detailed drawings of the shoreline and then using my library of wildlife pictures, I added my subject.  As I relaxed in the campsite the bits of colour were added. 

HERON: HUNTING THE TIDAL POOL - - matted 8 x 10. $130 on Etsy

I completed a number of pieces on our trip but I still have plans for more. You can see a full selection at my Etsy Store.  WendyMouldsArt 

When Max and I were out kayaking I got some great shots of a seal resting on the rocks.  He will definitely be my next subject!!

Have you tried something new this summer? How's it going?  

Etsy Store: WendyMouldsArt  is always open and new things added all the time.  Original Artwork, commissions and prints and cards of Art by Wendy's Work

One More OUTDOOR SKETCHING DAY - Tuesday, Aug 28, 9:45- 11:45pm

Capture the sun filtering through the trees, flowers blowing in the breeze, or lazy water trickling in the creek.  Bring you sketckbook and paints and join me in a morning of relaxed drawing and painting in the park.  Beginners to Advanced Welcome - Small Group and Lots of Instruction.  Cost $36.75  Bring your own materials.   Contact Wendy to save your spot


Open Studio at Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery

 Sun, Sept 30, 10-4pm   
Special Hands-On Drawing Demos: 11 am & 1pm 

Artists reading this also find the following valuable: 
The Story of a Painting in 3 Parts,  from start to finish - starts here
How to Paint/Draw Soft & Fluffy Animals, 2 Parts - starts here
How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing - here

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Have a great Artful Day,


SIZZY said...

Love your shoreline drawings and especially the variety of colours you achieved with the two pigments. When you say "library", do you mean drawings or photos?

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Hi Julie, when I travel I make sure I have a selection of photo references with me as well as take pictures when I am there. I generally use my own photo references. I have a card reader for my ipad so I can use my camera and get good quality pictures that I can export to my ipad and use as a reference for drawing the bird/animal in my setting. Generally I had a great shot of a bird that I wanted to use and so I would look for 'a spot' on the shoreline that would tell my story.
I was very pleased with the variety of colours I achieved with my two pigments. I was particularly happy with the Cad Orange as I have always mixed my oranges before. I really like how this one gave me a nice gradation from a warm yellow to orange.