Barn Scene

More about the online workshop with Vinita Pappas….

One of the homework pieces was for a painting of a barn set in the Oregon countryside near her home. Her suggestion for the starting point for every painting is a charcoal value sketch, preferably the same size as the potential painting, so that you can actually see how the composition will look in the finished work.

I didn’t have any charcoal (on my shopping list now!) so I decided to use my hitherto untouched black pan of paint (Isn’t it funny how,Β in a beginner set, the paint manufacturers always include two or three colours that every professional watercolour artist on the planet says you should NEVER use in a painting….? And some that you would probably never want to use – like emerald green!) Anyway the black paint came in handy for my value “sketch”.

Value Sketch

I then moved onto the main painting – Vinita made it look so easy, of course…. This time I did a pre-drawing to get the barn in the right shape/place, and I managed the first wash ok – sky + clouds, distant mountains, hills + foreground. ….BUT….I really didn’t like the colours – I found them too drab and muted. In most other aspects of my life I am quite conservative, but I have found that I really prefer my watercolour paintings to be fairly bold and bright. I do like the softer, ethereal, more dreamy feel that artists like Fabio Cembranelli produce, but I haven’t mastered those techniques yet πŸ™‚ So for now bright and light it is.

Vinita did mention that she works mostly with opaques and she mixes the colours in the palette as she paints. This has a huge advantage in that the there is a smooth transition between colours all the time and every part of the painting has at least some of the same colours as every other part, and her paintings are really lovely. But it just didn’t work for me. My version was drab and dull – version 1, version 2, etc – all dull.

Plus….I have been diligently watching and trying to absorb the techniques that Jean Haines uses, and I guess I have become more used to transparent colours and letting the paint mix directly on the paper. It’s more risky, but more rewarding when it actually works out! So my version of the barn scene has turned out very differently – I just couldn’t get away from using my favourite Indigo and Orange!

I am pleased at the way the painting evolved AND I enjoyed the process. I like the colours. I like the sky. I really like the barn (except that is should have been a bit smaller and more part of the landscape) I didn’t pre-draw on the paper – maybe a few meaningfully placed lines would not be out of order…..

What would I change or do differently? – the tree on the far right – it should never have grown there – I was trying to fill a space that looked too empty – in retrospect, it should have stayed empty. There was supposed to be a tree hiding out somewhere to the left of the barn, but it was probably chopped down for firewood! And I added too many splodges into that lovely yellowy, orangey, salt-textured foreground. Next time – live and let be!

Barn Scene from Workshop

Note: Someone mentioned that it looks a barn from Tuscany – sorry, Oregon πŸ™‚

~ by Tomorrowslices on May 5, 2012.

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