New painting/Getting back to blogging

Sometimes the most simple of things to do just get set aside and for me, getting a post out now and then falls by the wayside.

I began painting with watercolors in high school and it has remained a favorite all these years. I bounce around from subject to subject but am now pursuing the desert theme and will paint it in both oil and watercolors.

Does watercolor painting intimidate you? If it does, don’t let it. I have worked on lightweight individual watercolor paper, 300lb. cold press paper, watercolor blocks, sketchbooks and illustration board. Watercolor blocks can be pricey but it allows you to get the paper really wet without buckling. For this current painting, I cut my sheet of 300lb. Fabriano cold press watercolor paper and after drawing my sketch, started with the large background wash. In the past I have used Crescent 300lb watercolor sheets which seemed thinker and of course, I was quickly disappointed and frustrated with the amount of “buckle” that was happening in this 300lb paper so I decided to wet it down then use regular staples and stapled it to my drawing board wet. In order to get the buckle out, before stapling it down, I got clean water and a wide watercolor brush and soaked the back of the painting. Then I did the same on the front of my painting taking care to start from the top, moving side to side without “scrubbing” the color away. Since it was so early in the layering of color, there wasn’t any color bleeding with this process. Once that was complete, I immediately stapled the painting to my drawing board.

Stapled edge onto wooden drawing board

Even with the staples, the paper buckled so I let it dry just a bit longer and put a piece of glass from an old end table to hold the painting down while it finished drying. You can use heavy books as well, just make sure the painting is not too wet when putting the books on it and leave it for a few hours. I added several washes later to the background so with each wash, I did the same procedure. I am sure the staples would have eliminated the buckling but I didn’t want to take a chance. When I completed the painting, the staples lifted out easily and although there are marks from the staples, matting the painting will cover it up with no problem.

Staple stains from the watercolor paint

It’s fun to experiment with paint and I would encourage anyone to paint with watercolors since it is so clean, requires very little space and is portable.

Here’s the final desert painting of a fallen Palo Verde tree. 15” x 22” watercolor on Fabriano 300lb. Sheet

More watercolor painting tips to come, so until next time, happy painting 🎨

Changing Things Up

12” x 16” on watercolor paper

It’s been awhile since I have done mixed media and it was fun to work on this Saguaro Cactus using graphite pencil and watercolor.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with joy and are able to be with family and friends. 🎄

Vasquez Rocks Park

Vasquez Rocks Park, Agua Dulce, CA

Tuesday, March 6th, was a windy day but beautiful and the temperature was perfect for painting “En Plein Air” with a group of friends. I am a native Californian but have not been back to this area since I was a child and now that I have been back, I kick myself for waiting so many years to do so. This is a perfect area for so many sports along with photography, painting or just hanging out to enjoy the beauty.

Vasquez Rocks was home to the Shoshone and Tataviam peoples and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. These iconic rock formations known as “hogback ridges” are steeply ridged strata that sit along the San Andreas Fault system and of course, we as Californian’s have to deal with the occasional earthquake now and then because of this fault system.

This area has been used to film motion pictures, television and advertising since 1935 but prominently since 1963 with episodes of the Outer Limits, the Wild Wild West, Blazing Saddles, The Flinstones and Star Trek’s episode “Arena”, where Captain Kirk rolls a boulder on the reptiloid alien, Gorn. The prominent rock formation has been nicknamed “Kirk’s Rock” since it had been featured in a several Star Trek episodes. Taco Bell, Nike and Bank of America have shot commercials here and there are so many more, too numerous to mention but interesting to look up.

I continue to set aside days to paint outdoors and am loving the time but with all this amazing reference material, it’s time to head back into the studio. I consider myself a perpetual student and look forward to the challenge and practice of this technique. I am encouraged by what I was able to accomplish in a few hours and encourage any other studio painters to grab their gear and head outside.

There are so many wonderful sites to visit in Southern California and if you like the desert and are traveling in the area, definitely make a point to explore this area. Happy travels!