10" x 13" Watercolor
Finally, I am back in the studio and doing art. Yesterday morning the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society Painsites group met at Neale's Hollow, a strip of "Wild West" retail establishments trimmed with scraps from old Victoria homes. Located in tony Saratoga, this small enclave of businesses had escaped my attention. One of the things I love about Paintsites is discovering new places in my locale. Our drought has not ended, so we had lovely sunshine with later day temperatures in the 70s.
I had intended to do an ink drawing and drop in color, but I left the ink at home. Plan two, do a small piece of part of one of the buildings. I wasn't happy with the results. I looked around and decided this stately old Sycamore made a fitting subject. Without rain to strip the trees bare, many still have fall foliage clinging to their branches.
I wasn't quite sure how to tackle the subject, but I jumped in, sketching the wonderful bones of the tree. I know that good design says never to place the subject in the center of the picture, but I felt the need to break that rule. I then laid in the shadow sides of trunk and branches with Cerulean Blue, Burnt Sienna, and Permanent Rose mixed on the paper. I added some of the dark textural markings using Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue. Next I noted the colors of the leave clusters that were in shadow or light, and dabbed them in shades of orange and brown. Next, mixing color on the paper, I did the lower background, ignoring a fence. Using the background evergreens and sky as my muse, I did negative painting around the clusters of leaves. That dark green is Pthalo Blue and Burnt Sienna, and the sky is Cobalt Blue, perfect for our local sky.
I evaluated the painting, which really needed to be pulled together. The tree leaves were looking like patchwork and there were lots of little white spaces. I glazed over clusters of leaves and elimnated the white. I continued the texture to the center of interest and declared victory. At 1 pm we gathered for our bag lunches and show and tell. It was such a pleasure to enjoy the outdoors while painting.