Friday, January 17, 2014

Plein Air at Neale's Hollow

"Winter's Glory"
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.


CrimsonLeaves said...

I especially love the way you handled the shade in the tree trunk, Mary! Well done! The little town sounds awesome too!

hw (hallie) farber said...

This is definitely a victory--really beautiful. This reminds me of Botticelli's Venus.

Mary Paquet said...

Sherry, I started with the trunk and was happy with the way the shadows and texture were working.

Hallie, oh to be in the company of Botticelli. You are very generous.

hmuxo said...

Beautifully painted Mary! Excellent colors.....