Painting Of A Tree With Roots In The River.

Painting of a tree with roots in the River is a fantasy composition meaning that I made it up without using any resources like photos or painting on location. This picture started as an illustration of a tree with the roots in the river to add to a blog post but I became a little enthralled with the composition and decided to do a watercolor from the pen drawing.  I actually traced the original sketch onto water color paper and then began with a lot of washes.

Watercolor painting of Tree With Roots In the River. 
Drawing from imagination is O.K. but I feel that when you use a few resource materials you get more ideas because the real world is so much bigger than our imagination.  Using resources also becomes a dialogue because you take a little from the resource and then add to it then look again at the resource and change or interpret it and so it goes back and forth between you and the resource.

(c) Adron

Life Lesson I Learned Wile Painting A Picture Number Three.

Painting pictures is a lot of fun but many times I look back at a project or a period of painting and realize painting taught me a valuable lesson.

At first I was spending a lot of money on paint brushes.  It seemed that they were always getting ruined and gunked up.  I would reach for a brush and find it was as stiff as a stick- a stick might have worked better.  I failed to clean them until it was too late; or I would give them a quick cleaning, but the lack of thoroughness after a few uses made the brushes unworkable.

I realized I needed to have a better attitude about caring for my brushes- my tools.  

For a while I tried fancy expensive brush cleaners. They promised quick easy cleaning but seemed to make things worse by depositing the residue into the furl where it built up like cement.  I went from one costly cleaner to another with discouraging results.

Since then I learned to take care of my brushes and now rarely have to spend money on new ones.   I learned to clean them thoroughly as soon as I am done and to clean the way the manufacture recommends.

I normally use a little mild dish soap and knead the brush softly in the palm of my hand and rinse, then repeat several times.

When an hour is set aside to paint then I allow ten minutes at the end for cleaning the brushes, you can't paint to the last minute and then hope a quick cleaning will be enough.

When done cleaning I set them in the brush stand right away.

It is much more enjoyable to have the tools in good condition when I am ready to use them.  They last longer and perform better.

This goes for whatever you are involved in.  If you are a cook you must keep the pots in good condition, the knives sharpened, and the stove in working order.  If you are a seamstress you need to take care of the sewing kit and the sewing machine.  If you are a musician you need to take care of the musical instrument.  If you are a mechanic you need to take care of your wrenches.

It just illustrates what they say, "If you take care of your tools then your tools will take care of you."

(c) Adron 15

Watercolor Sketch On The Path

Here is a little (6x9) watercolor sketch I did on the footpath near my home.  It is an early spring day and I was eager to get out and enjoy the blossoms. There are lots of little foot bridges on this path and a lot of trees, they make a nice composition.

I had a small set of Windsor Newton watercolors in a portable paint box and a handful of brushes.  As is often the case when I go out on the spur of the moment I find that there were things I forgot to bring; so this time I did not have any tape to hold down the paper on the board which meant it curled up as I was painting.  What was more discouraging was that I forgot any of my smaller brushes, so I painted with only flats and one round brush that I think was really a toy.

Watercolor sketch of the footpath at Harper's Farm in Columbia. MD

It was a hot day so I had to paint quickly which is why I am calling it a sketch.  I started with washing in large areas with my biggest brush.  I knew it would dry quick so I was generous with the water. Then a few moments later I used a slightly smaller brush and began to lay in smaller darker areas and after that I used a very small flat to put in the darkest areas and let them all blend.  I used the smallest brush to begin to put in details of trees and bridge. I pained over areas and used the brush to scrub out the earlier layers so the latter would rest on top.

It was tricky to work in the values because I was working in bright sunlight which is always a disadvantage, since your eyes adjust to the bright light but when you get your final piece inside everything looks dull. However I tried to allow for this and I think it turned out OK.  The total time was about an hour I think.

Life Lesson Number Two That I Learned While Painting A Picture. The Fun Stuff.

Over the years I have painted hundreds of pictures and I have learned many lessons; and one that I always relate to others is about what I call "The Fun Stuff."

You see in every painting, drawing or any project that you take on there is always some part that you really look forward to.  In a painting of a portrait it may be the eyes or in a landscape it might be the tree on the right; it is different for each person and each project but there is always some special thing that makes you want to paint that picture or do that project.

When you choose to do that fun thing can make all the difference in any project.

If you do that fun thing first then:
     * You will become satisfied with the project too soon because you fulfilled the desire to accomplish the fun thing.
     * The project will be lopsided because you put all your energy into that part and had no enthusiasm for the rest of it.
     * Your focus on that one thing may cause you to overlook weaknesses elsewhere.
     * There will be no looking forward to doing it.
     * You will have to gingerly work around it and protect it while you finish the project; this can cause frustration and may lead to resenting the project and despising the fun thing.

If you do that fun thing last then:
     * It is motivation to finish.
     * Then everything is done to prepare for it.
     * It becomes a good foundation to show off the fun thing.
     * It becomes a celebration of accomplishment.
     * Then everything done before it has greater meaning.
     * You will appreciate it more.

So whatever your project, be it art, building a house or anything else determine the one part which is most enjoyable and save it for the finish; like the mountaineer who plants his flag on the top of the mountain- let it call you to celebrate the finish of it. 

A Lesson in Print Making

Print making with traditional methods is such an adventure.  You work and work on cutting the block and you are always guessing how it is going to work out.  Then once in a while it turns out nice and you are surprised.

Print making in a corner of my studio
I cut my first print in high school in 1973 and the adventure is still there.  Today in my little corner of the basement I pulled out a favorite that I designed a couple of years ago and printed a few of "Somber Bay Lighthouse."  

If I learned one thing today it was a lesson in patience.  I knew that a few of the prints I made would be rejects- I seem to reject a lot of product but I want my friends to receive beautiful prints not smudgy goofy things.  I found that I had to take my time and expect to print either fewer pictures or take longer to do them. 
Reject prints.

As I slowly brought each piece of paper up I studied the image and sometimes held it half way off the block and rolled a little more ink to a spot and pressed the paper back down again to get a clearer image.  Taking my time proved to be the secret to getting a good image. 

I did reject quite a few but came out with about ten I was really happy with. I will put them on mat board and sell them for $49.00 each or frame them and sell for $99.00 each. 

Somber Bay Lighthouse, a numbered print.

Email me to arrange to purchase one or more.

Watercolor Painting of Young Shepherdess On Irish Landscape

Watercolor painting of Irish Shepherdess is an original painting.  This started as an illustration for a poem and I liked the pen drawing I did for that so much I wanted to explore the subject some more. This is something that happens in art where one project will lead to another.

The size is 9x11.

Shepherdess Watercolor Painting on Irish Landscape

Watercolor requires discipline and is not very forgiving, but there are a few things you can do to get it to work with you.  I tried to use the large flat brushes more but keep finding myself using the smaller ones and the liner brush.  There were a few places that I had a very spotty appearance especially in the shawl and skirt so I went back over it with clear water to try to smooth things out a bit.