On my way home from work the past couple weeks the sky has gotten stormy around 6 pm. I’ve been looking at this view every night as I turn off the main road to get back to my neighborhood. There seems to be some expanse between the parkway and the river that used to be the residence of someone important (or at least landed) a couple hundred years ago. You can just see the chimney of one of the houses.
I did this rough sketch on toned paper from memory. I used some white prismacolor pencil for some highlights and tree branches. I think I will try some colored pencil more with watercolor for these studies. It seems to have worked out well here. This scene is appealing for some reason. I may be able to work out a better variation with a little more care.
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I was up early with the dog and had a chance to try out some pink Mi-Teintes paper for a sunrise out my back deck. In the low light and with a little abstraction, it looks like I live up in the mountains.
I’ve been looking again at Turner and at Hercules Brabazon Brabazon. I like their work on toned paper. I’ve also been looking back at pastel artist Loriann Signori’s blog. She does a lot of 6×6 studies of light and skies. I really like the way she works with all the colors and values, so I wanted to see what I could with watercolor on toned paper. I cut a sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes light blue paper and drew out this composition. I liked the depth established by the crossing power lines and the brilliance of the sun on the horizon.
Working on pastel paper is tough because it stays wet for longer than I am used to and buckles. I thought toned paper would lead to more efficient sketching–and perhaps it does when used for more suitable paintings where much of the paper is left untouched or touched less. The other key is to not work with very wet brushes. Washes on this are not the same as on watercolor paper. All in all a fun challenge with good results.
I started by painting the light with titanium white gouache. While that was drying I started putting in the magenta clouds at the top. Then I laid in the bottom ground. I worked in the yellow light next, leaving space for more white gouache for the brightest sun. I worked in more clouds throughout. Finically I painted the utility poles and wires.
I think I will do this more, especially on location once the weather gets better. I toned a 12×16 sheet of 300lb arches paper a grey blue. When that dries I will cut if down to four 6×8 sheets for sketching. That surface will be more familiar to work on, though there is something pleasant about the pastel paper.
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