A few weeks ago I was in Montana, and, while I didn’t get to paint there, I did get some good photos to work from. Here’s a 3×5 sketch of one of the morning views from up in the mountains. Some really incredible skies out there.
This image is from late last summer when we were having dinner on the water in Annapolis. Just got around to painting it yesterday and today. Lemon yellow mixed with yellow ochre to get the sunlight. The rest is indigo and sepia. The highlights on the posts are white and yellow ochre dry brushed on. I will probably do this again with a different palette to get more subtly of light and color.
I generally work in limited palettes of 3-5 colors, but I’ve been having fun recently scaling it back even further to either sepia or indigo with an accent or two. This one is all Daniel Smith indigo and Winsor & Newton burnt sienna. I like this combination. Muted and good for value studies, but with a little more interest. With spring here early, I will probably be getting more colorful soon, but it is nice and relaxing to pick a single subject and focus on it patiently with a simple palette. Not something I have been able to do much of recently.
I painted this small cup on 6×6 Fabriano Artistico 90 lb paper entirely with an Isabey pocket squirrel mop. It carries a lot of water and pigment, and is good for washes and details. It is about the same size as a Da Vinci Maestro #6, but seems to hold more water. This might now be my favorite brush, at least for smaller works. Very versatile, and covers more than its small size would sugggest.
Finished, or at least finished enough for a sketchbook. I laid in some more watercolor washes then switched over to casein for the leaf pile, stray leaves, and to add some interest to the big bright tree. Casein is still very new to me, so I was just using it to add opaqueness. Looking forward to trying it exclusively on another scene.
A couple weeks ago I did a burnt umber monochrome of this road. Today I tried the same scene in a larger sketchbook to try out a limited palette of cobalt blue, yellow ochre, sepia, and brown madder, the last of which I used sparingly. It’s a good palette to convey both a sense of age and a sense of distance because all of the muted mixes that come from it.