Carolyn’s fourth painting, La Belle, for the Peace Watercolour Society Fall Show and Sale came about because the reference photo of a rose was present while one for a waterfall was not.
First it got sketched in fair detail (roses are notoriously complex) and then it was sketched again on watercolour paper. There were four rounds of masking and pouring, then a few more layers of colour to darken the background and some minor tweaking of the flowers. It paid off to know that indigo is a greenish blue: the glow on the shaded leaves was almost as important as the bright area to produce a centre of interest.
The purple flowers are the back up singers: La Belle is the star!
Whew! We’ve had such a busy spring I can’t remember which paintings I’ve posted. I don’t think I would have posted Cattail Dance. It was a demo from our negative painting course in Fairview this April. See how the dark snow behind the frost on the cattails makes the brights stand out?
Obviously I could use some memory exercises! I wanted to paint a picture I took out at Moonshine Lake but I couldn’t seem to get the picture and my paint kit in the same room at the same time. Since I’ve seen this scene in person millions of times I figured I could paint it from memory. I knew the prevailing colour was purple and there was snow globbed on the trees and under the cattails. Long shadows stretched across the ice.
As I painted, I thought I was getting quite close to the way the scene is, although I wasn’t quite satisfied with the colour scheme and thought there was some disconnect between the warmth at the top of the trees and the chilliness of the ice and shadows.
Only when I finally put the two together did I see how off my colour scheme was! Why didn’t I remember the near monochrome qualities of the snow and shadows? Was I fooled by the old “trees are green” rule?
We always tell students that no one really looks at things until they try painting them. It doesn’t matter if you get something that isn’t absolutely photographically “right” so long as the overall effect is pleasing. That’s what art is!
Judy painted this scene in order to capture the glow of the shadow of the snow. On a bright day, snow shadows can be astonishing colours: blue, purple, or this particular luminescent shade of grey. There it is in the clouds as well, that translucence that comes out of the brightest of whites.