Sometimes one scene can provide inspiration for multiple paintings.
Sometimes it takes multiple tries until what you have on paper feels right.
These 4 watercolours are from the same photograph that was taken in the Languedoc region of France several years ago.
I like something about each one but I think I’ll have to do it again because none are quite “there ” yet.
With this photograph it will take multiple attempts to get it the way I want. However, I can now see at least two different directions I could go in and so maybe it will turn out that the photograph will be the inspiration of multiple paintings.
This watercolour was done from a photograph taken several years ago on a trip to Costa Rica. I’ve had the photograph in my file to paint for quite a while but couldn’t figure out exactly how to do it. That was when I was copying the photographs more or less exactly. Now that I’m taking a looser more interpretive approach I found it a little easier.
I started this watercolour with a wet in wet under painting having no idea where I was going to go with it. I then searched through my photographs looking for some ideas that would fit. I chose a photo taken from the window of my motel room on the way back from my trip to Nova Scotia. It was October and the colours of the trees were brilliant.
I had taken the picture when I arrived. The next day was dark and I encountered heavy rain from Montmagny (east of Quebec City) through to Montreal. Until then I had only encountered one rain shower which occurred on the second day of my trip so I was very lucky.
I’ve been trying to not copy everything I see especially when I work from photographs. In this painting I started with a loose wet in wet wash then added the details. It has the same “feel” as the photograph and what I remember of the scene but it’s definitely not a copy.
Some of the trees have lost most of their leaves but the poplars still have some green leaves among the yellow. I chose to do a sketch of some birches beside my driveway. They have lost virtually all their leaves. I used coloured pencils for the birch tree trunks and watercolours for the rest . The yellow and green on the right side are from the poplars that are outside the picture.
During the summer I can’t see the lake from my cottage. There are too many trees in between.
This week enough of the leaves have fallen that it is now visible. I only get a glimpse.
I painted this sketch from my deck. I left out a few large trees so my actual view is less than what is in the sketch.
As you can see in the sketch the sumac behind my cottage are still brightly coloured and have lots of leaves. Many of the other ones around the property are much farther along having lost their brilliance and many leaves.
I recently drove to Nova Scotia to visit friends. I took my time and my sketchbook.
The trees were just beginning to turn in Quebec at the end of September when I stopped at a rest stop along the Saint Lawrence River in Village-des-Aulnaies.
The previous day was very hot but this day it was cold and threatening rain. I had just blocked in the church in pencil when it started to rain. I added the watercolour after I got home.
In Calabogie the pine needles have fallen but most of the leaves are still on the trees. I took a break from raking to do a quick watercolour sketch of the trees beside my driveway.
There is still some trees that haven’t turned yet.
Last summer I had the opportunity to see Kumo and Long Ma, two creations of La Machine, wandering about Ottawa.
I did this watercolour from one of my photographs.
I started a new sketchbook at the beginning of July. Most of the sketches so far have been drawn in ink and the watercolour was added after. The paper isn’t made for watercolour and I had to experiment with how to apply the paint so that it didn’t look like just a bunch of coloured blotches. I found that wetting the paper first and painting wet on wet worked best. However it was hard to get intense colour and the pages warped.
I painted the truck and trees first and then added the pen after.
I then covered some of the pages (one side only) with Golden Absorbent Ground (White). I used one of the pages to paint an impression of one of the views from my daily walk.
The paper handled the watercolour much better and didn’t warp.
I started the next one with pen and added watercolour after. Although I did spend a lot of time measuring, the proportions didn’t work out right, but I can try it again later.
I like the size and format of this sketchbook so I have covered several pages with Absorbent Ground in preparation for more watercolour sketches.