Small Painting - Keeping it Simple

Small Watercolor Demo
Somewhere along the line, I have painted from this value sketch and posted it, but I can't find it to link to it, to compare the two. 

In Wednesday's class we were talking about why we are attracted to a subject, keeping that in mind, and showing that as simply as possible.  In this case I had taken the photograph (years ago) because of the shadows and the simple shapes of the porch and its roof lines. This was a section of a much larger house, but for the sake of simplicity I had chosen to paint this section as a small house.  I didn't feel I needed the rest of the structure to support the simple shapes and shadows.

I "swooped" through with a mixture of manganese blue and a touch of cobalt violet, painting everything that would not be left white, or that I wanted to keep very bright.  As I started putting in the dark green foliage, the fence just kind of painted itself, so I went with it.  I put in the dark shadows along the roof lines and in the porch with manganese blue and cobalt violet again, with some indigo added to get as dark as it needed to be.  I had left the areas on each side of the steps white so I would be able to get in some bright flowers.  I added a washed out warm color for the roof, some neutrals smushed around in the foreground, and that was it.

It moved along from start to finish pretty quickly, and I feel I captured what attracted me in the first place.

If you have some photographs around that you have taken with the thought of someday doing a painting of them, this is a good time of year to get them out and play around with them  -  while we are waiting to get outside and paint.  Take a good look at them, decide what it was you liked about the subject, and paint THAT, and only that.

It was 11 degrees here this morning!!!!


Suspinz: Dabbler in Many Things said...

Lovely painting, as always. You inspire me to go back to the photos I took with just that sort of exercise in mind.

Sympathies on the weather. We left home in snow last December and arrived back this morning in flurries. Serves us right!

Roll on Spring!

Catherine said...

Suspinz - thanks! It is fun to go back through the old photos. I remember exactly why I took them - shapes, colors, or shadows. . . . and to see now, with several years experience, how much extra "stuff" I can cut out of the composition.

BluepieDesigns said...

i am really enjoying reading your blog Catherine! you inspire me. I feel lost when I look at an empty clean white sketchbook and don't know where to start. I like that you show the process from beginning to end. I learn better that way!
you are so talented!