Simplified Patterns and Designs

Watercolor Demonstration
In classes this week we were, once again, talking about simplifying. For me, it all comes down to simplifying.  I don't like doing detail  -  I really like things left a little to the imagination.  I think what this really means is "why am I painting this?".  If it is actually about rendering an object, that's another matter, but if the painting isn't ABOUT the pattern or the lettering, for example, then it is best to keep it simple.

Everyone in class seemed to have a lot of fun with these three objects.  They felt freed up from perfection and did a great job.

Think how much more individual your paintings are when you don't worry about detail.  You are free to express your own version of the object instead of a photographic rendering.

Sometimes I think it helps to do a few little studies of a subject for a painting.  The painting itself is not always the place to experiment or figure out how to do a previously untried technique.  There is something to be said for spontaneity, of course, but working out some problems or questions before starting the actual painting can save a lot of grief.

It's Friday.  I have a long to-do list, and there are some pretty fun things on it.  How does your weekend look?   Where are you taking your sketchbook this weekend?


Flowers in a Little Green Cup

Warm and Sunny
Just like summer!  It was a beautiful day to be outside.  We picked some little flowers and put them in a bright green cup, and painted them in our sketch books.  Then we made a bug catcher out of a plastic Coke bottle.  Then we just sat for awhile, very still, while a brown thrasher sang a few songs from his repertoire of 1,100 songs (so they say).

There has been a lot going on with the birds this weekend    -   the brown thrasher serenading,  a crow eating a mouse on the limb of a tree,  the starling father yelling at everyone, and a blue jay following all the other birds around as if he might miss something.  I think it was hoping for a taste of the mouse. Ick.

Right now it is 91 degrees.  That is very warm for Northern Michigan, and pretty much unheard of for this time of year.  Personally, I like this better than snow.  There is a nice breeze and the air smells like lilacs.  Also, it's too warm to clean out a closet and some drawers as I had planned  -  no one cleans closets in 90 degree weather!  I'm going to go back out on the porch and watch the bug catcher.


Katie Mac's Pansies

One of my students brought these pansies in for us to paint.  This is a contour drawing (continuous line) with watercolor on Arches Cover Cream in my journal sketchbook.  Arches Cover is not watercolor paper, and "cream" is just that  -  cream colored.  It is very heavy, soft paper, not meant for watercolor at all, but I like the way it takes it  -  the colors stay pretty bright.

The pansies look like spring, and our lilacs are about to bloom, but I'm still wearing turtlenecks and layers.

I started this post a few days ago and didn't finish and post it.  I don't know why.  I seem to be moving very slowly and the rest of the world is rushing by.  I'll catch up.  Slow isn't always a bad thing, you know.