Summer has come to Canada! I’ve been spending every moment that I can outside and last week I did a couple watercolours of the shadows of trees in my yard. It was so hot and sunny and glorious. Sheesh though, almost two months since I posted last; I really need to get back in the habit of doing a weekly post, because apparently without that incentive I do nothing at all!
Back to the backyard — a now very well documented view — where we finally have beautiful fall colours! While I was painting this one a storm came up and there aren’t nearly as many leaves on the trees now so I am very glad I chose to paint the yard when I did. After uploading the photo of this one I started playing around with cropping. I think I spent three times as long playing with it as I did painting it. Here is a few of my favourite crops :)
Once again I was thinking about comics and how much room there is to play with the images and cropping and layout… it is endless! I have a whole folder on my desk top right now just with images from this painting. And then I got into making the crops into photo collages (like the one below) and now my head is spinning with all the things I could do! But I am exhausted so that is all for now :)
It’s back to painting from life this week. My four-year old and I spent the day in the yard with the kiddie pool and ice teas. We were both doing some painting and she agreed to sit for me to paint her. She is getting really good at sitting for me–she held this pose for what seemed like a very long time although it was probably only about ten minutes. It was still a long time for a four-year old and just long enough for me to get it all down without overworking it.
She informed me a couple of times during the process that I had “painted her too fat” and that she was not fat like I was. Until today I had thought that her recent focus on being fat came from the Three Billy Goats Gruff book we’ve been reading where the goats just want to get to the greener grass so they can “eat and eat and eat, and get fat”, but now I’m not so sure… Though for the record, she was right and my proportions were a bit off (you can see where I thinned her waist down a bit on the right side). As for the rest of it, I think I’m going to just take it as her meaning that I am bigger than her ;)
(I’m still doing Watercolour Wednesdays and this is my Watercolour Wednesday post, but I’ve decided to drop the “Watercolour Wednesday” from the post titles; it was starting to get a bit monotonous after doing a full year of them… Instead I’ve added a Watercolour Wednesday Category on the blog that I’ll be adding them to.)
There it is! One full year of Watercolour Wednesdays and I did not miss a single week! I had wanted to do a bit more of an involved watercolour painting to finish the year off, but last week was a crazy busy week and I am actually off work right now with Tendinitis in my ankle. So this was painted over the course of one morning, sitting in my backyard with my foot propped up on a bench. The Honeysuckle and Lilac trees are in full bloom and it smells completely amazing in my yard!
I have decided that for the next year I am going to schedule more studio time for myself (just in my basement studio). I am still going to continue with the Watercolour Wednesdays but it feels like I am getting lazy again—being content with doing just one watercolour a week. I need to step up my game and do more painting.
Here are the thumbnails of all the Watercolour Wednesday paintings. Not quite all the watercolours that I did in the last year, just the ones that I used for the Wednesday posts, but that is most of them anyway (they are roughly arranged from oldest to newest).
Tuesday was another gorgeous day! My daughter and I spent the nicest part of the day painting in the backyard, and all the paints were packed up before a crazy rainstorm hit so all-in-all it was a perfect day. This painting is of the side of my yard where I’ve been slowly building up a perennial bed. I love my yard and garden, but it is a work in progress; I’m still learning about the placement of plants and how to take into account the varying heights of things. The painting looks a bit better than the real thing, though it’s not too bad considering there was nothing there except some tree stumps when we moved in here two years ago. While I worked I was thinking about the paintings Claude Monet did of his beautiful gardens in Giverny and daydreaming a little bit about one day having large, luscious gardens of my own. I would love to expand the garden, but I am finding that even what I have is quite a bit of work so it will take some time. Interestingly enough I had wrongly assumed (or perhaps just forgotten) that Monet had a lot of money and help to keep up his gardens. But he actually first rented the property at Giverny until he had enough money to purchase it and, though he did put a lot of his money into plants for his garden, he preferred to let it grow wild.
I’ve always been very influenced by the Impressionists and in writing this post I was looking through some of Monet’s garden paintings and I found an early work of his that I was not familiar with. It is not one of the Giverny garden ones and I was surprised and a bit pleased to see that my lawn shadows and tree leaves look quite similar to his; although, my painting style looks a bit more like Edouard Manet, if I may be so bold ;)
Painting my yard again. This one makes me think of Alex Colville’s paintings (see his work here)—not in the style of painting so much as in the mood of the painting. Maybe it’s the advancing dark clouds or the slightly odd teal roof-top beside the terra-cotta coloured bushes that gives it that slightly unsettling mood, I’m not sure. I like the painting. I actually started it yesterday and it was so ugly I was ready to burn it today. My husband told me that it wasn’t that bad and that the sky was actually very similar today so I should try to do a bit more work on it. And bless him, he was right!
I haven’t done a backyard painting in a couple of months, but I have been photographing the yard at different times of day. I’m just not as excited about a photo as I am about the real thing. I guess it’s like when you see an amazing sky and you just have to take a picture, but the photo is never as good as it really looked when you were there. When I see an amazing sky I want to paint it, right there and then, the same way one would take a photo. I want to capture what’s so hard to capture in a photo. Though I think I might try some backyard paintings from the photos as a comparison—maybe one summer series from life and one summer series from photos. It would be neat to be able to paint those beautiful fleeting moments that I’m not quick enough to paint.
I wonder if I will tire of doing paintings of the backyard? I’m a little surprised that I am still fascinated by all the different nuances I see, but at the same time I’m not surprised. It’s not the same as painting the shed…with generic white porch paint…every year…like I had to do on Friday and I really should have been finishing up today…I could get tired of that real fast.
My daughter and I did some watercolour painting out on the deck today and, as ever, I am fascinated with her paintings. Take a look at the similarities between our paintings today—the colours and the compositional elements of the view that we had of the backyard. The odd thing is that she started her painting first. She has the orange rectangle where the orange deck chair is and the blue shape up top is reminiscent of the arching honeysuckle tree branches. Is it by chance that she painted it the way she did or did she, at only 3 years old, pick up on colours and compositional elements in front of her? Maybe she started imitating my painting once I started, or maybe I was actually influenced by hers, who knows. Regardless, I am finding myself artistically inspired by her more and more.