The Agrupaciòn Española de Acuarelistas (Spanish Watercolor Society) in Madrid went to the beautiful village called Olmeda de las Fuentes to do some open air watercolor painting. There were more than 40 of us painting out doors in this small pueblo.
The morning was overcast. I walked to the top of the hill with two others, a couple, and looked for a nice shady place, ready for a hot day.
The morning was overcast, no shadows. I waited til the sun came out to paint the cast shadows on the ground.
When I got to this point in the painting, a man who lives in the village pulled up in his car… It was obvious that I was in his parking place; the only shady place left :).
He was so nice. Before I could say anything he said that I didn’t have to move.
He Parked his car in the sun and asked us if it would bother us. ‘If it would bother us?’ I mean how nice can you get.
Any way, this is how this painting called ‘Hazy June Morning in Olmeda de las Fuentes’ turned out. We all got together for lunch.
The food was delicious.
We showed each other our drawings.
Argentina found a beautiful little corner to paint in the village.
Jose Maria Ysmer always picks the perfect place to paint and his watercolors turn out so picturesque and painterly.
After lunch, we painted for another three hours and then returned to Madrid. It was a lot of fun, just like in April. We all went to Trillo to paint outdoors.
In March the Cherry Plum and Almond trees are full of Pink and White Blossoms. I like to paint them because they brighten up the room and do the same in a watercolor.
I’m starting out with a grid here to keep my parallel lines even with the picture plane. The grid helps me fit whatever I want wherever I want on the paper.
The grid controls the Talvera vase so it is not lopsided. There are a lot of branches and blossoms to paint, so I don’t draw them one by one, I cast lines in the direction of the branches and mark some of the pink flowers that stand out the most.
I’m working around the picture plane trying to treat everything with the same importance, background and foreground.
When painting the white blossoms, I leave the white of the paper. What I do is paint around them leaving a blank silhouette. This is called respecting the white of the paper.
I work around the paper emphasising some details. I try to be careful not to make any area heavier than other areas.
When I’m pretty sure everything is where it belongs, I start in with a la prima, putting in the dark contrasting color in one shot in order to bring out the light.
I’m finishing up here. This is the moment when it can gain or lose. It’s the point of no return. I try not to get to that point, but it really is hard to decide when to stop.
I painted just a little bit more and stopped. I don’t have this watercolor anymore. Next year I hope to make another one in the spring.
This watercolor belongs to the series of My Favorite Bottles.
Here are a few steps in the painting and a tip for watercolor painters at the end about sending watercolors through the post.
There is something that I’ve learned about sending watercolors through the post and would like to share with other painters.
Recently I’ve sent some large watercolors in the post, so I had to protect them with sturdy cartons to ensure they didn’t get damaged. I realised that I could mat them myself for a bit more and send them through the post protected with a professional finished presentation.
I have a blog which explains how to mat a watercolor; the finishing touch is to cover it with a plexiglass. I’ve also learned that before you mat, the watercolor should be flattened by spraying the back with water, rubbing it down and putting it between two pieces of matting board with weight on top (books). Let it dry over night.
I’d love to hear your comments and questions. If you have better advice, I’d like to hear that too; one never stops learning.
Using a grid while painting from life helps you put the model in perspective.
Whenever people see that I have a grid on my paper to paint in watercolor, I’m always asked why I do it since I’m painting from nature.
I like painting directly without drawing because there is a looseness to it; it’s not that I don’t like drawing or am lazy or something like that. I like drawing too.
If you have a preliminary grid on your paper, it’s easier to place the model into space quickly. Your mind knows the proportions and where everything goes in space.
You are reading this blog, you paint or draw, so you are familiar with a grid.
Take out a piece of paper, make a grid, put a model in front of you whether it be figure, landscape or still life and try it with any medium. Try it as an exercise. I’d be interested to know how it went.
ps The penciled grid is easily erased if you are using watercolor.
This year, the spring was like an explosion of colors. We had a lot of rain and the flower season was abundant and long-lasting.
When I establish where the vase and blossoms go on the picture plane, I focus on my favorite part, respecting the whites and emphasising color.