In the spring I like to paint the wild flowers since they are so colorful and my favorite painting theme.
Since I’m painting from life, I put in the poppies first before they wilt.
Then I start putting in other flowers, not forgetting about the equally important background which includes the glass pickle jar.
Here I am almost finished. Just putting in the finishing touches. Not too many.
The watercolor is almost finished here. I paint what I see and leave a lot of the white of the paper.
This year the wild flower season was brief. Less rain, less flowers…
The Crystal Palace was invented by Ricardo Velazquez Bosco, built in 1887. It has a high dome in the center which is almost 23 meters high. Since 1990 it has been an annex of the Reina Sofia Museum of Contemporary Art. It is located in the Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain.
While I was painting, lots of different tourist groups came to see this beautiful metallic building from my same view-point. I once overheard an old man talking about this being the best spot to see the Crystal Palace so I came here to paint this line and wash watercolor.There’s nothing like painting in Madrid.
I like to start a watercolor with a light grid to keep my parallel lines parallel. I start with a pencil sketch and then go on to pen and ink.
I tape down all of my watercolors to get the white edge of the paper. Don’t think you need anything expensive. I use carpenter’s tape, but it’s only there for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t leave it there for more than a day.
This is the white edge I’m talking about. When the tape is taken off, you have a white border.
Click Here is a really short video of the painting site.
Madrid is great!
I thought that watercolor season was over since we’re already in September, but not yet. There are a bunch of orange roses blooming on the terrace.
Vibrant color and immediacy is what I like the most about the watercolor medium. consistent practice is important whether inspired or not.
I use a grid here to keep my parallel lines parallel. I paint little pieces at a time so I can transfer the color and shape exactly as I see it.
I want the painting to have balance, so work on different areas going to opposite places on the paper and touching the corners as well.
I was happy with how it turned out, so I did two more water colors the same day.
Even though I wanted to use the same exact technique, I didn’t. I painted larger areas and didn’t work around the paper. The left side is too heavy for starting off.
Since it was too heavy on the left side, I automatically tried to balance it out by making the right side heavy too. I finished quickly to start again.
I focused on the flower and built around it, trying not to fill in large areas to start with.
I wanted to give the same importance to every object but I got hung up on the white rose and gave it too much attention neglecting the glass work.
No matter how many times I paint this motif, there is always something new and different in each flower and reflection.
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.
This painting is from a series called My Favorite Bottles.
I started this series in 2015. I painted the bottles in a different place in the house everyday.
The purpose of this blog is to remember the steps in making the painting.