Back to boring old watercolours (kidding about the boring). Today we are painting on our own for the last day of the retreat. This is one of many views from the deck of the cottage where we are staying. I simplified the background and by eliminating about one half of the lobster traps on the wharf reduced the amount of detail. From the look of the trees and water, I was still inspired by the yupo lessons of yesterday! The house on the hill is a bit of an odd duck in the scene but is actually there. I may yet remove it but it makes me smile when I look at it… kind of a deus ex cabina.
When I said in my last post that things got weirder, I couldn’t imagine mixing spackle and white glue and then painting on it with watercolour. We prepared our papers in the morning. By the end of the day we had also experimented with methyl hydrate, alcohol, rinse-aid, and hand sanitizer. This last painting doesn’t incorporate all of those techniques but the experiments were fun and eye opening! This may actually be my favourite one of the day!
After lunch we worked with acrylic, treating it like watercolour. Watercolour paper was primed with flat white house paint. I was pretty impressed with the ability to manipulate the materials. Rules were broken. Working from light to dark and dark to light — all options were doable! The day was about to get weirder.
Terra paper is made of stone. The watercolour paint doesn’t slide around as much as yupo but because the paper doesn’t absorb water its important to know exactly how much water vs pigment is on your brush. The fun begins when you pick up the spray bottle. I couldn’t bring myself to go beyond a few mists. Not that I’m a controlling painter but… flowers! Already intimidating!
Day 2 of our retreat, we experimented with yupo paper. This is watercolour on yupo, which I found quite fun if a bit hard to control. Our instructor, J’anna Jacqulyn, took us through several papers and various techniques. A few of us were well out of our comfort zones. Mostly we had fun and learned a few things.
This is a view from the lookoff that overlooks part of the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. When I laid in the cloud bank, using wet on dry, I had to work quickly as the clouds were receding quite fast. I felt the background action was a little too dramatic as a backdrop for the pastoral scene below which I kept soft. I wanted to keep the eye moving to the background but I also wanted a sense of distance. So, I added in some dark sumac which grows along the edge of the cliff. The foreground values now balance the sharp cloud shapes and the lines pull your eye deep into the picture where the light is shining on the Minas Basin. I like the mood of this piece. It tells a story.
Hooray! We had a quorum at today’s plein air site. Kudos to Nancy who drove up from Annapolis Royal to join us.
Some attention to planning, then, working with a dirty palette I started by laying in some washes from the top down and the bottom up. The colours were already lovely and muted, and the overall effect turned out better than I’d hoped for.
The weather was cool, wet, and it started to rain before the end but the Malt House folks let us huddle inside to discuss our work.
Beautiful spot with a nice view, and while they don’t have a food menu, you can bring your own food to eat while you sample some of Nova Scotia’s finest. Made me long for the days when I drank more than just tea!