Looking Back from Houston’s Beach

Today, while the group was honouring Maud Lewis by reproducing her paintings, I headed out to Houston’s Beach to practice some winter sketching at high tide.  The sketch could have been entirely done using raw sienna, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue. And, while I tried to keep my palette muted, I couldn’t resist throwing in some bright reds. Maud might have approved. 


The Fleet, Castletown Beara, County Cork

It’s been a couple of years since our trip to Ireland. I finally did this painting of the fishing fleet to use in a brief demonstration I agreed to put on for our group. It’s mixed media but mostly watercolour.  I chose a fairly monochromatic palette to accentuate the light. The boats are at rest but there is still so much going on. Can you feel the tension between busy and quiet?

NorthWest Cove

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.

Spackle and White Glue

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!

Wet Sand

The edge of things is where the action is.

I watch the tide daily and when our instructor gave us this assignment, I felt I would be in my element.  Even though the lines and subject were simple the subtle shades were easy to under/overdo. The sandstone cliff took three tries. I’m okay with the result but I didn’t want it to be a focal point.  What I liked best was the wet sand where the shore and water overlap.

The challenge was, do I treat this like water or like sand?   To achieve the desired effect I overlaid a bit of colour from each at either edge and traced (dry brushed) it into the space between. Standing back it has a nice effect and captures the feel of many places along the Fundy shoreline.

Colours used: ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, permanent rose.
Paper: Arches 140lb cold pressed.

Seascape #2

Practicing the techniques from our last class. The ocean could use some greens, greys and browns.

Not as loose overall. My imagination took over as I followed the emerging shapes to tease out some detail. It looks more like a fantasy landscape than the previous one.

There’s definitely more story in it, and you don’t always want just a pretty picture.