This is the tenth year that I’ve been compiling my watercolor paintings from the previous year and incorporating them into the upcoming year’s calendar. The calendars are a big hit with family and friends and I really enjoy handing them out during the holidays. I do have a couple left over this year (available for sale on Etsy). Below are the images included in this year’s calendar.
A quick silhouette style painting! On the road late in the day, the light fades, causing the objects nearest to the viewer look very dark, which then allows for a dramatic silhouette effect. Watercolor paint always dries lighter so I found myself going back several times to darken the foreground. Then, you naturally look toward the lighter areas in the painting. Finally, I added cable wires for more perspective.
My wife, Caitlin, fractured her ankle in three places (and dislocated it, too). I believe there is a medical term for that. As you might imagine, things got a little hectic; especially, with two little kids around. So, I took about a two month break from painting, but this painting was the one that got me back on track. The idea for this scene was inspired by a hike through the John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary in Ulster County, New York.
Burroughs once wrote about a man who reported that his vision improved after getting sprayed in the face by a skunk (or something along those lines). His observations in nature are as thorough as they are entertaining. I often wonder what it would be like to have that much time to observe nature and to spend an entire half a day sitting around outside, as he often did. Here’s to John Burroughs and a renewed zeal for painting in watercolor!
We were driving home one evening on a “school night” *gasp*…the sky really captured my attention. At this time of the day, the greenery, barn, and road are sort of muted in color and tone, as the sky is lit up in the few remaining moments before the sun has set. And so, in this painting the sky becomes “the story” or the point of focus. There’s this feeling of calm at the end of the day… less to do (hopefully), maybe a cup of tea and less TV.
Shadows can be most dramatic in contrast with snow. It is one of my favorite subjects to paint. The copper colored leaves still cling to young Beech and Oak trees all winter long. This phenomenon is called marcescence. There are a few ideas why trees may hold on to their leaves through the winter.
One idea is that Beech and Oak were once evergreen trees and are still evolving into deciduous species. Other ideas suggest that the leaves are used as insulation and nutrients as they drop around the trees closer to spring time. To the observer and artist, it certainly provides interesting subject matter for winter scenes!
Prints and originals available on Etsy.