Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Aspens in Every Season

close up detail

A Year of Aspens
each 7.5 x 22"

First a huge thank you to everyone who has "liked" the Southwestern Watercolor Society facebook page that I have started for SWS.  I truly appreciate it.  If you have any thoughts on what you would like to see on it, please let me know.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving for the Americans out there.  For us it is always nice to spend time with family and see our kids play with their cousins.

I had started doing these aspens a few weeks ago.  The idea first came to me while hiking in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  I took so many photos trying to capture what it was like to be surrounded by so many aspens.  Did you know that the aspens are actually all connected underground by their roots and that they can actually smother or deprive another tree type by surrounding it and drinking all of the water.  Also, aspen trees have a very low flammability rate so they actually help prevent forest fires from spreading.  

Back to my inspiration.  After taking photos and different times of the day and catching the sunlight in the morning, backlit trees and evenin sunset, I couldn't decide what time of day I wanted to paint.  The more I thought of it, the aspens through out the year came about.  Like my Sea of Sails paintings, I wanted the viewer to feel as though they were surrounded by aspens, hence the exagerated horizontal proportion of the paper.  I think I will still do another winter scene with pine trees, too.  To see close up details and the process, visit my facebook page.  The fall close up got the most comments with the yellow a close second.  

I plan on showing these in my spring show as one piece.  I will have all four framed together. 

Let me know what you think - good or bad.  I love hearing your suggestions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Calling All Watercolor Artists

Watercolor Artists, I just wanted to let you know that there is a great new resource for you, the Southwestern Watercolor Society on Facebook.  Artists and collectors, please visit the facebook page (not the group) to see the latest info on workshops, speakers, competitions, paint outs, art....
As the official SWS Facebook Chair, any feedback you have on the page would be much appreciated.  Please show your support by pressing the "Like" button.  As soon as I see you all on there, I will stop blogging about it ;).

 Sunflower Trio
15x22 watercolor
by Liana Yarckin
buy here

4x6 Spirit Cards made from last weeks painting

Sunflower Trio was done using a spirit card as the design for an under painting.  The second photo shows the painting from last week cut up into 4x6 "spirit cards".  This is a technique explained in Douglas Walton's book.  I used one of the spirit cards to create the under painting for Sunflower Trio by painting exactly what was on the card on my 15x22 paper.  I selected a card that had opposite movement or design than what my composition of the flowers.  I thought this would create both tension and interest.  Some of the under painting ended up getting lost though because I used a non-staining color.  You can see remnants of the under painting where I used staining colors.  So that is a lesson I learned.  

Another thing I learned, whether I use spirit cards or not for an under painting, creating the first part of the spirit painting was an absolute great way to let loose and have fun.  If I am ever having a painter's block, I think I will just set out to make spirit cards to break out of my block.  Making that initial painting really took me to another place in my head.  Without preconceived ideas I was in a wonderland of just following my instinct and responding to what felt right.  Then looking at the invidual spirit cards gives me ideas for interesting patterns and compositions.  

At this point, I have abandoned underpaintings because I want to save my white.  Do you use underpaintings?  What is your way to get creative and loose?  Wine?  Music?  Post to share with everyone, don't be shy.  

p.s. don't forget to like the Southwestern Watercolor Society facebook PAGE, please.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Flowers, Spirit Cards and Goblins

 My goblins dressed for Trick or Treating

Spirit Card before cutting

Flowers from a Friend
11x14 watercolor
buy here

Oh my, I feel like it has been forever since I have been able to paint.  Life has been busy this past month or so.  My baby turned 5 today.  We celebrated with a party this past Saturday.  I just have to tell you how adorable he is because I know these are the last days of experiencing the total innocence of a toddler.  One sample of adorableness, "Is Santa watching me when I am looking through the Lego catalogue?"  In the top photo, my 3 little goblins are dressed for Halloween.  An NFL Patriots Fan, Sensei Wu (Lego), Scream and our dog as the Headless Horseman.  I love the challenge of coming up with the most clever costume and I must say my baby was the only Sensei Wu.  If you want to see my husband and I in Halloween attire, you will have to go to my facebook page.

Finally, today, I got to paint for 5 straight hours!  I went to Pat Kochan's class and spent the day creating and working with spirit cards.  The second photo shows my painting before I cut it up into several 4x6 spirit cards.  We used a method explained by Douglas Walton.  Fill a page with abstract marks and strokes in varying sizes, colors and shapes.  Then use a 4x6 mat to map out the rectangles all over the back.  Cut out.  Then select one of the spirit cards to create the underpainting of a painting.  I will post the cut up spirit cards and the final painting next post.  

Flowers from a Friend - this painting was inspired by a gorgeous bouquet of flowers I saw at a friend's house.  Yes, I started taking photos of the bright peonies, roses and pink hydrangeas.  I couldn't resist.  

Oh!  I forgot the biggest news.  I casually mentioned to someone that the SWS (Southwestern Watercolor Society) should have a facebook page..... well that is what has consumed my time.  You are looking at the new SWS Facebook Chair.  Note:  be careful what you mention.  All kidding aside, I am very excited to be a part of this project with the SWS.  I hope you will all show your support by "liking" the Southwestern Watercolor Society Facebook page!  Please pass it on to all of your watercolor friends.  Big thanks!!!!!!!

Have a great week.  Check back for the finished painting from the spirit card.