Watercolor for Days!
2020 has been a rough year! If you don't know what I mean then you must have been living under a rock or had Sleeping Beauty syndrome. COVID-19 happened and since March for some reason it feels like time froze and we are still stuck at the beginning of the year. Suddenly I'm waking up and it is now September and I feel like I'm at the same place I was six months ago! Maybe it's because I am since we have not been able leave town. Also, maybe I did have Sleeping Beauty syndrome.
Regardless of how bad this year has been with all the social, political, and natural turmoils going on in the world, I flourished in the studio. Painting has been almost none existent, but this has been a year of constant drawing and exploring watercolor. It all began with the sill life above, which I love and have a deep emotional attachment to. See, that still life was the only thing I could do during the time I came down with COVID. The body aches and headaches were so bad that I could not sit in front of the easel, so one night I opted to paint my favorite bowl, a memento of one of our trips to Mexico. While going through the motions of the virus and it's fevers, I managed to come up with this view of my kitchen counter.
I had so much fun that night that the following day I decided to do more. And so the days passed at home and I kept playing around with my watercolor sets. Over the last few months I have become very interested in learning more about this medium, the end goal is to become more fluid with watercolor...yes pun intended!
I tried doing a landscape from imagination, similar to what I do with my sketches, but this time mixing watercolor and pen work. Not my best work but it was fun to explore. It was also a good reason for me to take a photo of my A Gallo Cherry Wood Palette. A Gallo has been so amazing to let me try a few of their sets over the last two years, and believe me when I tell you that their colors are so rich and all around amazing! If you're in the states you can purchase their watercolors through Soho Art Materials.
This summer I decided familiarize myself with gouache, or as some may call it, opaque watercolor. I created a basic color set for plein air painting by filling empty watercolor pans with M Graham tubed gouache. As it dries the color shrinks, which then allows you to fill the pans more. Gouache reactivates with water very easily, so no need to worry about it drying out. A warning though, because of the chalk content in these paint, after they dry as cakes they do become brittle, so keep an eye out for that when traveling with them. How does my first little gouache look? More of these to come in the near future for sure.
Back to the kitchen again and back to painting my favorite Mexican bowl. I have been a huge tea drinker for many years, I tend to infuse my tea with cinnamon, clove, and dried orange peels which is a thing I picked up from my mom. That changed after COVID...funny everything keeps going back to that. When my husband and I got sick he found out through someone that told someone who then told another, that boiling water with lemon and cinnamon would help us cope with the virus. As more information was published in the early stages, prior to shut down, we did read that hot fluids such as tea could be helpful in fighting the virus. Soon I began boiling pots of tea with this mixture of lemon and cinnamon. Since then there are plenty of lemons in the kitchen ready for our water or tea.
Lemons may be very helpful to your health, but they are also very pleasant to look at. I love how the intense yellow goes so well with blue, which then takes me back to Cezanne's watercolors of kitchen objects. I'm not as good as he is, but definitely a good standard to keep in mind.
Since Miss Rona messed all travel plans for everyone, the only thing I could do was think about how a year prior I was in Provence painting this sort of view in person. I had intended in going back this June to teach a plein air watercolor class but it was not in the cards. So from the small and dark confines of my little studio one night I painted this landscape to reminisce on good times past. One day soon I'll be able to visit again, and you better believe that my watercolor set will be there to record the experience.