aurora over almighty mountain

I've been watching a lot of Bob Ross videos this month, and I've never attempted to actually paint along with him. I decided to try it, and this is result. Feedback has been positive, which is very kind, but I actually made several mistakes. The first was not using a real canvas- this is canvas board. Stretched canvas would have felt better to work on and looked better as a result. That's mostly personal preference, though. The second mistake was not actually working wet-in-wet, which (Bob reiterates this in pretty much every video) is the crux of the whole thing, and is what lets the paint glide nicely around the canvas- kind of essential for following his lessons. Also, I used way too much pressure when doing the mountains- the paint was also too thin, and as a result it didn't break nicely like his does. I may have also painted too small- this canvas is only 4 or 5 inches square. Painwise, that hwite did not turn out a perfect titanium because I worked it too much. In general, I think most of my touches were too heavy. Also, what's the deal with fan brushes? I'm not used to using them, but they are the oddest things. His always make such a nice scrunching sound so it seems like he's using good firm pressure, but after I put in my trees the brush looked like wet eyelashes. I'm very interested to revisit this painting or at least the technique of wet in wet and using the fan brush, and to redeem myself. It's a fun challenge. On the good side, though, everything that just involved swiping with a normal big brush, like the aurora and the reflection on the lake, turned out well. And I was also very pleased with the effect of bringing out the transparent colors on black canvas with titanium hwite.

welsh mountain over farm

The next painting was the result of going back through some of my old photos saved in a folder labeled "Paint These". Well! Five years later, I have. This one is of a picture taken out of the window of a bus while on a trip with the women's choir from my university. The trip was great- over the course of two weeks we got to sing in a lot of cathedrals and it was a very unique experience- and of course the best part was traveling through the UK. We got to see London and Dublin, which were of course great (and as a Linguistics major I kicked myself for not visiting the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum), but undoubtedly my favorite bits were traveling through the countryside in western England and Wales. This particular photo was in Snowdonia National Park in northern Wales. Our coach driver, Mike, was Welsh, and (needlessly) apologetically commented that the mountains there weren't as big as the Rockies in the States; I have still not seen the Rockies, and even if I had the mountains in Snowdonia would still have struck me- they're lovely and surrounded by pastures like the one at the foot of the mountain in the painting, and when we went the weather was perfect and the land spread out before our winding way, green and rugged, and well, like the painting. It was glorious- one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been- and I wish I'd had a better camera at the time.

morning coffee on a cruise boat

This is another of the paintings from my "Paint This" photo folder. The reference photo was taken on my honeymoon, which was the first time I'd ever been on a cruise boat. I'm an early riser, so I was up and out on our balcony watching the wide empty water on a lovely clear morning while my husband slept. While I was looking out I happened to look down and saw one of the balconies below us, and really enjoyed the arrangement of the footstools and stuff on the table so I snapped a picture. The clean lines and contrast struck me as very contemporary- like a Hockney painting . This one worked out to be a watercolor, though, and I like it. This painting has since found a home, and I’m glad because it’s one of my favorites.

saddle and trunk

The saddle and trunk painting pictured here are from a family visit, stopping at my parents house before making the trip down further south. I had a very pleasant morning, painting this while sipping coffee, listening to the dogs walking around the house, and looking out the big windows in the room where the saddle and trunk sit. It was unexpected quiet that I really needed. Also a challenge in painting the saddle- there are lots of details so I had to be extra watchful.

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