So, I really AM doing Every Day in May, along with all the rest who are following French Toast Girl's lead. I'm just not doing anything spectacular! The goal is to get back into the groove of things, which is proving to be difficult already, as we are doing some major facelifting on the house right now, along with working full time.
These peony buds are so pretty in real life, and photographs don't begin to give the right feel of them. I actually think I had this one RIGHT when I first did it. Then today, on the way up to the scanner, I went back and added the darker bits in the upper (viewer's) left corner, and all of a sudden it feels heavy rather than light and suggestive of the buds. Rats. That's what months of being out of practice will do for one!
I'm reading some wonderful art books right now, trying to put a bit of what I'm studying into practice. I'm really enjoying "Painting Light & Shadow in Watercolor" by William B. Lawrence, especially with passages like this one:
"...The point is you do have a choice. Charles Reid wrote a book titled Painting What You Want to See. My friend Don Stone said his title would be Painting What I Thought I Saw. I would include in this library I Couldn't See What I Was Painting."
He talks about a way of organizing value in what he calls the "2 Against 1 Approach" where you paint your subject in 2 values -- light and medium, light and dark, medium and dark, whatever. The third value is what your main subject is against. I've simplified his explanation so much here that I've probably blown it, and my little painting proves that I haven't quite GOT it, but it felt like an "aha!" moment when I first read it. So far this is one of the best books on watercolor I've read in a long time.
Yesterday I was thinking about my daughter in Florida and decided to do a sketch from a photo taken from one of our visits down there. I keep messing with the composition on this one, trying to get the yellow umbrella just right for a "real" painting, and this is the third or fourth version of this. It still isn't the one. Not by a long shot.
Practice practice practice...