I'm excited to be starting on a few new projects. One being of model who I posed at Fairway Falls in Novato. I have been doing a lot of different studies of the waterfall to really get a sense of the colors of the area. These are all 6x8 panels that I finished in under an hour. They're not meant to be framed and sold, they're just "reference cards" I will use when my photos reach the limit of information they can give me. Sometimes they come out OK as stand-alone paintings, but I don't set out to make them great works of art.
As you can see, I like to get as many different viewpoints of the same area as possible. These were meant to give me an accurate sense of the color. I am going to go back to get more details of the foliage in the area.
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is a favorite area for me to go exploring. It has a ton of great places to paint. It's a shame then, that it's on the list for one of the places they are planning on shutting down to close the budget gap. I have been making frequent trips to the park to document what I can of it. I plan on doing a few larger-scale pieces of my favorite vistas.
This was a really small half-hour study, like 2x4 inches.
This was an hour-long study of one of the easier vistas to find. It's tough to see the Sonoma Valley from it, but there is a lot of greenery to see from here.
This is one of the views that I'm planning on creating a large piece for. I've been making all types of different studies for it. One of things I've started doing to improve my value arrangements is to use greyscale markers to do thumbnail studies. It's the same idea as doing a pencil sketch, but with markers you save time by having the value numbers worked out for you. I treat them like watercolors: start light and progress to darkness. I only use 5 different values: 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, and 90%. Keep it simple and refer to it as you are painting and you are less likely to get confused as you work.
This was an hour-and-a-half watercolor that I did yesterday. I was going to do a pencil drawing but I felt like trying out watercolors because it's somewhere between drawing and oils to me. Not worrying so much about the paint frees you up a bit to work on the other aspects. The problem is, watercolor is such a difficult medium to work with. I will definitely need to come back and do some more studies of the area.
There is also a waterfall that you can trek to that's really cool because of all of the big rocks you can explore. It's very picturesque. This was a study I did in a little over an hour. In this painting I tried to cut back on white as much as I could. It seems to make the overall effect much more vibrant. This was done between 6 and 7 PM. The light was just beginning to turn golden. You really have to use strong cadmiums to get that vibrant effect. I am planning on also doing a large piece of this area as well.
Bonuses! A couple of extra studies that I did for practice.
This was a bike ride away from home. I'm really close to a lot of rural farmland that has a lot of old barns that I've never gotten around to painting because they aren't close enough to walk to and don't have a good place to park around them. I've finally gotten a bike that I can ride to some of these cool spots. I may do a series that I center around these places as a theme. I feel like doing themes makes it extra-fun and more purposeful, plus you want to do more, because who likes a 2-painting series??
This was a study I made at Annadel State Park, another place that's scheduled for closure soon. It's not as dear to my heart as Sugarloaf, but I know a lot of people who love biking here. This is one of the vistas you can see after a long uphill hike.
Here is the marker sketch I did beforehand.
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