"Needing Paint" – Early Progress

With several sunny days in a row, I have  made a good start on “Needing Paint,” although as often happens, it has gone in a different direction than I expected – staying more as a colored drawing for now.

I  started on the 30th, just after posting my discovery of the motif. I chose to work on a square piece of MDF board with no coating so that I could try sketching with pencil and watercolor crayon on a firm, dark surface. For many years I have enjoyed working on similarly colored paper,  going straight for the light colors instead of building up darks. My intention was to try sealing the drawing with  a newly discovered clear Gesso (usually a pigmented white base for painting that helps the paint adhere). And then work with the contrast of the remnants of the underdrawing with the more finished paint on top. Well, I haven’t sealed the surface yet because I am liking the texture as it is. I still may try the Gesso layer and do more painting.

By the time I settled on a composition, the afternoon patterns of light and shadows had shifted too much to look at color, so I concentrated on the drawing elements and just s suggestion of the shapes of sky that would be paler than the front of the main house.

I introduced some of the light patterns of the spring green before ending for the day.
In this close up of the roof area you can see the textured marks of the watercolor crayons.
On Day 2, with only a few hours of the “right” light, I started establishing the colors in relationship to each other and discovered that by starting a bit earlier, I could use the patterns of shadows on the street to echo the filigree of the tree patterns. I had been worried that the plain street would be too stark in comparison. Yet starkness might be a good contrast to the tiny details. I may change my mind several times before it is done.

By the end of Day 3, I had declared the space more fully by adding details behind the houses and adding more details about the ground plane (the slope of the land). Some of the colors have been a challenge since I am working partly with the limited palette of the watercolor crayons. I’ll have to use paint to adjust the shadowed whites and blues on the houses. I  became fascinated with the section to the right of the main trunk where I began to emphasize the chaotic interaction of house, tree and sky. The shapes almost make no sense, yet that section  becomes one of the more interesting parts of the image.  I am liking the slightly unfinished look and may have to do several versions – finishing one more thoroughly or even developing one with my hybrid method of working in some bits of photography.



Spring in Saratoga seems to last only a brief time – from bare branches to completely full masses of green in a 10 days.  So early in the morning and late in the day, when I’m not working on this one, I’ll explore some other subjects.  On errands today I became intrigued by all of the flowering trees all over downtown and will both photograph and paint them.  They are difficult as a subject because they are so picturesque. But worth a try. Anyone who is following this blog could leave a comment about their favorite flowering tree or group of trees around town.