I came across a rather unassuming photo—it was from my trip to France in 2013, but it contained no monuments or fancy architecture or cafés, nothing quintessentially French. It did, however, have a wonderful light direction that I thought I could capture, and reminded me of more peaceful moments from the trip, when we watercolor students sat in the back yard at Bandouille (a beautiful monastery/country house near Bressuire and Chiché) and painted, talked, and ate our mid-morning snack. Someone has just arisen from the table, leaving their paints, brush, and water jar behind (and their cigarettes).
Sadly, Bix and Drew are no longer hosting painting holidays there; they intend to sell the property if/when they find the right buyer. But they are still in residence at the moment, and I'm sure Bixxy will recognize her little outpost behind the studio.
I had some trouble with this; I painted it on watercolor paper just so I could mess about with the layering of paint a bit more than I can in my sketchbook. But although my base painting was pretty flawless, once I got all the elements painted their respective colors, it became clear that I hadn't gone near dark enough with the background. I went over it once, and then again, and encountered some "fingerprint" spots where the paint just wouldn't stay where I put it. So the wall behind the table, which initially reflected its rough plastered texture and had a nice yellow glow reflected in the center from the tablecloth, is now a bit splotchy. I guess only more experience will prevent me from overworking.
I was, however, happy with the whites and lights I saved. The vinyl tablecloth had an over-all pattern of fruits and veg and mason jars, but I decided it was more dramatic to just let the yellow tablecloth be (and wasn't confident I could pull off the patterning and make it look real, to be honest).
About 8x13 inches
Fluid watercolor paper, Paul Jackson signature watercolors (made by Da Vinci)
Yesterday, I did a quick, small (7x7) painting of a closeup of some lavender, with a ladybug attached. My intent was to work on my wet-in-wet technique, but I went in too dark with my initial wet washes, and since the purple I was using was a "staining" color, I ended up with virtually no whites left to save! I went back over it and did some detail, but my sense for when to paint again (at what stage of wetness) is not accurate yet, so I got more blurring and it wasn't too attractive. I finally did what many watercolorists refuse to do (and I have been one of them in the past): I mixed up some lighter purple with some white, and put in some highlights at the end to compensate for no whites. It's dark and blurry and overworked, but here it is, for the record.
"Wet Lavender"About 7x7 inches
Fluid watercolor paper, Paul Jackson watercolors