Drawing and color are not separate at all; insofar as you paint you draw. When the color harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes. When the color achieves richness, the form attains its plenitude.
I responded to an invitation to journey to Lubbock, Texas this weekend, and celebrated the end of the school year by drawing, painting, reading, journaling, antiquing, and conversing with a kindred creative spirit. I posted my earlier attempts of a watercolor sketch of this ghost sign on one of the main drags of Lubbock. I’m still not quite finished with it, as there are a number of accents I still wish to put in–brick details, more power lines, and window detailing. I’m still not quite satisfied with the Coca-Cola logo or the tree in front. But I’ve laid it aside for now. I have two workshops to conduct in the next ten days, and it’s time to switch gears.
My friend planted this idea of traveling northward to Amarillo Palo Duro Canyon for some plein air activity. So, I opted to stay an extra day and spend Monday in the canyon. The temperatures reached 105 degrees, and I was astounded to find out that I could not work wet-in-wet! Impossible! The high winds felt like a hair dryer, and the water dried on the paper as fast as I could apply it. No matter how wet the wash, as soon as I put the brush into the palette to reload, the “puddle” on the watercolor block had disappeared. This was indeed a different kind of experience for me. Both sketches posted below were done very quickly, as I knew it was unwise to be out in the direct sun under such harsh conditions, and it was difficult, keeping my left hand on the easel at all times, knowing the canyon winds were trying to turn it into a kite.
I keep thinking I may re-work this composition, and try to detail the trees and rock textures better. It was hard making those kind of decisions under intense sunlight.
I was abe to stand more in shadow as I worked on this bluff in early evening. But the winds worsened, and I could not let go of the easel for fear it would fly out over the canyon and descend somewhere into its depths. I may return to this in the next week or two, look at the photos I took, and see about adding more texture to the rocky facade. I would not have traded this pair of plein air attempts in the canyon for anything, even if the heat was intense and unpleasant. I was fascinated at the dynamics of the rocky facades with the winds chasing the cloud shadows across the craggy faces. I felt that French Impressionist plein air tension, with Claude Monet on the one hand captivated by the fleeting effects of light playing off surfaces, and Paul Cezanne on the other extreme, contemplating the eternal form beneath the changing light. It was Cezanne who said he wanted to make of Impressionism something enduring, like the art of museums.
Thanks for reading. I’m not sure how effectively I’ll be posting during the workshops, or how accessible Internet services will be in either place. But I promise to store up the photos, the memories, the stories, and bring them online as soon as I can.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal because I feel that I am alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.