Not a Favorite, But …

Throughout this month, I’ve painted a number of “winter landscapes” in watercolor. I’ve played with different color palettes. I’ve tried different techniques. So far, I’ve come up with a few paintings I like, as well as a few that I don’t care for.

The one I’m sharing today might be called an “in-between” painting. It’s not a favorite, but I don’t consider it a complete failure. It’s got its good points and its bad points, and as a student of watercolor, I can learn from both.

This scan certainly doesn’t show this watercolor at its best, and even my attempts to “frame” it with a border doesn’t improve the image. The scanner tends to take out a lot of color, especially lighter pastels. Just for the sake of comparison, here’s a photograph taken with my phone.

It gives a bit more indication of the color, although it also shows how my inexpensive watercolor paper has buckled a bit.  Neither of these illustrations really shows this watercolor as it looks. The best I can do here is to give you an idea of the colors I’ve used — which include two metallic watercolor hues. Those are the deeper gold at the base of the trees, and a reddish gold used in the midground area. As I look at it more closely, I also see a bit of silver added to the tops of the trees.

So, again, this is not a favorite, but on the plus side, I did quickly draw a barn — a real building! — that does look like a barn. The downside is that I drew it a bit too close to the center, resulting in a very poor composition overall.

Another plus is that I do like the palette, especially the gold. But I didn’t handle the paint well. There are a lot of hard edges which detract from the mood.

I like the bits of grass sticking up in the foreground and some at the base of the trees, but, oh, those awful trees! As I began painting them, I realized how “off” my composition was. I hadn’t left room for the trees, so I more or less shrugged them off, painted a few limbs, and chalked the whole thing up to one more learning experience.

I’m not proud of this painting, but I am happy that I managed to draw and paint a building, and I even added a fence, although I’m wishing now I’d extended that fence past the barn on the right. That would have created a bit more balance, I think. Of course, most of my fence was all but obliterated by the trees. Oh, well. For me, it’s still a step in the right direction. I did create a snowy scene, and I feel this little watercolor has helped me gain a better understanding of various techniques and a greater awareness of the style I’m developing.

We do learn when things go wrong, and we can learn, too, when things go right. Paintings like this — when some things work and other don’t — perhaps offer us the best opportunities for learning, helping us see both our strengths and our weaknesses.



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