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Sketchbook Pages Still Life Watercolor

Summer Leftovers #2: Avocado & Apricot Pits

Avocado & Apricot Pits, Watercolor on coldpress paper, 6x8
Avocado & Apricot Pits, Watercolor on coldpress paper, 6x8"

I thought that these apricot pits and this avocado pit, still in a bit of it’s outer papery sheath would be a good subject for using my set of Kremer Pigments’ pan watercolors.  The Kremer watercolors are unusual in that they’re so highly pigmented, mostly opaque and mostly sedimentary. They are quite stable when applied: the colors don’t charge or bleed much into each other, unlike the more volatile quinacridone and other synthetic pigments.

But I found that those qualities make them less suitable for glazing because their opacity and and saturation mean that one layer hides the one beneath it. Half of the colors in my 14-color palette are muted shades of red, brown, gold, green; a few are more brilliant, but so richly colored that they have to be thinned way down to appear transparent.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not as familiar with how these colors work together as I am my regular palette of mostly Winsor Newton tube watercolors. It takes practice to have control over one’s media and I felt pretty out of control with these but enjoyed playing with them. I’ll try them again for the next summer leftovers.

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Sketchbook Pages Still Life

Summer Leftovers #1: Rosehips in Watercolor

Rosehips, watercolor on hotpress paper, 6x8"
Rosehips, watercolor on hotpress paper, 6x8"

After yesterday’s major migraine adding insult to a weeklong cold/flu bug, I’m grateful to be back among the living today, even if still less than 100%. It seemed like a good day to start doing some watercolor sketches of the collection of thingees I’ve saved from the summer, including pits from all my favorite stone fruits, shriveled and dried things from plants now gone, and stuff I’ve picked up on walks. These rosehips were the most recent and most colorful; all of the other stuff is in shades of brown and more about texture than color.

Since I’ve gotten used to oil painting alla prima*, it’s interesting to switch to watercolor and slow down to let sections/layers of watercolor dry before each next step. It makes for a nice rhythm and prevents that mindless paint paint paint I run into with oils. Waiting for the paint to dry gives time to step away and and then return to see what’s needed with fresh eyes and a chance to think a bit before putting down the paint.

*Alla Prima: A style of painting where the painting is done in one session while the paint is still wet. From the Italian word which literally means at all at once).