Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Return to the Country Village...though not in person

During our recent urban sketching visit to Bothell's Country Village, there were way too many scenes I wanted to draw and paint, so I snapped some photos to try painting from later at home.  One was of a rock-lined stream with brick bridge:

While sketching it onto the watercolor paper, I used my all-powerful Artistic License to clean it up a bit -- removing the partial stone bench on the lower right, the clutter in the background, and the shrub on the left.  Then I decided not to use my usual ink-and-watercolor technique.  It's great for on-the-spot sketching, but I wanted to work with paint this time.  With the ink technique, the focus is on the drawing, with just bits of color slapped in almost as an afterthought.  I wanted to really use the watercolors to define the picture.

I started with dry-brush on the stream bed, and a bit of outlining on the bridge.

Next I used wet-in-wet to create a loose background.

Then I spent some time working on the bridge details.  Detailed work always makes me very happy.  I could get lost in it for hours.  I used one of my smallest brushes with very little water added to the paint.

Then I worked on the rocks, which were done mostly wet-in-wet with a bit of dry-brush afterwards.

And finally the Japanese Maple, again a mix of wet and dry brush techniques, and I called it good.  It's a bit green for my tastes, but overall I like the results and I truly enjoyed painting a picture instead of simply drawing-with-color.


  1. I don't think it's too green, especially with the maple in the foreground. Nice work!

  2. Excellent, love your work, it may eventually lead to me picking up a brush again.

    1. Go for it! The thing I love about sketching outdoors is that unlike having as many hours as you like in the "studio" (which is just a desk in my tiny home), you're usually on a limited schedule and don't have time to fuss over stuff. You just have to be free and easy with it, and try to capture the moment. Very relaxing and low-key, and it has helped me a lot to get back into a regular art practice.

      And then if you do want to spend more time on a piece, you just do what I did here and take a photo to work from in more detail back home. I like having a choice of whether to do something simple "on the fly" so to speak with the sketches, or something more intensely observed with the studio work, depending on how I'm feeling. Both are rewarding experiences.

    2. I was just looking again at your previous post and had been so intigued by your fence work that I overlooked your kitchen windowsill. So cute...