Clouds and Hills

click for larger view
click for larger view

Watercolor on paper, 9.5″ x 6.5″

Earlier this week I went on a 31 hour train ride across the western US. When I was in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which are on the border between the states of California and Nevada, there were a lot of clouds filling the deep valleys and I drew sketches of what I saw. This is a slightly embellished painting made from one of those sketches.

I painted this last night on a “handmade watercolor book” that I bought at Hobby Lobby, a large chain of craft and art stores in the US. It says it’s “100% cotton fiber” made “in the Punjab region of India” from “100% post consumer waste,” so it’s made from some sort of recycled materials. The paper is nice but doesn’t appear to be sized at all (or maybe it’s just on one side?), so when I applied any water or paint it all soaked in immediately. This can be good for some techniques but not for others, like blending. Because of that I decided to use a technique of many little dots of paint that were overlapped to make darker areas.

The paints I used are three of the watercolors I made and tubed myself recently. I mixed together a premixed tube of ultramarine blue green shade and Italian raw umber (in a 1:1 ratio) with a tube of Nicosia green earth and some titanium white in about a total ratio of 1:1:1 of the three tubes or about a 1:1:2:2 ratio of the four pigments involved. The brush I used is a Da Vinci Cosmotop Spin travel brush, size 5, series 1573. It’s a very good brush.

I had messed up on it a bit and I was going to redo it tonight, but I just photographed it in a way that hides the mistake. The light in the photo is really bad though. Tonight I’ll try painting one of the other scenes I sketched on the train.

Last winter I posted some photos of these same mountains from the same train route while they had snow on them.

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6 thoughts on “Clouds and Hills

  1. It’s interesting how the paper made you shift gear and try out something different which you may not have tried out otherwise. I like the painting! Just a faint touch of ‘gold’ in the sky from the sun’s rays trying to break or shimmer through the clouds could be nice.

    1. I might try that in the sky now since I’ve already photographed it. Painting like this felt like when I did stippling many years ago in school. The paper was so thirsty that it made sense to try it. 🙂

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