A Land of Hills and Valleys

Land of Hills and Valleys

Watercolor and gouache on paper, 3.5″ x 8.5″

Recently I was reading a passage in the Bible, Deuteronomy chapter 11, in which Moses was describing to the Israelites in the wilderness what the land they would enter into would be like. This chapter is one of several places that uses the famous phrase “a land that floweth with milk and honey.” After explaining that it wouldn’t be like in Egypt where they irrigated by their own work, they were told that they would receive rain for their crops. I especially liked the wording of verse 11, “But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven.” This is what I was thinking about when I made these little paintings above.

The chapter goes on to explain that receiving the blessing of abundance of rain would be dependent on their faithfulness to God, saying “…if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season…”

The paints I used the most was a 1:1 premix of phthalo green blue shade and ivory black, Monte Amiata natural sienna, a little bismuth yellow, a couple of different blacks with white gouache, and a light blue gouache premix. The rain in the bottom painting took a long time because I didn’t actually paint the rain. Instead, I painted everything, and then I darkened everything except those lines for rain. So it looks like those lines are painted lighter, but actually they were just left at the amount of lightness that everything had before I darkened everything.

A Deluge, after Leonardo da Vinci

A Deluge

Black watercolor on sumi-e paper, 6.25″ x 4.75″

This took a little bit longer than I expected. It’s copied from a drawing by Leonardo, though because of the age of the paper and maybe the roughness of the chalk he drew with it was hard for me to tell exactly what all the lines were meant to be, so I just made a few interpretations of my own.

I painted this because the past few days there was a lot of rain, but much less than was predicted. The prediction of what even the next few hours would be like was always being changed. I had expected to wake up yesterday to more rain, but instead there were only a few drops the whole day.

It reminded me of when Nicodemus came to speak with Jesus in the Bible, and was told by Jesus “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Jesus was explaining the mystery of conversion to him, which is by the Spirit of God, by comparing it with wind. The effects of wind can be seen and felt, so we know that it is there, but even today with all of our technology we still can’t really say where the wind is going.

Passing Storm

Passing Storm

Watercolor and gouache on paper, 14.5″ x 5.5″

It’s been raining a lot lately. We still need more rain because of the drought, but this has been very good so far.

I started this with a very different landscape idea, but I was painting with too much reservation and on a different paper that I wasn’t familiar with, so it was wasn’t working well. Then I stopped hesitating and began covering the paper in black paint until I got a different idea, turned it upside down, and it became this. Although it’s still small, I think this is the biggest watercolor painting I’ve made in a very long time. I mostly used charcoal black and lamp black.

I really like this wide format, but to post it here I have to shrink it too much, so click the image for a larger view.

Tempest

Tempest

Oil on canvas, 10″ x 8″

Based on Cliffs at Pourville, Rain by Monet. I wasn’t looking at his painting while I painted, or especially trying for an exact copy, so mine turned out a little different.

I don’t normally paint this thickly, but I’ve been watching some video clips of an artist named David Leffel and I’m hoping to learn some things from him so I can improve my work. I kind of like thick paint.

I had a cobalt, prussian, and cerulean blues already on my palette when I started so I was using mixtures of those with white and a little Portland Grey Light from Gamblin. Around 2/3 of the way through I decided to try a mixture of french ultramarine with my new cobalt teal (PB28) from Gamblin. I really like how that mix turned out. The reddishness, darkness, transparency, and intensity of the ultramarine was balanced by the greenishness, lightness, opacity, and relative dullness of the teal, resulting in a mellow middle blue in all regards.

Rain Fox

Rain Fox

I was trying out different things in Photoshop yesterday and came up with this. Then I thought I’d make a new 64×64 pixel art avatar for use on this one other website, so I did this version with 4 colors. It’s a little rough, but with so few colors it’s pretty much bound to be.

Rain Fox Avatar