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Day Eight : #30x30DirectWatercolor2019 : Two Million

June 8, 2019

OK, this is my favorite painting ever! (I’m always saying that. I think it’s best if that’s your attitude about every new painting). I love the amount of abstraction – but it’s also exactly what I wanted – a foggy, brooding rendition of a wetland marsh.

The sketch was from imagination, but, also fairly similar to a place I painted in real life – though you would never know it looking at the plien-air version. Doing the notan sketch, I was just free-forming it, and this dark, forbidding scene appeared out of the heavy values.

I liked this so much I did a second version.

I was researching bogs and peatlands after the fact, and I came across Bolshoye Vasyuganskoye – a region in Russia of some 2 million square kilometers containing 2 million lakes. I’ve never been up north in Quebec, but I have this feeling there are areas that look like this. Home to moose and waterbirds and a million wetland creatures.

I feel like I’m hitting my stride. This is a pattern for me with these painting marathons. It takes a few days for the best paintings to appear. I can expect, from past experience, that I’ll peak a bit after the mid-point. I’ll get tired, and things will decline toward the end. But right now, I feel 100% in the zone.

This is a new thing for me. Not a landscape, not an abstraction, but something in between.

There are a lot of things I love about painting in a marathon-series. Mostly, I feel the pace of the work is important. Painting very quickly – to meet self-imposed deadlines – and painting every day – it starts to push a little further each day. You have this desire to do something a little better than the day before. Soon enough you’re past your comfort zone. I don’t find myself settling for repetitive, safe compositions – because I’ve *just* done the last painting and I have to make this next one stand out. That’s a good kind of pressure on your work.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Grimbot permalink
    June 8, 2019 11:40 AM

    That first one is an absolute belter! Keep up the good work!

  2. Caroline permalink
    June 8, 2019 4:17 PM

    Omg. I’m seriously in love with this!! 👌 May I ask which pigments you used, might give the old moody landscapes a go!

    • June 10, 2019 7:54 AM

      I’m on my phone so I’ll keep it brief > lunar black, neutral tint, alizarin crimson, turquoise, Titanium white, Holbein Grey of Grey – thx!

  3. June 8, 2019 7:30 PM

    Beautiful work. Thanks for the chat and the tips.

  4. June 9, 2019 8:05 PM


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