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Night scenes

Endless subject of wonder: snow landscapes


From a picture. I like the effect, especially considering the simplicity of the color scheme.

I have some trouble getting some smooth colours. Part of it is my doing: because I often go for strong, high contrast colours, I often need several "runs" of the brush of "thick" watercolour pain. With light colours, I can "blot" a very wet brush on wet paper, and I will get the uniformity I want. The other reason is the paper. I have been using cold-pressed paper which some relief, which does not work well with smooth backgrounds, and thus, I now use both cold-pressed and hot-pressed paper.

Other than that, it is all in the composition, which should be credited to the photographer (don't remember his name: it would be nice to query a database of images where the query is itself an image--I am sure it is an active area of research in image recognition).


Fall leaves

Based on a picture. A small clearing in a forest on the side of a mountain. The pink shape in the top right corner shows another summit/mountain in the distance. On my first trial, the trunk of the tree that stands in the middle is rather dark because the picture is taken with backlighting (i.e. the sun is in front of the observer). I had to soften the colour a bit so that it does not take "too much space". More on this below...


Snowy trees

From a picture taken while we driving, leaving our rental chalet to go back to Montreal. The chalet is in lake Dainava. The path around the lake, leading from the various properties to the "main road" is narrow and cuts through a little forest. I, city rat, find the sights amazing. Perhaps someone who goes there every week-end is thoroughly blasé. Not me. So I stopped and took a picture.

Of course, this digital copy has less contrast than the watercolour, and the watercolour has less contrast than the picture/what I wanted to convey.

I usually start with daring thoughts, and then invariably chicken out halfway through the painting by putting more gradual/plausible color transitions, but ones that come short of conveying the real feeling and mood.


Nara Conference Center Gardens

From a painting by Kwan Yeuk Pang, the same guy who did the first painting I plagiarized at the top of this page. I started with some greyish colour hues in the background, and then tried to add (darken) or remove colour, for the brighter spots. In the original, the central part of the painting is painted into a very bright yellow blot. It didn't seem very plausible, but this result is fairly lame with little life or relief


Canadian Plum?

These are flowers from a fruit tree I see in my neighbourhood. They blossom in May. I think they are "Canadian Plums". The flowers have six "meaty" petals with a white background and variegated with pink "veins" that get darker as you get closer to the stem. This is a mixed technique watercolour mixing light brush strokes with pen-drawn edges.

To paint the petals, I wet thoroughly the paper, and then drew the veins with light colour. The colour then "runs", which gives it the effect you see.

Can do better.


Route du Petit Train du Nord

It is a family tradition during winter break to rent a shack in the Laurentides and spend a couple of days with the boys living the full Quebec experience and skiing (cross-country for the elders, cross-country and downhill for the boys.

Having been a city rat for the past 40 years (Paris, Washington, Montreal), I miss the outdoors. While the boys were younger--manageable, with (much) less homework, we used to take them skiing regularly during the week-ends. To me, getting out of town into the outdoors is a quasi sine qua none condition for rest. It has just gotten harder.

Thus, I still have this sense of wonder the few first times around of the ski season. Over the years, the "route du permit train du nord" (an old rail track converted to bike trail or cross-country skiing trail, depending on the season) has acquired a cozy familiar feeling. And so I have taken numerous pictures of the track, under varying conditions of light (time of day, sun versus clouds) hopelessly trying to capture the feeling of the moment. This is one attempt at capturing the scene in watercolour. What is new here (for me) is playing with reddish hues (pink, violet) to depict shade and various shades of green. I wasn't very daring in this one, but I seem ti to have dared a bit more than usual :-)


PS: this digital image is of poor quality. The scanner, not seeing a great contrast, has "optimized the scan" into black and white. Will rescan 

Fall scene

Another fall scene from a picture. Relative to the previous one which was taken when the leaves were still on the trees, with the incredible colour range, from green to yellow to red, here the leaves have all fallen.

I had trouble with this picture where my brain did not align with what was on the picture. The picture looked backlit, and has sort of a dusky feeling to it. So we imagine the sun setting from behind those trees, hence the bright background "ahead". But then, the tree branches looked also lighter "ahead", which my brain couldn't get its head around ;-). If the picture is indeed backlit, the side of the tree trunks and branches that face the observer should all be dark. Only the side edges from either side of the "center" of the picture should be lit; everything else should be just a dark shape... until it hit me! the colours were probably "photoshopped" / retouched by whoever posted the picture! whether it made for a prettier picture is questionable, but it certainly made for an implausible one.

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