Summer Tangle by Sharon Himes
Summer is ended but wildflowers still bloom in abundance. I walked along the damp creek edges and collected whatever caught my eye. Taking my treasures back to the studio I arranged the colorful grouping, painting them one by one into a tangle of color and shape.
It is the attitude of the flowers I tried to capture this time rather than the botanical realism that might work in another painting.
I love the way nature jumbles plants together with one vine climbing another flower and everything reaching for the sun together. It is more an abstract quality of color and texture than a set illustration of a scene but I feel this style expresses the joyful exuberance of nature that I feel.
Like most watercolors, this one is built of many layers with a loose background of wash, drip and scribble and a somewhat more realistic foreground with floral details here and there. As I painted it I couldn’t help but notice that many of the flowers had the same composite structure; with Joe Pye weed tall magenta flower clusters along with the spreading yellow clusters of goldenrod and even small lavender clusters of a native vine.
Purple and yellow are opposites on the color wheel, and therefore complimentary colors. It fascinates me how nature has collected these colors together along with the larger blue asters and smaller purple asters, (both with yellow centers) into the composition.
This painting is about 14 x 18″ on Fabriano watercolor paper and currently available for sale at $325. Email for purchase or other information.
March has arrived but spring still feels far away as the temperatures are more appropriate for early January. In the studio I can’t resist painting in spring colors as I use watercolors to sketch a chickadee perched on a branch of wild roses.
The paper I chose for this sketch is a special handmade paper from the Twinrocker Paper. I have been a fan of this Midwestern paper company for many years. The edges are ‘deckled’ as this small 6×8″ piece is really a whole sheet of the paper. Often collectors described these as ‘torn paper’ paintings but they are not torn at all, the edges are the natural result of the method of paper making.
(Several years ago I interviewed Kathryn Clark of Twinrocker Paper on their method of papermaking and you can read that interview here)
Collectors of these paintings on handmade papers often frame them ‘floating’ against a contrasting background with the traditional matting set away from the artwork for a three dimensional look.
Watercolor artists especially relate to the paper, brushes and paints they use and this paper has just the right sizing to let me loosen up and let the colors mix. It is fun to paint on and I can’t help but smile as I watch the colors flow around the chickadee.
The painting of a Chickadee & Wild Roses ($80) is currently available from the Bishops Stock Gallery in Snow Hill, MD.
Recently going through some old sketchbooks I found several drawings I did for children. I am making two of them available here in a PDF format so you can save them and print them out for the young ones to play with and color.
The Treemaze is a simple maze to show children where forest animals and birds live. Follow the path with a pencil from the animal picture to their favorite hiding place and then you can color the whole page.
The Forest Animals page is to color any way you wish. There is no reason an owl can’t be purple or the tree leaves pink if the artist chooses. It is fun to play with color no matter if it is in or outside the lines.
Download the pages by clicking on the file names below. These are meant for home use only and not to be printed out in quantity or sold. Have Fun!
Download: TREE MAZE
Download: FOREST ANIMALS