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.
#2014 ‘Summer Play’
This time every year I go through the paintings in the studio and select some to put in the Studio Sweep Sale at the Bishops Stock Gallery in Snow Hill. This year I found 13 original paintings to include in the sale and they are priced at a fraction of their original retail. Included are four beach and sand dune paintings that were demonstration pieces when I was teaching. These are 16×20″, framed and originally retailed for $250-$325. For this limited sale the price is $140 making it an ideal gift for anyone who loves the shore.
There are other framed works as well as a number of matted pieces starting at $40. Subjects range from landscapes to birds and wildflowers. Many other area artists also put work into this unique sale as we clear out our studios to make room for next year. If you are in the area, stop by the quaint town of Snow Hill, there are new shops downtown, charming restaurants and a fresh holiday look.