A tiny detour for a moment of refreshment

I took a bit of time off from the usual subject matter of my painting. I think this is a good idea, because it’s really easy, for me anyway, to become quite stale and stuck in a particular way of observing things and translating them to paintings. So I went back to watercolor on paper, which for me is much more intricate than my watercolor paintings on Aquabord™. I was looking to loosen up and although these two paintings do not look particularly loose, the journey to the finish line was filled with wipe off, scrape off, flood the area with paint, repeat.

This is Sturtevant Falls, at the end of the trail by the same name in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California.

This is Sturtevant Falls, at the end of the trail by the same name in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California.

Sturtevant Falls caused me the most grief. I was thinking of throwing it in the trash from the first brushstroke. I had put masking fluid on the water area first to preserve the white splash areas but was very clumsy about it and did not get anything where I had intended to put it. As I kept laying on paint it only got worse. So I decided that since it is a legitimate watercolor technique to scrape away areas where white should be, I put a fresh blade in my X-acto knife and went to work literally shredding the paper. Thankfully Arches watercolor paper is exceptionally sturdy and it survived all my hacking. I had more trouble trying to integrate the lighter rocks (which I had also masked out and which therefore formed a hard outline) into the darker background without having them look cartoonish. More sessions of apply paint, wipe some off, apply more paint. This painting is only about 14″ x 9″, but it took me probably ten hours or so to finish it. Which is why I keep saying I will never be one of those artists with mountains of output every few days!

This is Franklin Canyon, a lovely park and nature reserve near Los Angeles.

This is Franklin Canyon, a lovely park and nature reserve near Los Angeles.

This painting is even smaller, 7″ x 10″. And I can say that it did not cause me nearly as much grief as the waterfall even though the issues were basically the same. Lots of laying on paint, removing masking fluid, laying on more paint, scraping some off. Mostly I did this one just to play with water effects, but I ended up spending the lion’s share of my time on the tall grasses! Not “high art”, but cute…now, back to the horsies.

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in art, landscape, painting techniques, watercolor and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A tiny detour for a moment of refreshment

  1. wow, i’m really stunned. sturtevant falls is terrific. i was completely blown away. masterful. i was floored by such a high level of creativity and accomplishment. and franklin canyon is just lovely, reminiscent early to mid 20th century style.

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    • Alli Farkas says:

      That’s pretty high praise, my friend! Not so sure it’s warranted but hey, I’ll take it!! Sometimes I put out a much more artistic product when I just try to ignore what’s going wrong and push my way through it. I guess this was one of those times!

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  2. Gina Ayersman says:

    OMG…am I the only one who sees the horse in the falls? Its the first thing i saw and thought your narrative would say something about it!

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    • Alli Farkas says:

      I think you are the only one! I certainly did not see it and it wasn’t intentional. But now that I look at it again I think I see a head and neck between the third and fourth splash down. Is this it?

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  3. Gina Ayersman says:

    Yes and actually there is a horse head in the first splash, like you are looking from behind. So, two horses following each other complete with swishing tails and two hind legs at the bottom. Very cool!

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  4. Gina Ayersman says:

    Yes, I have seen her work before, which is very cool. I chalk this up to you being a true horse woman who subconsciously adds equine in all your work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love them both. Sturtevant falls is wonderful abstract and totally captures falling water (no horse there, for me). Franklin Canyon is just gorgeous, like a Beatrix Potter illustration… people make their living doing images like this.

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    • Alli Farkas says:

      Wow, what nice things you said! I’m going to enter Sturtevant Falls in an upcoming local juried show and see what happens. Maybe I’ll enter Franklin Canyon too, since it has also received a couple of rave reviews from my readers!

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  6. We all need time away from our regular pattern of work or doings, don’t we. And we the result is like this, it must be both fulfilling and fun. Both watercolour paintings are beautiful.

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