Brian Bailey, Bright Light on Cole, Watercolor, 10″ x 8″, © 2015
My last few posts have been about oil painting but over the last week I’ve been back to working with watercolor. Both offer so many possibilities and have distinctly different feelings, both in appearance and application. Most recently, I’ve been busy working on a couple of commissioned watercolor paintings. I’ve never mentioned it here before, but if you are interested in having me do a drawing or painting for you, feel free to contact me either here or at my Etsy store, ArtFromBrian.
I also revisited one of my favorite subjects this week, the shadows and brightly colored buildings of Cole Street in San Francisco. I love the translucency of watercolor and trying to build a surface that sparks a feeling, something like a memory of the places I’ve been. If you’re interested in this painting, you can also find it at ArtFromBrian on Etsy.
Brian Bailey, Hummingbird #3, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015
My watercolor for today is a departure from the paintings of buildings and shadows of the past week. I’ve been seeing quite a few hummingbirds lately and have been working on some paintings of them. This is the third in the series and I’ll probably paint a few more in the weeks ahead.
Thanks to all that have been following my posts and leaving likes and comments. I’m planning to continue making new posts every weekday. If you’d like to support me and this blog, paintings from the week are available for sale at my Etsy store, ArtFromBrian. Again, thank you to everyone for your support and I will be back Monday with another update.
About two weeks ago, a cold actually did slow me down. It brought a crashing halt to my blogging, art production, and just about everything that involved me being awake. Fortunately, I’ve made a full recovery and am back to drawing and painting.
Since I missed a week due to illness and the holiday, I’ll post two images that I recently painted outside. I really enjoy painting while outside because I think it forces me to speed up. The lines come faster and the process takes over the direction of the painting. At home, I would have more of chance to second guess myself, which can become the death of immediacy in the work.
I will also be updating my Etsy store, ArtFromBrian, soon so please take a look.
Hope you enjoy these and thank you for your support.
I visited the de Young Museum of fine art recently. In addition to being awe struck by several incredible paintings by Richard Diebenkorn, I spent a good amount of time looking at early American paintings. From the Hudson River School to Maynard Dixon in the west, I was struck by how these paintings give off a feeling of history and development. A landscape painting probably doesn’t encapsulate a political or social narrative of how a country developed but many have a sense of place.
As I spend more time painting the things that I see in San Francisco, I’ve started to think more about what my paintings mean. What do I have to say? Are these just buildings, trees, and occasionally people that serve as a conduit for the techniques and processes of painting? Or is it also a statement about what human beings have changed about our environment and how we have molded our surroundings to suit our needs and wants.
What about paintings of nature? I’m drawn to landscapes and can spend hours just walking around the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Nature feels very sacred and I can feel my need for time away from civilization growing and becoming more important. I feel that my connection to nature is very ingrained in my human nature. An inviting path or quiet overlook brings me peace and, I think, connects me with some part of my primitive ancestral self.
I love visiting museums and art exhibits because they are occasionally fascinating and, more often than not, make me think about what I’m doing in a new light. And, with new thoughts in mind, here is landscape painting of the shoreline near Point Reyes Lighthouse from a visit last week.
Also, if you have time, please check out my Etsy store, ArtFromBrian. I listed several new paintings this morning and, as always, appreciate your support.
This week I’ve spent time thinking about how to use light and color differently. I’ve been looking for clues in the watercolor paintings of J.M.W. Turner who created works 200 years ago with an incredible feeling of atmosphere and depth. I’ve also been looking at the work of Direk Kingnok, a current artist from Thailand. He creates shapes out of light and shadow and his paintings have a similar feeling of thick atmosphere. The way either of them use light and shadow is amazing, creating dark values that still glow. I greatly admire both for how loose and confident their works feel.
In my own work, I sometimes think that colors can grow too sweet and need to be muted by some degree. I’ve been trying to exercise some control over bright color by mixing mostly transparent shades of grey and working them over dried areas of pure color. I’ve also been paying more attention to creating depth and form through subtle shadows. It’s been helpful to find ways to bring down some of the bright colors when painting scenes of a city filled with brightly colored buildings. I’m pretty happy with the results and I’m sure I will continue figuring things out.
Thank you to all that looked at my Etsy shop, ArtFromBrian, last week. I look forward to adding more items and making more connections with people that love paintings.
Here is one work from this week that, hopefully, illustrates a more measured approach to light and color.
Again, I find myself walking around San Francisco and feeling amazed by the structure and detail of the houses. The craftsmanship and knowledge of the people that designed and built them is incredible to me. They give off a feeling of quality and history. The streets tell the stories of so many people that once lived here. I recently discovered that the public library has photographic records of the city dating back to the 1800’s and I find the hours slip away while I try to wrap my head around the amount of change and, occasionally, how similar things are.
Another thing about San Francisco that captivates me is the trees. Trees, plants, and flowers seem to spring up from everywhere. The moisture in the air and, usually, generous sunlight seem to account for a great variety of healthy plant-life, though the fern in my apartment seems to disagree. After a year of living here, I’m still a little unsure of how the seasons affect the trees and flowers. As some are losing their leaves, others seem to be coming into bloom. After spending most of my life in places that get tons of snow and cold, the weather and plants are inspiring.
And this leads to my most recent project. I’ve spent most of the last month putting together my store on Etsy.com called ArtFromBrian, where I have most of the watercolor paintings featured in this blog and several others for sale.
If you have some time, click HERE for a link to my store. Thank you to everyone for your support.
And here is a painting of houses and trees on Page Street that I finished this week: