I’ve been spending some time painting outside with watercolor and my Sakura Microperm pen. I definitely get into moods where ink + watercolor is the only way to capture the feeling of what’s in front of me. I’ve always liked the ephemeral quality of watercolor mixed with the hard contrast of black ink . I feel like the pen captures the way my brain is communicating with my hand very directly. My watercolor is usually less controlled and finds it’s own way of landing and that is a big part of what I love about it. It’s always a balancing act between control and letting go with confidence. I hope you enjoy these and I’m sure there will be more.
To start off the new year, here are two watercolor paintings that I finished in the last couple of days. Golden Gate Park and the streets of San Francisco continue to fuel me with inspiration. I’ve also been back to painting in oil and will likely to post some of that work next week. Over the last year, I have been surprised by how important and inspirational other people can be. And, as I look ahead to 2016, one of my major goals is to listen better and spend more time learning from the work and words of others. I hope everyone else’s year is off to a great start and thank you for all of your likes and comments from 2015.
Just a quick update to share a watercolor painting that I did last week of the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco and to tell everyone that my work has been featured on the excellent blog, Doodlewash. Here is a link to the article:
Doodlewash is written by Charlie O’Shields and he does a great job of sharing his own watercolors as well as the paintings and ideas of a variety of other watercolor artists. You can see more of Doodlewash at the following links:
I spent more time sketching in the Haight-Ashbury district this week. I’m still working on getting loose and understanding how to work with watercolor. Mindfulness and letting go seem to be the biggest parts of making images that feel authentic to me. I’m feeling good about where my work is heading and I’ll be posting more in the coming weeks. Thank you for your comments and encouragement.
I noticed a man on the corner, just outside the shadows of Haight Street. Like many others, his large backpack was laying on the sidewalk behind him. I’ve wanted to incorporate more people into my paintings for a while and have been doing lots of gesture drawings to help make this happen. Shadows still catch my eye every time I walk around the city and are always working their way into my paintings.
I’m still putting my work on Etsy at ArtFromBrian and appreciate the recent boost from visitors coming over from this blog. Thank you for taking the time to check out my store. And please check back to see what’s new!
Today I took another walk around the Haight-Ashbury district and strong shadows were calling to me everywhere. I started this watercolor around 1 o’clock under a shower of sunshine and the clear blue sky. An oddly shaped window jutted out over an entryway and this streetlight cut up through the cloudless sky. As always, the shadows draw me into the unexpected shapes, lines, and muted colors. I love finding these quiet little corners above the sidewalk. More tomorrow…
I painted a corner apartment building one block south of Haight-Ashbury today. I find myself drawn to this neighborhood over and over again. It has a feeling to it that’s hard to describe. The hippies, artists, and musicians of the 60’s have mostly moved away but there is still a feeling that something important happened here and is, maybe, still happening. Artistic types and free spirits still wander along Haight Street and give off a strange vibration that they are a part of something or maybe they’re up to something.
Over and over, I walk along and turn the corner, drawn to the tree lined streets adjacent to Haight, and I feel something for the buildings and the sidewalks. I feel like so much cultural history, art, and music came from people living behind these walls. And it’s still alive, extending out into an unknown and unpredictable future. I’m going to keep making drawings and paintings of those streets and houses, so please check them out and let me know what you think.