Painting Outside

One Yellow Car and Shadow, Watercolor Painting

Brian Bailey, One Yellow Car and Shadow, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

I’m posting a little later than usual today because it was so nice outside.  I had a great walk and sat down to do a little painting outdoors.  I’ve been trying to maintain loose lines in my work and doing lots of gesture drawings. It can seem a little unnatural to trust my instincts at first, but feels great once I get comfortable.  In the end, I decided to exaggerate the shadows and create contrast with the sky and foreground. Thank you for the nice comments I’ve been getting lately.  Your encouragement and insights are greatly appreciated.



Shaded, Watercolor Painting

Brian Bailey, Shaded, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

I’ve been focused on shadows and light for some time now.  Shadows are like a whole new set of lines to go along with the shapes you see in life.  They extend and retract while deepening our experience of color and changing the mood of a scene.  When painting shadows, I usually start with a bright and strong version of a color and let it dry.  Then I’ll mix a wash of ultramarine blue and Vandyke brown or burnt sienna and add layers of shadow over the bright colors while looking out for highlights.  With this painting, I painted the shadows first and put the yellow and violet over them.  I really enjoy the versatility of watercolor and the fact that you can conduct an endless number of experiments to figure out what gives you the result you’re looking for.

Quick Lines

Blue Garage, Watercolor Painting

Brian Bailey, Blue Garage, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

Over the weekend, I spent some time doing gesture drawings of people and there is definitely something more gestural in my painting today. I find that quick lines and loose watery washes are the best solution to the times when my paintings start to feel tight.  I’m planning to get out to the park and do some more gesture drawing tomorrow and am working on another watercolor on Yupo.  If that’s finished, I’ll post it tomorrow. Thanks for looking and hope your week is off to a great start.

An Entrance to the Week

Sixth at Noon, Watercolor Painting

Brian Bailey, Sixth at Noon, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

For Monday, I’ve painted the shaded entrace to a building on 6th Avenue.  On walks around the city, the shadows cut across the white and grey sidewalks, reflecting the time of day and covering steps and doorways.  Who lives in all these houses and cares for all of these bushes and succulents stationed at corners and thresholds?  I only include people in my paintings from time to time, but I always feel like they’re close by, just out of frame or hidden behind doors.

The Search For More To Draw

Creativity is a challenge. An idea, even a tiny piece of a idea, can be very elusive. Sometimes sketches feel like having the right words on the tip of your tongue and being unable to grasp them.  So far, I’d say it’s best to keep moving forward, doing what I can to right the ship. It’s important to seek new information and be aware that at any moment, a piece can fall into place and your vision is back to making sense and feeling whole.  This morning I spent time looking through other artist’s websites and feel more focused. If anyone has ideas for creative or art based websites to check out, please share in the comments.

I spent quite a bit of time in my sketchbook this week with drawings of buildings in San Francisco’s Mission District, Cole Valley, and from around the house. Here are some of the results. I hope you enjoy them.