I started this painting on a walk through Golden Gate Park when I came across a pond that I had never noticed before. I’ve taken frequent walks through the park over the last 2 years and had walked around the left and to the right without seeing that just over the crest of a small hill there was a quiet and murky pond. Being able to spend time in the park is so valuable to me. It’s the place where I flesh out many of my thoughts about life while walking or stopping to watch and meditate. And this small painting is a memory of that time watching and thinking below the pine and cypress trees.
For a while now, I’ve been visualizing how I could capture some of the feeling I get walking around San Francisco at night. The air feels cooler and the lights have a glow that reveals just a feeling of what’s there. It reminds me of the light washes of water and color that, when they’re cooperating, give just a suggestion of what an artist might have seen and felt.
I’m always drawn to my watercolor trays like a moth to a flame but I mentioned last week that I’ve been oil painting, so below is one of the paintings I was referring to. The buildings are downtown on California Street along one of the cable car routes that runs through Chinatown. I tried building up the surface, in spots, a bit more than I usually do and it occurred to me that an oil painting can sort of go on forever. I just mean, you can keep adding paint and the surface keeps growing until you reach that point where you’ve decided everything needed has been said and the painting is finished. In contrast, I feel like I almost have to sneak up on a watercolor painting, building slowly or quickly and stopping as soon as something comes to life. Of course, there are no rules for how to make a painting, just so many different ways to try.
The watercolor, San Francisco Night, is available HERE on Etsy. I don’t have any of my oil paintings listed on Etsy yet, but if anyone is interested in any of the work on my blog or having a custom work created, please feel free to contact me through this blog or send me an email at email@example.com. As always, thank you for being a part of this blog and supporting creativity!
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.
I’m still finding a great deal of enjoyment from working with ink and watercolor. The combination of the two just feels like it can capture a spontaneous moment. The faster the work develops and the more bold the lines, the better the work feels. I’m still building on the idea of my last blog that each painting can be an experiment and the more freely the medium is handled the more it feels like tapping directly into someones vision.
As always, thank you for reading and I always appreciate your likes and comments.
On Etsy: Fulton Street Blues and Reds
I just dropped off this watercolor painting and a couple of others at BridgeMakerARTS in Richmond, CA for their holiday exhibition that will be up from December 5 through January 3. They have a great creative space and a community of artists on-site. If you are located in the Bay Area and would like to attend an artist reception, it will be on December 5 from 6-9 pm and they are located at:
Richmond, CA. 94804
Brian Bailey, Haight Ashbury, Watercolor, 7″ x 5″, © 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 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!
I started another painting outside today and finished it this evening. It was a colder day and I used a lot of ultramarine blue and burnt umber to reflect the “greyness.”
When pulling together the shapes and lines that make up a composition it can be challenging to determine how much information is enough. Some of my favorite drawings and paintings exhibit a very economical approach to line, saying just enough to let the viewer see what the artist sees. In recent weeks, I’ve been doing many gesture drawings, as I’ve mentioned before, and I’m trying to let my paintings be, somewhat, more gestural. I started my painting today outside with lots of light and finished it at home by bumping up the shadows and contrast. I’m really trying to stop myself from overworking each painting and I’m pretty happy with how this one looks. If you have the time, let me know what you think.
It seems that when I look upon a building, landscape, or any other thing I see and want record with a drawing or painting, I am feeling some relation to the order and balance of it. It comes to life in the process of reordering the elements on paper and trying regain the memory of the thing, even as it’s right in front of me. The process and the memory of that moment when all that was in front of me was in perfect order, combine and have personal meaning. The crucial part in drawing and painting seems to be in the beginning. If the objects are out of alignment from the start, the rest of the work can feel like a chase for something just out of reach. Some works become truly special and others are abandoned. I like the process of keeping this blog as a journal of each day’s small success or failure. I don’t hold back works and some are better than others but it feels good to see them all together.