Country Roads

8 July, 2016. Sometimes as I cycle along a country road I’ll come across a location where the time and place just sort of “speak to me.” This is one such place. Standing pretty much stationary, I could (and did) turn and view 360 degrees of imagery that made me somewhat nostalgic for the country roads of my youth. Within that 360 degree span there literally was no lack of subject matter or compositional fodder. This is where “keeping it simple” with a tiny watercolor kit, a water brush and pencil, and a lightweight, folded sketch pamphlet beats most other kits.

This location intrigues me. I stood at the confluence of a couple roads, a bluff on one side and fields on the other, grain storage, a few fading road signs – essentially a world of simple, graphic shapes. Perfect!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m trying out a few new and different combinations of colors in my palette. I don’t yet feel confident that I can intuitively reach for the “right” combination yet as I do with my standard palette, but the pigments aren’t fighting me either. I’m happy to discover some interesting hues that are at the same time both raw and subtle. The mixture below combining Cerulean Blue and Perylene Green in the middle ground resulted in an unexpected turquoise. Increasing the Perylene and adding a touch of Quinacridone Magenta created a subtle and rather beautiful medium cool gray immediately above that shape. I’m so easily pleased: These are the sort of simple surprises that make me very happy.

All four of these sketches were done on one side of a single cut and accordion-folded page of Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper. A full sheet of the paper can be trimmed into four horizontal strips, then scored and folded to a 5.5 x 7.5 inch size pamphlet. It’s light and easy to carry, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite papers on which to sketch and paint.

Individual sketches are approximately 5 x 5 inches. Painted in rural Clay County, near Missouri City, Missouri.


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