To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Friday, July 02, 2010


The water reflects what is above (the sky), or nearby (trees) or what's below (the bottom of the river)

Wednesday we were early enough to be in the valley to secure a parking spot right away! Then we went with the free shuttle to Happy Isles which is at the foot of Half Dome.  The two trees where I sat to paint "Bridgehead" last year was flooded!  Several other of my painting spots were flooded too (how dare "they"!), but eventually

The knotty tree

I settled on a place where one of the trees was standing in the water. I was not to sure if I could make this a believable painting, least I could try!  Somehow this scene had written "watercolor" all over it! So, that's what I did, even though I knew it would take me longer to finish, IF I could bring this to a good end!.

It's very interesting that in especially in Happy Isles the rocks "change colors." In the afternoon a pinkish cast is over them, while in the morning they look brownish or greenish.

The distractions make it more challenging to paint quickly. The most distracting is my love for the movement of the water! I can gaze at it for hours.

Then there were many people who came by, and even two groups of photographers with tripods, telelenses, and other expensive equipment. Maybe I am now more aware of photographers, since I blog, but I can't remember ever seeing whole groups with all the expensive stuff.
It made me feel good that they photographed the scene I was painting. To me it meant I had at least chosen something with a good design. They were very respectful of my space, and did not stand in front of me to take their photos.

Other people came by to chat with me, some with encouraging comments when they saw I was painting. Some immediately saw which tree was my focus without even looking on my paper.

 Three pics were needed for my watercolor. This is on the right of the knotty tree.

You may skip this paragraph if you are not one interested  in knowing about the painting problems one encounters in plein air watercolors. 
To keep a watercolor where tree trunks are the focus from becoming boring, I give each of the trees a personality. Each person has their own distinctive DNA, so have trees. This keeps the viewer's eyes on the painting.
The same is with rocks.
Just as a reminder, water reflects what is far above (sky), or directly above (trees) or below (the rocks on the bottom of the river). That is why parts of the water are green!
When I think "where is this going?" I focus on the following to get me back on track!
For me, I like more angular, and less rounded shapes in a watercolor.
Bigger differences in values (light - dark) than oil or pastel, where the transition can be more gradual.
A two-color combi always works. The more colors, the more chance of the painting becoming muddled or disjointed.

The old knotty tree standing in the water is the focus of interest for my watercolor. For me, that tree is the stuff where fairy tales are made of. One of the few cartoons available in my childhood (in Holland) was about the adventures of Mr. Bommel, a big brown bear. And in the background was always a huge knotty tree.

Something to consider is that meaningful objects (people and things) of the past, may show up in an artist's work. Actually it is seen in many of the Old Masters art works. It would not be a big leap to say that part of the artwork signifies an artist's working through their own journey in life. Actually, it would be quite unnatural if the subjects of someone's art would be completely removed from the things they deal with in daily life.

© First rendition of The Knotty Tree, 12 x 16 Watercolor, St.Germain

Not totally satisfied with this watercolor. Something is still "missing." Or, maybe I'm  used to a more romantic view instead of a stark rendition like this. Have to say though that it was a place with lots of shadow. But there is a difference in interpreting it accurately and liking the interpretation!

© Final Rendition of The Knotty Tree, 12 x 16, Watercolor, St.Germain

Since I felt the scene was too stark, I thought of ways to make it a friendlier place, because that it what it means to me. As one of my fave profs in graduate school said, "What we THINK reality is, that  IS  REALITY  to us."

If you see cross-eyed by now from all that green, here is my "little somethin' " hubby caught, while I was painting.


Clytie said...

I absolutely love your finished painting! I think, as artists, we are rarely satisfied with our own work, and feel something is missing.

Trust me, NOTHING IS MISSING! You caught the knotty (naughty?) tree view perfectly. :=}

rainfield61 said...

You have taught me something about painting.

And you have really given the trees a new life.

Nora said...

It's true, you always should give your own interpretation to what you see. It makes the painting come alive and gives it personality. This definitely is your work and I like that.

Joan said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed roaming through both of your do lovely work and your photos of Yosemite are wonderful. That is one of my favorite parks, but I haven't visited it in a long time.

Rebecca said...

LOVE the water color!

jeannette said...

You make me smile -I ha not thought on that play on words yet:)
You was it well that I'm not quickly satisfied, but then it's also a way to advance beyond where I'm now. I appreciate your encouragement though!

That is a big compliment Rainfield, from one who loves the trees of the jungle:)

It must be the ole Dutch gene, eh? Individualism is good for art!

Thank you, friend!

EG Wow said...

Very interesting to read, to learn how a an artist in watercolour thinks.

Betsy Grant said...

I love nature very much - but your paintings look so good, I would almost like to jump into one of those rather than the actual nature spot. Your work is one of many examples of why I love artists so much. What a gift!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I most always seem to have a painter in my work - esp my novels - facinating!

beautiful work

dutchbaby said...

The tilt of trees in your painting conveys the movement of the rushing water you enjoy so much.

Yosemite is one of my favorite places on the planet. My husband and I chose it for our honeymoon destination and often celebrate our anniversary there. My New Year's post this year was about our 20th anniversary trip.

Doowmée said...

In hurry, I just say Hello Jeannette
See you soon on the net

Merisi said...

Oh, how beautiful!
Visiting Yosemite one day is a dream of mine, ever since I studied Ansel Adams' monumental black and white images at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
Your painting does the place more than justice!

Pam said...

I think it is positively gorgeous just the way you first painted it.
I do understand that we all can be our own worst critics but take our word and enjoy it as much as we do.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh yes, trees and people. All with their own individual DNA. In answer to your question about my paleness causing a problem with clothing colours, the answer is yes! There are certain colours that look perfectly dreadful on me. Yellows are out, and orangey reds are hideous on me. Blue reds are okay. I do best in blacks and blues, whites and greens.

jeannette said...

EG Wow,
Must say that not every artist thinks like I do, because of my job as a psychologist, my sense is that I probably tend to analyze my work more...?

Thank you Betsy, you are very kind! I'll return the compliment to you about music:)

Ooh, now comes the big question: what kind of personality do you give artists (usually)?
After you tell me your characterization, I'll tell you how my friends & family characterized me when I was a teen (I'm serious).

Oh, what a great place to have your honeymoon there! We somehow "stumbled onto" hearing about the big trees at Yos. And there I took my first watercolor lessons with the guests artists who come there every week. And the rest is history!
Looking forward to your anniversary post!

How are you doing? Are you having your yearly vacation, or...?
Hope to hear from you soon:)

Thank you! When I saw his photos for the first time (in the bookstore of Yosemite are books with most of his works) I realized how much of an art photography is, and how much there is to learn!!
Hope you'll make it there sometime:)

Thank you, Friend. I am glad that you enjoy it (I do too whenever I come out of my "evanluation mode":) )

Pamela Terry,
I'm glad that at least you have some choice of colors! Orangy red also looks horrible on me, and also certain kinds of browns.

Forgot to tell you, that if one lives close to Disney Land, and if you have been behind the scenes, one starts thinking about it as a working place.

Rudee said...

The photos are beautiful, but your paintings really touch me. Just gorgeous!

Whitemist said...

it seems my post got lost?
But knotty trees are some of my favorite to paint. they tell such a story of what shaped the trees life!

jeannette said...

Sorry, this is already the 2nd comment that got lost! But something similar seems to go on at your blog. I posted a comment, and was the only one, but in the text of your blog it says that there were 3 comments?

yes, lets start a Club of the Knotty Tree Painters:)