Dusk at Fort Mountain State Park

I painted this plein air at the beginning sunset at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia. I captured the light and shadow as they danced on the fence, rocks and trees. While it was light when I started, by the time I was finished, I was in almost total darkness in my hike back to my car.

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$127, 9×12″ watercolor painting on Arches cold-pressed 140lb paper.

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@gastateparks @exploregeorgia #landscapepainting #pleinairpainter #mariapeagler

My Quiet Place

In a world filled with noise

Everyone talking

Is anyone listening?

I have my quiet place

Always near a towering trunk

A person or two coming and going

Enjoying their quiet place

I marked the first day of fall by painting a hot day that still feels like summer.  This peaceful alcove is one of my favorite spots in my community because it’s always quiet.

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My Latest Watercolor Painting

Wildflowers in Crested Butte. These flowers were in a neighbor’s yard and I designed this scene to include the purple wildflowers and mountains, which we’re nearby but not in the same composition. #artisticlicense #wildflowerfestival #crestedbutte #landscape #mariapeagler

Hay Bales, Composed

I spent a lot of time composing this painting. It’s from a photograph of a farm with two barns, a truck, and the hay bales. The photo was a far away shot and in landscape format.

I was immediately drawn to the lines of the two barns where they intersected the hay bales.  I played up the contrast there and made it the center of interest in the composition.

The tree on the right was my own addition, a little artistic license to keep you in the painting.

I used a split-complementary color scheme here of blue, red-orange and yellow-orange, with a little red-violet thrown in for accent.

I’ve been helping a friend who is struggling a bit with watercolor, and my advice was to learn to let the watercolor do the work.  As Keiko Tanabe says, “you’re a team.” I let the colors mingle on the paper and granulate in the upper barn roof.

Those colors are my “secret recipe.” I use a Daniel Smith pigment that I’ve never heard of anyone else using, and I discovered it by accident. But it’s now my favorite, and I work it into as many paintings as possible.

I adore the way this turned out. This is my style: bold color and lots of drama.

The exercise was from Brienne M. Brown’s class on Composition over at OpenStudioOnline.com.

 

Perfect Fishing Day

Is there any more southern tradition on a hot summer day than to go fishing on the bank of lake?

I did a lot of composing in this scene: the bridge was actually much further to the left about a half a mile. The bridge that was here was a common overpass, nothing interesting.  I loved the metalwork of this bridge and wanted to include it.

I also made sure to create depth using aerial perspective: the trees in the back are much lighter and bluer than those in the middle and front.

This family was enjoying their afternoon: father, mother and son, fishing together.

Beautiful day in Dahlonega at Lake Zwerner. #watercolorpainting #landscape #mariapeagler

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Lavender Collection

lavender collection watercolor
Mini-watercolors in sizes 3×3″ to 5×7″

 

 

I’m a gardener and love herbs: they are easy, bug-resistant and bring so much beauty to my world.

Last week I visited Red Oak Lavender Farm in Dahlonega and relished in their rows and rows of different varieties of lavender.

I’ll be sharing a watercolor I painted of the lavender field soon.

 

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Providence Canyon, Georgia

On our way home from spring break in Florida, we stopped at Providence Canyon State Park, “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon.” David and Zach waited patiently while I painted this gorgeous scene.

This painting was heavily influenced by my visit two weeks ago to the American Watercolor exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was able to see John Singer Sargent’s paintings in person.

It changed me.

I stared at his “Muddy Alligators” painting for what seemed like hours. Up close, it looked like any other painting: just strokes of watercolor on paper.

But step back, and the painting transformed into a symphony of lights, darks, brights against muted values.

I live in Georgia, home of the Okeefenokee Swamp, and I’ve seen plenty of gators in my time. I never saw them the way Sargent did.

But that’s changing. The most important skill for an artist is vision: not just in imagining what your art can be, but in actually “seeing” what’s before you.

I’ll be doing a series of paintings based on my Providence Canyon visit, each in a subtly different style.

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Winter’s Sunset

The sunset view from my porch every evening. This small 5×7″ study is one in a series I’m doing during winter when bare branches allow me to see more of the glorious colors.

Watercolor requires a lot of advance planning and perfect timing. I tend to be more spontaneous, so doing small studies lets me practice the wet-in-wet layers, progressing to wet-on-dry. My goal is to do enough studies that the process becomes instinct, so I can be spontaneous.

After 12 years of painting, watercolor still challenges me.

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