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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Colored Block Studies in Watercolor

Painting the light effect today in block studies. NFS.

This is the style of watercolor I love most, but it’s unique in that it doesn’t stress transparency, but seeing and painting the light.

Most impressionist painters work in oil. While some watercolorists claim to paint in an impressionistic style, they are not truly painting the light effect.

I taught myself how to do this by poring over Painting the Impressionist Watercolor by Lee Boynton. He is the only person I know of who taught this technique.

Unfortunately, Lee passed away last year and I never had the opportunity to take a class with him.  I will continue my study of painting the light, doing my best to “scream at me with color” and “get the shock of the light,” two of the sayings from Lee’s book.

#watercolorpainting #stilllife #impressionistpainting #mariapeagler

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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