Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The midwest and the south are suffering sweltering heat and humidity.  Hot hot hot!  Takes your breath away when you go outside.  As if you've opened a hot oven door and are standing in that heat, trying to breathe.  I hope you all are trying to stay cool and have a good air conditioning unit and fans and ice water and whatever else you need to keep your body heat down.

Me, I just thought I'd go back to this landscape and try again.  I thought the greens would cool me down (plus it's cooler downstairs in my art room than upstairs right now).

To me, it still looks stiff.  But, in an effort to be a better person, my comment on my calendar this week is:
Positive words need to be spoken twice as often as negative words.
Sure, we all know that, right?  That little negative feels like a slap that is well remembered, when the positive feels like just a bit of fairy dust lightly brushing over us, soon to be forgotten.
So, in order to be more positive towards myself (as well as others), here's what I like about this:

I like the variety of greens, warms and cools and good distant colors and shapes.  I like that I pushed the red barn back on the hill and let the white barn be larger.  I tried to tie things together with quin burnt orange and a touch of red here and there.  I think the fence posts look more like fence posts now.

Of course, there are still a lot of things I don't like about this - and the stiffness of the painting is the worst, for me.  So...more working towards a goal and seeing if I can get there without giving up in despair!

Here is a nice cool page from Catherine Gill's landscape book - all the greens she makes from her palette colors (and I'll forgive her for using Rose Madder Genuine, a fugitive color no one should use no matter how lovely it is).

What are you doing to stay cool?  Or are you lucky enough to live in a place where it is cool now with a nice breeze blowing and the windows open?


Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors said...

where I live (Seattle)it is 61 degrees right now. The sky is covered with a blanket of clouds. It might be lightly raining. I am not complaining.
I keep looking at your barn. it's just a white square. Can you put a few boards out, or a window? also maybe make the light green field right below it undulate a little because right now, its just a horizontal stripe right below the barn and right below that is another horizontal stripe. You can delete this comment, but I have been where you are so have been puzzling about this composition for days as well.

Irina said...

I agree with every word. My blogging in English taught me great lesson: be kind and supportive and (almost) never critique (as every opinion is subjective and no-one knows what is right and what is wrong, specially in art).
The greens in Jane Dobie's book version are the mix of cool/warm green with reds and yellows - make great results.
We have great weather, but still afraid that the last summer fires/smoke/heat will repeat. But at a moment we are so lucky.
And I am very interested in your progress with barns, I fought mine few weeks ago, they won.

Anonymous said...

Rhonda, I think it has a sweet charm all of it’s own. I have discovered lately that a thin glaze of Cobalt Turquoise is extraordinary for either graying out or cooling down previous areas of wash. Why not try this over again and approach it in a different way, perhaps instead of hard edges on the foliage behind the house (and the house itself) try feathering and softening out those lines first off…. you can always sharpen them up later on. Is her book interesting? It’s been muggy, and overcast all day here in the south of England and there is talk of rain coming in. Because I live on the edge of Exmoor, our weather can change several times in one day! No open windows today as one of the neighbors has been burning off yard waste!!!!!

RH Carpenter said...

Mimi, thanks for that honest critique! I appreciate it - sometimes we try to be too nice and being more honest works well for me with this one. I didn't even see the horizontal stripes! YIKE! You fix one thing and two more error pop up. Ah, such is learning - it's like learning a new language, isn't it? 61 degrees? Oh, how wonderful that must be! I could live somewhere that never got past 80 in the summer :)

Irina, thanks for reminding of Jeanne Dobie's greens - I have that book somewhere and will bring it out to feed my landscape green frenzy! ha ha

Maggie, I do like her book - am going slowly through it, reading a little at a time and then working on this landscape - you all are going to get so tired of seeing it but I think I might have a good version inside me somewhere! ha ha I'll look at softening edges but don't have cobalt turquoise (sounds like a great color, though, might have to get a tube). I would love to do this all very soft...okay, I'll try again. Maybe 4th time is the charm?

Jeanette said...

I'm not a great landscape painter, so don't feel competent enough to add suggestions here except to say that adding other colours into your piece may provide the lift you require. Greens are never just green. There are reds, oranges, yellows, blues, purples, etc. all lurking waiting for their chance.

As for weather, it never gets overly hot here, or not for long. 30C would be the max and that a rarity. Its moderate and can be cool, this summer especially! Mid 20s (centigrade) is the average. Humidity can be a problem as can wind, like the mini hurricane that turned my gazebo inside out on Sunday!

Our summer is very short here and I always long for heat. We're never satisfied with our lot are we?

AutumnLeaves said...

Live in the midwest and I hear you, sister. It is miserable here. And of course, the temps are always 5 to 10 degrees hotter than the weather guys say it will get. Very little rain, despite promises. Sigh...this is why summer is my least favorite season. And? We have no a/c in the house. We're getting by on fans with the hope of buying this place and putting in central a/c in the spring.

I love the oxymoron of "warm cools." I have to say that the colors in this piece are just exquisite and somehow that oxymoron just is.

RH Carpenter said...

Jeanette, thanks :) You're right, of course - green isn't just green even if it's a warm or a cool green - time to start realizing I need to drop in a few other colors along the way. I've always thought people should swap houses to enjoy summer weather in other places! ha ha But I guess a week to a cooler (or warmer) climate could be arranged at any time - it just doesn't happen. Maybe part of the fun of summer is complaining about it? ha ha

Autumn, thanks. Did I say warm cools? I meant cool or warm colors although I think I have heard a teacher talk about cool warms - not sure what she meant!

Linda Young said...

Here's my two cents worth; I like the way you have handled the greens; this is a nice little painting. I agree with the suggestion about leaving a few boards out (giving some depth to the barn)

My suggestion would be to make a slight change on the "T" of the barn's door. The perspective angle of the "T" should go away slightly as well as the bottom of the right edge of the door. If you look at the eave on the right side, it is a different angle. The "T" of the doorway could be broken up (lightened) a little to make the solid line appear not as harsh. Draw two lines from the left side of the barn to the little house in the distance. This will show you how your lines should run on the door.

You are a wonderful painter, Rhonda. Be kind to yourself. Sincerely, Linda