Trees, trees and more trees

So many pine trees

So many pine trees

Still working on the landscaping.  There is such a multitude of vegetation that it is taking a bit longer than normal to fill it all in.  I have to keep very aware of the positive/negative balance much more than I would otherwise, so that the house is not overwhelmed and it all gets too dark.  I am pretty pleased with this so far, though.  I will use the watercolors to darken under the house and will probably go in afterwards to fill in the ink where I think it needs it.

And yesterday I got an unexpected note.  Last August I was approached for the possibility of using one of my architectural drawings to be used as cover art for US State Department “English Teaching Forum” journal some time next year.  I sent them four different images to be in competition with I don’t know how many others, and I just received an email informing me that one of them had been chosen.  I was quite happily surprised because I had been told the person selected would be notified by the end of September.  When there was no word, I figured someone else had gotten it.  I don’t mind saying that I am rather pleased.  Sometimes “out of the blue” is a great thing.  I’ll post a picture when I get my copy!!

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Inking started on the Colorado cabin

Starting to ink all of those pine trees

Starting to ink all of those pine trees

At the end of last week, I started to ink my latest commission.  With a small weekend break to visit my new grandson, progress is a little slow, but I’m getting back to work today.

I started the way I normally do on a home commission – with the foliage.  For whatever reason, I like to begin with the landscaping and gradually move inward.  This is fairly complex as there is not really any “front” landscaping, but a massive amount of trees all around.  I have to be very careful with the positive/negative space so that the house doesn’t get lost.  The linearity of the house will help contrast with the softer trees.  Even though they are spiky pines, their irregular shapes are more fluid.  Another balance I have to find.

I actually stopped here deliberately because I started to lose my judgement and needed fresh eyes.  I need to rebalance the two pine trees on the right so they don’t look quite so lined up and will reshape them to move them slightly apart.  I was starting to lose sight of the whole at this point and decided it was time to stop.  Ink is so unforgiving that way.

Windows and the railings will be up next, after all of those trees are mostly done.

Colorado cabin colored

Colorado cabin colored

Colorado cabin colored

Well, after about 4 sessions on this small picture, I finally have the watercolors done.  It is easy to overdo a small piece, so I took my time.  After the initial washes, I spent several days adding more layers a little at a time.  It was not easy, but I am fairly happy with how it has turned out.

I added magenta to the shadowing to increase the color palette.  That orangy siding was really hard to work with and I needed to add some other color besides the ubiquitous greens.  Because of the risk of forest fires, I am sure, there was no close landscaping per se.  I managed to put in some small scrub trees and yellow flowers in the meadow surrounding the house.  That helped soften the hard lines of the house.

Colorado Commission

Colorado cabin

Colorado cabin

This little commission came out of nowhere. Usually there is a bit of back and forth between me and the client before purchase, but last Saturday, when I came home late from helping a friend at a horse show, there the order was.   I contacted her about what I needed and she sent me three shots of this mountain cabin. We decided a summer view was best since that was when the gift recipients spent most of their time there.  Thank heavens, because I really prefer not to do snow.

This little house with its log siding fits nicely into an open glade surrounded by pines.  The whole structure and landscaping is on the simple side so I will have to work hard with the watercolors to make it interesting.  I am sure it is quite charming when you are there, but I have to make it look special, just from the photos.  The flowers and shrubs often help there and all I have are 2 winter snow scenes and one spring one.

In some ways, the small 6×8 and the large 16×20 are harder than the middle sizes.  I have to be careful the small size so it is not just a jumble of ink with too much detail and the large one is just plain a lot of inking.