“Tournasol Space”
watercolor on paper, 30″ x 22″
The nice thing about painting outdoors is that the images of what I paint is sometimes burned into my memory. I find that if the location had a lot to offer in a spectacular sense, new images begin processing themselves in my head. Unknowingly, I memorize much of the character of the place after staring at it and painting for three or four hours.

My stint at the edge sunflower field near the farmhouse where I stayed in France was no different. Also, the vision of the different shaped fields, all tilted and undulating into the distance, was something I just could not shake. At my desk at work, I found myself sketching as I was on the phone. Before I knew it, I had the elements of two or three interesting paintings . . . .each offering different challenges.

The challenge in this piece was to not allow myself to become tight and edgy. In watercolor, looseness can be fascinating, particularly when an image is represented well without actually stating it. I find that more of a feeling occurs when that is accomplished; Thus, the goal of avoiding a tight rendering. Also, green can become very tiresome in a painting, especially if it is large like this one. I had to resort to blues and violets to bring about the sense of greenery here. Those colors set off the yellows and occasional orange, obviously.

Gradations of intensity and textures play a large role in this piece to bring about the feeling of space.

As for the execution, big, really big, brushes were used to saturate the whole page with initial color while the vertical paper gave gravity permission to do the painting. Then, mark after mark with progressively smaller brushes, ‘things’ began to appear in the paint without painfully executed edges . . . .just suggestions. Gradually, over three to four days, the painting developed with a lot of time and consideration between applications of paint.


6 thoughts on “”

  1. Very clever!! I feel as if I were there with y’all, in the midst of this field of sunflowers! Must have been a glorious view.

    And now you need to go order a whole new set of yellow watercolors 🙂

    It’s quite fascinating to see the difference between your watercolors and oils. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but your oils are somehow more intimate.

  2. Hi Mike,
    When I looked at this painting it gave me the same feeling and mood as when I looked at the group picture among the sunflowers field.As if I was there. Wow!!!
    I also realised that I don’t have to finish the painting in one session, I might have three days… Abeer

  3. Nava . . .you might be right. There is a looseness in the watercolor pieces that does not (yet) exist in the oils. I can assure you, though, it is coming eventually . . . .that is as I become more casual about the process.

    Yup. Lotsa yellow. As for the view, this came out of my head. Similar views presented themselves every day as we traveled about.

  4. Hi Abeer! Thanks for coming by.

    You are right. Developing a painting should not be rushed. I have found it to me as much a mental process as a physical one. The danger to working over time, at least for me, is that my moods fluctuate enough to have a different hand at the easel on certain days. So, when the pulse is present about an image, it is important for me to stay with it . . . .but not stretch it over too long a period.

    As for the feeling of this piece, I too can sense being there! Just what I had hoped!!


  5. Hi Mike. You just proved that including the elements of a place and making up a painting will evoke the sense of place. I felt like I was right back there at Le Petit Rousset! Awesome.


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