Hi Everyone! In a world of beautiful colors that surround us, it is hard to imagine any scene in just one color. The reason I like black and white photos is because they simplify the world around me. In doing so they create more depth, perspective and focus. I often use that practice in paintings by using a single color. I thought I’d share a few examples of that today with some of my painting practices, along with a few more black and white photos.
Simple 365 – Set 11
Here is another set of Simple365 photos. This is what my summer usually looks like, playing and experimenting indoors. After a jaunt through the garden, I putter in the kitchen making both food and art concoctions. Aside from making paint from foraged things, this was my first time making mint jam and mint wine.
Please Click on the image thumbnails to see the photos and read the captions.
I created a page with all the previously shared photos from Simple365. I continue to add photos to that page as I share them here. That way I can relive the journey through the year via black and white photos like in an old album.
Painting With Homemade Ink
We have a beautiful old towering black walnut tree. A couple of years ago, I happily collected a LOT of black walnuts. The huge mess I made was matched only by the amount the fun I had while making black walnut ink.
This was my first time painting with ink made from plant material. This bookmark picture is of that walnut tree, painted with the ink I made. The ink has a gorgeous golden hue to it and can also be used as a stain. I am going to convert some of that ink/stain to watercolor, but that’s a story for another day.
Exploring An Old Favourite
I probably don’t need to to tell you anymore how much I love trees. Whenever I am trying something new, I unintentionally start with a simple sketch of one or many trees, followed by marking the dark, medium and light areas. This value sketch is immensely helpful, especially when I am working with only one color.
It does look like a hot mess when I start. However, the composition takes shape over time as I continue to paint. “The rule” says to paint from light to dark. However, I sometimes paint the closest trees first. They are the darkest and have the most detail. Then I paint the further-out ones that are lighter in color with less detail. I do what works for the painting and me, which quite often does not follow convention.
Prussian Blue is one of my favourite colours. Depending on water usage, this granulating color deposits unevenly producing a mottled effect. There are places in this painting where I didn’t want that, so I had to pay extra attention. Exploring it without interference from another color gave me a chance to learn and understand this color to its fullest.
Trying A New Brand
Watercolors from different brands behave very differently. I was curious about Rembrandt watercolor. I love their less expensive Van Gogh line and use it often in my nature journals. When I want to try out a new expensive brand of watercolor, I only purchase one tube. While visiting an art supply store with my husband, I asked him to pick out a Rembrandt color for me. Here is a man who delights in creating little challenges for me. Knowing very well that I use red in my paintings only for accents, he chose that very color for a monochromatic painting.
Painting a red forest bookmark was daunting for me, but I accepted the challenge and loved it. Working with just one color, I was able to learn the behavior of the Rembrandt paint.
A few painting tools and a tube of paint, and I can stay busy for hours. I also keep a sketchbook with my line drawings, value sketches and additional notes.
Black and white photos create a simplified world with increased depth, perspective, and focus. Extending that monochromatic world of photography into the world of painting makes it easier for me to learn and play. Do you ever play with black and white / monochromatic colors or are you a full-time full-color person? I would love to know.
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