Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Watercolor Sketches

Here are some watercolor sketches from my recent trip to the Big Sur-Point Lobos area. I really like to use watercolors in the summer because drying time is important to me and that goes so much faster in hot weather.


Matt said...

Wow! I love trees that have twisting trunks and roots. There is a certain type of "weed" tree that I've been obsessed with lately that I've been noticing from the train on my way too and from work. I haven't figured out what type of trees they are, but they tend to grow in almost any condition, and they seem to be common near the train tracks and near city apartment buildings.

Katherine Kean said...

I wonder what those weed trees might be?

The ones I've been painting are Monterey Cypress and I think they only grow in a couple of places.

I love the twisting trunks and roots too.

Topwomen said...

katherine, watercolor is such a difficult medium for me; i love the subject matter of the trees and their shapes. You really used some neat techniques that brought out so much emotion.

Really neat.

I presume you use cold pressed paper? Arches?

What size are these?

I'd love to see more of the same subject.

Matt said...

Katherine -- After a little searching, I found the weed trees that I see so many of on my way to work in the morning.

Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven or Ailanthus)

Katherine Kean said...

Hi rgmb,

I used Arches hot pressed, 300 lb. These are small, about 9" x 6".

I'm glad you like them. I'm working on more!

Katherine Kean said...

Hi zataod,

I believe I've seen those trees around. They have a nice name. Apparently they are quite hardy.

Topwomen said...

katherine, I've tried working with hot pressed and it's very difficult for me to get nongrainy washes but you have done so beautifully. I have a girlfriend who uses hotpressed for her botanical watercolors. Do you feel you have better control with hot pressed, or more definining capabilities?

Thanks for your patience with my silly questions.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi rgmb,

Ask away, these are great questions.

Yes, I doI find it easier to get fine detail with hot press.

The graininess seems to be more of a charactersitic of certain pigments than because of the paper. Also "old" watercolors that have dried and been rewet and dried and rewet again and again tend to become grainy. Use fresh paint.

Melissa said...

These are just beautiful. I love those twisty trunks too!

Topwomen said...

katherine, do you use paints in cakes or tubes?

thanks for the good suggestion about fresh pigments.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Melissa,

Thank you! Yes, trees are amazing.

Katherine Kean said...


I use tube paint, and sometimes bottled, concentrated watercolors.

You are so very welcome!

Topwomen said...


i want to tell you that you've inspired me to take out my watercolors again. not that i can produce anything as lovely as your trees, but i love watercolors in the summer because of the fast drying time. i might even buy a block of hot pressed paper and give it another try. thanks for the inspiration. : )

One final comment about your trees. I've been lookiing at them very carefully and I want to commend you on your ability to leave the white (did you use a blocking solution?) in such fine detail for the branches and limbs. You have wonderful control.

I have a girlfriend and neighbor who are both amazing artists, they are wonderful to encourage me and we share limited times where we get together plein air and paint. I wish you could join us. : )

Katherine Kean said...

Hi rgmb,

That's wonderful!

Thank you, I do often use a liquid mask to preserve some white, or nearly white areas.

Enjoy your painting. I wish we could paint together too! :)

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