Return of the Gourd – Days 17-19 – Strada Easel Challenge

Day 19 – “Return of the Gourd” aka – Study in Orange
"Orange Gourd", 5x7, oil on canvas, © Nelia Harper
“Orange Gourd”, 5×7, oil on canvas, © Nelia Harper

I had my day planned out, and then weather happened.  (Ha!)  Yesterday, I started a 12×9 painting of flowers in a hanging basket. The window of light is limited to about 2 hours before the flowers are completely shaded.  I got a good start on the painting, and I planned to return today.  However, the sky was overcast, the light was completely different, and the wind was gusting to 40 mph.

So, on to Plan B.  Looking around the house, I decided upon this gourd.  I’ve been thinking a lot about trees, especially aspens in color.  While most aspens turn yellow, there are many that turn orange.  So, this made a great subject to study orange and yellow

I have to say, these mini paintings are getting easier.  The first several were very difficult to do.  I’m becoming more comfortable with my process, colors, brush, setup, canvas and all the other materials I use, by painting daily.  It has been worthwhile to devote my time and energy to daily painting for the month of September.

Day 18 – Flower Basket

Here’s the start I made yesterday.  I should be able to return to it tomorrow.  We’ll see.  I also want to get back outside and paint some trees and rabbit bush in preparation for next week.

Day 18 - Flower Planter, 12x9, Oil on Panel, © Nelia Harper
Work in Progress – Day 18 – Flower Planter, 12×9, Oil on Panel, © Nelia Harper
Day 17 – Aspen Study

This painting was another color study of painting light and dark on a light-colored object.  There’s a fair amount of reflected light from the ground here.  However, the shadows and trunk shape are perfect for studying.  My goal was to better understand how to create transparent shadows on a light object without using white – it’s very difficult!  Most white is highly opaque.  Although there are several light transparent colors, it’s a challenge to use them on something as light as this.  I ended up using white on the tree.

"Aspen Color Study", oil on panel, © Nelia Harper
“Aspen Color Study”, oil on panel, © Nelia Harper

I also experimented with a new surface – lead ground by Rublev.  It’s so bright!  I love how white it is. I’m not sure it was fully cured…It felt a little ‘sticky’ and at the same time, the hog bristle brushes made a ‘comb’ effect (as you can see in the green area).  I’ll try it again, but maybe wait longer for the ground to cure.

For More Paintings

To see all the paintings for the #stradaeasel challenge, head on over to Instagram or Facebook to see all of my posts together.  And, use the hashtag #stradaeasel to see what others are up to in the Strada Easel Challenge.  You can also click “previous post” to see the earlier paintings from last week.

Coming Up – Steamboat Plein Air

Next week, I’ll be in Steamboat Springs for the Steamboat Art Museum Plein Air Event.  There should be ample opportunity to paint aspens in color.  I’m really looking forward to it!  If you are in the area, be sure to check out the event and say hello.

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