Cobb Estate – Hazy Morning

Cobb Estate – Hazy Morning 15″ x 22″ watercolor on Arches paper – half sheet

Today our paintout group returned to the Cobb Estate at the top of Lake Street in Pasadena where a light morning haze hung over the San Gabriels cast a veil of warm light over the scene.

My primary goal in this painting was to work on atmospheric perspective and to design the shapes and values of the painting, regardless of what the scene itself was showing me.

I heard a wonderful quote recently and I wish I had written down the author’s name immediately. When I come across it again, I’ll post it.
The gist of it was this: It’s the artist’s job not just to copy reality but to paint their emotional response to a scene.

I need to keep that in mind every time I feel the temptation to paint a rock or a branch just because it’s sitting there in front of me. The landscape is a source of inspiration but doesn’t need to be copied slavishy. Values can be changed, colors can be tweaked, things in the background can be faded back to suggest greater distances than actually exist. Drawing three dozen twigs on a tree may be accurate but it’s fussy and distracting – I remind myself to STOP before putting in a brushstroke, a symbol, another layer of glaze that’s not necessary.

Here’s a photo of the reality of the scene to give you an idea of how much license I took with it

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