I write this in the waning hours of 2014 (~7PM Pacific Standard Time). For most of you, it is already 2015 right now.

It was really sunny here today, but cold (for California). I took a walk to stock up on some refreshments for later tonight and, as I usually do, I looked around for interesting things. I couldn’t resist the oblique sunlight glancing off the bark of this tree.

Photo: Texture of Bark

Today’s watercolor experiment:

The texture of this bark was so inviting, I wanted to create it myself, in watercolor. I knew I had my work cut out for me. For example, watercolor medium does not lend itself naturally to portraying minute adjacent areas of high contrast, at least to me.

Looking at the photo through squinted eyes, I tried to see the overall pattern. The patterns I saw reminded me of glaciers, winding their way down the mountains.

However, I started painting the very darkest spots, using lamp black. When I had the spots located, I painted broad strokes of the lines of the glaciers.  I mixed titanium white with the black, to attain some amount of contrast. Quinacridone nickel to reddened some of the areas closer to the core of the tree.

Watercolor: Texture - portrait of bark

12″X9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I think the only way to get more contrast would be to work in the opposite way to my approach above: paint the white areas first, with liquid latex, paint the gray lines of the glaciers and end up painting the dark areas.

A word about texture in the context of the new year. I don’t have any pressing desire to accomplish specific goals. I think ‘bucket lists’ are for young people. But I would like the texture of the new year to be full of contrasts and wandering glacier lines to explore.

4 thoughts on “Texture

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